On Friday morning, my husband and I set out on a trip to New York and the New York Toy Fair, where we planned to meet Frances Cain, the creator of A Girl For All Time dolls … a meeting that would be the culmination of an exciting project Frances and I began working on together last fall. When I first conceived the idea for Thimbles and Acorns three years ago, I expected it to simply be a stepping stone as I sorted out what I wanted to do when I grew up, but somewhere along the way I must have gotten into some “Pixie Dust”, because I felt as though I were flying as Tom and I drove through the night, with a full moon leading the way. Second star to the right and straight on till morning…
Almost a year ago Frances and I stumbled across each other and quickly developed a mutual respect and admiration for each other’s work and vision. Last fall, she found herself in need of a costume designer for her next doll, and wouldn’t you know it, the Sacque Back Gown pattern that I had just published was precisely what she was looking for. It didn’t take long for Frances to convince me to take on the project, especially since the week before I had been talking to my husband about how much I would love an opportunity to do just that. Designing for a new and growing historic doll company was an something I wasn’t about to pass up, especially since it fell right in line with the direction I wanted Thimbles and Acorns to go.
The project began with Frances giving me a peek inside the story behind her next doll, Lydia, and the ideas she had for four different outfits. From there, we looked at my existing patterns and began the process of reworking them to fit the look Frances had in mind. As part of a wealthy noble family, Lydia was to be a “Georgian” girl as opposed to a “Colonial” girl, and although the details between 18th century American and British clothing may seem subtle, it was important that we took the time to make sure her costumes reflected her English heritage as well as her social class.
Creating patterns for mass production was a completely new experience for me, and I quickly found that coming up with designs that had a luxurious look while being easy to manufacture required a lot of forethought. Each and every detail needed to be carefully considered in an effort to streamline production without comprising the overall design. Because Lydia’s family line is deeply rooted in her ancestral home, it is with deep reluctance that she travels to the American Colonies to face an uncertain future. Set in the 1760s, she will undoubtedly give us a whole new perspective on Colonial life just before the American War for Independence… the American Revolution.
On Sunday morning, Frances and I met for the first time at the Toy Fair in New York and I found her to be just as delightful as I had expected. Unencumbered by the usual delay between e-mails, our plans and ideas flowed freely as we meandered down one rabbit trail after another discussing future projects and exchanging friendly conversation. We topped off our visit by meeting with Char Polanosky, her daughter Megan, and Diana Gash from Doll Diaries. Not only did they add to the pleasure of our meeting on a personal level, but their reaction to Lydia gave us the confidence that we had done well. Look for their reviews later this week at DollDiaries.
Lydia has been a labor of love, and Frances and I are looking forward with great anticipation to her release which is slated for August. As my husband and I make our way back home, I find I am still feeling the effects of that “Pixie Dust”. My mind has been flying back and forth between all our ideas and plans and I can’t help but think we are headed for a grand adventure.
What an exciting “adventure” for you, Shari. and Francis. Creating a lovely new doll, her story and her wardrobe. We look forward to meeting her….. and I hope to introduce her to my granddaughters. History has many perspectives concerning colonial times. It will be wonderful for me to share your creations with my granddaughters.
What an adventure and I’m sure you will succeed in whatever you do. I am a lover of dolls and their outfits, so I am looking forward to seeing new items in the near future. I love your shop and newsletter.
Your so lucky to be doing this. I’m 80yrs old ,since I was 10 I’ve made doll cloths, always dreaming of some thing like you have ,happening to me. God bless you both, enjoy.
Ill keep enjoying your patterns and buckles, thanks. Jessie Cialini
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What an amazing and fun opportunity! Lydia is beautiful and you did a great job with her costumes. Can’t wait for her release!