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1919 Ladybug by Emmalia Harrington   1919 Ladybug by Emmalia Harrington   

1919 Ladybug by Emmalia Harrington   1919 Ladybug by Emmalia Harrington   

1919 Ladybug by Emmalia Harrington


1919 Ladybug

Emmalia Harrington, USA

Model: Frederica, 45cm doll


The Design

A 1918 Bleuette pattern for a “ladybug” dress inspired the outfit. A friend's description of “a black horror show underneath” further inspired the gown’s color scheme, as well as the idea of a red outer garment.

I adapted the gown pattern so the skirt was better suited for an older girl, with a hint of the pannier look stylish in 1919. While I didn’t paint the bodice with ladybugs, I kept the button embellishment. The hat and combinations are also rescaled contemporary Bleuette patterns, while I patterned the slip myself.
The outer petticoat is from the 1916 book “School Sewing Based on Home Problems.” The cloak is a touch fashion forward, inspired by a 1920 Poiret evening cape.

This ladybug sports a red upper body, with seven dots (buttons) on each side. Above it is her head (hat), black with a white ribbon rose on each side to represent eyes. Her gown is black, though not horrific.

A red ribbon with black dashes keeps the ladybug theme alive on her undergarments.


The Construction

My self-imposed challenge was to use only fabric from the stash. I’m not sure whether to be pleased or bothered that this wasn’t difficult.

The corset is made from the same sheeting as the other undergarments. The pattern is adapted from Jen Thompson’s FR article “Reconstructing a 1910s Corset,” with some side panels removed and the front halves merged to better fit my model. It didn’t feel right to machine sew such short rows, so everything is hand stitched.

My biggest challenge was my forgetfulness. I brought the corset with me on vacation, stitching lines marked and ready to go. I forgot to pack pins. Basting became my friend.

Between the stitch lines, bias edging and ribbon trim, the corset is more than stiff enough to suit my model. Undergarments were inspired by the “Discovering Mrs. Pretty” and “British VAD Uniform” series at Your Wardrobe Unlock'd. 

Forgetfulness reared its head once more for the final garment. I thought the deadline was later than it actually was. The planned coat was scrapped in favor of a cloak that required far less fitting.



What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

I liked stretching myself by choosing an era I'm less experienced with, as well as a new corset type.

I love shape of the the cloak you made and the tiny buttons on the dress are also lovely!
I do love a ladybug! What a great way to try out new designs by scaling them down too
marloes dadswell
So adorable! And you have inspired me to make some fancy new garments for two porcelain dolls I got off my grandmother the other day. Love the little cloak!
This is so sweet! We call them ladybirds in England - I'm actually surprised that there weren't more designs inspired by this wonderful colourful creature.
oh... I didn't expect a whole wardrobe for a doll- so lovely!! you bravely mastered many challenges- not at least the scaling down and then deal with these miniature-pieces...adorable!
Making a wardrobe for a doll as competition entry is such an adorable idea!
I can only imagine how difficult and fiddly it must be to work in such a small size, so that makes it even more impressive to see all those little details you have added, especially on the underwear.

So tiny! Your ability to work on such a small scale always impresses me, Emmalia.
Making an entire ensemble for a doll can be almost as time consuming as a full scale one well done I love the tiny corset and the cape.
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