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

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Rachael's lovely hand sewing for my dolls

Here is the dear early girl I bought last week on line, in appalling condition but too interesting to pass up.  I have collected over 60 years and have only seen this head style four times I believe and one of  those may have been the same doll, so perhaps just three times. Her hand sewn cotton twill body appears original except one replaced arm.  I fashioned an under dress for her out of an old one thin as gauze and with shredded sleeves which I hemmed away.  I will find or make drawers by and by.
She is now in a Rachael Kinnison dress and has some of my beads draped over her shoulders until I can get some for her.

I have seen her with glass eyes as well as painted.  A glass eyed example was in the Merritt Museum.  Can anyone else add something about this head mold? 

I love all dolls with the simple covered wagon hairstyle.  I believe this one may date in the 1840's.

Another uncommon papier mache is this Motschmann type with a great snood hair style. I would date her about 1860.  There is no residue or sign she was ever waxed though many of this style were. This  doll also wears a dress made by Rachael.  Although she has a snubbed nose and other wear, I have chosen to leave her as she is.

Please comment, I read every one. e


  1. I love your newest acquisition! Good save! I see in one photo that you have removed her "newer arm." Someitmes do you leave them as part of the doll's story? I think her hair style is very pleasing. Why is it called covered wagon style? Will you consider repairing her face? Her undergarments are fabulous as is her dress and very much in the style of 1830-40. Your beads are just perfect. I confess that I tend to leave things alone since I don't consider myself an expert.

  2. Hi Mary, the newer arm was not attached when I got her, the pictures with the arm in place are as she is now with both attached. I believe this very common hair style is called covered wagon style by collectors now because that was the era of the great migration to the west coast. The name is not something they were called in their own time. If I attempt to do any cosmetic repairs it will surely take away from her story, so I will wait a bit and think about that. e

  3. These are such beautiful girls - it seems the rarer ones have a way of finding you ! They are both fascinating , and I am especially intrigued by the detail of the snood ! The dresses are gorgeous .Very beautiful - thank you always for sharing, it always feels like a treat.

  4. Edyth,

    Wonderful dolls! Congratulations on finding them. I haven't ever seen the one with the "covered wagon" curls before and of course that snood is just amazing!

  5. I so enjoy your blog. I have been a collector since I was very young.
    I collect from the 50's back. I admire the furniture that your husband
    made. You are both wonderful artist. J in SC

  6. Beautiful dolls. I always wonder about the children who played with them. So sweet!

  7. beautiful dolls, and most wonderful stitching ~
    loverly posting :)

  8. your work with the dolls is simply amazing. I sometimes wish I had at least one doll in my collection but ..... I was never a child who played with dolls - needlework was always my chosen play toy, sewing cards, pot holders and crocket was my early work and now days it's repro samplers and stitching them and some rug hooking and lots of knitting. Cheers - I hope you will be well - Mel

  9. I can't help it , I just keep returning to take in the snood detail. I am so fascinated !


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