Annie Oakley has been a big part of our household for the past three weeks. My daughter's second grade class is doing a "Famous Americans in History" project where each child has picked an American iconic figure to research, write about, and portray for a special school event. The long list included Annie Oakley, and that is who my little girl picked.
My daughter, Piper, is an enthusiastic reader, and loved reading an Annie Oakley biography to me in the car between errands and activities.
I started off by making medals to look like the ones Annie Oakley wore. I used my Expression, white card stock, and gold Krylon Metallic spray paint. I cut a bunch of shapes that looked like components of her medals and then assembled them later.
These were my cuts:
- Art Philosophy (page 31) round with border (layer) cut at 2", 1-1/2" (2), and 1" (2).
- Art Philosophy (page 39) banner with border (layer) cut at 1-1/2" (2).
- Art Philosophy (page 26) header shape with layer cut at 3/4" (3).
- Art Philosophy (page 45) header shape cut at 1/2" (2) and 1".
- Art Philosophy (page 48) header shape with layer cut at 3/4" (2) and 1-1/4" (2).
- Art Philosophy (page 67) chain detail font cut at 1/2".
- Art Philosophy (page 68) fleur de lis shift cut at 1-1/2" and 2".
- Art Philosophy (page 41) inner circle layer cut at 1/2".
- Stand and Salute (page 28) shields blackout shift cut at 1".
- Stand and Salute (page 32) star blackout shift cut at 1-1/2".
- Stand and Salute (page 41) banner cut at 1/2".
- Stand and Salute (page 49) rifles cut at 3/4", 1", and 1-1/4".
- Rock Princess (page 51) birds layer 1 cut at 2".
I made a removable collar to hold the paper medals shaped like a kerchief similar to the lines we saw her wear. I created the pieces using the shirt front and back pattern pieces as a guide, cutting double to create a self-lined and separate piece. Thread loops on either side of the collar center-back onto the back button.
I adhered tack pins to the backs with E6000 adhesive. I was surprised to hear, as Piper read to me, that Annie Oakley had most of her medals melted down after her sister contracted tuberculosis.
For the costume, I used two sewing patterns that I adapted to look like our favorite Annie Oakley dress that Piper and I found among the photographs in the books.
|Bull's-Eye A Photobiography of Annie Oakley by Sue Macy|
What's So Great About Annie Oakley by Jim Whiting
Who Was Annie Oakley? by Stephanie Spinner
I altered the skirt, changing the pleats to narrow them and increase their numbers, while keeping wider side panels for decoration. Annie Oakley embroidered her own costumes, but I decided to mimic this by appliqueing a floral print onto the skirt using Steam-A-Seam. Annie's skirt, in the photo that I copied, had sewn-down pleats and a fringe that was sewn to closed pleats. I wanted my daughter to be comfortable and to be able to move, so I did change the design a bit to allow for open pleats, but I did sew the creases of the pleats to keep them sharp.
The teacher wanted, as part of her mandated project directions, for the costumes to have a paper attached to the back of each of the kids with their historical person's name written on it. My daughter gasped at the news that a paper would be taped to her back. (I guess she equated that with a "kick me" sign?) She asked me to come up with an alternative, so I used my Imagine and Avery Printable cotton to cut 1" letters from the Country Carnival cartridge. I fused it to the back of the removable collar.
The Avery fabric is awesome; the Imagine cuts it like paper! I used a new, super sticky mat and a new blade. (For papers, I always use a barely sticky mat, but for fabric, this just doesn't work. Fabric stretches and when not adhered well to the mat, it allows the blade to catch on it.)
I opted not to sew a hat, after Piper found a Mossy Oak hunting hat. I spray painted it with a Krylon Gloss in Leather. It took nearly two cans to cover the camouflage print!. It took a few days of airing out on the deck to remove the paint smell. I added a star from my gold-sprayed paper cuts to mimic the star on Annie Oakley's hat.
I am so proud of my daughter. I enjoyed learning about Annie Oakley along with her, finding, to my surprise, that Annie Oakley is a great role model for girls. It was fun to find her Louisville connection (her meeting to join Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show occurred here according to one book). At a time when our contemporary young superstars find it hip to be shocking, it is a breath of fresh air to read that Annie Oakley fiercely protected her reputation while promoting gender equality. She brought herself and her mother up from poverty, valuing her talent to such a degree that she negotiated a salary five times that of the men she traveled with.
My daughter's enthusiasm helped her do so much more than I ever remember doing in the 2nd grade-- actually I don't remember doing any research in that grade. She did a great job on her paper and I think she had a lot of fun on this project-- I know I had a great time working on this costume!
Thank you for letting me share my project with you! It is a bit of a diversion as all the crafting blogs at this time of year showcase Christmas cards, holiday decor, and yuletide recipes. My next post, I am sure, will be seasonal!