Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Simplicity 1708 for Bitty Baby

I have a lot of doll clothes patterns.  A LOT.  It's kind of an obsession...every time JoAnn's has their patterns on sale, I just have to see what's new.  Especially when their Simplicity patterns are $1 each!  I mean, who can resist that kind of a sale?  I've had the above pattern in my stash for quite awhile.  It is a reprint of one of Simplicity's vintage ones.  I also happened to have a naked Bitty Baby that I want to sell on Ebay.  So I decided to make her a sweet, little outfit using this pattern.
Here is what I came up with:
Her outfit consists of a dress, bloomer panties, and bonnet.  The fabric is a super cute Easter print that I found at JoAnn's.  I don't normally buy my fabric at JoAnn's because I don't think the quality of their fabric is as nice as the quilter's cottons I buy elsewhere, but I just couldn't pass up this print!  And with their 60% off sale on Easter prints last week, it ended up only being $4/yard.
I made some changes to the garment (as usual).  I widened the neckline a bit because otherwise it was choking poor Bitty, omitted the collars, gathered the sleeves with elastic instead of a band, shortened the dress by a couple of inches and added a contrasting hem band, added some extra width to the skirt pieces because I like full, gathered skirts, and lined the bodice instead of whatever other way they finished the garment.  I love lined bodices, so that is how I always make my garments.  Next time I make this dress, I will also add more width into the sleeves.  I like to have full, puffy sleeves!
Bitty's bonnet has double faced satin ribbon for ties.  In pink, of course.
Isn't it just the cutest?  I lined the entire bonnet as well, although the instructions only called for lining the brim.  I made the brim from the contrast fabric and edged it with piping.
Here you can hopefully see the darling print of chicks and bunnies with an Easter basket.  So cute.
Matching bloomers.  I made these exactly like the pattern instructed. I think that's a first for me!
Back view.  The dress closes with a narrow piece of Velcro.
Here she is without her bonnet.  This Bitty is an earlier version, as she is marked "Pleasant Company" on the back of her neck.  Oh, I forgot to mention that I also added pink piping between the bodice and the skirt.
Wouldn't this little sweetie be just perfect in a little girl's Easter basket??? If my daughter didn't already have a Bitty, this is exactly what I would be doing with this doll.  But since that isn't the case, this cutie pie is now for sale on Ebay.  Here is the link:
I'd really love to make all the clothing in this pattern, especially the little coat.  Wouldn't it be so cute made up in a light, pink, baby wale corduroy or a linen?  And the hooded bunting (snow suit?) is completely adorable as well.  Ahhh!  So much sewing, so little time!  I wish there were more hours in the day.  I've got several more dolls that I want to try drafting patterns for, one of them the 16" Disney Animator Dolls. So stay tuned!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Another Kathe Kruse Doll!

She arrived!  The new Kathe Kruse doll I told you about in my last post got here yesterday, and I couldn't be more pleased with her.  She's even prettier in person than her pictures.
Kathe Kruse's son-in-law, Igor von Jakimow, sculpted the head for this lovely doll.  It was the only one of Kathe Kruse's dolls that was modeled after one of her children, Friedebald.  This doll is known as "Doll VIII, the German Child".
She stands approximately 19" tall, is stuffed with reindeer hair, and has a hand-knotted, human hair wig.  I love her little snail braids! 
One thing different about the bigger doll is that her head can rotate, while the smaller one's cannot.  Upon some further research, I believe the smaller doll is "Doll IX, the Little German Child".  She was made as a more affordable version of the larger doll, since Kathe Kruse knew her dolls were expensive, and she wanted everybody who wanted one to be able to afford one.
Because I like to "play" with all the dolls I collect, I'm sure I'll be letting down her braids at some point and making her a new outfit.
She is also dated on her foot, and I believe it says "Mai 87".  (May 1987)
Aren't they sweet sisters?  I'm leaning towards naming the smaller one "Hannelore", which was my German mother's name.  I would call her "Hanne" (Hanna) for short.  I'm not sure yet about the bigger one.  My maternal grandmother was "Charlotte", so maybe I'll call her "Lottie".  Both of these dolls have the same hair and eye color as my mother and grandmother!
I LOVE these dolls. The are my new addiction.  If you could hold one of these dolls, you would feel the quality.  They are sturdy yet huggable, and their faces are so soulful.
And lest you think that dolls are the only thing I "play" with,  here is a photo of my brand new grandson! Isn't he a little doll?  He's so snuggable.  Wait, is that even a word?  He's two weeks old in this picture and just loves to be held by anyone.  His name is Flynn.   Isn't that the cutest name?  I am fortunate that little Flynn and his parents live in our town so that I can see him just about anytime I want to.
Here's my other, cutie-patootie grandson, Declan.  He came up to my doll room today and decided to wrap up his autie's Flynn Rider doll in a doily and carry him around like a baby.  Shorty thereafter, he found a rubber band and spent the next 1/2 hour securing it around Flynn Rider's limbs.  Boys!
And this picture right here?  Why, this is Declan's momma, carrying my next grandchild, a little GIRL!  I can hardly wait.  There will be dolls and tea parties and lots of pink.  Did I mention DOLLS?  As if I needed a reason to buy more dolls!  Fun times ahead, that's for sure!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kathe Kruse Dolls

Do you ever finally notice something that's been under your nose the entire time, and then wonder where in the world you've been?!?  And then you fall so completely and utterly in love that you know you're heading down a slippery slope, but trying to stop is probably pointless?  Yeah.  That might be me.  And Kathe Kruse dolls.  Have you heard of them?  Now, don't get me wrong...I have known about Kathe Kruse dolls forever, and I even have an antique one in my collection!  I love it to pieces!  However, they can be VERY expensive (hundreds to thousands of dollars) so I've only looked at them in passing, sighed, and realized I would probably never have any more in my collection.  And in case you're wondering, I was gifted my antique one by a very, dear, older friend in my doll club who wanted to give me her doll.  Yes.  I just about passed out when that happened, but I survived to tell you about it!  So here I am, years later, when suddenly I came across a newer Kathe Kruse doll on Ebay.  I had seen the newer dolls at doll shows many times, but I never thought I could like them as much as my antique one.  So I passed them by,  But then, like dolls sometimes do, this little one's face "spoke" to me.  It reached out across the internet and just sucked me right in.  And before I knew it, I hit the "buy it now" button.  Oh, that is a dangerous button, I'll tell you!  But here is what I received just a few days later:
Isn't she sweet?
She stands 14" tall and is completely made of cloth, except for her head, which is a type of plastic.  The antique dolls had molded, cloth heads.
She has a human hair wig.  Look at those darling braids!
Her clothing is impeccably made with cotton fabrics and trims.  Everything is neatly sewn and finished.
She wears a cotton, knit "onesie" and a half-slip underneath her dress.
Here is what her body construction looks like, in case you were interested (I know I always was, before I owned one).  She is made just like the antique Kathe Kruse dolls, with disc jointed legs and arms loosely sewn to the shoulders under a cloth shoulder-plate.  Her body is very firmly stuffed with reindeer hair!
Kathe Kruse dolls are usually signed with their date of manufacture on their right foot--in this case, it says "Mai 85", which in German means May 1985.
Her left foot bears the signature of Kathe Kruse (she died in 1968, so this is obviously a printed copy of her signature)
On antique dolls, these dates and signatures are many times illegible, or rubbed away with time.
The newer Kathe Kruse dolls all came with names; however, since mine didn't come with her original box, I don't know what it is.
Isn't this little tin buggy adorable? I brought it home from a doll show a few weeks ago.
Check out the graphics on the wheels!  I am just a sucker for baby buggies, especially cute ones.
I have not named my little Kathe Kruse yet.  I think she must have a German name, and since I am German, born to German immigrant parents, this should be no problem for me.  Except that it is.  I think it might just take a little time before the perfect name pops into my head.
Now, in case you're wondering, here is some brief info about Kathe Kruse, and how she came about making dolls:
K├Ąthe Kruse, a German dollmaker, was born Katharina Simon in 1883 and had eight children.  When she was expecting her second child, her eldest daughter wanted a baby to hold, so she made her a little doll with a potato for a head and towel filled with sand for the body.  Her daughter loved this "baby", so from this concept she went on to design a cloth doll that would become a major best seller.  The original Kathe Kruse dolls were made completely from cloth--their cloth heads were pressed in a mold and then oil painted.  They were all completely handmade and extremely high quality dolls.  They were very expensive, even back then.  Her first doll came out in 1911, and her factory is still creating dolls to this day.
Here are some examples of her antique dolls:
I could go on and on with photos, but I stopped myself at four.  If you are at all interested in her dolls, just google them or go to Pinterest.  Her dolls are the kind that make my heart skip a beat. I think it is because their faces are so childlike and innocent.  Kathe Kruse had five points which her dolls had to fulfill, here in her own words: 
 A child for the child, safe and warm.
  • My dolls are alive, they are little children which people like to love.
  • The secret to the dolls are to make the child’s face realistic, so that it radiates softness, emotions and importance.
  • The dolls call on people’s emotions. They ask and dare you to start a conversation with the gentle doll’s personality.
  • The doll is a friend for life and can always be fixed in the factory.
    A Kathe Kruse doll passes through the hands of 8-10 workers before it is finished.  Over 100 years have passed since the first Kathe Kruse dolls hit the market, and these dolls are still very loved by children and adult collectors alike.
    And because I couldn't leave well enough alone, I now have a another Kathe Kruse doll on her way to me, via Ebay.  (Oh, Ebay, you are bad, very, very BAD!)  Here is her picture, taken from the seller's listing:
    I don't know her name either, but she is 18" tall and was made in 1982.  I'm already thinking about making her a sweet, little dress with vintage style fabrics to replicate maybe a 1930's style outfit.
    I am also in the process of making an outfit for my antique, Kathe Kruse doll, and as soon as I'm done with that, I'll show you!  She has been naked for a long time, and it's taken me that much time to figure out exactly how I've wanted to dress her.  The picture below is an example of what my doll looks like--however, my doll is in much more "loved" condition than this one--her facial painting is worn off so that her features are very light.  She is still beautiful, though, in my opinion!  This is Kathe Kruse's first doll, called simply "Doll I".
    Precious, right?
    Well, I will leave you with one, last picture of my little one, and bid you all a nice evening!