Dolly Sized 1860’s Day Caps

When we dress in our 1860’s clothing we put on everything from undergarments to shoes to headwear. Girls dressed their dolls in the same manner in the 19th century! Sometimes these wardrobe items were handmade by the girl herself or her mother. Sometimes a nurse or nanny made them. Sometimes they were store bought as in the case with many French fashion doll wardrobes.

In my shop right now I have four different day caps. Two of these are for 18″ China head doll’s and two are for 14-16″ doll. I used a few different laces on them. Cotton heirloom laces and silk ribbons adorn these caps. The bases are made out of cotton and silk nettings.

The following links will take you to the shop:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/633104039/reproduction-14-china-head-doll-day-cap?ref=shop_home_active_1

https://www.etsy.com/listing/633103469/reproduction-14-china-doll-day-cap-black?ref=shop_home_active_2

https://www.etsy.com/listing/633102359/reproduction-18-china-head-doll-day-caps?ref=shop_home_active_3

LA

Bye for now!

1864 Childs Confederate Flag Printed Jacket

Some of my favorite doll projects are finding original garments or fashion plates and copying them. Sometimes I run into the fact that a certain trim does not exist or its just impossible to make THAT tiny but most of the time I am able to achieve my goal.

Two years ago my boyfriend had fabric custom printed for me based on fabric that was used for multiple garments during the Civil War. It is a brown wool with printed  crossed Confederate flags. This fabric was produced in England and shipped through the blockade to the south. Two men’s shirts and two children’s jackets are known to exist today that were made during the war years. There is one dress that was made in the 1880s as well. In talking to Colleen Formby (who has done research into this particular fabric and patriotic aprons), garments during the Civil War made from this fabric would mainly be children’s and men’s garments. The one dress that was made in the 1880’s was more of a remembrance piece.

Todays post will be focusing on the child’s jacket I reproduced. I will be doing a separate post on the other garments because they are too awesome not to!

Now on to the details!

The original was wool but the copy is cotton. Due to limitations in technology, the printing wouldn’t be as crisp and sharp on wool in this scale. So I opted for cotton. This fabric was scaled to fit my 12″ dolls perfectly.  I also used brown polished cotton to line the jacket like the original.

The buttons on the original are ringer china buttons with an orange ring around the edge. The button I used was a plain china to imitate the button tab closure at the neck. I did not make teeny tiny button holes though. I used a snap on one side of the tab closure and the other side of the tab is sewn to the jacket. This makes it easier for  dressing and undressing, as well as wear and tear in that area.  This is not a period correct solution but I tend to go with this closure due to ease of use.

The original had two rows of  brown(?) trim and red tape on all the edges of the jacket. My copy will as soon as it comes in the mail!

This garment comes with an awesome story too! This was made by Mrs. P. B. Chambers of Statesville, NC for her five year old son in 1864. The fabric was purchased for $48 a yard in 1864, today it would cost around $500 a yard! I am not sure if the 1864 price is quoted in Confederate dollars or US but still the price is astronomical. The fabric itself was manufactured in England and went through the blockade to get to the South. It is noted that when this jacket was worn in the presence of Federal soldiers in Salisbury,NC, it was commented on severely. This garment was a political statement.

So now that I have gave you all the details on the garments, here they are!

The original:

My copy(sans trim):

If you are interested in purchasing this garment for your doll follow this link.

And if you are interested in looking closer at the original garment follow this link.

Berlin Wool Work Slippers Supplies

The last post on this subject I showed you different examples of berlin wool work slippers for dolls. We also had Mr. Wikipedia help us out on what exactly this technique is. Essentially this is not a hard project, just time consuming. Time consuming because of altering your doll shoe pattern, finding supplies and actually doing the work.

So here is my post to help you out in this process should you decide to tackle it!

First off you need supplies. I started with this pattern. Yes it is a patterns made for the reproduction Huret’s but I resized it for Lydia Ann’s feet. What ever pattern you use it just needs to be close to the shape you are looking for. I just happen to have had this pattern since I am currently costuming a Huret doll.

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Next you will need the “canvas” or the fabric. I will apologize in advance here because I don’t remember what my fabric was called. I swear I thought it was called Penelope cloth but then I looked it up and that is definitely not what I am using. So look for needlepoint fabric in 16 or 18 count. I don’t even know what size fabric I am using either. I am sorry for the lame vague advice. Sue me. I had it in my stash. I bought way too much of it years a go and need to use it up.

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The next thing you will need is thread. I am using two different types of thread. One brand is Bella Lusso. I did not buy my thread from here. I found mine on eBay since I try and grab eBay bucks whenever I can. This thread is pure merino wool and is beautifully soft to work with. The next brand is basically over dyed Bella Lusso thread; its called Thread Worx in crewel weight. I bought mine from an independent embroidery shop but I know there are other places that carry this thread. This thread is also pure soft merino wool.

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I want to take a minute to talk about the threads to use in this project. I used what I had on hand except I did order the Bella Lusso thread. For 19th century needlepoint type  projects over dyed thread is almost non existent.  I used what I had in my stash because if I did not I would be wasting mumble…mumble…..mumble…… amount of dollars that I spent on thread. I will not disclose how much I have spent that day in the independent embroidery shop. Nobody.Will.Know.That.Ever. So if you aren’t using what you have in your stash buy the correct stuff and go for basic non over dyed thread!

 

So now that I have bored you all with my supply list(with almost no photos! gasp!) stay tuned for the next post about starting your project!

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!

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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!!!!

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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:

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And when I received her many years ago:

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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:

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

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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!