Category Archives: doll

Hey, Sailor!

Here’s a little cutie I got on ebay.

His uniform is perfect- right down to insignia.  Lost his hat, but I suppose that can happen in 60 years of seafaring.

I thought at first he was a folk art piece.  But, after undressing him, I thought that he had to have been made by someone who was accustomed to making dolls. The body and face, for example have a lot of shaping that is not intuitive. The workmanship is excellent- fine stitches, no visible knots, divided floss.

See the waist shaping?  The green lines?  It was a printed or transfer pattern.  So, home made but designed by a professional. That means there are more of them!  Anyone seen them?  Anyone know anything?  He is only my second male doll, but he seems perfectly happy sitting in with the ladies.

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Meet Winnie

Despite my high hopes, it looked like our relationship was doomed from the start.  Thankfully, only the box was damaged.

Written on the inside was a clue to her past.  Despite searching, though, I haven’t found out anything other than what is written here.  I do know she came from Maine, but I don’t know if the real Winnie is from there.

Doll bodies always look preposterous.  Something about the little detached bodies and arms makes me both giggle and cringe.  But, all dolls go through this stage.

I would never be able to find or afford the right hands and feet, so I painted them.  Wouldn’t you want a pair of these red boots?  I would!

Little hands, in a spoon shape, also painted.

Forgot to show you the painted garters, also copied from feet of the period.

And, here she is.  Meet Winnie.  The clothes are more practice garments than anything else.  I am awaiting some books to make the next clothes, and the underwear.  But I hate the site of a naked doll.  They look forgotten.  Gingham is nice for practice garments, because the checks serve as a built in measuring tape.

I think she looks pleased with her latest person.
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second painted doll

Here is my second attempt at an inspired by antique dolls painted doll. I put a bead between the stuffing of her head and the fabric of her head, in nose position, to give a tiny little shape to the nose area.

The apron is a part of a thrifted pillow case with really nice cross stitch.  I made the apron with a lining of the same fabric, so that I didn’t have to hem all those curves.  Just put the right sides together, sewed around, turned, and then top stitched closed.

Here she is with doll the first.  I like doll the second better- she has a sweet face

And here’s a little sailor guy that blew in from ebay.  More about him, later

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Painted Doll

I had a bunch of time in hospital waiting rooms lately ( everyone is fine now) and so found the forum Maida today.  Maida is a site run by a doll artist that makes dolls inspired by antiques, particularly antique dolls that were made of cloth and then pained.  There were many of these made- the Alabama Indestructible Baby, the Izanna Walker dolls, the Maggie Bessie dolls.  The point of these painted cloth dolls was to make a doll that children could play with and not break.  There are also folk dolls of this type- the reg doll, Charlotte, in Little House in the Big Woods was cloth with a drawn on face.  After a disaster in Little House on the Prairie, Ma makes a new face for Charlotte.

Here is the back, where I tried to paint curls.  You have to look closely.

Here’s a back view, with her little painted garters and stays.  People felt that children needed to wear stays, a simple type of corset, to strengthen their backs, up untill the early part of the 1900’s.  Here they are shown laced in the back, over a shift and under a petticoat.

The rows of stitching that look a little like braid are the reverse side of the stitch from my antique Willcox and Gibbs sewing machine.

Here’s dolly with the machine that I made her dress on.  Chain stitching will ravel easily, particularly if you cut it, and so I can’t use it for the way I piece quilts.  If the seam is not cut into then the stitch will not unravel.  The W & G was most often seen as a treadle machine.  Here is mine, an early electric machine that was bought in Los Angeles in the 1920’s.  Chain stitch machines are still used industrially, but rarely at home.  The lockstich machine won out on that.  The nicest thing is that there’s no bobbin- only a top thread.

Here’s dolly’s little hand.  The thumb is applied.  Overall, I’m pretty pleased with this doll, especially considering I drew the pattern myself.  I might change the shape of the head a little, and take more care with the hand shape if I make another. I will also use a lighter weight fabric for the dress and under things, as muslin worked up too stiff. I haven’t made a doll in a few years, and I had forgotten how fun they are!

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