Historical Sew Fortnightly: Challenge #5: Peasants and Pioneers - Child's Doll

I think my Peasants and Pioneers project might be stretching the concept a bit.  I wanted to create something that I (or in this case, my daughter Jane) would actually use.  When I dress out in costume, I don't typically dress as a peasant or pioneer, so what I made is something that could pass for either upper class, or peasant.  I made a child's doll.  Dolls are made from scraps of fabric and bits of wool roving, and even the poorest of little girls might be able to scrounge up enough scraps to create a small poppet.  

 Jane absolutely adores her new poppet, and has named her Arabesque (pronounced "Arabesca," she says, and which I'm pretty certain was inspired by her resent love of ballet.)  I might later make the doll a new, fancier gown.

In keeping with the theme, Jane's doll is simple...no fancy ball gown or feathered turban.  But, the inspiration for Jane's new doll does have all of these things.  

*original doll*

Jane's doll is about 2 1/2 inches wide by 14 inches long.  Everything is hand stitched.  I started by sewing together the individual pieces of the body, made of cotton duck.  I stuffed each piece with wool roving yarn, then assembled the doll.  The hair is also wool roving.  I drew on the face with pencil first, then used actual make up to outline the eyes and put some color on her face.  The first clothing item I made her was a cotton shift.  A cotton cap came next with a tiny bit of ruching to decorate it.  Then I made the simple, gathered, linen gown.

A very "peasant" type of gown...don't you think...even if it is only 12 inches long?  Does it pass for the challenge?

Just the Facts

The Challenge: Peasants and Pioneers - Scrap Doll

Fabric: cotton, linen

Pattern:  None

Year: Late 1790's to 1815ish

Notions: Thread, pencil, make-up, wool roving yarn

How historically accurate is it? I would assume it's very historically accurate...made with period techniques, style, fabric, etc.

Hours to complete: Maybe 8 to 10

First worn: First held about a week ago. :)

Total cost: Free, made of bits of scraps.


Diane Shiffer said…
That is so adorable! I want to make one myself... and I think I will! (this is the real reason why I do childcare- so I have an excuse to make these sorts of things ;-) )

Did you just estimate your measurements and kind of feel your way as you went along, or did you follow a tutorial or something of that sort? Any pointers gratefully appreciated.
Jenni said…

I'm the queen of "feeling my way along" as I go! Sorry, no tutorials for you. I just made a paper copy first, to get a feel for the size of the doll, about 2 1/2" x 14" Don't forget seam allowance! Make the arms, legs, and head separate from the body. Sew each pieces, leaving a small hole to stuff each section. Since the arms and legs were so small, it was hard to turn them right side out. I had to use a long thin tool specifically made for that sort of job. Attach all pieces together after they are stuffed. Hair was next. Then with the clothing, I cut them as I would a real regency garment, same shapes, seam construction, etc, only I made them doll size. I sort of draped and then cut...again, remember seam allowance...I'm sure you never forget that...but I did, that's why I'm saying it. You can do it! I can't wait to see what you make!
This is so cute! Now I want to try making one. :) As if I don't already have enough things to sew... *sigh*
Dear Jenni,

such a lovely idea!
I guess it was lots of fun sewing your daughter's new friend Arabesque.
Wonderful to hear that she appretiates your latest work so much :)))
Thank you for this inspiring post!

Cait said…
What a great little poppet! And I think a totally great interpreting of the challenge :)

And so wonderful that your daughter loves her new doll, Sounds like a great success to me!

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