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. ~Edyth O’Neill

Saturday, August 25, 2018

English Wooden Doll Susan

I have made cloth replacement legs for a late 18th century English wooden. Paul Robinson suggested that cloth legs are acceptable when the old wooden legs are gone and the wooden joints to hold them are compromised.   The legs are made from a pair of linen slacks I dyed and cut up, very stiff and hard to stitch but with wonderful texture, and I am pleased with them. the legs are fastened to the dolll with heavy cord through the holes that once held dowels for her leg joints. My friend Penny brought beautiful linen for a petticoat.  I pulled a thread for all cuts and another to turn the hem crisply.   I used a bit of 1/8 in tape at the waist.

Now with her replacement legs in place and the linen petticoat to give body under the frail dress Susan is on a stand, The doll stand is wired to the lower part of the wooden torso to keep the stand's waist piece from rising higher on the doll and pushing against the dress. The linen feet are the same color as her original arms and barely show beneath the skirts. Susan is 22 inches tall.  

Her flax braids are appealing.    The first place ribbon is from the UFDC Cincinnati convention in 1964.       Wonder if there are records to tell who owned her then?   I am delighted with her.  She is on top of my cluttered little black desk for safety now.  e

Monday, August 20, 2018

Such a lot of dolls to look after

While my great grandchildren seem bent on demolishing their Barbies,  I spend time now and then making mine neater.  Too hot to work on my sun porch, this is what my dining table looks like.

 A beautiful Voit child with the classic leather body was an expensive doll impressively  dressed  but when I examined her I found that someone had used a dab of glue to hold her wig on, and then later someone took the wig loose and a spot of the dolls' finish was  torn away. I have meant to fix that for years.  My favorite compound for mending papier mache dolls is Elmer's wood filler. It dries a nice color too that matches the doll's composition.    A dab of the filler, left to dry an hour and then sanded, and painted with black  Liquitex artists acrylic tube paint Leaves the black pate in nice order again.

While the pretty but not really proper dress is off, the doll's beautiful white kid body is more exposed and I can see that the gussets of the elbows are very fragile.  After all this body dates approximately 1845. Some would say 1830.   I am wrapping the mid arm with inch wide strips of bias cut muslin, my standard  solution for many dolly ills.  The elbows will no longer flex as I move the doll about and dress her, but neither will the old leather give up and pour out the saw dust which will eventually rot the whole thing.   Wrapping like this does not use pins or glue (horrors) or any thing damaging to the old dolly.  A few stitches hold it in place.

The unders on this doll were never really made for her. The chemise is a full size child's garment, just folded and pinned with safety pins to hold it on the doll.  The waist band of the pantalets lacks a lot of meeting around her chubby middle.  I will look through my stash of doll unders and see if I can do better for her. Meanwhile I can rinse these nice little garments and add them to the stash till needed.

Agnes is another big heavy girl. She has sat around waiting some little touches and finally I have made the changes that make her more attractive. Presentation really  is everything!    She needed shoes which I fitted for her, and a petticoat which was lacking, and I shortened one from the stash  by making a big hand stitched  tuck all the way around, hiding it under the broad band of tucks.  I made undersleeves of old tule for her arms.
While working with Agnes I have to be careful that she does not clap her heavy china hands together and break them!  Jackie found Agnes for me early one morning at Brimfield.

Today a child size dress came from ebay.  Look at the box!  We are glad a doll or a painting was not inside as it looks like it was run over by a vehicle.  The dress is fine and Lucy likes it ever so much.

All in all a pleasant day working on the doll family.  e

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Sewing from my pockets and rollups book

This is an old post revisited by request.   I am looking back through a lot of photos to share here, and found these. My friend Penny had a great log house in the country and a while back a group of us met there to make sewing rollups and pockets together, sharing ideas and bits of special fabrics we had gathered for this party. (Actually two parties, a week apart!) To start with, just being a guest at Penny's lovely place with her as the best hostess I can imagine, and serving the greatest foods was a treat among her lovely antiques. And next, we all wore appropriate dress for this, including great bonnets. See Virginia! A number of projects were cut and started on the first session and then at the second session many were brought finished and more done by the end of the gathering. If you would like a copy of this book of patterns and pictures, it is still for sale.

The original soft cover book with full size patterns is available  for $18, including priority mailing. Send a check to Edyth O'Neill 609 Courtney St Fredericksburg TX 78624    Or pay $18 by paypal to joneill816@austin.rr.com  and be sure to state what you are purchasing.

Sorry, Continental USA only Thank you.

Enjoy these and make your own lovely fabric combinations!

Pockets and Rollups For My Red Cape book

Still available as of August 2018,  postage has gone up so I have too.  Thanks.

The original soft cover book with full size patterns is available  for $18, including priority mailing. Send a check to Edyth O'Neill 609 Courtney St Fredericksburg TX 78624    Or pay $18 by paypal to joneill816@austin.rr.com  and be sure to state what you are purchasing.

Sorry, Continental USA only Thank you.

Sample page and cover shown here

Friday, August 10, 2018

A new old bonnet

A sweet bonnet arrived in the mail today. Bought from Moira Hatton of Hatton's Gallery on Ruby Lane, it has a cloth back and bavolet with a straw brim. I have saved a vintage straw hat with a very wide closely woven brim for years in my ever bountiful garage, in hopes of making just such a bonnet. A closely woven straw placemat can also be used to cut the brim from. Narrow ribbon, often velvet, binds the front edge of the bonnet and hides the wire that gives it shape. The bonnet is machine sewn in tiny stitches like my feather weight makes. The fabric is silk.

There was quite a stir among the dolls when I unwrapped it. Jessie Lidianna whose name is written in old brown script on her sleeve, and who carries her Merritt Museum auction tag in her pocket, felt she needed it most. But it is a bit small for her and see who got it! Miss Walker from the house of Walton. It is so sweet with her green dress.  The small textiles and accessories for the doll family are an important part of the collection. 

The bottom of the brim should be close to the chin line. It is too small for her.

Jessie's printed apron is a wonder!

A magnificent doll, my favorite in the now closed Merritt museum.



Sunday, August 5, 2018

A few wooden dolls and friends.

Not just a Hoot! I think she is a Scream! Her shift needs to be gathered in at the neck, She has a petticoat of a nice old print.   I am not through working on her clothing yet.    

Marley on the left below,  has coral beads from Aunt Linda. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Sometimes you have to see my grandchild!

Bailey is having a lovely summer in Wyoming working on a ranch with trail rides for guests.  The picture she sent picking flowers on her horse  just touched my heart!   How wonderful to be 20.   e

 The Blue roan's name is Bullet,  Bailey loves him.  Hers for the summer.

Beautiful scenery near Jackson Hole.

Blog Archive