So while I was preparing to sew Stella-Geneva's crinoline, I brought out my notebook of "Platypus" patterns by Colette Wolff. She has a 24" lady fashion doll of cloth named Veronica and a number of historical patterns to dress her. The instructions for Veronica's 1860 costume gave me the right proportions for a full skirt that would fit Stella-Geneva, so I didn't have to work it all out myself.
You might guess what happened next: having those marvelous patterns opened before me again, out on the cutting table with the templates already cut... I felt a need to create another Veronica.
Dollmaking with Colette Wolff's patterns is one of the most delightful experiences a person can have. With other patterns, the instructions are often sketchy: you either have to waste time figuring out for yourself what to do next, or else the pattern is so simplistic you could hardly do it wrong. And that's not even going into the really bad patterns--the ones with mistakes in them that won't go together at all. But Wolff's patterns are of a complexity worthy of your effort, which is never in vain, because her instructions are so explicit, so beautifully drawn out, detailed, labeled and explained at every step, and her pattern pieces so precisely engineered, creating one of her dolls takes you into a world where perfection is possible--even if, like me, you aren't famous for spending much time there.
So far I've made and dressed five dolls of hers: two Penelopes, two Debbies, and another Veronica, and I have maybe four other doll patterns I haven't done yet. I was lucky enough to find Brigit's pattern in a flea market. My first Veronica was in muslin with an embroidered face; this Veronica is in peach-colored cotton and her face, I think, will be painted. I think she is going to be an incarnation of Annabelle from Tasha Tudor's book "A is for Annabelle, Grandmother's Doll."
And yes, I did start sewing her: the casings of her head, body, and legs are done, and last night at bedtime I was just ready to do her arms. Pictures to come!
The bad news is, I'm not sure whether patterns for Veronica are still available or not. A set of her plus clothing patterns sold on ebay for $26 dollars recently--that was a real bargain. I'd have paid that just to get the two patterns I don't have. One could try writing to Wolff at the NYC address on her old catalogs, in case she's still there.
You can read a profile of Colette Wolff here (scroll all the way down.) It says that Wolff is at work designing a website to offer most of her patterns.
I'll be looking for it anxiously. And shopping it--this is why we have credit cards!