You are all collectors of dolls and in particular the famous Bleuette. Your pleasure is to dress with clothes that you find at random flea markets, but especially with the outfits made ​​for yourself, which doubles the pleasure of the collection. You are adults, with sewing notions, and for most of you, a good manual dexterity. However, you know from experience how difficult it is to succeed these clothes, especially more complicated than the small Bleuette does not facilitate the task. But you get nevertheless good results as you want. You do not have to see your savings chipped drag your beloved dolls in the nude.

But let's back nearly a hundred years in the field of doll then, ie among children

  In 1905, Ms. Bernard Laroche, a member of the Society of Men of Letters, takes the direction of the Semaine de Suzette and immediately creates a seam section, under the pseudonym Aunt Jacqueline, for the new born "Bleuette". Raised in the house of the Legion of Honour, the ability to sewing girls born in 1900 does not doubt in his mind, which is why it offers patrons whose execution seemed possible.

  A short story published in the Semaine de Suzette says that under the Second Empire, the Empress visiting Demoiselles de la Legion d'Honneur was a hitch in her dress. The whole community is shocked, knowing how Eugenie coquette. But it advises students from a girl whose magnificent golden-blond hair is quite similar to the color of her dress. "This child be able to do a cover with her ​​long hair?" - "Of course", meet the teachers. The tear was repaired to perfection and the visit can end in joy after the incident that nearly ruin this historic day for the Big House. A few years later, the girl will receive a wedding gift from the Empress did not forget, a beautiful sewing kit gold, we can be sure that it has made good use.

 But it seems that aunt Jacqueline, having taught perfectly the sewing House of La Legion d’ Honneur, about forty years earlier, presumed capacities of certain "Suzette" of the of the XXth century beginning. All are not boarders and in the worldly life of the girls of the good bourgeoisie, brought up in the house or in small cours, there is maybe enough place for the excellent sewing.

They make of the decorative pattern, these alphabet primers which are now sold very expensive at the antique dealers, the "parts", to learn basis points: hem, English sewing, flat seam, festoon, buttonhole; but it is not enough for all "Suzette" to bring of a successful conclusion the very difficult patterns proposed in the newspaper.

 In the number of August 3rd, 1905, aunt Jacqueline proposes "fairy's diploma". This diploma will be awarded by aunt Jacqueline to all the direct subscribers of  la Semaine de Suzette ( the Week of Suzette ) having made a success well of the costume in which Bleuette is dressed. By going through in the collection of the appeared numbers, the nieces of aunt Jacqueline will find certainly patterns whom they can get to make the suit of visits of Bleuette, object of the competition for  obtaining of "fairy's diploma". There is an engraving of the dress and the bonnet. Not easy of the whole. Follow explanations for the choice and the modifications to be brought to the basic patterns addressing more needlewomen than children. " The first twenty five said diplomas " Diplomas of Honor " will receive besides the certificate a pair of elegant shoes for Bleuette. The work is rather long, but you will have time to do it. It is an activity for all the holidays ".

 In the number of November 30th, 1905, the results are published. " We are anxious at first to congratulate quite those of the small moms of Bleuette who were interested in this competition. We had very attractive sendings, testifying of a lot of address and taste ". Follow names 25 and even 30 winners and the detailed description of their work as well as comments and the compliments on the execution.

Follow a dozen girls' names who did not arrive in rather good rank  to win the shoes of Bleuette. But aunt Jacqueline will send them shoes of consolation with their " fairy's diploma ".

It is evidence that many girls are struggling to " get out ".  If a mother, a grandmother, big sister or good can help, the work is obviously easier for some children. But do not forget that small hands even performed at the seam, can not compete with the skill of great people. It is a question of motor not yet completely achieved. We pricked fingers, hands are sweaty, you get tired, small legs want to go run and often we abandon the work started..

 Without wanting to speak ill of these children who now listen to us of above, let us pledge that some of them were helped by accommodating families. Furthermore, the participation in the competition is low compared with the number of subscribers who received the little Bleuette. See under the rubrique "   We dress Bleuette " the detailed explanations which the editor considers necessary.


 Aunt Jacqueline will persevere in this way which follows that of her predecessors: " La Poupée Modèle , La mode Illustrée", Le journal des Demoiselles", magazines almost completely centred on the sewing.
  Nevertheless, from the number 49 of 1906, hardly two years after the launch of the newspaper and the doll Bleuette, the editors announce: " Bleuette is in cold conditions. Maybe not all "Bleuette", but many of them are cold. Either that their moms are too much occupied by their homework, or that they are still not enough skillful workers to make a success of the various objects of the outfit aunt Jacqueline whom published the patterns in the newspaper, however many dolls are still in shirt . It is necessary that this sad state stops as quickly as possible."

Below against right and left A Dress and Coat patterns that have required a lot of skill and patience .... a dressmaker adult age and very competent -
         « Semaine de Suzette 1911 n°30  »
From the next number, the "Suzette" can read: We are sent to a skillful manufacturer who makes little by little the parts of the trousseau of Bleuette ". Follows a list of clothes the prices of which vary according to their importance between 35 and 95 centimes. All demand of six objects gives the right to a pair of bootees or to a seventh 50-centime object. The orders are to be made and to be sent by post. "

 From the following number, "Suzette" can read: " the New Year's gifts of Bleuette ". During the months and years which will follow, the propositions clothes will grow rich according to the seasons. " Easter eggs of Bleuette», «Bleuetteon the beach "," Bleuette will be beautiful the day of the year 1909 "... It is specified well that all these clothes made by skillful needlewomen are executed according to the patterns appeared in the newspaper. In 1908, at the same moment of the publication of the pattern, in the numbers 36 and 37 of the suit of Becassine, "Suzette" are warned that this garment is immediately put on sale. But in 1909, here are four hats summer original, sold quite furnished or to furnish. Then for winter 1909/1910, four elegant felt hats also different from patterns. 

 It is interesting to note that same articles are sold during several years. Announcements follow one another so until 1912, always tempting for "Suzette": " Bleuette disguises ", " Adorn your Bleuette for New Year's gifts ", " The outfit of Bleuette grows rich ", " For the evenings of holidays which become long, ask to your parents to offer yourselves Bleuette and some partsof her outfit. "

  In 1912, " Bleuette improves her outfit " with five new unpublished hats. At the end of 1912: " if your parents have New Year's gifts to be offered... 
" We propose then the doll accompanied with more or less complete outfit of clothes made by needlewomen according to the patterns. For 20, 15 or 10 francs you have a subscription of one year Semaine de Suzette, a Bleuette and a trousseau of varied importance.

 Happy time for the "fans" of Bleuette, we would like to relive this time. In 1913, " Bleuette is cold, hurry to dress her warmly ". In 1914 " Here is to come nicee May, it is necessary to offer clothes summer in your Bleuette ". Indeed few "Suzette" whose parents have the means of it was able to resist the envy to have these beautiful clothes does well, without the evil. Then the war comes, Bleuette is nursing on the front. It needs absolutely a suit of circumstance. Aunt Jacqueline makes publish in "Noushabillons Bleuette " a pattern very complicated with a nurse's complete costume of Red Cross.But at the same time, we announce the sale of this made suit. In the number 45, at the end of 1914, appears a photo, the first one, of Bleuette 6/0 be dressed in nurse. 
Below dress of this time l

In 1915, France sinks into this war for which we hoped " fresh and joyful ". The " Poilus "  ( hairy )" sink into trenches. But in the back, it is necessary to maintain the morale of the civilians and even that of the children

  Here is thus that at Gautier, we prepared an event. In N 39 and the following ones 44, 45, 50 follow one another extraordinary announcements: " The novelties of the Trousseau of Bleuette: the new suits of Bleuette created by the first one of one of the best fashion houses of La Rue de la Paix, are remarkable of elegance and originality and will be of use certainly as models to many moms to dress our kind readers ". There are the sketches of these clothes. It is what we can call precatalogs. We still sell the old clothes of the patterns, to liquidate them probably. The new suits are obviously more expensive than the former.

 And here is " Tipperary ", « Joffre " in homage to the soldiers who die on the forehead, but also the magnificent town suits:" Parc Monceau " Parisienne " (coat, dress, hat), " Froufrou " and hats completely " Chic " " Pimpant  ",  " Suzette “, “ Bleuette ", at the beginning of 1916.

  From the middle of 1916, here are of new models: " Primevere ", “ Trotinette ", “ Tourist ", “ Daisy ", with matched hats. We still propose some clothes, but less and less.

 And here is the first announcement of the catalog in the number 40 of 1916: " Ask for the special catalog which will be free sent and Franco " and to the number 45 of 1916: " our direct subscribers will receive at the same time as the newspaper the very beautiful luxury catalog of the trousseau of Bleuette for the season of winter. 
It has sixteen pages illustrated with numerous drawings and is printed in colors. Our not subscribed readers can receive it by sending us a 10-centime stamp. That they hurry, the edition is limited ".And in the same number, a big first one: until this day, purchases made only by orders taking place by post, and here is the beginning of a long period of sale in offices at first, 55 bis Quai des Grands Augustins, then 17 Rue Jacob from 1926, " Bleuette and her outfit are exposed in our saleroom where we shall be happy to show them to our readers ".
       Below against right, " Givrette "
 ".And they are the first catalogs with their first models which make us dream because almost untraceable: " Mes courses ", “ Graciosa ", “ Philippine “, " Charmeuse ". All these models still make little " lady " for a small doll who wants to have decade. It is doubtless the influence of an ageing aunt Jacqueline, brought up with these Parisian dolls dressed for a great majority in "ladies ".

At the end of the first party

Continuation and at the end in February, 2013


 Suzanne GAUTROT
 Mars 1994
Congrès de LILLE

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