Babyland Rag Doll
Pattern In Process

I'd been avoiding my workroom.   When I entered it Big Girl was sitting on the sewing table as if to say, "What are you going to do with me?"    I bought her three years ago with the intention of making a pattern inspired by her.  She's a 30" Babyland Rag doll.    I was captivated by both Izannah dolls and Babyland Rag dolls when I first started doll making.

Baby Land Rag Dolls were first made by the E. I. Horsman company in 1893.  They were made in 12, 14, 15, 18, 20 and 30 inch sizes.  The dolls had painted faces until 1907.  From 1907 to 1912  Horsman offered dolls with hand-painted faces and also life-like lithographed faces.  It's hard to know whether my faceless doll above had a lithograph face or a hand-painted face.  It's the hand-painted faces that appeal to me. 

Some time ago I bought a photocopy of a Babyland Rag catalog on Ebay.   You can view that here. Linda Edward's book Cloth Dolls from Ancient to Modern has some samples of the color version.  Linda has a good section in the book on Babyland Rag dolls.  It's a great book and you should buy it if you love antique cloth dolls.

Big Girl has had to wait all this time while I focused on my Izannah Workshop.   But yesterday her shoe button eyes told me "It's now or never!"   And so I've begun the pattern-making process.   She's big but I will probably shrink her down to around 20" and then use my 14" Babyland Rag as a reference for other design features.   I'd like her to be a good size for a real child.  


McNally School said...

I can't wait for that pattern! Lock yourself in your workroom and tell your family to order pizza for every meal.

Monica Johansson said...

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! It was so great to read about Babyland Rag Doll's story and I really appreciated the close-ups on her head. I love simple pancake faces (I think they're called), but have wondered a lot about how some doll faces I seen, seem to have a 'chin' and a face that stands out, without paperclay. As I understood from the pictures, there are layers with cloth and stuffing and then a 'face-cloth' to cover with.
I'm really looking forward to being able to buy your pattern, if they will be for sale.
Best regard!

Dixie Redmond said...

LOL at you, Elaine. They would love eating pizza for every meal.

Monica - I am hoping to develop this pattern for sale. I will be writing about the process here and when the pattern's available I'll share about it here as well. :-) Yes, they used a very simple method - made a pancake doll and then used some stuffing and a face overlay which was stitched in place on the back. Usually these dolls wore hats which would cover up the construction of the face overlay in the back.


Judi Hunziker said...

Put me on the list to buy your pattern but make it simple just for me, lol I have so much trouble reading those darn things, ♥Judi

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden