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
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.