Saturday, March 3, 2012

Doll Clothes

I love dolls and their wardrobes.  Actually some of the first sewing I ever did was for dolls.  I remember taking my babysitting money to buy a Barbie doll when the first ones came out.  They were easy to dress because the clothes only took two square inches of fabric!!  Not really but you know what I mean.

About 20 years ago I found a doll that my mother had packed away.  I'm not sure whose doll it was, I don't remember ever seeing it.  She might have purchased it at a rummage or the Goodwill, as she sometimes picked up toys to fix up for her visiting family to play with.  This doll was left behind when she and my dad divorced and split house.  It was a sad little orphan, probably paper mache or maybe some kind of early plastic.  She doesn't feel like a modern doll.  She's almost 16 inches high, with a child's body and eyes that close when you lay her down.  Her hair was in sad, sad condition.  No amount of washing and combing could save it.  It was a wig applied with glue, so I removed it.

That bald doll bothered me a lot!  I bought a doll wig at a craft store and gently applied it to her head.  She looked amazing!  It was a brown curly wig that probably belonged on a Victorian lady doll, so I trimmed it up, and to me she resembles Shirley Temple!

She had a red plaid dress on when I found her, but it was also in pretty awful shape. I wanted to make her a new dress.  I purchased some doll dress patterns that had multiple sizes, but nothing really had the right fit, although some came close.  I made her a blue plaid dress with some white lace.   It fits, but probably not well.  So at least she was dressed.

Now when my dear daughter was small, she had some Cabbage Patch dolls.  Moms over a certain age will remember how we dashed all over town trying to buy those dolls one Christmas in the 80's.  I spent more money than I care to admit because DD wanted one!  And I made a bunch of clothes for that doll and her subsequent siblings.  Those clothes were fun, almost like baby clothes.  In fact, we reused some of her old baby clothes for Tommy and Olivia... as they were named.

Fast forward to the birth of my first grand.  This child, a girl, gave me the opportunity I needed to play with dolls!  Alas.  She did - not - like - dolls!  She was into DOGS.  She had (and may still have) about 5 million stuffed dogs.  You could get almost any species of dog in the fake fur variety, and she had LOTS!!

One day I was knitting a sweater for someone's baby, and she decided her dog needed a sweater too.  Makes sense I guess.  So I made a yellow sweater for one dog and a blue scarf for another dog, and a red sweater for a Clifford dog.  I knitted sweaters for teddy bears that came to live with us too.  But ix-nay on the olls-day!! 

I was still adding to my doll collection, but since no one was going to actually play with them, I bought the ones that I was most fond of.  I bought one of those famous 18" dolls, but I also picked up some nice porcelain dolls, mostly at rummages or Goodwill.  They were all wearing lovely dresses, and they look so beautiful on my bookcase.

The addition of two more granddaughters was occasion for hope... maybe one of them will love dolls too.  Happily, I can say that BOTH of them love dolls.  The dolls I bought are finally being played with properly!

I have for a long time had a big box of scraps in my sewing room marked "For Dolls".  I've always made clothes for dolls, for my DD and her friends, for my cousins and for friends' kids.  I like how you can make an outstanding outfit with small bits and pieces.  I don't even mind making tiny clothes for those 11 inch fashion dolls -- although I am happy that they are not so unrealistically shaped now.  Really, no one could actually LOOK like that, they'd fall on their faces before they could move!

Today I made a bunch of outfits for the auction that will be taking place at our church in April.  The youth group is earning money to pay for a trip to North Carolina, where they will be building houses with Habitat for Humanity and teaching a Vacation Bible Study.  Sewing those little dresses, skirts and tee shirts was more fun knowing they're going to a good cause.  I hope the little girls who are gifted with those items enjoy playing with them.

Here are a few pictures.  I'll post about the process tomorrow.

Yellow cotton dress with lace trim.

Denim jumper and sweater knit with self striping sock yarn.

Yellow pants and tee with fleece vest
Sew on!

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