April 11, 2015 Dolls & Their Wardrobes
Program and Display by Pam J. / Summary and photos by Pat D.
Pam asked the question: what is a wardrobe? The answer: No rules – a wardrobe can refer to both the clothing collection and to the storage unit which it is all kept. Pam revealed she likes the clothing best and she shared many amusing stories of her quests for wardrobes from early childhood to today, along with a delightful Powerpoint presentation.
History of wardrobes: Since the fifteenth century dolls were attired in the latest costumes following the fashion trends of European courts. In the 1690’s the rich had professionally made clothing and the poor had clothes made by mama.
The golden age of doll manufacturers was 1860 to 1890, when demand for dolls rose and new and elegant types were constantly being produced. The most desirable and expensive types were the French fashion Parisienne dolls, with extravagant wardrobes.
A child doll, Bleuette (SFBJ), was one of the most fashionable in the history of dolls with their own wardrobes and more than 1,000 published clothing patterns and fifty-plus years’ worth of commercial clothing made just for her. The industrial age made both easier to produce.
Patterns and homemade wardrobes: To market their products, Butterick introduced two fashion magazines, the Ladies Quarterly of Broadway Fashions and the Metropolitan in the 1860s. Both magazines sold the Butterick’s pattern designs by mail order. In 1873, Ebenezer Butterick launched The Delineator, which, by the turn of the century, became one of the most popular women’s fashion magazines in America. In addition to men, women and children’s clothing patterns, The Delineator also offered detailed doll clothes patterns to make an extensive and complete doll’s wardrobe. Today you can find a very large offering of vintage Simplicity, McCalls, Butterick and Vogue patterns on Ebay and doll sales, as well as, new patterns in retail stores and online.
At the end of the 1800’s most dolls produced were child dolls and the early 1900’s saw the popularity change to baby dolls. In the 20’s & 30’s Effanbee had a new marketing strategy. You could buy a doll in a box with or without clothing. Plus you could buy factory made clothing in trunks or boxes. In the mid 1950’s wardrobes returned, with a new form of fashion doll, like Miss Revlon, Cissy, Jill, Tressy and of course BARBIE.
In the 1990’s to 2000’s, a market for dolls with large clothing wardrobes began to emerge among adult collectors such as Gene, Tyler, Bratz, Alex, Ellowyne, and ball jointed dolls.
Pam and club members shared with us quite a variety of examples; Antique wax and bisque head dolls, Barbie by Mattel, Muffin by Madame Alexander, Sweet Sue by American Character, Mary Hoyer, Maryanne Oldenburg, Marie Therese by Vogue, Terri Lee, Patsy by Effanbee, Sonny & Cher by Mego, Schoenhut, Helen Kish, Sad Sally by Tonner – all with extensive manufactured or homemade clothing and many with storage wardrobes.
Many of these doll fashions came with quite a variety of storage wardrobes made of wood, plastic, metal, cloth, pasteboard, etc. Some are simple and others quite extravagant with multiple drawers and racks. The Jackie Kennedy doll and fashion wardrobe are amazing in authenticity and detail and are all stored in a large multi drawered storage wardrobe. Pam and club members also reinvented items to become storage wardrobes; stationary bins, baskets, cardboard boxes covered with patterned paper. And there were a number of lovely old wooden wardrobes, some plain and others with beautiful carvings and pull knobs.
Thank you Pam and club members who shared your wonderful dolls and their wardrobes.