Berlin Work Doll Slippers




French fashion Doll wardrobes contain many beautifully made hats, bonnets, dresses, outerwear and shoes. Among the shoes was more than likely one pair of Berlin wool work slippers. You might be asking yourself “What is berlin wool work?”, I have an answer for you from Mr. Wikipedia( he is so smart except when he is not). Berlin wool work is explained as follows:

Berlin wool work is a style of embroidery similar to today’s needlepoint. It was typically executed with wool yarn on canvas.[1] It is usually worked in a single stitch, such as cross stitch or tent stitch although Beeton’s book of Needlework (1870) describes 15 different stitches for use in Berlin work. It was traditionally stitched in many colors and hues, producing intricate three-dimensional looks by careful shading. The design of such embroidery was made possible by the great progresses made in dyeing in the 1830s, especially by the discovery of aniline dyes which produced bright colors.

This kind of work created very durable and long-lived pieces of embroidery that could be used as furniture covers, cushions, bags, or even on clothing.”

You can find many different patterns for Berlin work in the fashion magazines of the 19th century. I have seen bags (of all sorts), suspenders, chair covers, foot stool covers and slippers. Slippers and bags are my favorite type of berlin wool work! Now if you want a basis of comparison with another needle art, Berlin wool work is similar to needlepoint. Now take a lesson from me and don’t ask your local needlework store for Berlin Wool work supplies. They will look at you funny; like you have three heads. Just ask for Needlepoint supplies.

The next few images are From the period of 1859-1865. These are a few of the variety of slipper patterns that were published. They put out some crazy patterns and some simple ones are well.

My personal favorite out of those is the green with a white bow. Simple yet elegant. Obviously you can see how gaudy these designs could get.

These next few images are going to be of original DOLL sized Berlin wool work slippers.

This next pair is a professionally put together pair of slippers. You can see the attention to detail in the piping around the sole and how perfectly the sole is attached to the slipper upper.

While searching out examples to show you I found this latter pair of Berlin work slippers. These were made around 1890 probably for a Bebe style doll. Look at the floral detail on the toes!


I wish they put something in the photo for scale because they look like full size slippers! I assure you they are not.

Stay tuned for my next post on reproducing these tiny treasures!

Miniature Doll Mayhem!!!!


OK so there is no mayhem involved but it got your attention right? Right! This project has been in the works for a little bit. Every time I thought I was done with it, BAM! I was missing something to go further. But I was able to finish my sample last night and another little doll is in the works for the shop as I type.

So you know that you could get china heads and parian dolls in small, medium and large sizes (not the actually size classifications for dolls by the way…) BUT did you know that during the 19th century you could get tiny dollhouse sized dolls too!

These were not just for dollhouses though. They were just another size you could buy and play with. Most girls in the 19th century did not have dollhouses but they had imaginations and that’s all you need! So you could have a couple of whatever sized dolls you owned and could play for hours. The dolls need not be the same size to have fun.

I own a few original 19th century teeny tiny dolls. Both have been redressed through the years. The larger 7″ one by me and the small 5″ one by the previous owner.

Here is the 7″ girl:


And when I received her many years ago:


She is much happier now. Can you see her smile? She was redressed by me years ago as her original dress was in tatters. One of her arms was shattered and put back together during ownership by another. Also she is kind of bow legged but I still love her.

My little 5″ girl was dressed in red polyester by a previous owner but its not horrible. I wont replace the dress just yet.

Here’s my little 5″ girl:


Here is the reproduction 5″ doll posing with her “sisters”!


She has sweet childlike face and is dressed in a lavender printed cotton dress with drawers peeking out.

She will be available in my shop later this week. I will have two of these girls in this print dress. If you want one of these cuties in a specific fabric contact me!



Is it Summer yet?



I have been in a funk lately. When that happens I know the only thing that will  pull me out of it is DOLLS! DOLL THINGS! DOLL DRESSMAKING! While a friend was in town the other week we stopped by Needle and Thread in Gettysburg. If you haven’t been, you have to make a trip! Its like shopping in New York City without the pricey plane ticket and hotel costs. I picked up a semi sheer striped cotton fabric. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but I knew I had to make a doll dress with it. So to Pinterest I went! The only requirements for my search was summery, sheer/semi sheer, stripes and pagoda sleeves. I personally love pagoda sleeves on summer and warm weather clothing for this time period due tot he fact you can go without underserves. It helps keep you cool in the heat.

The Victorian’s were not stupid.

After a few sessions on Pinterest going back and forth on designs; I settled on two original dresses to take inspiration from. One of them I used more so than the other but they are both very similar to each other. Both of these dresses met my criteria as well.
Here is the first one:

Here is the second one:

My doll sized copy of this dress went together pretty quick and easy(which is good because some days I have no patience for long and drawn out projects). The dresses I picked are simple in design and really let the fabric do the talking. The only trimming on this dress is  the ruffled self fabric trim on the pagoda sleeves. That trim is similar to one of my inspiration dresses. I used my pinking machine to trim the edges and add visual interest.

Here is my doll sized copy:



What I enjoy about putting these outfits together is finishing them off with accessories. For this ensemble I added a miniature engraved belt with burgundy silk “belting” (aka silk satin ribbon) and a complementing day cap. I used so many elements from multiple fashion illustrations and originals its hard to really pinpoint a few examples of what I copied.


For the day cap I used scraps of silk Point D Esprit netting trimmed with cotton lace in blond and black topped with light mint green silk ribbon. I had actually made this cap just randomly the other week, but while I was doing the photo shoot for the dress for this post I needed to add headwear. I love making small accessories for dolls! Its very relaxing for me.

I have many friend’s who own dolls (or is it the other way around?) but these dolls are not as well dressed as they want to be.   If you find a dress from a fashion plate or a museum that you want made for your doll; I can do that! Did you miss this post? You can see my favorite doll sized version of an original ensemble in that post! Most of the time when I want to make a dress for my dolls that’s how I start. Looking at originals in museums, private collections or fashion plates. I can also make matching dresses to what you might own in your wardrobe!  If you have a doll that wants a new dress, cap or bonnet just message me via Repro Dolls.

See you next time!

Reproducing an 1860’s Skating Ensemble

The day before Christmas in 2016 I started a project that I thought would be done in a week. Boy was I wrong! This outfit was done as of Christmas day 2017 minus the matching fur muff.

Since Lydia Ann has pretty much everything I own plus way more; its hard to decide what else to make her. I struggle with adding pieces to her wardrobe I would never wear like fancy sheer garments and what I consider superfluous outwear. I know there are so many variations on outwear but if I personally don’t wear it; I never dress Lydia Ann in it. That’s how I roll. So back to my awful decision making process.

For Christmas 2016 I basically just finished her matching ball gown to my star silk. I was disappointed in myself but for some reason I didn’t have time to make more? I’m really not sure what my excuse was. So the day before Christmas 2016, I started her skating ensemble and like a delusional person thought I could complete it in a week. Yeah right.

Long story short, it took an entire year of working on and off, sourcing supplies and procrastinating. So first I will show you the original ensemble and then my copy.


Here is the link to the MET’s collection listing.  The original is made out of silk and fur. I am not sure of what the batting is made from, its either cotton or wool. My money is on wool as this outfit is supposed to keep you warm.

For my copy I used a burgundy silk taffeta quilted with cotton batting to keep the bulk at a minimum. I searched out a few white/off white vintage fur collars to use as trim. I had to find a short hair pelt so the scale would look right. On some projects I don’t worry so much about scale but since I was putting so much effort into this I wanted to go the extra mile. Sourcing the fur took me the longest actually; a half year to be exact. The quilting of all the pieces was done long before that. I didn’t copy the hat from the museum though. I looked through fashion magazines at the time and found images of a toque style hat in velvet with trim. I like the look of the matching hat since this is a very high fashion look. I have not had a chance to finish the matching muff , that is the last piece of this outfit to finish. Sadly since its now warming up I wont be able to do a snow photo shoot with the matching muff until next winter. But that’s fine.

So I guess everyone is ready to see the finished product? I hope so or I’m not really  sure what you are doing reading this post.



Now that this ensemble is pretty much done; I’m at a loss as to what big project to do next for Lydia Ann.  If you have any ideas, comment and let me know! I can use all the help I can get some days!

Happy Birthday Lydia Ann!

On this date 7 years ago, Lydia Ann made her debut to the world on Facebook! I believe I had her in my possession for a few days before that but she had to at least be dressed in undergarments before she could be presented to the world.

I personally can not believe and her and I have been having adventures for 7 years now! She has been with me through a few men in my life and MANY ups and downs. Two marriages to be exact! What can I say? I know what I want and I will have it no matter what!

Lydia Ann was what rekindled my love affair with dolls. I have always had this love but she woke it up for me again. After her I started buying antique dolls as well. Now  I make reproduction dolls to sell and none  of that would have happened if I had not bought Lydia Ann! Seriously I wrote a huge long winded post on it if you care to read it here.

She started out as a way to unwind after work years ago. Sewing for her and coming up with new and fun accessories was something that helped me through that time. I mostly still have everything she started with though some things have been replaced.

But without further ado, behold the birthday girl:


She doesn’t look a day over 4 years old! 😉  Now for those who care to gift Lydia Ann with birthday offerings she loves things like silk fabrics, french fashion accessories and wine. She prefers sweet wines. 😉

*If you have a birthday offering message me for the address. 🙂

Maybe one of these years I will do a proper birthday party for her. But for now she is enjoying her online party!

A Reproduction Jewel Casket for Lydia Ann, Inspiration images.

After two years of acquiring jewelry for Lydia Ann I have decided that she needs a place to keep it all in. Basically this happened after I went looking for one of her pieces and it fell out on my floor from between some random objects.


A jewel casket is needed.

So here are my inspiration images:


8619853_master The monogram on her casket wont be as fancy but it will be done in gold!

Quilted silk lining:

quilted silkWhy stop with luxury only on the outside? The feet on this one are a fancier version of the casket I am making.

This next casket just inspired me with the gold and what I presume is tortoise shell or faux tortoise shell.


The shape:

shapeThis is a much fancier version of what I am making BUT we know the average lady did not own this box. Lydia Ann is more of an average “lady” but don’t tell her I said that…..


Stay tuned for the finished product!

A random 18th century doll post!

Sometimes as hard as you try to put together a highly organized post; it wont happen. I had another post written and thought that was going to be a good one to publish. I wrote it and it was hard work to connect all my ideas. So it is going to stay in my drafts folder a while longer.

Sometimes you just need eye candy to ogle and not do serious research. So today I decided to visit The MET museums online collection. I typed “doll” into the search bar and away I went! My plan was simple, scroll until I saw something I fell in love with, then run with it. So you may be asking now, what caught my attention?

18th Century dolls!!!

I have always been in love with type of doll. My favorite set is at the V & A museum in England. The set is of a couple named Lord and Lady Clapham! They are both dressed in the best fashion from the early 18th century including wigs. They are fabulous and one day I hope to have a set of reproductions.clapham1


Look at the atttude in the first image! They know they are a fabuous couple!

When I did my wild card search on The MET’s website, I didn’t find many actual dolls more clothes showed up. That is ok though! What I found is still fun to look at and drool over. So lets begin:

The first item that caught my eye was a painting called “Child holding a doll” from 1780. You can see exactly what shape frame it was due to the main part of the painting being faded. A little girl holds her doll in her lap. You can get a good look at the doll’s wig and dress.


The next piece is an engraving from 1742. It is called “The charming doll”.This is of a child looking at a well dressed doll just standing next to her on what appears to be a street. The child has this sour puss look on its face too. Maybe the child is upset that the doll is dressed better than her? I just dont think she finds the doll charming at all……

charming doll


The next few items are antique doll clothing in their collection.

This charming and well-tailored gentleman’s coat is embroidered in the same style a full-sized gentleman would have made. This is dated to 1740-1760. I belive the sleeves are a giveaway for dating this piece.

Picture 002

These gentlemens breech look to be made out of a scrap of silk with a larger pattern in it. I can just imagine the full size garment that this fabric could have made up during this time. Beautiful!


The final garment is a ladies silk jacket. I wish we could have seen the petticoat that went with this originally. I bet it was a fun set. I love the main fabric with the floral pattern. One thing I have noticed in 18th century dolls clothing is most times they did not bother to match scale.

womens jacket


The final item I want to spotlight is an actual doll! She is small and in a nice display box but a doll none the less! She is dated to 1748 and is displayed in a hand painted box. The hand painting reminds me what you see in wallpaper designs of the time. If you look close enough, you will see she has a little teeny tiny pocket watch hanging from her waist! Though I am not sure why exactly she is in a box, it has probably helped keep her in pristine shape for all these years.


Victorian Era Shell Dolls

The other day I was browsing the Strong National Museum of Play’s website while I was bored at work (yeah,yeah I know…I should have been working). I started to look through their collection of dolls from the 19th century. I saw the typical ones I have always seen and loved; wooden grodnertals, china heads and parians and French fashion dolls. One doll caught my eye, it was a shell doll. Occasionally, one or two would pop up but I never really considered them. A quick search on The Strong’s online collections yielded pages of results!
Before I show you the beautiful examples of shell dolls I found, I want to give you a brief history of shell crafting. Shell handicrafts date back to the 18th century. They were originally called “sailors valentines” and were most often made or brought back by sailors to loved ones. Sometimes these were sold for pocket money while a sailor was in port. These intricate works of art show attention to detail and creative use of different colored and shaped sea shells.

During the mid-19th century, seaside travel became fashionable. There were pages of fashion magazines dedicated to what to wear to these resorts and other advice on the subject. It’s no surprise that souvenirs were popular with tourists. Shell dolls became one of the many types of souvenirs available to travelers. Though these resorts were all over the world; the “base” dolls (the dolls that the shells were attached to) mostly came from one country. Germany produced most of the worlds dolls at the time, so it’s no wonder that the “base” dolls came from there as well! The “base” dolls were commonly paper mache or wood.  The examples I could study were made using cheaper quality dolls of the period. The one example of a doll that was made completely in France is made from shells alone, no “base” doll was used.
Lady’s magazines of the time such as Godeys and Petersons offered instructions on how to do shell handicrafts including dolls, picture frames, decorative boxes, mirrors, dresser sets, dollhouse furniture and shadow box scenes. Some copied the souvenirs you could buy at seaside resorts and some used their imagination to create these wonderful, kitschy works of art. This trend continued through the 1870’s and was included in books on how to do “fancy work”. Companies sold the supplies to do these in the comfort of your own home and for those not fortunate enough to travel to the seashore.  The Sears and Roebuck catalog sold shells to customers during the second half of the 19th century making this craft more available to the masses than before.

The first example of a shell doll here is from Brittany,France. This is the only example I have found from France so far. There may be other examples out there but I haven’t found them yet.

french shell doll

The next two examples are from Germany:

Z0072767german shell doll

My favorite doll out of the ones I examined is the one from Brittany. She is so very modern yet timeless. I have seen similar versions in modern seashore gift shops. This just shows what goes around comes a round.


Palmateer Point Quilt-a-long

Last month I joined a group on Facebook called “Humble quilts”. They specialize in miniature sized quilts. I thought this would be a good fit. I didn’t realize how right I was until I started my first quilt a long with them!

I was not able to start the quilt a long with everyone else due to my work schedule being a bit crazy but as soon as I had a day off; I was off and running! The quilt a long was called “Palmateer Point” and was based off an antique quilt that the blogger/ group owner found. She didn’t reveal the design until the final post on her blog. I thought that was a great touch seeing as this was supposed to be a very “scrappy” quilt.

I used this quilt top as a way to use up scraps in my stash(most of which were civil war era patterns). I used up quilt a bit and was happily surprised that most was well coordinated. I was very worried that I would have to run out and buy more fabric and the goal of this years quilting has been to use up the mountain of stash fabric I have instead of adding to it. I have chosen the binding fabric but I have to dig more to figure out what backing fabric to use. So onto my finished quilt top (it has yet to be quilted):

FullSizeRender (5)IMG_8744

Here are the blog entries for the quilt a long as well. This was a good stepping stone for me as a beginner quilter transitioning into more complicated work and refining my techniques. So if you are a beginner just pace yourself and remember the original was not perfect either! So breathe!


Part one:

Part two:

Part three:

Part four:

Quilt reveal and Link party:


Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next adventure report!

UFDC Public Day 2017 Part Two

Before I show off the day that we spent at Disney World, I wanted to show off my favorite of the exhibitsat the UFDC Convetion. I liked all of them but this was my hands down favorite.

Meet Miss Ethel Newcome!

She is a wax doll that was sold at a Sanitary Fair in 1864 during the Civil war. I have a soft spot for Sanitary fair dolls. They have the best wardrobes but what really strikes me is the effort that was put into them. It was all to benefit the soldiers welfare during the war. This money was spent on hospital supplies, food etc.

Ethel does not have as large of a wardrobe as Rose Percy or the Sanitary fair doll I saw last UFDC public day. What she does have is beautiful!


My favorite pieces were the riding habit and the fur set in original boxes!


But we cant forget about accessories! Every girl and doll needs something for every occasion!


Stay tuned for the next installment of trip photos!