Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mini Mary Anning

Miss L loves her dinosaurs.  She also loves her dolls.  And she very, very much loves to have her dolls play paleontologist. 

So, bright idea...outfit her dolls as her favorite lady paleontologists!  Sadly, American Girl does not yet have a line of famous historical scientists.   (But get on that, AG, seriously.) The remedy?  My sewing machine! 

Meet Mary Anning:


To refresh your memory, Mary Anning was a 19th-century woman who lived on the coast of England.  As a girl, she would explore the cliffs with her fossil-collecting father.  She went on to discover the ichthyosaur and become an influential early paleontologist, despite the boy's club of the time. There are many good books about Anning, including the novel Beautiful Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, one of our favorite children's storybooks, Rare Treasure by Don Brown, and an early-reader book Miss L has attacked many times, The Dog That Dug For Dinosaurs by Shirley Raye Redmond.
I used the illustrations in Don Brown's book and a famous portrait of Anning as my inspiration for our doll outfit. 

The cape pattern was from McCall's M6526, with the overskirt from McCall's 2609.  These were my very first doll garments!  Encouraged by how the cape and overskirt turned out, I turned to the dress itself, another 2609 pattern, modified a little to be more like the simple dress a poor woodworker's daughter would be likely to have, and more like the girl's dress shown in Don Brown's illustrations. 


OK, WAY harder, all those little curves and gathers.  I'm glad our model Saige here doesn't complain much about seam puckers and fraying.  Good sport, that one. You can't see her books or petticoats here, but we just borrowed some from another AG historical doll outfit (Caroline's winter boots and her underthings).  The bonnet was found cheap on etsy, I added the red ribbon. 
And the crowning touch, of course, is the little doll-size hammer!  An inexpensive little jeweler's hammer. 
This was a challenge but I learned some new sewing skills...and Miss L loves it, so we will probably need more paleontologist and science-lady outfits!  For all my googling, I don't see any to purchase available, so looks like it is on me to fill the void.  Next on the docket are Sue Hendrickson and maybe Marie Curie.  Who else would be on your must-list?