As far back as I can remember I have loved dolls. I loved having lots of clothes for my dolls. Some of my favorite dolls as a young girl were my Velvet doll and my Ginnie baby doll. Velvet was Crissie's younger sister or cousin. She had long blond hair that you could shorten with a knob on her back or make longer by pushing on her belly button. I must have washed her hair at one time because she ended up with the frizzes. Ginnie was a small baby doll ( I still have her). My mother made some beautiful clothes for Velvet and Ginnie.
I always wanted a Barbie, but my mom thought she was too grown up for young girls. My first fashion doll was a Quick Curl Skipper. It must have been in the early 70's. I loved her. I got her to play with during a road trip. My parents also bought me a few outfits for her. I was in heaven. While playing with her on my trip I wondered why she had weird copper wires in her blond hair. I thought they didn't belong, so I pulled them all out. Then I wondered why her hair didn't curl. A few years later, I remember getting a Francie for Christmas. I had a few fashion dolls, but never Barbie.
My grandma Lilly had a Madame Alexander doll that I just loved. She was a 12" Beth from "Little Women". She had shoulder length dark hair, and wore a pink dress, white pinafore, white bloomers and petticoat. She also had white socks and black velvet Maryjane shoes. Whenever I would visit my grandma, I would play with her. When I turned 8, Grandma gave her to me. I named her Charlotte after the rag doll Laura Ingalls had in "Little House in the Big Woods. A few years later, I found my mother's old Snow White in my grandpa's attic. She was made of composite, had a gold print dress and vest and a blond wig. I guess her original black wig had been replaced at some time. I also got a "Heidi" when I was 10 for Christmas.
My mother is an excellent seamstress, and she made me doll clothes when I was really young, but it wasn't her favorite thing to do. She found it tedious. I wanted more and more clothes for my dolls so she taught me how to sew. I still remember my first doll clothes outfit. I make my Skipper a pair of shorts and top out of blue double knit polyester with rick-rack. I sewed it by hand and was so proud of it.
Over the years I continued to sew for my dolls, Skipper, Francie, Charlotte, and Snow White. When I was eleven I received a "My Friend Mandy" for Christmas. She was really cute and I also got some patterns for her. Later I got "My Friend Jenny, Becky and Mikey. When I was in High School, Grandma Lilly gave me a Kimberly doll. She was beautiful! She was the same size as the My Friend dolls but I liked her better. I sewed for years for her even into my 20's. I added 2 "My Beautiful Dolls" to my collection. They were a lot like Kimberly.
I finally started collecting Barbies in my late teens. My collection grew massive. I wanted to find as many different fashion dolls that I could. I have many Barbies, but I also have Midge, PJ, Shanie, Nichelle, Asha, Theresa, all the New Kids on the Block boy dolls, Donnie and Marie, a few of the 90210 dolls, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and her boyfriend, characters from "Clueless", some of the Disney characters, Mary Kate and Ashley, some German fashion dolls, Skipper and her friends, Kelly and her friends and many, many more. Originally I thought I would sew for the 12" fashion dolls, but I never enjoyed it.
I was a grown woman when the American Girl dolls first came out. I have always loved their products. The dolls are cute enough, but it was the accessories, especially the shoes, that I just adore. I only have one American Girl doll, Kit, but I have two Magic Attic dolls, and a few Gotz dolls that are all the same size. I sewed tons of dresses for those dolls. At one point I was making each doll and outfit for every month, Valentine dresses, Halloween costumes, winter coats, etc.
GENE AND FRIENDS
During all this time I longed for a larger fashion doll to sew for. I bought my first Gene "Creme de Cassis" in 1998. I bought a couple other dolls later, but I didn't start sewing for Gene until 2003. Once I started, I was hooked. I now own many Genes and Tonner dolls. I have bins full of fabric and many 3 ring binders full of outfit ideas for Gene and her friends. I guess you could say I'm obsessed!
Gene opened a whole new world for me. I have met so many wonderful doll people at conventions and on the internet. I love researching fashion history and looking for the fabrics to use to recreate fashions for Gene in miniature. I feel like I have found a wonderful creative outlet. I thank Gene for that.