Cornflower Blue 1927 Dress with Handkerchief Skirt inspired by Lucia in London by E.F. Benson

Click for larger version; click for the list of dolls.

Sorry, sorry, I’ve been playing with my bike too much and not drawing enough, I know. But you see, as the new toy novelty wears off, I return to my Prismacolors…

I am reading Make Way for Lucia now, which is a collection of the Mapp and Lucia novels all in one doorstop-sized book. I listened to Queen Lucia first as an audiobook from Librivox, and then, since that book stops so abruptly, was dying to have more, more, more. Luckily there is more more more — Make Way for Lucia includes seven books total. They’re quite funny in a dry, snarky kind of way; as a matter of fact, it occurred to me more than once that it’s a shame the word “snark” itself wasn’t used in the 1920s, because there are so many places where a speaker says something described as “ironical” or “sarcastic” and the proper word can be only “snarky.” So far it is about a small English community and its queen bee, Lucia, and although living with the gossipy, snarky, hypocritical residents of Riseholme would be a sort of hell on Earth for someone like me, socially clueless hermit that I am, it’s delightful to read about it. The characters are mostly so quite dissembling, thoughtless and haughty that I rather hope that they get their comeuppance, and the author then kicks them around quite so thoroughly. So thoroughly, actually that I start to feel bad for them and hope they don’t get hurt too badly, even if it was coming to them, because their gossip and vanity is really all very harmless and none of them are bad, just silly. There’s a comparison to a Jane Austen novel here (especially because now I’m listening to Persuasion), if she was a shade more malicious and didn’t focus on romance.

Anyways, the main character is Lucia Lucas, who in Queen Lucia portrayed herself as a sort of refined lady born in the wrong age who worshipped Shakespeare and Beethoven and had a perfect horror of modern contraptions such as gramophones and London, and she contrived so that the whole town seemed to revolve around her. In the book I’m reading now, Lucia in London, she and her husband inherit money and property in London and suddenly her hatred of the city, modern art and music and so on simply vanishes. She even — oh my! — shingles her hair and wears short skirts. When I was listening to Queen Lucia I thought I should do an Elizabethan paperdoll outfit in deference to Lucia’s despising of modernity (and, also, to my inability to figure out when the book was set, my normal attention to details fixing a book in time quite baffled by Lucia’s quirks and Riseholme’s sleepiness), but now that she has gone to London I thought I had better get with the times as well.

The style doesn’t fit my poor Sylvia or Iris well, as they have no access to the kind of undergarments one would likely wear with such a dress, but oh well. It is based off of a McCalls pattern from 1927, which is when the book was published.