Historical Doll Quilting: Hawaiian Edition

I have fallen down a rabbit hole. OK so I fall down different rabbit holes every few weeks but this one is completely out in left field.

Hawaiian quilts.

Yep, I decided one of my dolls needed a Hawaiian quilt. Normally my approach to doll quilts are “anything goes” within reason. Color, pattern, etc. etc. Some types of quilts need to be specific in design and color. I have seen quilts made for Kwanzaa and those have particular symbols and motifs. The other area I have noticed particular motifs in, Hawaiian quilts.

Mr. Wikipedia says this about Hawaiian quilts:

“A Hawaiian quilt is a distinctive quilting style of the Hawaiian Islands that uses large radially symmetric applique patterns. Motifs often work stylized botanical designs in bold colors on a white background. Hawaiian quilt applique is made from a single cut on folded fabric. Quilting stitches normally follow the contours of the applique design.

Quilting may have begun in the Hawaiian islands with the arrival of missionaries and Western fabrics in the 1820s. The climate of Hawaii is unsuitable for cotton cultivation and kapa is unsuitable for quilting so all Hawaiian quilts are constructed from imported material. The earliest written reference comes from Isabella Bird who visited Hawaii in 1870 and wrote a travelogue Six Months in the Sandwich Islands.  ”

Thank you Mr. Wikipedia!

The doll I am making this for inhabits the world of 1941 aka during WWII. When I saw the “quilt”(I use that term loosely in this case) that the company I bought her from designed for her, I wasn’t impressed. It looked like something you could buy from Pottery Barn teens. So I told myself I could make a better one and so far I have!

Now I can say that I DID cut my designs on the fold but  I DID NOT do it with one cut. This was my first ever applique project and I wasn’t putting that kind of pressure on myself. Also the color of fabric I choose for this quilt was one from my stash……..I want it gone! Seriously I do. So I am not sure if the color is 100% correct for these quilts.

First I traced out my design a million times (seemed like it) onto Heat n bond. Yep I cheated. Again this was my first project and I wanted to enjoy the process. This part of the process was easy yet time consuming. Then I positioned the appliques onto the white background fabric ( I just used mid grade white muslin, I had it in my stash). Next was ironing and following the directions on the package.

After adhering the design to the top, I sandwiched my batting and backing together, the same way you would a normal quilt. I use huge quilting safety pin thingy’s to keep my layers from traveling while I am quilting it.

When I first started this project, I thought that you just quilted around the designs and then  voila! your done. Nope……….. Turns out that you do quilting lines around the contours of the designs until the whole background is quilted. This is the part I am at.

So here is my progress shot! Until next time!

A Trip to visit the David Wills House

On July 1st through the 3rd of 1863, Gettysburg was pushed into the nations spotlight.  This three day battle resulted in 46,000 and 51,000 casualties between the two armies.  In a town that only had 2,390 residents, this was a huge burden. In the months after the battle the population had the arduous task of burying the dead. The problem was not only the amount of dead that needed to be buried but where to bury them. This leads to the creation of the National Cemetery.

At the for front of this effort is David Wills, a Gettysburg lawyer. He suggested that the cemetery be one for the public instead of a private cemetery. As the plans for this came together, David Wills house became the meeting place for the planning if this endeavor.

November of 1863, only  three months after the battle, President Abraham Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg to deliver his famous “Gettysburg Address”. He wrote his final draft the night before while staying at the Wills house. You can still walk through the bedroom where he wrote this!

This summer from June 9th to August 12th there is free admission to this museum. Its a great museum and in the heat of the summer is a perfect way to spend the afternoon. Two days ago Samantha and I visited the David Wills House instead of melting outdoors. I learned so much!

If you are interested in learning more about this site please visit the David Wills House!

Bathing Beauty Dolls

07It seems whenever the monster known as depression hits hard in my life (which it has been a lot lately) dolls and there fantasy world come galloping in to help me through it. So I thought today I would share another love of mine, bathing beauty dolls. These dolls are beautiful and risqué; what could be a better combination?

These dolls started to be produced around the early 1900s into the 1920s. Some had clothes painted/molded on, some had fabric or lace glued to them as clothing. I have seen some with mohair and some with painted/molded on hair. Basically, there is something for everyone! I tend to like the ones in undergarments since that is something I collect in full size vintage clothing. Here are some great examples of bathing beauty dolls:

And to end this little post, I present to you a bathing beauty doing what I can only figure is interpretive dance? Whatever she is doing, she is looking good while doing it!

The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865

war outside

I normally do not review books (mainly because I read too many books and don’t have time to review them) but this one is special. This book is a diary from a boy that lived in Macon, GA during the civil war and wrote about everything! His name is Leroy Gresham. He wrote about his injury (that left him an invalid), the comings and goings in his house, everyday chit chat and the war itself. There is a little bit of everything for everyone in this diary. What does this mean to you? This means you can read a war years diary and focus on what interests you. Some diary’s I have read in the past focus on one subject or another but this one has something for everyone!

I will admit I have not finished reading this book yet. It has been my go to book this past two weeks to read during downtime at work and we haven’t had much of that. Normally I read much faster but reading this slower has given me the chance to savor all the little details. Some of the details that fascinated me was when he talked about Christmas presents, everyday presents of food and his appetite for reading. Leroy was given so many presents of food on a weekly basis! You can get a feel for what types of fruit(and sweets!)were available in his area of the country too. He mentions many times receiving cantaloupes. I have been studying the Civil War for most of my life and had not realized that they had cantaloupes (though I’m not a food historian by any means!). He also talks about the quantities of peaches his family receives. That should come as no surprise as peaches as a staple in Georgia even today.

The diary spans from 1860 to Leroy’s death in 1865. It is sad that as you read this dairy you can see his heath deteriorating but through it all he maintains his good spirits and sunny outlook. If you are interested in reading this diary I will link it below as well as the book that is all about his medical condition. The editor has done a fabulous job on this book and we hope to see her do more in the future!

The War Outside my Window

I am Perhaps Dying

Origins of Memorial Day

Memorial Day officially started in 1868 as “Decoration Day”. General John A Logan, the Commander in Chief of The Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,”. This specific date was chosen since it was not an anniversary of any battle.

By 1890 all states had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states did not honor their dead on the same day until after WWI. Eventually Decoration Day was becoming known as Memorial Day. It was first called this in 1882. In 1968, it was officially made the last Monday in May to make a three-day weekend for federal employees. This finally went into full effect in 1971.

Our group The Civilians of Gettysburg, does an 1860’s Decoration Day ceremony in front of the soldier’s monument at the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA. We do poetry readings, talk about the origins of the holiday, and sing a few hymns. Sadly, I did not get any photos of the ceremony since we like to keep modern devices out of the public view for events. But we did get photos afterwards in the cemetery.

Have a fun weekend and remember to honor those who have fought for our freedom.

The Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints

 

This is what Currier and Ives called itself. The name says it all! If you go to antique stores, browse eBay etc. etc. you have probably seen these cheaply produced but colorful lithographs before. They vary in subject matter from landscapes to pretty ladies to kittens. But the subject of today’s post is not those subjects but Mourning prints.

During the Victorian years  (1837-1901) there were many popular types of mourning art for a person’s walls. One type was hair wreaths or hair art. These would have been  pricey unless in the case of the hair wreath, you did it yourself. Another type of mourning art was embroidered mourning pictures. Think of these as a huge investment and to own one you needed to have money to “burn” so to speak. What did the average person in the mid-19th century do for “mourning art”? Currier and Ives had the solution. They were selling every other genre of cheap artwork and then added mourning art to their repertoire. These were printed so that you filled in the name and dates of your loved one or loved ones. Many you find today are framed in the “Currier and Ives” style frames. This is a simple frame that has a thin layer of veneer on it.

I have several in my house and LOVE them! They adorn my living room walls for all to see. After staring at these for a while, I decided to reproduce one for Lydia Ann.

There were many to choose from so I just picked the first one I saw and went from there. I figure I can make more at a later date if I want to(which of course I will!). After I had the images printed to the correct “scale” for Lydia Ann and other 16″ to 18″ antique dolls; I contacted a company to custom make the frames for me.

After waiting for a little bit for those to arrive and assembling the pieces; voila! We have doll wall artwork!

The finished project:

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Then after I took the first photo I couldn’t stop myself from playing dollhouse:

 

Here   is the link to buy your doll her very own copy of this limited edition product!

If you want to see more period style artwork for dolls comment on this post or contact me through my shop on Etsy with your suggestions!

Two Year Blog-a-versary!

birthday-cake-2-year-oldTwo years ago to this day I did my very first blog post on Lydia Ann the Traveling doll. I didn’t have any followers and had no idea what I really wanted to write about. I think I have figured out a flow to my posts now after two years, finally!

So thank you to all my followers and lurking readers who aren’t following the blog (I know you are out there).  I hope to write more and be around for many more years! Now join me for some cake and mixed drinks!

 

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!

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:

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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.

Oops.

A jewel casket is needed.

So here are my inspiration images:

Monogram:

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.

woodbox

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!