Welcome to my mini world! My recent search for the missing doll shoe (still missing) lead me to some bits of doll laundry I've been meaning to do! Here are a few sweet bits fresh from the wash, and in the perfect damp stage for pressing. The first is a vintage cotton doll slip, wonderfully made, in it's rumpled state. I find even un-ironed cottons have their own charm. Don't you?
When you press tiny pieces like this, which I find a bit of a challenge, you can appreciate the small details and the art of construction. Vintage doll clothes were often handmade with impressive skill.
This lace inset, for instance, is applied with flat felled seams with hand stitched hems. In fact these are a few details that show a collector the age of a piece as you will see a bit further on.
Miss Helen's dress of recent vintage.
All the rest of the items shown are vintage and hand made like this sweet flared frock in pale pink.
Here are a small flannel coat and robe nicely freshened up. You may notice that I favor white and pastel in my collection. Hunting for doll clothes at flea markets is a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack. But that's a lot of the fun! Besides, when you buy from a doll dealer you pay a far higher price.
I bought the tiny plastic doll that these crocheted items belonged to just for the clothes. She was in a very bad way and has gone to doll heaven. But the tiny stitches and detail of this work shows how much love (versus money) was once invested into a child's play thing. For scale, the vintage cotton doilies in the background are eight inches!
I found these sweet round pieces with the pale pink and cream edges at a local thrift store on the linen racks for a dollar each, which I think is a bit high. But they were irresistible.
I pressed this little vintage coat from the inside to preserve the fluffy nap of the flannel.
It is fully lined in cotton muslin and constructed just like a full size garment might be.
The frayed silk ribbon shows how much this dolly robe was used, and has sweet details even though it's construction is very simple.
The pink frock all pressed and showing it's original lace practically worn completely away.
Another feature of vintage doll clothes is the natural fabrics. More recent items are very often polyester. Though sew by machine, the dress has flat felled seams and a hand finished hem. Made to last.
The older the piece, the more fine detail in the construction. I love the darts, facings, and the waistband here. There is even a teensy lace applied to the neck and armholes, as well as hand embroidered feather stitching.
This little camisole just requires a tiny button replacement. See the little loop instead of a buttonhole through all the thicknesses at the waist? A stain has also re-emerged in the heat of the iron. Even after soaking in an oxygen cleaner old stains can reappear over time or when ironed.
By contrast Miss Helen's modern dress has no hand worked details and has much simpler construction. There is a Velcro closure rather than buttons. It has to be washed very gently so that it doesn't fall apart!
The difference in the quality of the work is very plain to see. Open seams, and machined hems which haven't even been folded over to prevent fraying. Another sign of it's vintage for collectors.
I love peering into the beautiful history found in old doll clothes. To me they are tiny exquisite works of art that tell a loving story. They are vanishing artifacts of a whole world already long gone.
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