The Wombles are furry fictional characters from a series of children's books written by Elisabeth Beresford and originally published from 1968 to 1976. They live in underground burrows and recycle discarded objects in creative ways - what would be referred to today as upcycling. The stories were adapted into a BBC television series in the 1970s, and the Wombles also occasionally appeared in the US on the Captain Kangaroo TV show.
McCall's pattern #4780 (issued in the United Kingdom as UK60), makes a 12" doll with clothing and accessories to make up five different Wombles characters.
The instructions call for the Wombles body to be made of long pile faux fur with jersey knit face, ears, hands and feet. Buttons are to be used for the eyes and nose, with circles of felt for the whites of the eyes. The seaming is unusual and fairly complex, but there are no joints to worry about. The hands have stitched lines to indicate fingers.
The clothing pieces are to be made primarily of felt, except for Uncle Bulgaria's tartan costume. Knitting instructions are given to make mufflers and a scarf. Spectacles and walking stick are made from pipe cleaners wrapped in felt.
The Wombles are cute and their story line makes them even more interesting. I question the recommendation to use jersey for parts of the dolls, as it seems too lightweight and stretchy unless you are stuffing very loosely. I would go for a heavier, more stable knit. The pattern calls for the doll to be stuffed with kapok, but that's expensive and not easily available these days, so fiberfill (recycled, of course!) might be a better option.
Find Wombles patterns on eBay!
These cloth doll patterns were offered in an undated catalog named Needlecraft Patterns. This appears to be another incarnation of Reader Mail, Inc., a company that advertised all types of craft patterns in newspapers across the U.S. Because the catalog also offers knitting patterns for Barbie dolls, with photos of dolls from the early 1960s, that helps to date it. The 9" doll with wardrobe of clothes, the laundry bag doll and topsy turvy doll are both baseball head style. The Sleepytime Gal, 12" clown and Santa are sock dolls. The floppy cowboy doll is 44" tall.
These patterns were offered in an Alice Brooks Designs catalog. It is not dated, but appears to be from the 1950s. Alice Brooks was one of the many names used by Reader Mail, Inc., a company that advertised all types of craft and sewing patterns in newspapers throughout the U.S. The patterns are priced at 25 cents each. Some of the dolls are baseball head style, and some are sock dolls.
These pages are from an undated Laura Wheeler catalog. Judging by the hair and clothing styles, it is from the 1940s. Laura Wheeler was one of the names used by Reader Mail, Inc., which advertised patterns in newspapers throughout the U.S. The patterns are priced at 15 cents each. The cloth dolls are all baseball head style.
These sweet animals are from a Laura Wheeler Designs catalog from the 1950s. They have very simple pancake construction with embroidered details. Click on the images below to bring up a full size version, then right click to save to your computer.
Simplicity pattern 6006 makes a Holly Hobbie doll with her wardrobe. Several patterns have been issued over the years to make Holly, but this was the first one. It is dated 1973.
There is no size given on the pattern, but the doll makes up to be about 20" tall. She has an unusual construction in that her head is to be made from a sock, while the rest of her is regular woven fabric. Darts add some shape to her torso. She has mitten hands with stitching to indicate fingers, and flat soled feet. The maker is instructed to put two rows of running stitches around the doll's head at the level of her eyes. This is meant to give the head some shape. She has embroidered features. Buttons can be used for her eyes; or her eyes can be embroidered onto scraps of fabric that are then used to cover buttons, which are then attached for eyes. Holly has yarn hair steamed into curls.
Holly's wardrobe consists of a long slip and pinafore (made from the same pattern pieces), a long sleeved dress, bloomers, poke bonnet, and felt Mary Jane style shoes. The underwear has ribbon inserted into eyelet lace for trim.
I have seen several of these dolls made up, and in my opinion they are some of the ugliest vintage cloth dolls I've ever encountered. The shaping of the head, the embroidered covered button eyes and the French knot nostrils are just plain weird. But then again, some people like weird! For a pattern collector, this is certainly an unusual design.
Copyright 2015 by Zendelle Bouchard
McCall's pattern 8349 makes a boy and girl doll in 17 1/2" and 13" sizes dressed in old fashioned styles. The pattern is copyrighted 1982.
The dolls are made with a simple body in separated pancake style, with contrasting color feet to look like shoes, and mitten hands. The head has a flat face with a separate round stuffed nose; and the back of the head is in three pieces to give it a rounded shape. The girl and boy dolls are made with the same pieces, the only difference between them is the embroidered facial features, and the yarn hair styles.
The girls' lace-trimmed dress can be made long or short. For the longer version, there is a pinafore and mob cap to give her a "Little House on the Prairie" look. The shorter version, without the pinafore, looks more contemporary. The boys' outfit is a shirt with gathered sleeves, pants with elastic waist, and a vest. These pieces could be used to make another girls' outfit as well.
Although there is nothing unusual or exceptional about these designs, but the dolls are cute and the clothing patterns adaptable to a number of different looks. The instructions for this pattern are detailed, especially the page on hair styling, so this looks like a good pattern for a less experienced (or less confident) sewer.
Copyright 2015 by Zendelle Bouchard