Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Martha & George Washington Doll Patterns by Ella DeHart (1968)


Ella DeHart self-published many doll patterns in the 1960s and '70s. This pattern makes 12" George and Martha Washington dolls, with their complete outfits.



Martha Washington has a quarter-seamed head and torso, with separate bust pieces to be stitched on after her torso is stuffed. Her legs are shaped like heeled boots. She has mitten hands with stitching to indicate fingers. Her arms and legs are thread jointed. She has embroidered features and yarn hair.

George has a somewhat different construction. His quarter-seamed head has a round pate piece and separate ears. His torso has a gusset that starts at one shoulder, goes down and around and up to the other shoulder. His arms and legs are thread jointed like Martha's. His hair may be a wig or yarn. The instructions call for both dolls to be made from felt.



Their clothing is detailed and mostly appropriate to the late Colonial / early Federal era in which they lived. Martha wears a dress with quilted underskirt and two petticoats. She also wears pantalettes, which were not introduced until after her lifetime. The instructions call for a bustle to be worn under the overskirt, in the middle of her back; the cover illustration instead shows a bustle on each hip, which would give the impression of panniers (side hoops), more appropriate to Martha's time, or at least to the way she is usually remembered. Her shoes are to be made of felt and cardboard, and she carries a fan you can make from paper and toothpicks.

George wears a shirt, stock (neckband) with lace jabot, knee breeches, hat, shoes and stockings. His suit and hat are to be made from felt. Personally I would skip the stockings and make his legs from white felt, as the maker is instructed to do for Martha.



Ella DeHart patterns are very interesting but she was notorious for the lack of detail in her instructions. You really have to know what you are doing to make one of her patterns. This one would be a nice challenge for someone who likes to make historical character dolls.




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

McCall's Crafts 5515 - American Heirloom Dolls (1991)



McCall's Crafts pattern #5515 titled "American Heirloom Dolls" makes a very simple cloth doll with no facial features or hair. Her outfit is designed to be made using vintage linens such as pillowcases, napkins, dresser scarves, etc; but any fabric can be used.



The doll is a very simple separated pancake style with stump hands, jointed at the hips and stitched across the shoulders. While she is not intended to have facial features or hair, the maker can add these as desired.



The gown has eight variations, including a button band down the bodice, optional slip and apron, yoke and vest treatments on the bodice. Some hints are given on how to take advantage of embroidery or lace edging on a piece of linen. The doll also wears sunbonnet. This pattern has quite a bit of gathering, but is otherwise fairly simple.



This doll would be a great way to display not only your vintage linens, but also a favorite piece of clothing that belonged to you or a loved one, or even a piece of a wedding gown. With a project like this, a piece of your family history could be shared and enjoyed, instead of hidden away in a box in the attic.





Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Beanie the Clown Doll - Idaho Bean Commission -1960s?


Beanie the Clown pattern was given away free by the Idaho Bean Commission. There is no date on the pattern, but it looks to be from the 1960s.



It doesn't say what size Beanie is, but based on similar dolls I have had, he's probably about 6" tall. His torso/legs are gathered at the top to attach to his head. He has no arms, just felt mittens sewn in to the side seams of his body. His feet are felt also. An illustration of his facial features is included, but it is left to the maker to decide how to apply them. Beanie has no hair. He is stuffed with beans (of course!)

Since his body is his costume, the only other clothing pieces are his hat and the ruffle around his neck, which are sewn in place.

There were other cloth and character dolls similar to Beanie made in the mid-20th century. Their simple construction made them popular bazaar items. The exhortations to eat beans ("Let a pot of Beans be cooking while you're sewing.") make this a fun advertising collectible as well as a cute pattern.




Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Marian Martin 9403 - 22" Girl Doll with Wardrobe

Marian Martin pattern #9403 makes a 22" girl doll with a nice wardrobe of clothes. It is not dated, but I am guessing it dates to the early 1940s. The pattern is the old diecut style tissue, unprinted, with holes to indicate the number of the piece and any markings.


The doll has a center-seam face, with multiple seams and darts in the head to give it shape. She has mitten hands and embroidered features. Her arms and legs are left unstuffed at the top, then sewn in place so that they are not exactly jointed, but do allow some movement. Her hair is wool yarn.



Her wardrobe consists of a slip and pantie, peasant style blouse, overalls and bolero jacket, and jumper and/or sundress. The sweetheart neckline of the jumper/sundress is a nice vintage detail.



All the instructions for this pattern, including cutting layouts, are printed on one side of a 15" x 19.5" sheet, so as you can imagine, they are not very detailed. (The reverse side of the sheet has "Practical Dressmaking Hints," most of which are not applicable to this doll.) And the unprinted pattern pieces are a challenge. The doll looks adorable, however, so if you are an experienced sewer, this one might be worth a try.