Dolls and Doll-related Items for Sale

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Doll Show Buys - Vintage Items

If you looked at the pictures that I took at the doll show I attended, you'll notice that there were lots of antique dolls, from the 1860s into the early 1900s. If you want to sew them new clothes, there's nothing better to use as a reference than antique items like the Delineator magazine.

The Delineator was a publication created by the Butterick Publishing Co., to highlight its sewing patterns. Unlike the magazines or catalogs that you see in stores that carry sewing patterns today, however, The Delineator gave detailed descriptions of fabrics and trims that you could use to make up the patterns, which are a boon to the sewer of today who wants to learn about authentic historic sewing. There was also a serial story, articles on subjects of interest to the women of the time, and some patterns for needle arts items.

Dresses for ladies:



For misses and girls:

Among the crafting patterns were these for a crocheted wheel and "mould-crochet" edging.


The magazine that I found at the doll show was the October 1894 edition. I was afraid I already owned it, but I didn't want to take a chance of missing out if I didn't, so I bought it. Turns out that I do own the Thanksgiving 1894 edition, but I'm fine with that. I did get the seller to take $5 off the price, and I'm glad that I did. I don't know if he didn't know better or what, but he implied that there were doll patterns in the book. There aren't, which I already knew, fortunately for me. There are drawings of people wearing items you could make up with their sewing patterns, but no actual pattern pieces are pictured. I couldn't even find anything about dolls in the magazine, in the quick glance that I gave through the index. Maybe the seller was confused by the images of patterns for girls. I'm interested in fashion in this era for its own sake, so I do own some antique fashion magazines and photos. I'm going to have to make up a list of which issues I do own, so I don't take a chance on double buying again.

While this Delineator is in great shape (considering it's over 125 years old!) I am wondering if I should carefully take the magazine apart so it can be scanned. The binding is already worn out around the bottom of the magazine, and any looks I take throughout will just loosen the binding more. On the other hand, is it okay to take apart a genuine antique piece of ephemera (something made of paper that was meant to be discarded but is now a collectible)?

Butterick is still a sewing pattern company today, although it and the other "big 4" sewing pattern companies, Simplicity, Vogue and McCall's, have been owned as a group for a while, and were sold together last year to a company in the UK, according to my research. 

There were also a lot of antique photos. Many of them were of little girls with their dolls, which was not surprising, but again, there were ones as well simply of people wearing the fashions of the times. Most of the antique photographs (or tintypes, daguerreotypes, or whatever) were too expensive for me, but I did get the collage photo below for $5, framed.

Although this could be two sisters, I get the sense it was two friends at the photography studio together. When I took it out of the frame to scan it, I was irked to see that the cardboard backing had been cut up so the photo could be put into a smaller frame. I'm putting this print at about 1902-1903, and I'm guessing the girl standing on the right is a year or so older, judging by the length of their skirts.

Is there another era in time that you think your dolls should represent? Did you or have you thought about collecting books, paintings, photos or other vintage and antique items to learn more about your chosen time period?

12 comments:

  1. Hi Barb! That is a fantastic find! Definitely great if you are into historical fashion. It seems to be in pretty good condition for something that old.

    I'm not really a historical collector or really into historical researching. However, I do find interesting the mid-century period, at least when it comes to decor. Many years ago I used to visit a website that had a not just photos of that period, also photos of contemporary homes that were decorated 100% mid-century style. It's fascinating the influence that period has had in current decor trends. But, again, I've never taken research too seriously or have collected stuff from that period.

    Wish you a lovely rest of the week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi MC! It is amazing how many antique magazines and catalogs are still around, and some in pretty nice shape. I know a lot of people who collect vintage Barbie, or Barbie dolls that look vintage, collect 1/6 scale mid-century modern, since it is contemporary to that time. Poor me, I also like Edwardian and Victorian furniture, although at least Craftsman style furniture isn't too complicated. Hope your week goes well.

      Delete
  2. Hi Barb,
    I think you are lucky being in the USA as there seems to be a lot of collectable paraphernalia there dating way back in time. Here in Oz there's not so much. I love that you can appreciate things from times past, I also enjoy period fashion. Not only clothes though, I also have a wonderful collection of pink and blue Depression Glass which is much harder to find than the green and amber.

    Perhaps seeing as you have two of these magazines you could scan all the photos you like and piece them together in such a way that you could use them as a fabric print. It would be great to use for cushions, curtains or upholster occasional furniture pieces in your doll or sewing room.
    Big hugs,
    X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am happy to have so many collectible things available. The price isn't always right for me, but I guess the more items available, the more likely you are to find something at a good price. A couple of my distant cousins collected Depression Glass, but I forget what specifically they looked for.

      Making a fabric print out of some of the images in the magazines is a great idea! I also have a few more magazines/catalogs and some vintage photos. Thank you for the inspiration.

      Delete
  3. Very nice purchases! Two weeks ago, I bought fashion magazines from "La Mode Illustrée" from 1897, these have similar illustrations to your magazine. :) I bought them because I like the fashions, but also to get inspiration for dolls clothes. I have several fashion magazines, from the late 1800s to the 1960s, out of interest and for ideas for dolls clothes. I only buy them when they're affordable though, because some magazines are really expensive, so those I let pass. It's funny that you mention the skirt length in the photo collage you bought; I saw a video on Youtube recently that was about skirt lengths in that era! Enjoy your magazine, and the lovely collage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. La Mode Illustrée is easier to find in Europe, probably because it came from France. Some of the prices I have seen asked for that magazine here on places like eBay are indeed very expensive! That sounds like an interesting YouTube video. If you study misses' and girls' fashions in the era from about the 1860s to the 1910s, you end up learning about skirt lengths, because they were de rigueur during those periods.

      Delete
  4. These are great finds! I have a modern compilation book of Victorian fashion plates. There are no patterns there either, but it's a nice thing to keep around for inspiration. I keep telling myself that one day I'll make use of it...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You never know; one day you might use it. I'm happy to have some of the books that I own, because they're now out of print and very expensive on the secondary market, even if I haven't used them yet.

      Delete
  5. That’s amazing! Do you know of the HathiTrust Digital Library? They have quite a few scanned delineators you might enjoy looking at.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have heard of the Library, but I haven't checked it out in a while, so thank you for reminding me. I also like archive.org, because you can download things from there.

      Delete
  6. I love your magazine. I love old stuff in general, so the photo is great too! They are wearing matching blouses, so maybe sisters? Can you copy the magazine the old fashioned way, and just photograph the pages? That way you wouldn't have to take the magazine apart, although it might require someone holding the magazine for you. Hard to explain. I hate fighting with the scanner, which has problems, so I always do that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could just photograph all the pages, true, and I definitely would need help with that, because the pages don't want to lie flat. I will probably do that if I want something particular out of the magazine.

      Delete