Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Simplicity 4940 - 18" Stuffed Rag Doll and Wardrobe (1954)

Simplicity 4940 makes a simple doll which can be dressed as either a boy or girl. The instructions have a copyright date of 1954.

The doll is 18" tall, with mitten hands, and feet sewn in a contrasting color to look like boots. There are no shoulder joints, so the arms stick straight out. The wool yarn hair is sewn only along the top seam, leaving the back of the head bald. Although not indicated in the instructions, the back of the head could be sewn in a fabric to match the hair. The same embroidery transfer is used for the face whether making a boy or girl doll; the maker is instructed to cut the hair shorter for a boy.

The clothing consists of a short sleeved shirt with a Peter Pan collar; skirt, shorts or long pants, all with suspenders; and a jacket with patch pockets. The jacket has a contrasting lining, collar and cuffs, with matching cuffs on the pants. The pants and shorts have front pleats. There is a petticoat, but no panty.

This simple pattern would be good for a beginning sewer. The cute clothing gives this doll a bit of style.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

McCall #820 - Raggedy Ann & Andy (1940)

Raggedy Ann and Andy were storybook characters created by Johnny Gruelle in the early 20th century. They are the most popular dolls of all time, and have been mass produced by a series of companies under license since 1920. This McCall pattern, copyright 1940, was the first one published for home sewers. It makes 19" Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls wearing their usual outfits, plus a hooded cape for Ann. When the pattern was reissued in the fifties, McCall's used the same stock number (820) but the envelope has a different illustration.

Raggedy Ann and Andy here have the same separated pancake style construction that has been used to make the commercially available dolls for generations. They have oversized mitten hands, yarn hair and button eyes. Transfers are included for their embroidered facial features and the hearts on their chests. The maker is instructed to use striped fabric for their lower legs and black for their feet, just like the store bought dolls.

Raggedy Ann's outfit includes a dress with set in sleeves and a pleated ruffle at the neck; drawers gathered below the knee; an apron; and the hooded cape. Raggedy Andy's shirt and trousers are sewn together to make a one piece garment. His sailor cape and black tie complete his outfit.

These dolls are classic Americana. What more can be said?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ella's Original Doll Pattern #41: Cicely, Circa 1810 Bride Doll

Ella DeHart self published many doll patterns in the 1960s and '70s. Many, like this one, are Barbie-sized. Cicely is dressed as a bride in the Empire style of the early 19th century.

Cicely has a quarter-seamed head with ears, an hourglass torso with separate bust pieces to stitch over her body after stuffing, and a shapely bottom. She has stitching to indicate fingers. She is to be made of skin-toned percale, fine linen or any cotton. The maker is instructed to cut the head pieces on the bias to make the cheeks rounder. Hair can be darning thread, yarn or a wig; very little direction is given on this and style is left up to the maker. (A common hairstyle in this period was for the hair to be worn up, with little wispy curls around the face.)

Cicely's wedding outfit includes a gown with Empire waistline, pleated bodice, and overskirt with vertical gathers at the hemline; pantalettes and petticoat; veil, gloves and slippers. She should have a bouquet of tiny flowers. Although instructions call for the ensemble to be all in white, it should be noted that brides didn't always wear white at that time.

This pattern looks like it would be rather tricky to make, with a lot of detail on a relatively small doll. What do you think? Have you made one of Ella's patterns?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fairy Tale Doll Patterns from the Marcy St. Doll Co.

This pattern makes three different fairy tale rag dolls from the same basic pattern. There are five 11" x 17" sheets included; one for the doll, one for the basic dress, underwear and shoes, and one page each to customize the doll as Red Riding Hood, Snow White or Alice in Wonderland. The pattern is copyright 1980 by Deborah Anderson, a cloth doll artist who ran her Marcy St. Doll Shop in downtown Portsmouth, NH for many years.

The doll has an unusual construction with a four piece head shaped by forehead darts; darts and inset arms in the torso; and a separate foot piece. The arms have mitten hands with stitching to indicate fingers. Facial features are embroidered, but buttons may be used for eyes if desired. Muslin is recommended for the dolls; their hair is made from yarn. The instructions are clear, but not very detailed. This pattern would be best for an intermediate sewer with some doll making experience.

Alice in Wonderland's pattern has a pinafore to go over her dress. Her hairstyle is straight with bangs. Red Riding Hood has a cape with hood. Her hair is styled in braids. Snow White's pattern has a long cape gathered with elastic at the neckline to form a collar. She wears her hair in curls tacked to her head.

This is an interesting, but hard to find pattern. I would love to see one of these dolls made up.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vogue Pattern #2036 - Peter 'n Polly dolls

Vogue pattern #2036 is not dated, but I would guess it to be from the early 1980s. Peter and Polly are 24" boy and girl dolls made from stretchable knit fabric. She is dressed in old fashioned style, while he wears more contemporary clothing. A transfer is included for their faces.

Both dolls are made from the same body pattern. They have flat faces with small round stuffed noses. The backs of their heads are made from four sections, like the segments of an orange. Their torsos are seamed at the centers and sides, and have some shape. They have mitten hands and front seamed legs with flat soles. Arms and legs and stuffed first, then attached to the torso. The dolls have appliqued felt eyes and embroidered noses and mouths; Polly has embroidered eyelashes and freckles. Their hairstyles are created by stitching rug yarn to twill tape, then stitching the tape to the heads, and gluing the hair in place.

Polly wears a simple long-sleeved dress with eyelet ruffle trim, apron, petticoat and bloomers. Peter wears a long sleeved shirt, pants with rolled up hems, and a jacket with front zipper and appliqued sailboat motif. The  instructions called for hammered on snaps, and a zipper for Peter's jacket, both of which are unusual in doll clothing construction. Vinyl, synthetic suede or leather are recommended for their shoes. They wear purchased 3 month size socks.

These are fairly simple dolls, but with some unusual details. If you have made this pattern, please leave a comment and tell us about your experience.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Little Women designed by Joan Russell for Women's Day, 1963

Four patterns to make dolls representing the characters from the classic novel, "Little Women," were issued by Women's Day magazine in November of 1963. The designer, Joan Russell, created many wonderful patterns for Women's Day in the '60s and '70s, but Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are among her best, in my opinion. What I love most about these dolls is that each doll is an individual, with her own body pattern. Most mass-produced dolls of the March family girls use the same body, and often the same face for all four sisters, despite the fact that the characters at the beginning of the book range in age from 12 to 16. The patterns are printed on oversized sheets of plain paper. The whole package cost fifty cents.

The finished dolls range in height from 17.5" to 20". Their heads and torsos are pieced in quarters, with seams at the front, back, and each side. The dolls have stuffed lower arms with stitching to indicate fingers; the upper arms are left unstuffed. They have embroidered features and synthetic hair.

Each doll has two outfits. Amy and Beth each have a day dress and a nightgown. Amy has a cape and Beth a coat. Jo and Meg each have a day dress and a suit outfit of jacket, skirt and blouse. There are instructions to make undergarments for each of them. Meg has slippers while her sisters wear boots. Instructions to make wardrobe trunks are also included.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

McCall's 7432 - 17" Mary Poppins doll

This great doll pattern was released in 1964 to tie in to Disney's "Mary Poppins" movie starring Julie Andrews.

The doll is 17" tall and is designed in a separated pancake style for easy construction. She has mitten hands and is jointed at the hips and shoulders. She has crewel wool yarn hair and embroidered features. A transfer is included for embroidering her face and the pattern on her carpetbag.

What makes this pattern special is her interesting outfit. Her "Nanny costume" consists of a long skirt, lace-trimmed "pettiblouse," full-length felt coat with pleated back seam, embroidered carpetbag, gloves and stockings, unusual felt hat and boots, and crocheted scarf.

For those who are tired of making the same old thing, this vintage pattern offers a breath of fresh air. It would be interesting to adapt the wardrobe patterns to try and make some of the other outfits from the movie for the doll to wear. The accessories, particularly the carpetbag, would be useful for other dolls as well.

I would love to hear from anyone who has made this pattern.