Every doll enjoys getting all decked out in her finest and what could be more enjoyable for a collector than a doll with a wardrobe of her own. The fun of having a doll with extra bits and pieces, from simple child-made dresses to elaborate seamstress creations added a new dimension to doll play for children of the past and that same fun is experienced by those of us collecting today.
Holiday time is often associated with the hope of receiving a new doll, but for girls of the Victorian and Edwardian periods the holiday often meant receiving a new wardrobe for a treasured doll. Before the holiday dolly might disappear for a while only to reappear under the tree along with her new possessions. Those long-ago children must have experienced the same thrill that today’s collector does when finding that perfect piece of clothing or a new, period accessory for one of our dolls.
The mid-19th century saw a burgeoning world of printed periodicals aimed at the new middle-class woman. The magazines were an ideal means of disseminating new fashion concepts and offering patterns for the home sewer. Following advice and patterns from these women’s magazines many loving mothers, sisters and aunts were able to sew holiday gifts in preparation for the special children in their lives.
Today these period patterns and fashion illustrations are an invaluable resource when determining original clothing as well as making reproduction clothing. They show the proper style details for each year as well as giving us a great deal of information about fabrics and trims, allowing us to enjoy Christmas past, present and future as we collect, costume and preserve our antique dolls.