Just 70 years young and ready to travel to a museum.

This glamorous young lady was made by myself in 1947/48 when I was about 14/15 years old.  She is 20″ tall/long.  She is sitting down in this photo and is able to sit unsupported.

Yes she was a challenge to make as there was a lack of the necessary materials after the end of the war.  The red velvet was from an outgrown dress belonging to my younger sister.  The hair is real and also originated from my sister.  The doll has transparent underwear with red garters.  Her petticoat is in three layers and the hemstitching is so fine I am not able to see how it is stitched at my current age.  Her shoes are red leather decorated with pearl beads.

I created the pattern for her dress and, considering I knew nothing about pattern drafting at the time, I think that it turned out well.  The velvet ribbon edging matches the red velvet of the dress.  It is stitched with pearl beads and gold thread. The gold used to be quite vivid but has faded despite the doll being in storage. There are also pearl beads all up the center back which will open so that the dress can be removed.

I do not remember how I created her head and face but think that I may have used an existing doll’s head and covered it with starched or glued fabric.  It was then painted and varnished.  The whole head has been intact for many decades but has become damaged in very recent years.  It is now sensitive to being handled though the rest of her is strong and undamaged.

The body?  I cannot remember how the pattern was created but suspect that it was made by myself. I subsequently made another doll wearing a pale blue dress. That one was from a Dryads pattern using the face and hair they supplied.  I was not enthusiastic about the result and never made another doll. The body fabric of both dolls is closely woven cotton stuffed with kapok. The limbs are jointed and the head of the blue dressed doll rotates.

Your interest and comments are always appreciated.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Comments

    • Mala Murty
    • July 31, 2018
    Reply

    She is lovely. What a treasure! She will be well received and admired for many years to come at her new home.

    1. Reply

      Mala, Yes, she is a treasure and has been in hiding for eons. She is ready to go to a permanent home so that she can be visited by future generations. Thank you for your comment which is much appreciated.

    • Mary Ann Witalec Keyes
    • July 31, 2018
    Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your dolls with us. These companions from childhood are real treasures. I still have three Barbie dolls from the 1960’s – complete with extensive wardrobes, partially made by me. I wonder how many of us developed our interest in needlework by making clothes for our dolls.
    Best,
    Mary Ann

    1. Reply

      Hello Mary Ann, Delighted to hear from you and hear that you like the dolls.These are earlier than Barbie dolls but that may be because they are of English origin. I did all sorts of needlecraft even then and this was my venture into doll making. I enjoyed creating the doll in the red dress and it was definitely challenging. The subsequent doll dressed in blue was a lot less fun and she terminated that career. Lots has happened since then.
      All the best and thanks, Ann B.

    • marg gillies
    • July 31, 2018
    Reply

    What an interesting story about these dolls. I can’t imagine the hours of work that must have gone into creating them, especially the one with the gorgeous red outfit. You obviously had a talent for stitchery from a very young age. What lucky museum will receive this doll?

    1. Reply

      Hello Marg, my ever faithful reader and commentator. It was an interesting and challenging venture but she has been wrapped up ever since. I am going to take them both to our group on Friday afternoon which will likely be their last public outing before they move to a museum. I do not yet know which museum but the Royal Ontario Museum has a doll collection.
      All the best, Ann B.

  1. Reply

    What a beautiful dolls Ann! I really like the one in the red dress. And that you made her scratch as a teenager. Just wow!

    1. Reply

      Thank you Jessica. I always value your opinion and appreciate your feedback. She is good condition as she has spent her life ‘under the covers’ of protective wrapping. I will wrap her in acid free cloth and tissue paper and have both dolls ready to go to a museum. I am now old and need to get these jobs accomplished sooner rather than later. But I feel very comfortable with doing this right now.
      Many thanks,
      Ann B.

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