In the interest of my “experimental archaeology” I decided to start making some rag dolls. Kids like dolls and they’re good largesse. I know from when my children were small that their rag dolls were probably the most-used toys at events, because they could be packed, stuffed in a pocket, and go into the laundry with the garb at the end of an event, then be put away with the other period clothing and accessories.
I started from modernly available muslin dolls from several sources, settling on eight inch as being a good size. I tracked down about 3 dozen, some of which were left from when my kids were small, not having been made up.
Me being me, my first step was to create some clothing. I decided that t-tunics were the most generic and easiest to create and dug into the scrap box. At right about this time I was doing a workshop on Toys for the ASXLIX Bar Gemels event, so I got some started.
So, after choosing fabrics, cutting out.
Neckline – Yes, the necklines are just cut diamond shapes. I wasn’t intending to hem them, so bias cuts made sense. The next step was to “finish” the necklines so that they didn’t ravel. I used fabric paint and scrubbed it into the fabric.
…and the neckline looked “blah” when I got the first doll done, so she got a necklace… then I looked at the rest of them and “Aha!” The rest were done flat, pinned through the tunic into styrofoam. I used Aleene’s Jewel-It(TM) glue, since it’s washable. Yes, those are pearls by the yard and some later ones have blue or purple or pink necklaces of other beads by the yard.
Doll Wigs, sewing – The next is to sew the wig into the doll head. This could be knotted or stitched down, but here I’m going to make braids, so I’m using a curved needle and sewing it right through the doll head. I used old, scrap and estate sale flosses. I don’t trust those for embroidery, because how old are they? …and what brand? ….so they work *great* for wigs! Yes, multi-colored. Well, hair is multi-colored! A curved needle is very helpful for this project, and you can see one in use in the gallery. There are some pictures still missing of the braiding and finishing of the braids.
Doll Wigs, Finishing – Pix yet to come….
Clothing – I machine stitched these, to make it time-efficient. The edges are all narrow-hemmed, then the side seams stitched from wrist to hem. At that point the tunic is trimmed up, turned to the right side, ironed flat (-ish) and put onto the doll. They’re finished with a piece of woven ribbon for a belt, that is cut on a slant to prevent raveling. (more pictures coming)
Variations – Some of the tunics were cut shorter than others. I didn’t have enough pearls-on-a-string to do all the tunics some some got blue or pink or purple beads instead, ore even gold. Some of the necklines were done with black fabric paint and some with black with silver flecks. Hair color varied depending on what kinds I had and some got veils instead of hair and I decided that some were guys, so worked out how to make hoods or guy hair!
So, there’s more to come on this page. I’m still working on these and taking pictures as I go, filling in the blanks from when I get distracted at the wrong moment and forget to take a picture or it blurs or turns a funny color.
Page created 6/1/15 and published 6/2/15 (C)M. Bartlett
Last Update 7/7/15