Nellie"s Needles

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dressing A Bylo Baby

Just before Christmas a friend had shown me a doll that belongs to her mother along with two dresses that were hand-stitched by her just before my friend was born. A lifetime ago I dressed and restored old dolls, but not for the last 15 years. My heart melted when I saw these treasures. So I consented to outfit this little beauty.
In her later years, my friend's mother crocheted booties and a blanket to wrap this poor naked baby.These cotton batiste dresses are finely hand-sewn and decorated with whitework embroidery, pin-tucks, and scalloped edgings.
I drafted some pattern pieces. I wanted to feature the triangle of whitework embroidery in the front bodice of the dolls dress, so that's where I began.
I figured out that bodice piece and then the rest of the dress. I incorporated much of the original embroidery from each baby dress. The pieces were laid on the doll to design her dress. At this point I was very excited about this project.
I determined the major pieces for her dress ... the triangle of embroidery for the bodice, the embroidery decorated skirt, and the scallop-edged collar and sleeves. Because the original dresses were hand-sewn, I did the same in making the doll's garments.
An embroidered and pin-tucked sleeve of a baby dress became her bonnet. The embroidered band from the other sleeve was used as a band for the bottom of the bonnet. I just happened to have blue silk ribbon for its tie. There was also blue tatting in my supplies that I whipped to the rim of the bonnet and hem of the dress.
I used the original placket with the hand-made buttonholes and mother of pearl buttons for the closure of the dolls dress.
The skirt of the other dress and more pintucking make up the parts of this petticoat.
Buttons from one of the dresses and button-hole stitched thread loops are the closure. Below are the scraps left from those two dresses.
I found a bassinet basket that was stored away with my doll collection stuff. I made a pillow from the scraps and lined the basket with her crocheted blanket. My friend will present this doll to her mother for Valentine's day.
I'm pleased and happy!

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8 comments:

Helen said...

What a beautiful doll. Well worth the effort.

Heart's Journey said...

What beautiful craftsmanship on this heirloom dress and petticoat! You not only added so much to the intrinsic charm of the doll,herself, but most surely made her little smile even sweeter! Your friend's mama is just going to love her...especially for Valentine's Day! There is so much love in the idea, the handiwork and the presentation!

Deb Geyer said...

Very nice, Nellie. Making doll clothes is fun!

teodo said...

nice and delicate this post. ciao ciao

Shelina said...

Such a beautiful and elegant dress. I am sure your friend's mother will love it. You have every right to be pleased and happy. Does this mean you will be making more doll clothes again / now?

Linda_S. said...

A treasure indeed..
Thanks for sharing..

Rosalind said...

Love the way you have incorporated the old and new to design an outfit totally in character with the doll.

Beautiful work :o)

Finn said...

what a delightful and heartwarming undertaking this was! And I'm sure very much appreciated. It's a gorgeous doll, altho sad in old age. She looks just wonderful in the dress, petticoat and bonnet. And fixing up a basket for her was inspired...such a labor of love. Thanks for sharing, Hugs, Finn