In 1954, Tasha Tudor first published her alphabet book, A is for Annabelle, which explores, in 26 two-page spreads, the wonders of an old-fashioned doll's wardrobe, complete with all the necessary accessories. As a child of the 1950's, I would pour over this book, dreaming of the joys of possessing such a doll. That was not to be. I did have several dolls, all well-loved, but none as amazingly outfitted as Annabelle.
Then, several years ago, I joined one of Gail Wilson's online classes, the purpose of which was to make a fashion doll -- not one of the modern fashion dolls, such as Barbie, but one from the 1800s, dressed in Victorian fashions. After I completed the first doll, it struck me that with a few changes, she would make a lovely Annabelle. So I ordered another kit and set to work making my very own Annabelle.
In nearly all of the book's illustrations, Annabelle is shown wearing a black snood. I think snoods are a wonderful invention, particularly useful on bad hair days. I crocheted Annabelle's snood using perle cotton thread. To be completely truthful, my Annabelle has two different wigs, both made with the same blonde mohair. This is her snood wig, in which her back hair is permanently stuffed into the snood. The other wig is for wearing with bonnets.
I recently learned that if you click on a photo, a larger version of it will appear. Then if you click on that version, a supersized version appears, showing all of the details.
Annabelle here is wearing her bonnet wig, which has hair on the front, sides and a little on the back, designed to fit under her bonnets. The bonnet is made of white hat straw, with silk ribbon trim and ties. I made the bonnet pattern to fit Annabelle's head. Do click on the picture to bring up a larger version.
The blue stripe dress is made from fabric that I had printed by Spoonflower. The fabric is a cotton sateen. I used white voile for the ruffles at the neckline and around the sleeves. Voile is a very light, thin fabric, and so gathers nicely in tiny ruffles like these. Getting the sleeves cut out so that the stripes were on an angle proved a bit of a challenge.
The dress on the right, which I made in lavender striped fabric, appeared only on the page for "D for her dresses," in a black-and-white sketch. It is the only dress that Annabelle is never shown wearing and the only one never shown in color. As there were no other lavender striped dresses, I decided that this could be. It is a skirt with bretelles (shoulder straps) worn over a white guimpe (what they used to call blouses).
I bought the fabric for this dress at Farmhouse Fabrics online. They call the fabric "Swiss muslin," but it is not muslin in the American sense. It is more like a voile. It is lovely fabric to work with. The flowers on the dress and hair decoration came from minidolls.com. They are lovely roses and I've used them often. Annabelle's wig here is the bonnet wig. So that she could have long hair in ringlets down the back, I made a wig extension for her, which attaches to her head via the band of flowers. The fan itself came from Cats Paws online. The necklace is made of 2 mm pearls strung on wire.
I made the glove box from cardstock. The red cover was printed, with its lettering, on my computer printer. The gloves were made from old vintage gloves that I bought off eBay. I couldn't find any yellow gloves to buy, so I went with ecru. The gloves were so tiny that I gave up trying to do a green edging on the white ones.
The blue tattersall dress appears again. Up until the letter H, the only dress that appeared for more than one letter was the blue striped dress. Other than that, every letter got a new dress. And then, beginning with H, four letters in a row have featured the blue tattersall dress. It appears one more time after this, toward the end of the alphabet. It is as if Tasha Tudor got tired of creating new dresses. Either that, or she really liked this blue tattersall.
The kerchiefs were a fun project. I made three of them, all from voile. One kerchief has a hemstitched border. Another has a white ruffle around the edge, the ruffle also made from voile. The third and fanciest of the kerchiefs has a piece of lace from a lady's handkerchief around the edge. I also found a little pin the help hold to kerchiefs on Annabelle, as the ends of the kerchiefs didn't tie into very nice knots.
As we have reached the midway point in the tale of Annabelle and her possessions, I shall stop here and continue the alphabet in "A is for Annabelle, Part 2."