Friday, September 10, 2010

Vintage Handmade Cloth Dolls - Do You Have Any? Collect?

My new old doll.

I've never been much of a doll person. Mom did that for Me. I collected Breyer horses as a girl, Mom had the antique dolls.

About 20 years ago, Mom started to make her own cloth dolls. Why?

When Mom was a girl her Mom made her a rag doll for Christmas. Mom always loved that doll she named Katy.

When Mom's Mom passed away, she came to the funeral and to the division of her Mom's estate. All she really wanted was Katy.

But Moms sister had always been a witch to Mom, and so absconded with Katy. Oh there were denials of finding Katy in their Moms stuff, but my Mom knew, Katy had been carefully kept in a wooden Hope chest all these years, her Mom had told her so throughout the years.

After her sister passed away, she knew there was no chance to ever be reunited with her childhood doll.

The only thing she had left of Katy, was this photo her Mom sent her, years ago. Katy is on the far left. The rest are also Grandma's dolls, many which she collected through the years.

So Mom started to make her own cloth dolls. I think she was always trying to replace her beloved Katy.

She made dozens of them, all mostly large. "Huggable" as Mom called them. I still have all of them, some displayed in the Pink room. (I can't display them all at once, there are too many!

What my new old doll has on underneath:

So it was Vintage Christine who mentioned on her blog, something about expanding her searches on eBay beyond buying glasswares. Damn you Christine lol, that gave me the idea to expand my usual searches.

On a whim I did a search for "vintage cloth dolls" and found this oh-so charming lady. Hand stitched and hand made like Mom used to do (no machine sewing). The seller was selling off dolls from the estate of a lady who made these, and had passed away. The original owner had been a designer and architect the seller told me, and most of the clothes looked like they fit the doll I bought. The seller (and presumably the estate) was located somewhat local to me, which makes my new old doll a native of California.

OK, so I had to have not only her, but as many of the little hand sewn clothing that came with her.

And here is the entire take, most vintage to about the 1930's - 1950's judging by the materials:

So, today's lesson: BEWARE of expanding your searches. You WILL find things you HAVE to have! Oh gosh, and I see a cute doll trunk on eBay that would go with these clothes perfectly. Arg!

Only ONE doll, this is the ONLY "new" old doll I can ever get. Mom has so many already!

Are you a doll collector too? What kinds? Do any of you have cloth or rags dolls?


  1. ha ha ha I recently expanded my searches, it's lethal! I'm just going to walk away for a while, but I know your pain...!!

  2. Haha! Yes, I have an old folk art black girl rag doll. I love her so much. She came with a set of prairie clothes. Her name is Rose.

    I love Christine. I love you too. And it touches me so much that the rag doll speaks to you... she's gorgeous, and so are you.

  3. I JUST saw a handmade geisha doll at the antique mall that I seriously thought about getting. So weird that you had a post right after I saw it!

  4. I have a large collection of Ginny's, Ginnettes, Barbies and some other 50's dolls like Baby Dear and Tiny Tears. Love vintage dolls!

  5. I think the reason our grandmothers loved dolls and dressing them was because they never had much of a childhood. Grandma said she started cooking as soon as she could pull a chair up to the stove and reach it. I have a couple of Aunt Jemima dolls. My fav is one that has a brassiere and bloomers on under her dress! Zootsuitmama

  6. When I saw your headline I thought, "Uh oh, Miz 1950's has gone over the edge! Now she's collecting handmade DOLLS? That is NOT atomic!" And then of course I see where you BLAME ME for this! Hahahahahaha. I actually did expand my horizons--I had purchased two mid-century vases from an eBay seller and like I always do I then visited his/her store to see what else they're selling. Well, $5.99 later and I'm the looney-tunes owner of about 35 1950's toddler outfits! Isn't it funny that we both branch out to kiddie stuff? I love that doll, by the way, and the extra hand-made outfits are just incredible.

  7. Hahaha Christine, we are enablers!

    I have a whole vintage crib full of Moms rag dolls, so what's one more? heh heh...

    Thanks to the rest of you for your comments, sorry I didn't get a chance to answer each one.

    ZSM, my Mom was taking care of her baby brother when she was 8 years old, and cooking for the family, so I understood why she wanted to "play with dolls" when she was done taking care of us kids. I indulged her as much as I could. Why not? She loved them and had paid her dues.

  8. I don't usually go for dolls,i'm more of a bear person,but she is so sweet & pretty i could actually get into dolls more if i could find some like this cute little darling & what gorgeous clothes!
    What an awful woman your Mum's sister was,i can relate as my uncle did similar things to my mum & myself .The really sad part was we never realised what a nasty,vindictive person he was.We always loved him very much,he didn't show his true colours until after my grandparents died.
    Hmm i might just have to go & 'expand my searches' lol :)

  9. I had Breyer horses too, and only recently sold the remaining ones from my childhood.

    I had dolls. The token Barbie and Ken, the Chrissy and Tressy dolls that had the pony-tail that grew (by pulling), and a few others, but I wasn't much of a doll person, and I certainly never collected.

    The doll I remember, and the one I wish I still had, was a sock doll that my mom bought for me from the local Grange hall (made by one of the ladies). They were really well made, with tightly woven yarn hair, Little House on the Prairie style dresses, and little bonnets. If memory serves me, they had simple faces, drawn on.

    I never knew what happened to them, but they were probably given away by my aunt (after my mother died), like most of my other things, when I was sixteen.

    I've never seen dolls like them again.

    That's so sad about 'Katy'.