Resources for Making Antique Inspired Doll Quilts

Discovering new worlds is fun.  If you'd like to see the other posts about doll quilts here on Maida Today, click here.  In this post, I'd like to focus on resources for making antique inspired doll quilts.  I love quilts, but making a large sized quilt is beyond my attention span.  But making a doll-sized quilt would be just right!

Visit Edyth O'Neill's blog, she's got a lot of doll quilt pictures up right now.  The pictures of Martha Rutledge's quilt reminded me of how I came to discover some resources about making doll quilts.   I oohed and ahed over a picture Edyth shared via email of a quilt that Martha Rutledge had made.  When I mentioned I would like to make a doll quilt, Martha recommended the joining Kathleen Tracy's quilt group.

Hexagon Quilt by Kathy Tracy
Kathleen Tracy has written many books, and leads some groups focused on her work on Facebook.    Kathy has written several books about making small quilts, and one book in particular is focused on American Doll Quilts.   You can learn a lot about making doll quilts from Kathy's group and books.   Also, visit Kathy's website Country Lane Quilts where she has a where she has some free antique inspired doll quilt patterns.  Kathy also has a blog here called A Sentimental Quilter.

In addition to Kathy's books and resources, there are some other wonderful blogs and resources.  First off, don't forget about antique doll quilts themselves as inspiration.  Here are some links to antique doll quilts available for purchase.

Other Books About Making Doll Quilts

In addition to Kathleen Tracy's books, doll quilters have specifically recommended these books to me:

Great Little Quilts:  45 Antique Crib and Doll-size Quilts with Pattern and Directions

Twenty Little Patchwork Quilts: With Full-Size Templates

There are some great gems published in the past.  Amazon has a great list of books to try.

Some Quilt Blogs to Visit

There are a lot of wonderful sites on the web.  I picked a few here that are either focused on doll quilts, antique quilts or have great links lists related to our topic.   Visit these blogs and then look at the links they have on their blogs.  You'll find some great resources!

Barbara Brackman has a great post about the Ghormley collection of doll quilts here.

Dawn, of Collector with a Needle  (great name!) has a wonderful post on doll quilts with pictures of  a special exhibit of doll beds and quilts at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.   The Exhibit, called "Sleep Tight Doll Quilts" showcases a number of new doll quilts.  Visit Dawn's blog to see some wonderful doll quilts shown there with links to other sites on doll quilts.

Only Doll Quilts site is of interest for obvious reasons!

Marian Edwards Dreamsweaver has a great blog showcasing some quilts she has made.

Humble Quilts has a lovely post showing some antique doll quilts which inspired new doll quilts made as reproductions.

Study Antique Quilts

Inspiration for color and pattern can be found through studying antiques.  Of course, we always sign our work so as to not confuse any collectors. 
Stella Rubin Antiques 

A Body Pattern for Antique
Papier Mache and China Shoulderhead Dolls

I designed and sized a body for this head made by Dixie.  The pattern offered is suitable for many types of antique shoulder head dolls made of china and papier mache.  It may be sized up or down on a copier to fit a particular head. As given, the body makes about a 22 inch doll.  If you do not already have a favorite basic body pattern for shoulder heads I hope this will become it. To read and see more about it go to this entry on the new blog about my doll family. 

If you see Dixie's skilled hand behind the look of this new blog you are right!  Beautiful! 

There are seven pages in this downloadable pdf document. When printing it from your computer you might like to print pages 1,6 and 7 on photo paper and the other pages on plain.  Make several copies of pages 3 and 4 with the pattern shapes and enlarge or reduce these as desired for different dolls.   Both a full figured and a more slender torso are given.  It is easy to customize the pattern for your own projects. Thanks, Edyth

An Early Wooden Doll at Lucy's Doll House

I am reposting this for a group of people who are studying Queen Anne dolls. Lucy's Doll House is closed now, sadly.


Even though I originally visited Lucy's Doll House in 2007 because they had an Izannah Walker doll, I try to get there every year to see what they treasures they have in store.  And I am never disappointed.  Here is a little wooden Queen Anne style doll.  She was hand sized.  I wish I had gotten a whole body shot!  She has what appears to be human hair.  This doll is SOLD and not available any more, but I was glad to be able to cross paths with her.  

For my doll making friends, I usually try to take pictures from odd angles.  

The following video is quite imperfect.  but it gives a sense of the size of the doll as well as the legs.  Enjoy!

Wonderful Kathe Kruse Dolls

Signature Dolls shared images of these marvelous Kathe Kruse dolls in a group we are both in, and has graciously allowed me to share them here with Maida readers.  The dolls shared here are only 14" tall.

I love the story behind Kathe Kruse dolls - that the first doll Kathe made was an answer to her child Maria's wish to have a baby to cuddle.  Maria's father looked for a doll like the child wanted but only found cold porcelain dolls.   So mama Kathe improvised, as mothers do:
"....the doll should be warm, soft and also a little bit heavy to carry. She took a soft towel, filled it with sand and finally took a potato as a head. The first doll was born! Mimerle instantly fell in love with it, played with it and carried it around all day long. But after a few days the knots got loose, the sand came out and the potato developed a very unpleasing smell..."
via the Kathe Kruse website
This makes me grin.   Some of my early dolls have that improvised feel, minus the potato head. You can read the story here.  Enjoy the images. 

A far cry from a sand filled towel with a potato head.
What marvelous but simple construction!

I like to end with images of the dolls fully clothed.  
Such beautiful honest creations!  

Thank you to Signature Dolls for sharing them!