Christmas Baby Doll for Baby


4 1/2" baby doll

4 1/2″ baby doll


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.



gown length 4″


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.




slip and booties with 1/2″ sole



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.



23 responses to “Christmas Baby Doll for Baby

  1. It would be great gift for babies on any ocean…

  2. Janice, I would definitely be interested in purchasing one of the porcelain dolls — not that I don’t have some naked ones of my own, but not THAT one!

  3. Your bishop is fabulous!! I LOVE that tatted trim! Did I tell you that I’m, at this very moment, working to draft a couple patterns for the similarly-sized Berenguer dolls? It is H.A.R.D. It’s easy to see why the commercial patterns for these dolls are ALL crochet patterns.

  4. Yes, please. This tiny baby is adorable!

  5. Thanks, Lanyards. It really is a nice keepsake for a baby.

  6. Jane, as soon as I get through my granddaughter’s first birthday dress and a few other must-do’s, I am going to list these little dolls. Thanks for the encouragement. Who doesn’t need another naked baby doll!

  7. Jo, thanks for your compliments on the little doll dress. That tatting must have been made from fine sewing thread so this very tiny little project was perfect for it. I custom designed the dress around the tatted yardage available. I had 3 little loops left over! I have a tutorial on drafting bishop doll dresses that might be helpful to you. I had planned to post it some day soon, but if you are still in that drafting mode, write to me privately and I will scan the article and send it to you. It really is not so hard as you might think.

  8. Susan, thanks for the motivation. As I told Jane, as soon as I finish my granddaughter’s first birthday dress and a few other must-do’s, I will get these teeny dolls photographed and posted for sale.

  9. Janice, I am heading out to SATB tomorrow. PLEASE reserve one of these precious dolls for me to purchase. PLEASE?

  10. I’ll be in touch, Maggie. I have no more of the little Dream Baby dolls but there are several others.

  11. The doll and her outfit are just beautiful! I am so glad both your granddaughters will have dolls made by great grandmother and dressed by grandmother. What treasures!

  12. Thanks, Karen. It is nice to know that Laurel and Vivian Rose will have a tangible reminder of their great grandmother. Laurel remembers her vaguely, but she died before Vivian was born. Fortunately, she always signed her dolls, so they cannot forget.

  13. from Martha Pullen forum: I am so impressed! My congratulations to you for clothing a doll of that size and in such an adorable way too. I bought the head and hands for a bye lo and constructed and dressed her many years ago but she was about 14 – 16 in long. I sold her and then wanted one for myself so I have another head and hands set just waiting for me to get busy, now I’m really inspired to start on her especially since my heirloom skills are 100% better than they were when I dressed the first one in a christening style dress. Thanks for the kick I needed to get started!

  14. from SewForum: So sweet and a beautiful start to her collection. I love items with a history.

  15. from SewForum: Beautiful doll, beautiful dress, such a special gift.

  16. from SewForum: Beautiful doll and gorgeous outfit. Vivian Rose is sure to enjoy it!

  17. from Martha Pullen forum: Are these the sweet little babies that Lezette had for sale a few times at lace camp? They were so beautifully done. I bought one but have moved since then, so it was packed away for safe keeping. Your beautiful little dress has motivated me to find the baby and get busy.

  18. from Delphi: That’s the way I remember it. You taught. She was there along with her dolls. Now I have to go find mine just to visit with her again!

  19. from Delphi forum: How cute. I have at least two of your mother’s dolls. I think they were made by her anyway. I purchased them at SATB many years ago and also may have received one as part of a class kit when I took a christening gown class with Eloise Smith. The baby resides in my sewing room.

  20. It always makes me happy to hear that Mom’s little dolls are in someone’s home. She loved painting them and enjoyed knowing that no two were alike. A few of the years that I taught at SATB my mother came along and manned my vendor table, selling her dolls and other stuff. So your doll is likely one she made.

  21. from Delphi Forum: What a beautiful doll, and such a sweet story. A real treasure.

  22. from Delphi Forum: Janice, what a beautiful doll — how precious to have it and to be able to pass it on to your granddaughter!

    I love her ensemble, and particularly like the detail of the tatting up the center front!

  23. from SewForum: Beautiful and special ! Nice keepsake 🙂

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