Sunday, April 28, 2013

Antique Doll Clothing Patterns

Many items of clothing have been made through the years by children, their mothers and grandmothers, and today doll collectors.  Since the first of the ladies magazines in the nineteenth century introduced patterns for dolls, there have been many thousand if not hundreds of thousands of dolls clothing patterns produced.  I have only pictured patterns from the fifties and early sixties dolls as this is my main area of collecting.  Also these patterns were not packed up as I sew constantly for my dolls of this era.  I have patterns and copies of patterns from well over a hundred years ago.  Bleuette, is another doll I collect and there were patterns published each week for here from 1905 to 1960 .  Other dolls popular to sew for are:  Shirley Temple and the Patsy family of doll most of the Ideal  and Madame Alexander dolls.  Barbie, the Crissy family of dolls, Chatty Cathy, and Tiny Tears, to name a few.  There have been pattern's  for most of the dolls released in the last seventy five years.  A new doll on the market American girl has lots of patterns also.

Below in this picture are patterns for a variety of dolls.  All these patterns were issued by the larger pattern companies:  Simplicity, McCall's and Advance.  All the patterns shown were originally published in the 1950's.  Therefore they are in the public domain and are no longer copy right protected.

Vintage Doll Patterns History

Vintage Doll Patterns. I am a collector  of vintage doll
patterns. These patterns are designed for the dolls of the era they
were published and sold and are invaluable when restoring an old
vintage doll. There have been doll clothing patterns as long as
there have been dolls. Bleuette is a good example of a doll with
many clothes. There was one published monthly from 1903 till 1962.
Many of the dolls starting in the 1930's with the popularity of the
Shirley Temple doll created the need for patterns copying her movie
costumes. Shirley also had a large and varied wardrobe she wore at
her many appearances and in the pictures in the magazines. When the
little girls received a Shirley Temple doll, their mothers would sew
for them and the patterns were created. All the major pattern
companies produced these patterns and continue to do so today for the
dolls of today. Many patterns followed for the many celebrity dolls
as well as the ordinary play dolls. I suspect many women bought
these dolls for themselves and made many dresses for them. There are
patterns made specifically for Shirley Temple, Toni, Saucy Walker,
Betsy Wetsy, Miss Revlon, Ginny, Crissy, Barbie and many others. If
the doll had any popularity, there were patterns designed for them by
the major patter companies. These old patterns read like a who's who
of dolls.
When restoring a doll you want to have the doll as authentic as
possible when you are finished. If you were to dress a bisque
antique doll in a romper or organdy pinafore, it would quickly be
noticed the clothes were not appropriate or look right on that doll.
The old designs are no longer available as the pattern companies have
moved on to new designs for the new dolls on the market today. Every
now and then a pattern may be published for an old doll that was very
You can buy these old vintage patterns at doll shows and on ebay for
about $10.00 and up. When you buy these old patterns you are taking
a chance all the pieces and the instructions are in the envelope.
The best way to buy one of these old vintage patterns is to find a
vintage pattern reseller. They sell copies of the original pattern
with the complete instructions, a copy of the back of the pattern
envelope and a color copy of the front showing the different styles
included in the pattern. A good pattern reseller will have made sure
all the pieces and instructions are there and will have a rather
large inventory of vintage patterns to choose from. These old
patterns are also a good source of patterns of the old rag dolls and
soft toys that were so popular in the 40's and 50's & 60's. Where
else would you find a copy of a pattern for Olive Oyl and Popeye?
The prices of these copies are certainly more than the $.10 to 1.00
originally charged. They range in price from $3.00 for a soft toy or
single dress pattern to as much as $10.000 – 12.00 with most selling
in the $7.00 – 8.00 range.
These patterns are a wealth of information about the dolls they were
designed for. They tell us the different sizes the dolls were made
in and what materials they were dressed in. Remember they were no
permanent press or knit fabrics at that time. The patterns suggest
fabrics such as, dimity, organdy, taffeta, rayon, wool and pique to
name a few. Remember cotton fabrics were 100% cotton. These fabrics
can be found at a good fabric store and also vintage clothing is a
good source of these fabrics.
I always try and use the suggested fabric in using these old vintage
patterns. I am always on the hunt for the old fabrics. Used fabric
in good condition looks better than new fabric, as new fabric tends
to make on old doll look shabby.
There are also many antique crochet and knitting directions for
making a wide variety of doll clothing. There is nothing sweeter
than a small baby doll dressed in a crocheted christening gown and
cap. Crocheted bonnets are always the crowning touch on an old doll.
Most of these patterns are not produced for a specific doll even
though in recent years the designers have begun to design for
specific dolls. Barbie and all the 11-1/2 fashion dolls have
hundreds of designs for them and don't forget the ever- popular bed
dolls. There are patterns you can use to make a sweater to complete
a Toni school outfit, bootee patterns for all the baby dolls.
Remember when using the old vintage patterns the directions are
different from today's patterns in that the stitches that have the
same name are different. Check with a good crochet web site to get
the differences. Also you can check the finished sizes to see if that
pattern will fit your doll. So get a pattern copy and start sewing,
knitting and crocheting.

Doll Patterns of the Fifties and Sixties

The patterns with the black and white cover photos are pattern that were custom made to fit the Ideal Toni doll.  Toni's original clothes were taken apart and exact patterns made from these clothes. They are made to fit every Toni size.

In this last picture are patterns made especially for Chatty Cathy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Twiggy Original Clothes and Doll 1967-1968

1185 Casey doll face 1967Twiggy was the first Mattel doll fashioned after a real person (Twiggy was a skinny, top British fashion model in the "modern" 1960s).  She has the same body size as Francie and Casey 11 1/4" and thus could share their wardrobe.  She has the same head mold as Casey, but has heavier eye makeup.

She was on the market in late 1967-1968.

Four tagged outfits were created exclusively for Twiggy and released in 1968.
1185 Twiggy Twist n Turn doll 1967-1968
1185 Twiggy Twist 'N Turn doll 1967-1968
Blonde hair, rooted eyelashes, twist N turn waist, bendable legs. Outfit is a yellow, blue and green large-vertical striped mini dress with nylon panties and yellow boots.

Marking:  © 1966 Mattel, Inc. U.S. Patented U.S. Pat. Pend. Made in Japan.
1725 Twiggy-Dos 1968
1725 Twiggy-Dos (1968)
A vertical ribbed knit sleeveless dress in yellow with  green and white bands around the hip-line,  yellow knit socks, yellow bow shoes, green and white beaded double strand necklace and shiny yellow vinyl purse with a golden chain.
1726 Twiggy Turnouts 1968
1726 Twiggy Turnouts (1968)
A sleeveless metallic skirted mini dress, multicolor striped bodice also metallic, a wide silver belt at the hip.  Gray vinyl boots painted metallic silver, a  two piece swimsuit in nylon striped like the bodice on the dress $50 and booklet.
1727 Twigster (1968)
1727 Twigster (1968)

Sleeveless orange and yellow check mini dress, matching scarf, orange purse, hot pink and white powder puff, brown eyebrow pencil, black eyelash brush, pink brush comb and mirror., orange heels with cutouts.
1728 Twiggy Gear (1968)
1728 Twiggy Gear (1968)

White and knit jumpsuit, rose floppy hat, blue plastic belt, black plastic camera, royal blue soft buckle flat shoes.

Twiggy Today

Twiggy.       Leslie Hornsby was born into a working class family in a
suburb of London, England in 1949. (My goodness, Twiggy is 63
today).  Being naturally very thin her father began to call her by
the pet name of "Sticks". Because of this her friends began to call
her "Twig". At the age of fifteen she was 5 feet 6 inches and
weighed 91 pounds. Her measurements were 31" – 22" – 32" and
completely flat chested. Girls in London at that time dated early
and one of her dates was a 25 year old hair dresser by the name of
Nigel Davies who professional name was "Justin de Villeneuve" because
he thought the name made him sophisticated.
Justin took Twiggy to the well-known London super hairdresser Mr.
Leonard.   He bleached her hair and cut it into a boyish short cut
with long bangs draped across her forehead and caught behind her
ear. This style became her signature hairstyle. Only in the
rebellion of 1960's London could a boyishly thin young woman who had
modeled for posters of starving children in the third world countries
become the height of sophisticated 1960's London.
Within the year Justin de Villeniuve became boyfriend, bodyguard, and
mentor. Within months "Twiggy" was the top model in London and Paris
with her picture on the cover of Elle, the famous French magazine.
Twiggy arrived in the U. S. A. on March 20, 1967 in the middle of a
large media blitz. She was greeted by then President Lyndon Johnson
and was a guest at Disneyland. She brought to America with her a
dress line and other Twiggy products. Her licensed products
included: jewelry boxes, notebooks, t-shirts, board games, and cards
to name a few. Her earring line sales soared to over three million
dollars in sales.
All of this activity and adoration for the young girl from London
caught the eye of Mattel, the creators of Barbie. Mattel needed to
update the Barbie story and scene. When the story of Barbie began in
the late fifties, America was a calm nation. The Viet Nam war had
not begun and families were the focus of society. By the late
sixties all of this had changed and Mattel needed to update Barbie to
more current events. Not wanting to create controversy by making her
a part of the war and protest movements that were so prevalent at the
time, the fashion scene that Twiggy represented was just what was
needed for Barbie.
Mattel secured the rights to a Twiggy doll. Made of vinyl, she was
eleven  inches tall and had rooted eyelashes and hair. The Twiggy doll
was made using the Casey head mold and the Francie body. Available
also were four outfits with names such as: "Twiggy Gear", "Twiggy
Turnouts", Twiggy Do's", and Twigster". All of these outfits were
very short very mod mini skirt designs.
The Twiggy doll was a huge hit and Barbie and her other "Mod
friends", Cousin Francie, Twiggy, and Casey were a huge hit in the
early 1970's. When the mod period ended Mattel moved on with a new
story line for Barbie.
Twiggy retired from modeling and married actor Michael Whitney and in
1979 had a daughter. When her husband died from a heart attack, she
decided to become an actress and has made several movies and appeared
many times in the theater and on television. She has been well
received as an actress and has grown in both her personal and
professional life. She has remarried to director Leigh Lawson and now
goes by the professional name of Twiggy Lawson.
A boat cruise many years ago with comedian Fran Dresher and Twiggy's
family created so much culture shock, Dresher created the hit
television show "The Nanny" from the experience.
In 2005 Twiggy appeared as a permanent judge on the Television
show, `America's Next Top Model." She continues to model and act.
Below is listed her official web site with pictures of her today.  She is 
still a very beautiful woman today.  Twiggy in real life is a success story
that began in the turbulent sixties and continues today.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Doll Quilts

Posted by Picasa

Making Doll Quilts

The other day I went to  a new thrift store and they had their fabric pieces on sale for $.29 cents a piece.
I purchased several pieces and one of them was a piece with five of the squares used in the quilt above.
I got out my stash of fabric and found several pieces for the quilt back and also some quilt batting.  I
layered them and stitched them together on my sewing machine.  

All four quilts have now been stitched together, turned right side out and ironed. They are now ready to outline stitch.   I have tried to make them all different.
Posted by Picasa

History Of Doll Quilts

The first information I can  find on doll quilts in America is in The New England Archives about 1760.  Doll Quilts were made in other countries long before. The information has been gleaned from diaries, journals and household inventories  Making doll quilts was an early tradition in America.
There are not many examples of early doll or baby quilts. The infant mortality rate was high and these small quilts were used as shrouds in which to bury the infants.
Sewing was a very important skill and when little girls were about three years old they were taught to sew.  Many of these little girls made quilts for their dolls as it was  a wonderful way to teach them to choose fabric, cut, and stitch.  Fabric being scarce and very valuable in early America, and none was wasted.  Every small scraps was given by the mothers to the little girls to learn to sew with.    Fortunate is the person who has one of these little early quilts.
Quilting for dolls continues even today with quilts being made for many of the popular dolls of today.  There are several made commercially for American Girl and Barbie to mention a few. Also today doll quilts have become popular with the online quilting groups as they can be made to show the latest and different designs in a small scale.  Many quilts are made by mothers and grandmothers for a daughter's or grand daughter's favorite doll.  Doll quilts have a long history of popularity and will continue with both seamstresses and doll collectors and most of all the little girls that play with them.
This blog is written for doll lovers and collectors and if any one is interesting in making a quilt for a favorite doll, there are many pictures, free patterns, instruction videos etc. on the web for making a doll quilt.  Or you can do as I did and buy some of the printed  fabric pieces and make a small quilt with them.  So the tradition continues..........

To see many beautiful quilts with a lot of them antique, go to doll quilts on Pinterest and   take a look at all the beautiful little quilts posted there.

My First Doll Quilt

My first doll quilt was made about three years ago when I broke my ankle and needed something to do. I could not walk  and was sitting around a lot as I could not put weight on my ankle for almost three months.  I do not sit well for very long without something to do.   I had been given some fabric by my therapist and this piece as well as the piece used for the backing and the binding was in the bag.  I decided on the size I needed the quilt to be and cut the heart print to be the front and I cut the backing piece large enough to be folded over and used for the binding also.  I cut the batting sheet the size of the quilt front.  Since I have never pieced a quilt before I was glad this fabric gave the appearance of piecework without actually having to do it.  I did sew this quilt completely by hand as I had the time.  After the quilt was put together, I them hand stitched around each heart and other design details to give it the quilted look.  You cannot see this detail in the pictures, but it is there and gives it the puffy look of a real hand pieced quilt.
Maybe one day I will try and cut the pieces and put them together, but for now I am quite happy with my "cheater" quilt.   
Posted by Picasa

Making a Quilt From a Square

 Frequently I find these quilted squares in the Thrift Stores.  They are made usually to be wall hangings.  The hand quilting on most of them is very good work.  This one was perfect scale for a doll quilt.  The price was right, Ninety nine cents, and it came with the hanging rod also.  But, my mind always goes to what can I do to make it usable for my dolls. 

 Beds are not square, not even a doll bed, so it needed to be made longer.  I went to my fabric stash to see what would match the square.  Pictured here are some of the possibilities.

This is the finished quilt with the added pieces at the top and bottom
Posted by Picasa

Quilt Before and After Extensions Added

Quilt before extension added 

Finished quilt with extensions added
Posted by Picasa

Making Doll Quilts

 Laying out the quilts.  I have four quilts to make.  On my last trip to Goodwill, they were having a fabric sale.  Twenty nine cents a piece.  There was a piece that had five squares that would make sweet doll quilts. the design on the fabric gave it a pieced look.   I am making four of them and my daughter is making the fifth one.  I picked a matching red and some unbleached muslin to back the quilts with.  I pinning them together and used the sewing machine to construct them.  I am going to do the outline and quilting stitches by hand.  I used some scrap pieces of quilt batting to pad them.

This picture shows the top quilt all put together with the second one ready to sew and the others with the layers pinned together to sew.
Layer the fabric square with the extension added for the quilt top, a piece of quilt batting and the fabric for the back and pin together.  Machine stitch around the outside leaving an opening to turn the quilt to the right side.
Posted by Picasa

Ironed And Ready to Quilt

After stitching and turning to the right side here they are all laid out.  As you can see each is trimmed a little differently.  I wanted each one to be different and unique. 

I am keeping for myself the one that is bordered by the unbleached muslin
Posted by Picasa

Using My Quilt

 The finished quilt is put to good use as a backdrop draped on my new doll trunk with my Tudor dolls

I am very happy with the way the quilt turned out.  Ninety Nine cents and a small scrap of batting and  fabric and an hour to add the extension at each end.  A good investment.
Posted by Picasa

Quilt squares in packages

Posted by PicasaThese two mini quilt kits were picked up for fifty cents a piece at
my favorite thrift store. I show them to show the many possibilities
 for making a doll quilt if like me you do not know how to piece a quilt
. These will only  make a 6 x 6 inch quilt square.
Not large enough, so I will have to add to them to get a suitable size.
So many projects, so many projects, did I say too many projects?