Tuesday, September 16, 2014

McCall's Pattern 5740 - Set of Dolls in Two Sizes (1977)

McCall's Pattern #5740 makes a simple 16" and 37.5" doll with variations of dress and hair. The doll's long dresses reflect the Americana style that was popular around the time of the U.S. Bicentennial.

The large and small dolls are constructed in the same manner, in separated pancake style which goes together quickly. The dolls have appliqued felt eyes, noses and mouths. Their most distinguishing feature is their long stitched eyelashes. Their hair is made from rug yarn with a choice of two styles: long braids or Princess Leia-style buns on either side. Clear instructions are given for attaching the hair.

Two styles of dresses are given. View A has a front skirt panel, collar and cuffs trimmed with lace. The rest of the skirt is gathered in tiers. View B has a plain flared skirt and cuffs. Slip and pantie patterns are included.

This is a simple but cute pattern. My only concern with making it is that no provision is made for reinforcing the doll's neck. The larger size in particular has a huge head that would certainly flop without any internal reinforcement. But an experience dollmaker should have no trouble adapting a method from another pattern or previous project.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

McCall's 7560 - Hillbilly Stuffed Dolls Pattern (1964)

McCall's Pattern #7560 makes three "Hillbilly" dolls - Paw who is 17" tall, and Shorty and Pearl, each 12" tall. Designed by Virginia Black, they were clearly inspired by the popularity of "The Beverly Hillbillies" television series which was the number one show in America at the time.

These dolls are made with an unusual method that calls for their heads to be made from either pink jersey knit fabric or a women's pink ankle sock (instructions are given for both); while the rest of their bodies are made from woven fabric such as broadcloth. Both the large and small dolls have applied noses, choice of embroidered or drawn features, quarter-seamed torsos, mitten hands stitched to indicate fingers, and crewel wool yarn hair. The main difference between Paw and the kids is their legs and feet; Pearl and Shorty have one-piece legs and feet cut from black fabric to resemble stockings, while Paw's bare feet are constructed separately and then applied to his legs. Paw also has a beard made from the same yarn as his hair.

The clothing of all three dolls is simple to make, with the patches added to the pieces before the side seams are sewn. Paw and Shorty have "suspenders" made from piping cord or heavy twine. The dolls' hats can be made from burlap, cotton crash (?) or an old finely-woven straw hat.

These dolls are charming characters which evoke the pop culture of their time. They would make a great gift for a fan of the Beverly Hillbillies or bluegrass music.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Baby Dolls by Joan Russell for Woman's Day (1964)

This set of patterns, designed by Joan Russell, makes a chubby baby doll which can be varied with different facial features and hair colors, plus a wardrobe of clothes. It was offered to readers of Woman's Day magazine in 1964.

The pattern is described as making five different dolls, but they all use the same pattern pieces. They are made in baseball head style, but unlike most dolls with this construction, the front face piece is wide enough so that the face is flat and the head more square than round. The baby's arms (with stubby, separated fingers) and legs are stuffed separately and then attached.By varying the embroidered facial features and colors of yarn hair and appliqued fabric eyes, the maker is instructed to make the characters of Sleepy Head, Angel, Red Head, Cry Baby and Cherub. No size is given for the dolls, but they look like they would make up about 16" tall.

The pattern includes a complete wardrobe of clothes to sew, including a smocked dress and bonnet with bloomers; coat and hat; underwear, bib and blankets; one-piece pajama and nightgown with drawstring bottom; bunting; christening outfit with eyelet gown, coat and bonnet; plus knitting instructions to make a sweater, bonnet and booties.

Joan Russell's dolls are fairly simple to make, and the outfits have some interesting details, like the smocked and knitted pieces. This is a classic '60s cloth doll pattern.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rosy-Posy and Wide Eyed Suzy Dolls from Woman's Day (1968)

In the 1960s and '70s, Woman's Day magazine featured an article on inexpensive Christmas gifts to make in their November issue. Cloth dolls were always included. These two dolls, Rosy-Posy and Wide Eyed Suzy, were offered in the November 1968 edition. In addition, two Mother Goose dolls designed by Joan Russell were included in the same issue, with an order form to send away for patterns for the complete set of five.

19" Rosy-Posy is like a pancake doll, except that her front and back are pieced together from three separate fabrics first, then sewn together all at once. Her body and arms are made of print fabric to look like a dress, and gathered lace trim adds to the effect. The instructions call for brightly colored iron-on fabrics to be used for her facial features. I don't think these are widely available now, but with the advent of fusible web like Wonder Under and Stitch Witchery, any fabric can be used. Her hair is made of rug yarn.

Wide Eyed Suzy is a 12" pancake doll and meant to be made of felt, with glued-on eyes and mouth and embroidered yarn freckles and eyelashes. Her dress is also felt with appliqued felt dots, and she has yarn hair.

The patterns for both dolls are given as tiny grids which need to be enlarged to be used. With such simple designs as these, this method is easy enough, even without the use of a scanner or copier. These patterns would make great first sewing projects for young children.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mandy #883 - Vintage Black Cloth Doll Mail Order Pattern

Mandy is a mystery mail order pattern. No company or designer name, or date is on the pattern, just the number 883. The return address on the envelope is Needlework Dept., 220 Fifth Ave., New York 1, N.Y. This may be another branch of Reader Mail, Inc., the company responsible for Laura Wheeler, Marian Martin and Alice Brooks patterns, among others.

No size is given, but it looks like Mandy would make up to be about 17" tall. She is designed as a black doll, as the instructions call for her to be made from brown cotton material. Her body is separated pancake style, with the suggestion of fingers in the scalloped tips of her hands. Her facial features are to be embroidered in satin stitch and her hair is to be done all in French knots from "heavy black knitting worsted."

Mandy's outfit is in the stereotypical "mammy" style, with an apron over her dress and bandana over her hair. Ankle strap shoes and under pants complete her ensemble. If you want practice using the binding foot on your sewing machine, this is a good pattern to try - the sleeves, neckline, apron, shoes and bandana are all bound in bias tape, which adds interesting detail to an otherwise simple pattern.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Butterick 16" Holly Hobbie Doll and Wardrobe patterns (1990)

In 1990, Butterick issued a pattern to make a 16" cloth Holly Hobbie doll wearing an old fashioned dress and floppy hat, and a separate pattern to make a wardrobe of clothes for her.

The doll looks fairly simple to make, but has some unusual construction elements. Her head is shaped with darts, and her yarn bangs are sewn to the top of the face piece before the doll is put together. The rest of her hair is applied after she is stuffed. Each arm is made with one piece of fabric; the back seam of the arm is more like a dart. Her shoes are sewn to the bottom of her legs to form her feet. She has a rear end shaped so she can sit. Her facial features are meant to be painted on, but you could embroider or draw them with markers as well.

The clothing pattern that comes with the doll pattern makes a dress with lots of gathers, and a floppy hat with bow. No underwear pattern is included.

The separate clothing pattern makes a jumper with blouse, bloomers and hat; a dress with bloomers, a coat and hat, and a nightgown with night cap. Everything is trimmed with eyelet ruffling. The sleeves, bloomers and night cap are all gathered with elastic. The buttons on the front of the coat are decorative only; it closes with snaps, as do the blouse and dress. The nightgown has a velcro closure.

The patterns both include iron-on transfers of the Holly Hobbie logo. It would have made much more sense to have the transfer for her facial features, or the design on her dress, rather than having to trace them from the pattern piece or paint them freehand.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Butterick 3668 - Simple 11.5" Doll with Clothes & Carrying Case (1994)

Butterick pattern #3668 makes an 11.5" girl doll with a complete wardrobe of clothes, and a carrying case to take it all with you. It is dated 1994.

The doll is made in a separated pancake style, with simple facial features to be drawn on with markers, with a little powdered blush for her cheeks. Her braided hairstyle is made from worsted weight yarn. Her shoes and socks are part of her body. She has mitten hands.

She has a complete wardrobe including camisole and shorts; dress trimmed with lace; nightgown; top and jumper; overalls and vest; and coat. Her straw hat is to be purchased. The carrying case includes a bed for her with blanket and pillow, and two pockets to hold all her clothes.

The pattern is fairly simple, but with detailed instructions, and the doll is sturdy enough for play. A nice beginner pattern, or for a parent and child to make together.