Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities.

For more than sixty years I have studied, collected, repaired, and bought and sold antique dolls. They have been back ground music in my life at every stage, sometimes louder, sometimes subdued, but always there with me. To see only the posts about dolls on this blog, click the banner on the right titled Dolls for My Red Cape. Keep clicking “Older Posts” to see more. Some of the posts featuring rug hooking are gathered under the banner For Cathy. From time to time items are offered for sale under the banner “O’Neill’s Antiques” which was our shop name for many years. ~Edyth O’Neill

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Indigo magic

Finding old cotton fabric to make doll dresses is not easy.  Some years ago at a small antique show I purchased a textile piece which may have been intended for use as as a small crib quilt backing. It was about that size and was pieced in bars of three early fabrics but did not show to have ever been quilted.  The stiches holding the bars/strips together were of old brown thread which I think may have been home spun. I have only seen this coarse brown thread used on very early textiles.  When I tried separating the fabrics, the thread was rotten and broke up. The price seemed dear when I bought it, but it came to seem priceless to me as I held those indigo pieces in my hands.
 Pictured are two of these fabrics in strips, a green and the indigo. There was also an early red print.   The first of this blue was used in a precious doll quilt that my friend Johnetta B. made for my dolls. This was pictured on the back cover of my book Pockets and Roll Ups.  Unfortunately the tiny gem was lost in our house fire.

I have dressed two early wooden dolls in this indigo fabric in the past. Now I have another doll that is worthy of wearing most of the rest, this lovely Kloster Veilsdorf  china doll head, the so called Greiner China because of the similarity of hairstyles with American Greiner dolls. I will still have a small amount of the beautiful blue left, I hope to replicate the long lost doll quilt, though I could never rival Johnetta's wonderful stitches.

 I have had another china doll by this maker:  She has joined a friend's collection now.

These dolls are made of beautiful quality porcelain.  The doll I am dressing has two pieces of early hand stitched undies to wash and keep and a petticoat that is a make do and will be discarded.  Her dress is beyond my skill to mend so she will have a fresh one of this indigo print.   

An early little apron adds a good touch, and I will search my boxes of old doll undies for a suitable petticoat.  The doll's arms and hands, which I believe are original, will not survive much more putting on and off of her clothing. I hope she will stand as she is for years ahead.  e


1 comment:

  1. Your knowledge of the old textiles is inspiring, Edyth. Thank you for sharing it with us.


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