craft, Disney, Mary Frances sewing, sewing

Chapter XX, Ma Chine (Part one: Kimono)

This chapter begins with Presentation Party.
As far as I can tell, a presentation party involves each Thimble Person we’ve met this far performing a formal self-introduction. It’s like your first day in a new  language class…. but with forced rhymes.


“We’re going to give a party; And we will evermore be true, And everyone of us to you

Will pledge allegiance hearty.” Sewing Bird began.


Then came Silver Thimble, bowing before Sewing Bird,

“I’m Silver Thimble, Bright and nimble.”

Then Scissors Shears, bowing,

I’m Scissors Shears, With rather long ears.”

Then Tommy Pin Cushion,

“I’m Tomato Pin Cushion— (Silv, stop your pushin’!)”

Then Emery Bag….

It keeps going.

Only….they’ve forgotten to invite Ma Chine!



Ma Chine is depicted as an older woman with granny glasses. She sends them all on a one-way guilt trip.

“Forgot me,” zummed Sewing Machine. “All theze dayz, my little onez, I’ve been hearing theze lovely lezzons—but not one of you, no, not one, remembered your Ma Chine! Zum! Zum!”

“What shall we do?” whispered the Thimble People.

“Listen to what I zay, I zay! I will take part To-day, to-day!”

”I cannot bear

A thing like thiz, I wished to help

Our little Mizz, Zumm! Zumm!”

Then all the Thimble People cried together,

“Oh, Miss Ma Chine, Oh, our Ma Chine, Forgive us all— Don’t make a scene!”

The internal logic of this world again leaves me confused. Why is the most modern component of the sewing room one of the Thimble Folk elders? She can’t have been around when Grandma was hemming her wedding dress with Sewing Bird.

Also, in all the illustrations the spool shows no thread leading to the needle section of the machine.

Luckily Mary keeps the peace by saying how happy she is to meet Ma, they’ll have another party sometime, and then turning to Fairy Lady to change the subject while Ma Chine zumm zum zumbles to herself bitterly.

A Kimono for Mary Marie.

Of course, it’s not a real kimono or even a yukata. It’s what so many people mean by kimono-style: a loose, simple, wide-sleeved full-length robe….I know I now have to draft a pattern for a doll kimono after this.
The construction of the kimono is the same as for the robe but no tie/rope or closures, a wider neck, and you use French seams.


For once I’m even using the suggested fabric,  Japanese Crepe (chirimen), because…I’m in Japan and it’s at all fabric and craft stores. Sometimes I score silk chirimen at second hand kimono shops or from kimono-making remanents. Usualy, if I’m buying new, it’s rayon or polyester.

Chirimen has various texture patterns made by having the weft threads tighter than the warp threads (or is in visa versa?) during the weaving process.

I made bias tape trim again, instead of trying to fit a ribbon around curves, this time from leftover satin.

I’ve shown the kimono before (how quickly I’ve worked on projects has outpaced the speed at which I blog them, but it’s catching up) and where the scrap fabric comes from…but here’s another fabric peak. You can also see that I had such a small scrap of satin to work with that I’ve had to join the bias tape together in a few areas to get the job done. I hadn’t removed the basting stitches yet.


This is Snow, in her kimono, showing off her taste in artwork. This particular print was a gift from the artist, Phineas X Jones, and was from a run he did to raise money for Japan relief after the earthquake. I’ve got a LOT of his work in my apartment that I totally paid for…and you should too. Here is his print shop AND his Threadless shop.


As for our new Thimble Folk…Ma Chine helps Mary but there is absolutely no machine guidance given.


“Fairy Lady gave these directions very slowly, and Mary Frances followed them carefully. When she came to stitching the band, Sewing Ma Chine said,

“Little Lady Seamstress, please just put that under my foot, and it will be done in nearly no time.’

“Thank you. Ma Chine, but Mother wouldn’t let me,” said Mary Frances.

“Oh, I’ll be responsible!” said Ma Chine, and as Mary Frances set the little sleeve under the foot, she began to whirl her wheels so rapidly, Mary Frances couldn’t see them.

“Oh, thank you,” said the little girl.

Thimble Folks prepping or finish Mary’s projects is a common occurrence in the book, it’s not just the Needle-of-Don’t-Have-To-Try.  Even Scissors Sheers helps, and he’s an unstable stabby little Fourvel.

This continues to strike me as unfair. I live alone. None of my sewing items nor my hedgehog, Professor, step up and finish my work for me.


Professor hasn’t helped anyone do anything since he got tenure.

The chapter continues on to making a dressing sack but that’s a complicated story to tell as, once more, I made errors the first time I made it and thus have two finished products…and I pass on the learning to you!

Stay Tuned…

Excerpts From: Fryer, Jane Eayre, 1876-. “The Mary Frances sewing book; or, Adventures among the thimble people.”



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