Making Antique Inspired Doll Accessories:
Studying Antique Doll Quilts

image via Edyth O'Neill
Izannah inspired doll in back and cloth doll front center by Edyth O'Neill
Small Izannah doll by Elaine McNally, blonde doll on right antique.

Edyth's blog has more images of doll quilts, so be sure to visit her!

Edyth O'Neill's pictures jogged one of my early memories: Once when I was young I visited an aunt's house across town.  A girl  lived two houses down from my aunt's house who had a wonderful wooden doll bed and a doll quilt. I was somewhere between six and eight years old.   I've forgotten the girl's name, but I sure can remember that bed and quilt.  I wanted it. There was something substantial and heartwarming in that hand-made  bed and textile bed covering that the pink plastic Barbie camper couldn't fill.  I'm not knocking Barbie, just relating a memory from childhood.  Isn't it funny how these memories can stay so sharp and clear?   And isn't it interesting how our likes and wants surface so early in life?

image via Edyth O'Neill, antique cradle, Martha Rutledge quilt
Charming small antique quilts made just for dolls are treasured collectibles in their own right. If you enjoy antique doll quilts you will want to visit some heartwarming examples at the following websites:

Old ones are quite pricey, but some lovely ones are made today.  Our next post on quilts will focus on making our own antique inspired doll quilts and the books and patterns available.  

Above and below are shown a group of doll quilts from Three Texas Collections shared by Edyth, followed by some additional  quilts shared by internet friends.
image via Edyth O'Neill

image via Edyth O'Neill
quilt by Edyth, doll by Elaine McNally, rug by Martha Ruteldge

image via Edyth O'Neill

image via Edyth O'Neill

image via Edyth O'Neill
wonderful quilt by Martha Rutledge
dolls by Elaine McNally

Quilt images from other internet friends....

image courtesy Pam Fisher

image courtesy Pam Fisher

image courtesy Barb Whitehead

image courtesy Barb Whitehead

Viewing all these makes me want to make a doll quilt!  I've been saving pieces from the doll dresses I've made for just that purpose. Our next post on doll quilts will be about resources available for making them.   

Edyth's blog has more images of doll quilts, so be sure to visit. 

Mystery Cloth Doll with Swivel Neck

Recently I bought a large doll in a booth at an antiques mall.  The doll is listed as being papier mache, but looking at the construction of the doll it is clear it is made of cloth.  I thought I would share images here, in hopes someone may have some information.

The doll has what I think is human hair seen on and is about 26" tall.  It has a swivel head, and the head is made of cloth.  The doll was wearing clothing which appears to be from the 50's, and boots which are much newer.  The seller says it came through a distance cousin of the family, and is probably from the 30's. But of course this is vague information. 

If you have any ideas, please comment!

Designing Custom Fabric for Antique Inspired Dolls Using Spoonflower

If you know how to edit photos in Picnik then you can have a great time creating custom fabric for your dolls. It's pricey, but for certain one of a kind dolls it might be just the ticket. At Spoonflower, you upload an image you'd like to make into a fabric design. Beginning today (Thursday noon, August 26th through Friday) Spoonflower is giving away free swatches.

For this post I used a basic graphic of an 1860's dress to create a design. I changed the color of the image to sepia using a photo editor (Picnik).

Here's the image viewer with the design options on the side, showing the graphic as a single centered design.

Next is the basic repeat,
where the image is lined up vertically and horizontally.

Half-drop shifts every other vertical line
one half of the image down.

Half-brick shifts every other horizontal line
one half of the image right.

Mirror creates vertical mirror images.

Depending on the image you use, these options can create wildly different feels....Here's a couple options using a public domain needle and thread image I saved.


Mirror image

Some of you may own antique fabrics that would be fun to upload. The beauty of that option is that you can KEEP the antique fabric for future reference but have the fun of using the design in your antique inspired creation. Also, Spoonflower allows for you to have printed just the amount of fabric you want - from a yard to hundreds. If you order over 20 yards you get a 20% discount. You also have a choice in the kind of fabric you have your design printed on - quilting cotton, sateen, twill, knit, canvas or lawn. I ordered a sample and the quilting weight cotton is just great for doll clothing - not as thick as some quilting cottons are. Next I'm ordering a sample on upholstery weight twill to see how that works out.

The possibilities with Spoonflower are endless for doll designers and doll makers. If you try this process out, please leave a comment here linking to what you did with your fabric. It's quite fun and possibly addicting. Have fun!


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