D is for Doll Clothes

(A Christmas memory by Virginia Allain) Although I’m 65, I still play with dolls. Well, that is, I have a vintage doll and I make clothes for her. I think the reason I enjoy this goes back many years. Here’s my memory:

One Christmas when money was extra-tight, all the gifts were homemade. With six children to provide a Merry Christmas, it must have been quite a challenge. Mom helped each of us to make gifts for the others, plus she sewed and created gifts to give us from Santa. Heaven knows where she found the time for this.

I particularly remember the doll dresses she sewed from scrap of material for my sister’s doll. Karen’s doll was a Toni doll and she came with the standard short dress of the 1950s.

The outfits that Mom made were straight out of Gone with the Wind and Dr Zhivago, well, at least straight out of Mom’s imagination of outfits from those eras. She used leftover curtain material to make an ivory ball gown. Another dress of blue plaid wool even had a warm hat to go with it. There was a lightweight dress of green with cap sleeves and a ribbon around the waist.

Toni Doll by Ideal

Toni doll in the blue plaid outfit that Mom made for her.

My sister still has the doll dressed and on display in her home. Even after all these years, I was jealous of her doll and the dresses created by Mom. That’s when I went to eBay and found a Toni doll for myself a few years ago.

My sewing skills are not nearly as good as Mom’s but I’m having fun making outfits for my doll.

photo by Karen Kolavalli

My sister’s doll named Belinda wearing one of the dresses made by Mom.

Read more about the Toni doll and my pages with instructions for making outfits.

9 thoughts on “D is for Doll Clothes

  1. Your post brings back lots of memories. My mom made clothes for my dolls and even a little quilt, I still have them tucked into the cedar chest with my dolls. I don’t know how my mom found time either except it was something they loved to do so they found time to make things for us that were special.


  2. What a beautiful remembrance. Teary eyed here while recalling those kinds of Christmases with 7 siblings and no money to spare. I don’t know how our moms did it. Thanks for sharing–and I think your sewing/creating skills are wonderful!


  3. I don’t have any dolls from day gone by but I have my old dollhouse. I was fixing it up and rehabing it when I lost my work space to temporary relatives moving in. Well, they are permanent relatives but they will be in my work space temporarily.


  4. I still feel guilty about reclaiming Belinda after all those years. When I asked you to bring her to “visit,” I really just wanted my daughter to meet her and was blown away when you said you brought her (and her entire wardrobe) to stay. That photo makes me laugh–I think it was taken when I was prepping to move, so that might explain all those books and liquor bottles on display in the background!


  5. Pingback: The 1950s Toni Doll | Discovering Mom

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