Newsboy-Sewing A Vintage Outfit

The vintage pattern

October 11-18 2004
Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon has documented the entire process of creating a figurine of a newsboy and a life-size bronze sculpture. Watch the artist work through these posts. In this blog, she has also included information for students and teachers. In the previous post, we learned a little about sculpting tricks.

If you are lost and want to go back to the chronological running list of posts, follow this link.

Ready, get set… GO!

Well that is what it feels like at the end of this week. I have waited for so long for the new outfit and the final photos.

Next week I get to sculpt! A few things like eating, sleeping resting and my weary hands will only halt the fervor of sculpting. Yes, in the past, I have sculpted so much that my hands have needed a rest.

At the beginning of this week I did get all of the patterns from Vintage Pattern Lending Library. I had purchased my material last week but when laying out the shirt I was short 6″ of material- back to the Joanne’s fabric shop. Then the pattern came for the knickers, which was sent with an entire suit including jacket and vest. You must remember these patterns had no instructions. So after cutting everything apart I had patterns lying all over my home. At one point I was walking from kitchen to den, back and forth mumbling, and looking kind of lost, “pocket b, where would this pocket go?” It was like putting a large puzzle together. Once these pieces were cut apart I had to try and figure out how they went together.

And remember that all of those pieces needed to be sized up to a size 12, before I could even begin. I had cut apart each piece in the appropriate spot, hoping I was making it big enough and hoping that I was cutting the joining pattern piece in a spot so they would all still fit together again.

Finally, all of the pieces were ready and then my sewing machine would not work. So it had to spend the day in the repair shop. I’ll tell you when I finally got to sewing those pieces I was elated! I did have a couple of extra pattern pieces left over. My husband said” isn’t that like taking a car apart and having a few pieces left over?” I was not worried.

The next step was to secure a time with Dusty, which I began to try and do on Monday, even though I didn’t really finish the sewing until Thursday. Dusty is very busy, between soccer and school photos and all sorts of other after school activities. When I was able to steal him away for a few hours on Friday I knew it was all coming together. The outfit worked out fine, a few details I can change in the sculpting but the reference material is great. You may notice the cap is a bit different from the original sitting. We also have our suspenders and the knickers have buckles. I would have liked the knickers a bit more poofy, but if I really feel it is necessary I can do that in clay.

I am not just taking photos of Dusty from one view but all around him, and close up photos of things like shoes, folds, fingers etc. I even stand on a chair and shoot as well as crawling around underneath him. You can never have too many reference photos. After 144 photos I think I can start.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. We stopped and got some change for Dusty’s pocket. I wasn’t sure if it would show up in the pose, but I was willing to try. I do wish I knew how much a newspaper cost in 1929. Anyone want to guess? I think in the movie Newsies they talk about their “take” for the day. I’ll have to pay closer attention. The change did weigh down the right side of Dusty’s pants. I may take artistic liberty and make the change a bit more apparent in the final sculpture. I also took some more photos of his face. I may have to change his mouth a bit in the small sculpture to show more teeth. Next week I’ll start to build the armature for the large sculpture while working on the small sculpture. I’ll be working on both simultaneously.

Saturday I had to teach a sculpture class all day at the studio. The photos were there and of course the little Dusty sculpture was there. A few times I broke away and put some clay on the sculpture. It felt so good, so familiar. I just can’t wait for next week.
I also sketched some ideas for the large armature. You remember I mentioned a few weeks ago that the armature is an important element to the sculpture. This life size armature will be made of metal pipe and I want it to enter the life size Dusty sculpture in his lower back. It will then come a bit forward and go up. Keep posted and you will see this process in the next few weeks.

When taking a look at my calendar I have set a tentative date with the foundry for October 29th. That is two weeks away. In that time I must
• finish the small sculpture
• have it approved
• make a mold
• pour two waxes.
It will be a very busy week.

Orders must be placed this next week
The small sculpture is going to be created in a limited edition bronze. If you would like to order one of the first bronzes of the small newsboy sculpture please do so in the next week. If you are interested in ordering one for yourself or to honor someone in the newspaper industry, please contact the artist.

We have come a long way. Let’s continue on watching how this project moves forward. Now the artist can proceed to Finishing The Small Newsboy Sculpture.


As I became aware of Dusty’s busy schedule I wondered what my newsboy would have done in his leisure time? What games would he have played with? A web site called Ask Ruthie had some comments on young people’s toys as well as on their games.

There were some board games at this time period but many people were too poor to buy them. Snakes and Ladders started in England in 1890 and turned into Shoots and Ladders and Monopoly was patented in 1904 by Lizzzie J Magie.

The Yo Yo was around and became popular from word of mouth and competitions. Here is a story about the history of the Yo Yo. Or you can also go to the official Duncan Yo Yo web site and check out their you tube video.

Look at the original photo sitting from The September 2nd meeting, can you see how the pose and the costume have changed?

Leave a Comment