Why should you have all the fun? Dolls just want to have fun, too, and they love bling! Let’s think outside the doll box and come up with some unusual New Year’s Designs for dolls!
Vintage Barbies, Tammy’s, Tressy’s, Maddi Mod’s, Cisseetes, Jem’s, Sindy’s, Jill’s and Little Chaps have lots of their own fashionable evening attire, to be sure, but it is fun to create new outfits for them. The classic sheath dress is easy to make for these 11.5 to 12 inch or so fashion dolls. It is fun to find a piece of old brocade, preferably with metallic thread in its design. Fold and hem a rectangle that covers the doll from armpits to knees, hem if you can. If you can gather up the back, or add some little buttons or snaps, Voila!! You have couture doll design!
Christmas and holiday sweater ornaments are very popular; what’s more, they are real sweaters and will fit Barbie type dolls. Look for them at the after Christmas sales and adorn your dolls. Even an antique peg wooden might like an updated look just for one night!
Fabric stores have lots of wonderful fabrics and tiny prints for the holidays, and some are holiday themed. You might find actual New Year’s material, lots of ribbons and sequins, faux patent leathers, silks, velvets, laces, and trims. You only need a small amount to dress up a doll. Ruby Lane is a great place to find patterns for evening clothes, even shoes, and accessories.
For antique dolls and dolls made through the 1920s, try the patterns at the back of The Collector’s Book of Doll Clothes by The Colemans. Clara Hallard Fawcett’s books on doll making, circa the 1950s, are great ideas for outfits. Vintage McCall’s, Vogue, and other patterns are also devoted to dolls, and the same outfit can be varied or made of different materials.
If nothing else, a fancy hat is a great addition to any doll outfit! Children’s party hats of metallic papers fit dolls that are larger, or life-sized like Patti Playpal. You can buy fancy scrapbook papers and create your own. Old children’s hats and doll hats can be decorated with trims and vintage fruits, flowers, and objects. Miniature doll house champagne glasses would look adorable glued on a hat for a small doll.
Felt top hats are fun and are perfect for vintage and antique male dolls. Now is the time to get out that stash of doll shoes. If you have duplicates, consider painting them gold or silver, or use Duncan or other ceramic paints that are “pearlescent” or glittery.
If you crochet, tat, knit, or embroider, use your skills on your favorite vintage doll outfits. Vintage hankies make wonderful dresses for smaller dolls, and often, just a hair ribbon or tiny piece of jewelry added to a doll dresses her up for the occasion.
Get out your miniature doll dishes and silver, use a fancy napkin for a place mat or table cloth, or make some doll sized one’s of your own, and create a New Year’s table complete with toy plastic food, especially antique or vintage, and ring in the new year with your favorite dolls.
If you want a doll that is already ‘dressed to the nines’, Robert Tonner fashion dolls have all the New Year’s Eve glitz and glamour!
Happy New Year from the Dolls Lane and Vintage Shirley Temple!
About the author: Ellen Tsagaris has collected dolls since she was three years old. She has made dolls, priced dolls, repaired, dressed, and studied dolls. She has set up at craft shows and presented papers on dolls and their history at the Midwest Modern Language Association. She is the author of several articles on dolls that have appeared in Doll Reader, National Doll World, Doll Designs, International Doll World, Hope and Glory, Doll News, Adventures, and The Western Doll Collector. She is the author of two books about dolls, Bibliography of Doll and Toy Sources and With Love from Tin Lizzie; A History of Metal Heads, Metal Dolls, Mechanical Dolls, and Automatons. An active blogger, she features two blogs about dolls, Dr. E’s Doll Museum, and Doll Museum. She lectures on dolls for various organizations and has displayed part of her collection in museums.
“Dolls are among the oldest cultural artifacts, and perhaps are the oldest toys. My passion for dolls began when I was a toddler, and it has never stopped. Explore the wonderful world of all things ‘doll’ with me.”
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