My mother and I made two “jemima dolls” recently, one for my 5yr old little girl and another for her cousin a few months younger.
My sister has a rag doll mum bought for her when she was two, at one of those impromptu fetes often held outside polling booths on election day. She’s similar to Jemima from the ABC’s children’s show Play School although a lot more worn and threadbare.
A few years ago my sister’s Jemima had a makeover by my mum, who redid her (sadly threadbare) hair and made her a new, very sweet, dress.
I was given my rag-doll, Lilly, when I was almost 7. Being a bit older when I got her she’s fared a bit better. But recently she too got a new set of clothes – a pair of short pantaloons (Silk, from an offcut of some sewing project) edged in lace, and a short-sleeved dress, sprinkled with small flower-fairies of the Cicely Mary Barkervariety.
For my daughter and niece’s dollies, mum and I road-tested a number of patterns, some op-shop finds, some from online. We settled on one from the op-shop in a tattered plastic bag, obviously pulled out of a Golden Circle magazine. She was gorgeous! The only issue was her head didn’t stay upright, so we examined Lilly’s neck shape, realised it was very very wide, providing adequate support, and adjusted the design accordingly
I also showed my daughter a small selection of pretty floral fabrics, asking which ones she liked best.
“Why mummy? What are they for?”
“Oh,” I replied nonchalantly “I just thought you might like them.”
“Oh yes, mummy! I do!”
A few days later my daughter came across Lilly. She took one look at her, and eyes wide, her arms reached out for her.
“Oooh, Mummy!” She hugged Lilly close. I was startled by the pure instinct of her reaction. She tentatively asked “Can I have her?”
“Well, no, she is mine, you see. But you can cuddle her.”
A few days later, after numerous requests for her own “jemima doll” my fiance gave in, and explained Granny and mummy were making her a doll. “Remember the fabrics Mummy showed you? She wanted to know which you would like best for her dress.”
One happy little daughter 🙂
To me she asked “Mummy, what is her name?”
“I don’t know what her name is. Maybe you will have to ask her when you meet her.”
After a moment’s thought she said “Maybe it is Lollie.”
“Maybe it is.”
Once finished, I put the dolly on her pillow as she slept in the morning. When she woke she came racing out.
“Mummy! Mummy! Look!”
Then she paused, looking uncertain, “Is she your dollie, mummy?”
“No, she is yours! See, her dress is made of the orange fabric you liked so much.”
“Lollie has brown skin just like me!”
“Yes, Granny and I made her especially for you.”
And then … “Mummy, could you make her a pink dress too?”
Here is my niece’s dolly too. Mum did the embroidered faces. I am allergic to that sort of thing 😛
There are a few subtle differences in eye colour and hair colour – and of course dress colour, to match the differences in the girl’s looks etc. My niece hasn’t got her dolly yet. I look forward to that moment 🙂