Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Reader’s Embroidery: Embroidered Doll Dress & Some Reminiscing…


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Cissie has been putting embroidery stitches to good use by embellishing doll clothes for her granddaughter for Christmas. I love this little doll dress! From the dress pattern with the wide pleats, to the sweet, crisp fabric, to the little embroidered collar – it’s a little girl’s dream!

When I saw this dress that Cissie made for her granddaughter’s doll, I couldn’t help doing a wee bit of reminiscing. Two of my most memorable childhood Christmasses include dolls with handmade accessories.

In my family, we had seven girls. That’s shocking to most people today, I know! But it was great! (And, uh, still is, you guys. Really. Honestly!) The four oldest were the “Those Four Big Guys,” divided from the three youngest (“Us Three Little Guys”) by a break of a few years in Motherly Production. Us Three Little Guys often got variations on the same theme for Christmas. One year, my mom made the three of us Holly Hobby dolls, replete with wardrobe and accessories. Oh, those Holly Hobby bonnets! And braided hair! They were great!

The second doll-memorable Christmas had to have followed shortly thereafter, or we would have been out of the Doll Appreciation Years. And perhaps the oldest of Us Three Little Guys didn’t actually get a the same doll that year! Poooooor Sarah! Because that was the best Doll-bearing Christmas ever! Madame Alexander baby dolls – you know, the kind with the heavy bodies and the eyes that closed when you put them to bed! And if you tilted them stomach-side down, they cried! Mom (and an older sister) made at least two of Us Little Guys a whole set of bedtime accessories – mattress, eyelet-lined blankets, pillows – all neatly fitted into a wide slatted, handled basket. They were the Best Dolls Ever. I was eight years old at the time, I think. Do eight-year-olds receive dolls for Christmas anymore?! I loved my dolls to death!

I think Cissie’s granddaughter is going to be equally enchanted with her doll’s dress! Here it is:

Doll Dress with Hand Embroidered Collar

I think (but I could be wrong!) that this is either Molly or Samantha, of the American Girl Doll line. My nieces have these dolls, and they love dressing them up! But I have yet to see as sweet a dress as this on their dolls!

Doll Dress with Hand Embroidered Collar

The little collar is embellished with a red flower, dots, and leaves matching the dress, and then edged with Palestrina stitch, a perfect stitch for outlining a collar.

The doll is also receiving a new wool challis coat, which I’m sure will be precious. Lucky, lucky little four-year-old!

I wonder if people would notice if I … you know…. took up playing with dolls again? Possibly, that’s a bad idea. But making their clothes and embellishing them would be heaps of fun! Nice job, Cissie!

Thanks for sending along the picture and for drumming up good memories of ages past.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…..


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(4) Comments

  1. Darling! I love that fabric! Doll clothes are so fun to make and fancy up and not too expensive because they are so small.

    I remember getting a Madame Alexander baby doll for Christmas with a wicker basket for her clothes. Mom embroidered the name I gave her onto her back so she wouldn’t get mixed up with the dolls my sisters got the same year!


  2. You are right, Mary. It is an American Girl doll — but this one is an original, having been much loved by my now 29 year old daughter. They look a bit different today due to a new manufacturer — this one is quite tan. Must have been before the dangers of sunbathing were known! This doll lives at my house and gets to be my model!

    Like you, I remember so fondly the dolly wardrobes that my great-grandmother, grandmother and maiden aunt made for my dolls. Wish I still had these treasures.


  3. That is adorable! And has triggered another reminiscence! Funnily enough I had little interest in dolls up to the age of 8 or so, when I was taught to sew, and realised that you could make clothes for them! (My mum was a reluctant stitcher.)After that I had the most fashionable dolls on the planet.

    I progressed to making my own clothes, and my mums in my teens, and now make period inspired costumes (usually with embroidered embellishments or accessories) in my spare time.

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