For Christmas, one of 11 month old Vivian Rose’s gifts was this porcelain baby doll. Nestled in a tiny wicker Moses-in-the-bulrushes style basket, the Dream Baby doll antique reproduction was tucked in looking like a classic heirloom clothed infant.
Just 4 1/2″ long, she seemed to be just the right start for our grandbaby’s doll collection. Of course, it will be some time before she is allowed to handle this tiny treasure. But it’s not too early to begin collecting.
Both the doll and her clothes were made many years before Vivian’s birth. But they have lain in wait to go home with a little girl who will grow up to love dolls, especially those made by her maternal great-grandmother.
A good many similar tiny dolls are waiting for a loving home, though all are unclothed. Several have been put aside for granddaughters Laurel and Vivian Rose, but the others need to move on. Each is undressed. Each is a treasure. If there is any interest, I will post them for sale soon.
The following is a re-run post. I hope long-time readers won’t mind and new readers will enjoy.
Itty Bitty Baby Doll
Many years ago, while fantasizing about having grandchildren, I made this Swiss batiste dress for the 4 1/2″ itty bitty porcelain baby doll my mother had made. In my stash there was a small amount of tatted baby edging and 10″ of matching insertion. This doll dress seemed to be the perfect project for those scant amounts.
Special features of the dress include the center panel of insertion, bracketed by 1.6 twin needle scallops and a hem that echoes that technique. NOTE: The backdrop of the photo above is white linen. I had a really difficult time getting the detail to show up, so it was edited for clarity. But the actual color was lost. The pale mint green color in the picture below, without the doll, is more accurate.
The gown, sleeves and bonnet were all smocked with a single strand of Madeira silk floss. As is my habit, the smocking at the front and back are both deeper than at the shoulders, which on this doll are almost non-existent. A slip was cut using the front and back pattern pieces, but with the armscyes cut lower. It was dropped into the gown before the neck binding was attached and joined to the dress in that manner. The slip hemline is finished with more baby tatted edging.
The smocked bonnet fits a head the size of a small cherry tomato. It was made with the simplest design– a straight fabric piece with edging on the front and a casing at the back. That casing was gathered slightly before the tatted edging was joined to the stitching line of the casing. Otherwise, the tatting would have bunched up too much and become bulky.
One eighth inch silk ribbon was threaded through the casing and sewn to the front for ties. A tiny pink silk ribbon French knot and green straight stitch embroidered where the ties joined the bonnet side were suggestive of flowers.
The almost microscopic hand crocheted booties are a treasure. At a doll show many, many years ago, I met a lady who was selling crocheted doll clothes. I showed her this bitty baby and asked if she could make a pair of booties for her. She made several pair, but then I was unable to reach her to ask for more. I wish I had a few other pairs because 1) I have several other tiny dolls to dress and 2) I think it’s likely that one or both will be lost when the doll is entrusted to a child.
Nine year-old Laurel already has several of her great grandmother’s porcelain dolls in her collection. But she wants more! And I expect Vivian Rose will be of the same persuasion.
It warms my heart to see my mother’s dolls move out of my grandmother’s hope chest and into my granddaughters’ lives.
NOTE: An article about my mother and her dolls was written by Lezette Thomason and published in Sew Beautiful magazine, July, 1995 issue.