The Well Bred Doll
An 1853 Book with Illustrations

For those of you who enjoy antique books, there is a charming 1853 primer book called The Well Bred Doll at Google Books.  You can download a digital file of this book.  It makes for fun reading and the illustrations are lovely.  

More on Quilted Accessories:
Edyth's Pockets and Rollups Book

Since we are talking about quilting here on Maida Today, I thought it would be good to mention Edyth O'Neill's book on Pockets and Rollups.  Look at the wonderful log cabin quilt pattern that was used to make this colonial pocket. These were worn under garments for close keeping of important items.  Rollups were used to store sewing notions.  Edyth has more of these books available.   The pockets are lovely hung on a wall along with doll quilts. 

Edyth has copies of this book in limited quantitities.  The original soft cover book with full size patterns is available in limited quantities for $15, including priority mailing. Sorry, shipping to Continental USA only.  Send a check to Edyth O'Neill, 2155 Lightstone, Fredericksburg TX 78624.

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

An Antique Doll Quilt from 1829

Tricia Langley, an internet friend I met through an antique doll collecting group online, shares this lovely vignette with us.  She says, 
"I was attracted to the very early doll bed because of it's vase shaped turnings. It looks to be walnut. It is a doll size rope bed. The dolls are German papier mache heads with kid leather bodies and wooden limbs, circa 1845-1855.  They are commonly (and in error) referred to as Milliner Models."

The doll quilt came with an old note that was hand sewn to the quilt.  It's faded lettering has the following written:   

There is a name (illegible)
June 18, 1829
Harper's Ferry
Another name (also illegible)
fifty years ago 1882.

The quilt is backed with white cloth. 

Thank you, Tricia, for sharing this lovely old gem!

When I asked Tricia what website she would like to refer people to, she recommended Rabbit Goody's site, Thistle Hill Weavers, as one that would be interesting to those who love old textiles. 

Share A Doll Quilt You've Made

From the book  Collecting American Country.
After I saw this picture I bought a copy of the book at Amazon.

Have you made a doll quilt you'd like to share?  Please upload ONE image of a quilt you've made below and enter a link to your blog, website or online picture album.  It's fine if your item is for sale, but it doesn't have to be for sale.  Click the blue letters that say "click here to enter" and you choose a picture to upload and then have the opportunity to add a link to your site.

Please note -  If your picture doesn't upload please send it to me via email at northdixie AT   I'll load it on.   Thanks for sharing, everyone!

Antique 19th Century Carved Wooden Doll
Courtesy of Anonymous Works

Anonymous Works' Blog is definitely one you should visit if you love folk art. He continually posts such interesting artifacts from history that you will want to be checking daily.  I found his site when I was searching for "1840's dolls".  I emailed and asked if I could feature this large 19th century carved wooden doll and he kindly shared images.  Anonymous Works Website has a lot of wonderful carved folk art pieces as other unique treasures that are interesting to those of inspired by antiques. 

21 inches high

Her Royal Treeness.  

That's what I would name her if she were mine.  She retains so much of her "tree-ness" in her finished state.   

Who knows who made this doll?   
A brother for his younger sister, perhaps.  
A girl herself?

Maida Dolls Group October Highlights

Find more photos like this on MAIDA Dolls Group

The dolls in the mix above are made by doll makers in the the Maida Dolls Group.  What a wonderful mix of artists.   Memberships are moderated, but anyone is welcome to join in the fun.  

The Hatch Collection of Black Cloth Dolls

The Hatch Collection of Black Cloth Dolls is a marvelous gathering of cloth black dolls owned by Pat Hatch and documented by Roben Campbell.  If you love cloth dolls, you will love to visit the site where the collection is presented.

The original exhibit catalog can be viewed here.

 Many thanks to Roben Campbell 
for permission to share these images and resources here.

Early Antique Silk Over Cotton Cloth Doll

I was looking through Ruby Lane for antique cloth dolls and found THIS doll.   I draw the line at cyber-stalking but I am not afraid to ask a seller if they'll share pictures.  I know this seller, as we used to be in a group together.  She graciously said yes I could share for study purposes.    For our study purposes, here is Virtu Doll's description:

This sweet early antique silk over cotton cloth baby doll has delicately drawn facial features that have softly faded over time. The doll is dressed in a long lace trimmed linen slip, window pane weave cotton baby dress, and beautiful lace baby bonnet. The dress and slip add about 8.5" in length.
The doll is lovingly well constructed of soft stuffed cotton. The lower arms, legs and the head were covered in a thin layer of silk, probably to give a more natural skin color. Fingers and toes are stitched. Eyes, eyebrows and lips were drawn on - though now faded. Ears are well formed. There doesn't appear to have ever been hair.

The shape of the head and the application of the 2nd skin over the head and shoulders makes this doll interesting.  She comes from England and shares some similarities with other 19th century American cloth dolls.   


The shape of the head on the right melts my heart. 


It appears the silk on the head and shoulders 
was sewn in when the under-body was put together 
at the time of making the doll.

The body has a gentle hour-glass shape 
similar to Babyland Rags.

 The shape of the hands is very similar to
many papier mache dolls as well as Columbian dolls. 

Arms from the elbow down have a 2nd skin of silk. 

The legs and feet are not unlike this Izannah Walker doll.  
They appear to be silk covered like the head from the knees down. 

It is hard to tell if the face was drawn before or after 
the joining of the two sides of the face front. 
She is quite an enigma, and a charming doll to study.
To see the pictures in detail, visit Virtu Dolls listing here

Friday Friends Doll Party

Hi, folks!   Happy Friday!   Let's have a Doll Party!  A Friday Friends Doll Party.  You can enter any time this week until next Friday.  :-)  I'd like to host a virtual doll party here on Maida Today twice a month.  Sometimes it will have a theme. 

The way this works is you upload a picture of a doll you'd like to share below where it says "click here to enter".  This thumbnail picture of your doll will be posted below which links to your URL.  In future, you will post a link on your blog back to Maida Today so people can see all the fun offerings here.  

Please share one entry per person.  You can share antique dolls from your collection or antique inspired dolls which you have made.  It is fine to share dolls which you have for sale - whether antique or art dolls.   Or just share a treasured doll you love.  It's up to you.  Please keep it family friendly.  I've set up submissions for approval for that reason.  There is no cost to you and no information is collected in any way, this is just a way for doll enthusiasts to share and connect. 

I look forward to what you all will share!  :-) 

An Antique Columbian Doll in Pictures

A Columbian Doll for your enjoyment....
was auctioned at Withington's for  
$8360 with the buyer's premium.


Wonderful at Withington's:
A Stockinet Cloth Folk Doll

I drove down to Withington's Auctions in Hillsborough New Hampshire to take pictures of an Izannah doll there, but look who else greeted me when I arrived!  This girl will be auctioned off by Withington's.  Next to Izannahs, one of a kind folk dolls are my favorite type of doll.  

You might expect she's going to have 
a fancy face to match her bonnet....

But no, she has a pencil drawn salt-of-the-earth face.

Here are more details...


Don't forget to visit Withington's 
to see other wonderful dolls to be auctioned.
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Studying Antique Dolls:
Early American Life Magazine
Antique Doll Collector Magazine
and Auction Catalogs

Antique Doll Collector is a recommended resource for studying antique dolls.  The Doll Collectors of America's display of Izannah's was featured in their August 2011 issue. Each issue features an in depth article on a  type of antique doll.

Early American Life  features articles on antique dolls as well as life in Early America.   One such article was written by Gregory Lefever on Milliner's Models.

Auction catalogs are another resource for studying antique dolls.  In fact, purchased old catalogs sometimes have auction prices written in the margin, which gives a lot of information about how a particular doll type has been valued over the years. 

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The Hand of the Maker

A possible Presybterian doll?

How will you show your mind 
and hand in your work?

A discussion in the Maida Dolls Group prompted some thoughts about creations that show "the hand of the maker".  One of the reasons I love Izannahs so much is that you can see the "hand of the maker" involved.   This is true with many creations.  For instance, when I was in art school there were lots of discussions about seeing someone's "brushwork."    One of the things I love about cloth dolls is when you can see the process for creating the dolls.   I love when you can see the seams and the construction.  I also love when you can see unique things such as the curls of eyelashes, or the highlight in the eyes.  These "hand of the maker" hallmarks are decisions of the mind as much as executions of the hand.

Antique Izannah Walker doll hand
 This folky doll below shows the hand of a skilled painter. 
Look at the attention given to painting the hair.
Contrast that with the folky tiny hands.

picture by Dixie Redmond

I made the doll below a few years ago. She was partially inspired by papier mache dolls, Izannah Walker and by wooden dolls as well. In the making of her I had to decide whether to make a cloth doll, a sculpted doll, etc.   After making that decision I had to get my hands involved and used a pumpkin carving knife to texture the hair.  I decided to give her face a low-relief style of sculpting.  
Doll by Dixie Redmond

One of the members of the Maida Dolls group recently used the bottom end of a funnel to create some wonderful sculpted hair.   The marks of our tools on our work is as much the mark of our minds as our tools.   The only wonder product out there is our thinker.   The tools are just that, tools.  It's what we do with them that counts.

 How will you show your mind 
and hand in your work?

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Making Antique Inspired
Trims for Dresses

Youtube is not just a place for "Charlie Bit Me" or "Annoying Orange" videos, you can find a lot of wonderful tutorials on how to make trims.   Above is a tutorial for making ruched ribbon trim for scrapbooking, but it is wonderful to use as a trim for our antique inspired dresses.

There are a number of tutorials for making continuous bias tape which is great for adding details to a plain dress.   Here's one tutorial:

Here's a great tutorial by Angry Chicken
for applying commercial bias tape to edging:

And here's a video for making prairie points:

 All of these trims can be used in making your antique inspired dresses.

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Withington's to Auction
Columbian Doll August 19th


The Columbian doll shown in pictures above and below 
will be auctioned by Withington's on August 19th. 

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Doll With Multiple Faces

Barb Shillinger has been working on an antique cloth doll, and found in the process that it has many faces underneath.   Visit Barb's blog to read more about this fascinating doll

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1865 Dress Made in 3 Parts

Source: via Dixie on Pinterest

Isn't this the most scrumptious dress?  Imagine wearing that to a 4th of July party!

Museums often have outstanding antique clothing collections.  This dress is from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Read the museum description of this dress made in three parts.  This outstanding design uses two colors and the extensive use of pattern repetition through the use of trim.

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Buying Reproduction Fabrics
for 19th Century Inspired Doll Dresses

Izannah Walker inspired doll 
by Dixie Redmond

When they saw my latest Izzy's dress, someone asked, "Where do you get your fabrics?"   And I thought I would share the answer here.  I have a great local store that stocks retired cotton quilting fabrics at a discount.  So I buy a lot of my fabrics there.  I search through the bolts looking for words like "Bonnie Blue" or "Judie Rothermal" or "Old Sturbridge Village" printed on the selvedge of the bolts of cotton fabric.   I've found some wonderful ones.  But sometimes, when I am looking for a particular color, or a particular scale of printed reproduction cotton fabrics, I have ordered from these three places: 

You send an email to the owner to order fabrics here, there is not an online cart.   But on the other hand, you get kind personal service.  So it's a trade-off.   Click the fabrics to go to the sites.

I found this shop through one of the students in my Izannah Walker Workshop.  Search for Civil War fabrics and you'll come up with some wonderful choices.   I like how she has a ruler on the fabric for thinking about scale.

This is a great site, too.  But ask about the scale of the fabric before ordering. Sometimes the scale of the image online is smaller than the actual fabric, so ask about scale before ordering.  But you can search their site by color and time period, which is wonderful.


Some fabrics have a  better drape than others, and I am trying to pay attention to which fabrics have the best drape for small sized dolls.  The Susannah 1848 line of fabrics at Quiltbooks has a beautiful drape for smallish antique inspired dolls.    If you know of a good source, or a good line of fabric that drapes well, please share.

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