“What was your favourite childhood book?”
This was the question posed to me by Rebecca of Dobbin’s Bobbins when she asked me to join her World Book Day blog tour. Choosing my favourite book was easy! She then asked me to make something inspired by my book, eek!
The book I have chosen is a little known story called “Lost at the Fair.” It’s a ladybird book by AJ Macgregor and W Perring. The story is told in verse, written in 1948 and so it’s a little twee, but really rather lovely.
The story is about Danny and Daisy Dormouse and their friend, Little Fieldie Mouse and a little adventure they have when they visit the fair. When taking a ride on a (miniature) elephant Danny makes a grab for some acorns and gets stuck in a tree, only to be returned back to the fairground by a (giant) blackbird.
There were a few elements that appealed to me as a child, the first was the ‘Woodland Fairy Rock’, what was this magical treat?
Also, why had Little Fieldie Mouse been left behind and why was he weeping on a gravestone? Who had abandoned him?
Why was the policeman less than helpful? Where was Mr Dormouse? Why was the elephant so small compared to the mice? Why was the blackbird the same size as the elephant? So many questions… some of which have since been cleared up (it was a milestone not a gravestone). Some questions, however, will go forever unanswered.
I wanted to incorporate a number of elements into my piece, I wanted a mouse reference, a touch of ‘Woodland Fairy Rock’ and a sprinkling of the 1970’s (the era in which I was endless read this book). I decided to make a children’s dress, a little blue number just like the one Daisy Dormouse is wearing.
The dress has a square neckline, so I turned to the old faithful Henry Dress by Brooklyn Pattern Co. and I wanted the fullness of a gathered or pleated skirt with some in-seam pockets, so I looked at the Geranium dress by Made by Rae for the skirt component. A pattern mash-up in all it’s glory.
As I am a big fan of pre-loved fabrics, I really wanted to use something vintage and preferably something that I already owned. It was then I remembered this cute homemade 1970’s apron, a present from my sister. She sent it to me because of the lovely fabric. It was in a sorry state, very faded and quite a few stains, but definitely workable. If you look very closely you can see little mice running through the pattern.
The apron looks quite large here, but it’s tiny and so I decided to use the bottom portion of the apron for the bodice and use some contrasting plain fabric for the skirt. I had to remove the pocket on the apron and hope that the fading wouldn’t be too obvious. I also found a gorgeous teal coloured duck cloth at Spotlight and that worked really well with the colours in the apron.
The hint of Woodland Fairy Rock came in the form of the bias binding on the hem, you can catch the odd glimpse of it now and then. I used a cot sheet to line the bodice and a navy pillowcase to line the skirt. I finished the armholes with bias binding, which is the teal duck cloth fabric.
A LITTLE EXTRA
I love a bit of collage, lets just say it’s not my forte (they are a little basic as any proper collage artist will tell you!) but I enjoy the process enormously. I decided to make a set of 3 canvas’s using some imagery from the book and some hand stitching.
I love this image of Danny waking up in his yellow onesie. I found the crochet blanket image in an old craft book, I do think though, it looks like the sun is radiating from his bum.
Poor Little Fieldie Mouse, this image of him crying really had an impact on me as a child. I wanted some giant teardrops and to get him off that milestone and onto something far more appealing!
I have played with scale quite a lot in these collages, mainly because the scale is so absurd in the book. If ever I wanted some Woodland Fairy Rock I would have to say that this is the size I would want it, GIANT! (Please tell me you noticed Daisy is wearing my dress!)
I loved every moment of this project. I really enjoyed delving back into my favourite book and getting to grips with the story and illustrations. I am really pleased with the dress, I like the 70’s feel of it. It is definitely the kind of frock I would have loved as a child. I only wish it fitted me now. I am also pleased with the collages, it’s a relatively new medium for me and I loved putting those pieces together. If only I could find a recipe for Woodland Fairy Rock I think this project would be perfect!
Check out all the other amazing makes on this blog tour, you are in for a real treat. There is also a MASSIVE four prize giveaway, some brilliant patterns, children’s craft books and sewing books to be had (there is also a Henry Dress pattern in the mix!) Check out the link for all the information about the tour and giveaway.