Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Little Women Dolls

Many of us have read the novel Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and fallen in love with the story of the four March sisters, whose remarkably different characters/personalities leads them from girlhood to womanhood in their own individual ways.  

The story strikes a stronger note with me now than it did years ago prior to having children of my own. Similar to the March sisters, my three daughters have strikingly different personalities and have approached oncoming adulthood in completely different manners, yet they have all achieved success and continue to live their lives in their own unique ways.

 Quite a few years ago I took my two older daughters, (who were school-aged at the time) to see the movie. I was anxious to see the movie after reading the novel a couple of times myself. It was a wonderful film, but I suspect my daughters may have been a bit young to fully appreciate the story (I remember them becoming a little fidgety towards the end) but I sat there fully enthralled with the movie, every detail, right down to the beautiful 19th century clothing. I am convinced I was born in the wrong century!

This beautiful collection of Little Women dolls was handmade with love by my mother for my girls. Two of the dolls, Beth (pictured in red) and Meg (pictured in green) have a trunk containing additional hand sewn clothing. I will include photos of all of the beautiful clothing, painstakingly sewn with fashion details of the time period:  lovely tucks, lace embellishments, ribbons etc.

Warning:  this post is photo intensive!

First meet Beth. She is shy though very wise beyond her years. She becomes ill in the story and sadly dies at a very young age. 

Beth's portrait

I think that she is the character I most identify with. She is a bit of a homebody, adores her family and she loved her dolls. As a young child growing up, I played with dolls constantly and was a pretend ("closet") Thumbelina mom right up through 7th grade. (Don't tell anyone!)

Her dress is darling, her lace petticoat peeks out from beneath her dress and it has a stand up lace collar.

Below is Amy. She is the youngest of the sisters.

Amy's portrait

Amy's dress is very sweet too! I love the black ribbon trim on the green and black print fabric. She is a bit self focused and a tad materialistic.

Below is Meg.

She is a real beauty! She is the oldest of the four girls, very responsible and looks after her sisters. She takes on a motherly, domestic role in the family

I love her hair. 

This photo is my favorite. She almost appears to be modelling for us! Her dress is so feminine, edged with a delicate lace on the sleeves and a single rosette embellishes the collar of her blouse.

Back views

.....and last but not least, is Jo (Josephine)

Her dress is one of my favorites! The large lace shawl collar, the tiny lace edging around the neckline is just so pretty. 
Jo is strong-willed, rebellious and a bit of a tomboy. 

Beautiful lace!

Can you see her tiny little purse with a tassel? The purse is even lined with green fabric. The details my mother put into this collection of dolls and their wardrobes are extraordinary! 

Pardon me while I peek under your dress! Even her under garments are gorgeous right down to the fine little details of the lace edging and tucks in her slip. Look at those tucks!

As mentioned earlier in the post, two of the girls have trunks with nightwear and a change of clothing.

Here is Beth's.

Let's take a peek inside!

This trunk contains a beautiful mauve, moire taffeta skirt, jacket and hat. To the left you will notice little white circles of lace. They go under the sleeves of the jacket. (see below) Also included is a nightie, night cap and matching slippers, as well as a red velvet coat.

This outfit is amazing! Look at all of the details!

Her little pink, flannel nightie, night cap and slippers are especially
 sweet and reminiscent of nighties that my mom made for each of my daughters as they were growing up. This nightie also has a tuck and is adorned with plenty of lace.

Beth's red velvet coat is beautifully made inside and out! Fully lined, with a stand up ruffled collar, it matches the bonnet she is photographed with.

Here she is wearing her red coat all buttoned up.

Here she is with her coat unbuttoned to show off her matching dress.

Next we have Amy's trunk.

Her trunk contains a skirt, jacket and blouse, a nightie set and a green velvet cape.

This skirt is adorable with a real waistband and white trim. The white sleeveless shell has a lace ruffle.

I love this outfit too! I wish I could wear it!

Look at the matching trim on the jacket! 

Her green velvet cape matches her bonnet as well. This cape is also fully lined! detail left out!

Here is her nightie, cap and slippers! So sweet!

She was kind enough to model her green cape for us!

Beth and Amy--posing with their capes and bonnets.

Amy takes a moment to chat with Jo! Here we can see the back details of Jo's dress and hair. 

Some additional sister photo ops!

I was waiting for my camera to ask "did someone blink?" since Beth has her eyes closed, but that did not happen.

Anyways, I have been eager to show off these Little Women dolls that my mom made for my daughters. Though she made them quite a few years ago, I had asked her to keep them until the girls were a bit older. Other dolls that were made for my kids were "well played" with and I really wanted to keep these in mint condition.

I finally collected them and brought them home with me the day before yesterday! 

This is one of those extra special gifts that cannot be replaced or its value be measured. 
Hours and hours of heart and soul went into the making of each doll, each outfit, each little tuck here and there, each little embellishment of lace and rosebuds.
These little women will be cherished for years to come. Thank you mom for this wonderful gift--a true labor of love!

PS If anyone knows the name of the original pattern book I would love to find the book to complete the wardrobes. 

"...the love, respect and confidence of my children was the sweetest reward I could receive for my efforts to be the woman I would have them copy."
Louisa May Alcott
Little Women


I located the book of patterns that my other used to make these dolls. It is The Woman's Day Book of Soft Toys and Dolls by Joan Russell. My mother used several other patterns from the book as well.

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