Handmade Pop Bottle Doll with Dress

Back in 1977 I was twelve years old and very shy. I hated being in groups and had problems fitting in. So you can imagine how I felt when my teacher announced that every student was required to pick from a selection of craft-based group activities as an extra class. The list was diverse, and although I can’t quite remember them all, most had to do with handmade efforts. One was guitar lessons, but you had to have your own guitar. I didn’t.

I had a friend who was of like mind and interest, so we decided to choose the most unlikely activity: Handmade Dolls! It was close to Mother’s Day and we thought it would make a nice gift. So we two boys and a room full of girls (!!!) started sewing and stitching, and I eventually came out with this:

Handmade Doll Front

 I thought she was cute!

She used to have a little bonnet but it has since been lost. She is now 40 years old and looking a bit faded.

Handmade Doll Back

Not to brag, but I do remember the teacher saying that I was one of the best students and I remember helping many of the girls with their stitching. Where that came from I can’t imagine!

This doll was made using a large pop bottle as a base. I think I used a Pepsi or Coke bottle. The bottle was filled with sand to weigh it down and keep it from tipping over. A cloth sock was pulled over the bottle as well as the Styrofoam ball which was used for the head.

Handmade Doll Sleeve

The cloth was cotton:

Handmade Doll Cotton

Here is a closer look at my fine-stitched hemline:

Handmade Doll Hem

Still holding after all this time!

My mother taped a note on the bottom to remind her of when the doll was made:

Handmade Doll Bottom

My mother is now suffering the early effects of  Alzheimer’s disease and has forgotten all about the doll made by her son so long ago. It used to be displayed in her kitchen but I recently found it on the floor in a corner as I was helping my parents pack for their recent move. My mother looked at it without recognition and asked if I’d like to have it.

Handmade Doll Profile

She’s still smiling!

I reclaimed it as a memento to remember the better times and it now belongs to my wife.

I’m glad I was able to go against character way back when and produce this wonderful keepsake!

Fashion at The Henry Ford: American Style and Spirit

We enjoy the revolving exhibits at The Henry Ford Museum in Deerborn, MI. Every few months or so a new temporary exhibit arrives. The latest has to do with fashion and is called American Style and Spirit and focuses on one family’s journey through the generations as told by their clothing and fashion.

Interesting, eh? I won’t add a lot of commentary but suffice it to say that these are definitely beautiful Things to behold and each show a great deal of creativity in their design!

Note the differences in design cues for the garments as we travel through the years (some dates are approximate). Let’s have a look:

Worn by Jane Prindle Colton Gammon – 1856

This was her wedding dress that was made in the United States out of silk gauze.

Worn by Catherine Prindle Roddis – 1929

This afternoon dress was also made in the United States and is fabricated with pina fiber and silk taffeta. The main fabric used is actually woven out of pineapple leaves!

Worn by Catherine Sarah Prindle – 1908

This is her wedding dress which was again made in the United States. Made of cotton net organza, silk satin ribbon, chemical lace, and silk embroidery. The original lining was silk taffeta.

A point of interest in the design is the princess style, shaped by seams from the shoulder to hem, rather than a seam at the waistline.

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1932

Made again in the good old U.S. or A. using silk taffeta and milliner’s velvet. I thought this evening gown was particularly striking!

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1934

This day dress was likely made by a family member and is Rayon and sheared beaver with a metal accent belt. It was likely inspired by French designer, Jean Patou, as it resembles a Patou coat found in a catelogue in the ladies home.

Worn by Sarah Denton Roddis – 1914

This day dress was sold by Marshall Field & Company, Chicago, IL. It is made from silk, silk corded applique, embroidery, soutache braid, and net with cotton lace.

So far I think we can see that the earlier the dress the more detailed and ornate it is. In later years dresses came to have plainer designs but with bolder cuts and colors.

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1968

This dress was designed by Averardo Bessi and sold by Bonwit Teller. It is a silk jersey.

Worn by Catherine Prindle Roddis – 1928

This evening dress was made by Adele & Cie of Paris, France, and is made of silk chiffon and silk crepe with rhinestones.

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1945

Designed by Samuel Kass and sold by the Weathered Misses Shop of Chicago, IL. It consists of Rayon and cotton. The fabric for this day dress was made by Onondaga Silk Company to promote a Spanish perfume called Tuya (‘for you alone’).

Worn by Sarah Denton Roddis – 1895

This dress was made in the United States with silk chiffon and cotton lace. It was updated in 1910 to have leg-of-mutton sleeves changed into long fitted ones, more in fashion at the time. In this way one could save a favorite dress by bringing it into style while saving money!

fashion

Worn by Catherine Prindle Roddis – 1933

Made in the United States using cotton lace, silk velvet, and silk crepe back satin, this evening dress was worn for her 25th wedding anniversary.


And there you have a look at women’s fashion through dress styles over the years with the added treat of having every garment on display coming from the same family! I hope you enjoyed exploring creativity as it is found in dress design and the world of fashion.

For more posts involving fashion, check out this one on hats and this one that features men’s ties.

Princess Dress Challenge

One of the most iconic things about the stereotypical Disney Princess is the dress. Each Princess has a signature dress that defines her look and image, usually based on how she looks after her transformation, whatever that may be.

While visiting Downtown Disney (renamed Disney Springs now) I saw three Princesses posing around The World of Disney store. And in one display window, I also saw the dresses of these same three Princesses made out of dolls.

So I thought it would be neat to see side-by-side comparisons. Who will win the Best Dress Challenge? We’ll start with Cinderella:

Cinderella Statue     Cinerella Dress

Now, we know that Cinderella started out with her mother’s dress, altered with the help of her critter friends. But that one got ruined by her jealous step sisters, and I believe it was white with pink embellishments (above right). The final version ended up being blue (above left). But I think both colors look great!

Now on to our next Princess, Aurora, or Sleeping Beauty:

Sleeping Beauty Statue     Sleeping Beauty Dress

There was no question that this Princess is pretty in pink! And you have to admit it is a striking design! But if you notice, the basic design matches Cinderella’s but with more angular lines around the neck and waist.

Now on to our last Princess, Belle, from Beauty and the Beast:

Belle Statue     Belle Dress

By far the most intricate design of these three Princess dresses. And I think the most successful when rendered in dolls!

You can still pose with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty out and around The World of Disney store, and see Belle up in the rafters inside. But I don’t think the doll-dresses are still on display. So enjoy them here! Which is your favorite?