Many decades ago, women marched and demanded the right to vote. Known as suffragettes since they fought for women’s suffrage (voting rights), these were dedicated women who eventually achieved their goal.
My Toni doll has a variety of outfits from different eras but she didn’t have a suffragette costume. In the past two years, women have been on the march again to call attention to political issues that affect them. Some protesters dressed in suffragette costumes to participate and to call attention to how long women have had to struggle to achieve equality.
The other day as we disassembled a broken-down laundry cart, the texture of the bags inspired me to start to work. There’s nothing like free fabric that will be going to waste to get my mind into design mode.
The fabric had a slight stiffness to it even after washing. Its weave gave it sort of a linen look. It should be just right and I had lots of it. That allows me to experiment with some variations on the look.
I’m setting this aside for the moment, but further down the road, I’ll finish the project. I’ll need to make her a sash from some satin material and get a small flag for her to carry.
Long ago, I read Elswyth Thane’s novels of England in the Edwardian age. The descriptions of the house parties in the country manor houses, the gala dances in London, and being presented to the royal family stuck in my mind.
Today, my Toni doll has her presentation to the Queen. For the occasion, her silk dress is heavily embroidered with exquisite details of flowers and leaves in the palest of pinks.
There’s a hint of bare shoulder but the bodice is modestly high so certainly no cleavage revealed.
Her hair is arranged Gibson girl style with an impressive plume curving gracefully to frame her face.
She carries a fan to cool herself while waiting a long time in line for her turn to be presented. None of the young ladies can sit down and risk wrinkling their perfect outfits.
Details of the bodice on Toni doll’s silk dress.
She’s wearing a wrist corsage that was given to her by her beau for this occasion.
The dress has a modest train so care must be used not to step on the hem of the gown.
Find Fashion Inspiration in Books and Graphics
Books like these can inspire your doll outfits. They are available from Amazon. Also, most public libraries have reference books showing clothing from different eras.
How did I make this outfit for Toni? The dress is a silk handkerchief that is draped around her body and pinned in back. I’m lucky to have the smallest Toni, as some of the larger ones wouldn’t be able to get a whole evening dress out of a single handkerchief.
The feather and miniature roses are from my stash of accessories. The plastic fan is a pin. I didn’t want to use the doll stand which would clamp in an unsightly way around her waist, so I covered it to serve as a pedestal that Toni could balance herself for her portrait.
Try an Elswyth Thane Historical Novel
If you want to sample some Elswyth Thane vintage fiction, Tryst is my very favorite one, but they are all keepers.
A few weeks ago, I tried my hand at hat making. I cut up an old straw golf hat of my husband’s and came up with a basic bonnet suitable for the country-style dress my Toni doll had.
Now with Easter coming up fast, I reworked the hat for a smoother looking back. Yes, I used a glue gun for that. then I added some ribbons and lace to fancy it up a little more. Here she is, Toni doll in her revamped Easter bonnet.
I added periwinkle ribbon and some lace to the bonnet
Great yard sale find, miniature rickrack and ribbon. All for just $1.
Toni with the bunny made from a handkerchief
I have a huge stash of lace and ribbon so I need to use it more with Toni’s outfits. Just this week, I found this batch of micro-spools with miniature rickrack and slim ribbons. It was just a dollar for the whole bunch. How could I resist?
Does your doll have a special outfit for Easter? Pose her prettily with some spring flowers or a bunny and share your photo in the Facebook group: Toni Doll’s Fan Club.
I find myself looking at things with an eye towards using it with my Toni doll. These caught my eye first because they were cheap. My mind churned over the possibilities.
For just $1, I could get a pack of those colorful hair bands. They are stretchy, so might make good bikini tops for her and I could get some stretchy fabric to make the bottoms. Or these could be a headband to wear with a jogging outfit. Of course, she doesn’t have a jogging outfit yet or any jogging shoes, so I’d have to figure those out.
A few times I’ve used a wide rubber band to hold a scarf in place for a skirt. These would work for that too. I picked up a package with the pink, blue, purple, and red stretchy bands in it.
Here’s your chance to get a Toni doll, a P-90, for just 95 cents on eBay. There are just a few days left to put your bid in on this bargain!
She’s ready for a bit of a makeover. Looks like she’s had her bangs trimmed sometime in the past but still has plenty of luxurious hair to style however you like.
Someone gave her a painted lipstick update from her original look but it wouldn’t take much to correct that.
Fresh lip color and a hair comb is needed.
For 95 cents, I don’t think you should be too critical. Put in your bid! (Disclaimer: I don’t know this seller and receive no commission if they make a sale)
Here’s the description from the seller,
“This is an Ideal Toni doll that was made in the ’50s or before that has her original clothes. I added shoes and socks to complete her outfit. Shoes and socks are not original. It was given to a friend of mine by her grandmother who purchased it new and is no longer with us. The open/close eyes work although a bit sticky. The composite like material she’s made from is in good condition and the head is attached with a rubber band that is still holding its own. The romper, red bloomers, socks, and shoes are all in very good condition as well as the face paint.”
I’ve not seen this dress before so don’t know if it has an Ideal tag or not. The seller, whitehouse_collectibles , didn’t specify that. It has the right elements to be from the 1950s or early 1960s.
I’d say that it’s a bargain, even if the price jumps to $10 or $20. The shoes and socks alone are worth more than 95 cents.
I mentioned Easter in my last post and my Toni doll started immediately badgering me for an Easter bonnet. Since I’d been intending to attempt some hat making, I told her that I’d try to make a spring bonnet. After all, Easter is still 6 weeks away.
Perhaps later, I can add some flowers to it and tell her it’s an Easter bonnet. Luckily, my husband just discarded two golf hats that he no longer wanted. I snatched them before they made it into the trash.
Here are the first steps in my millinery effort. I had in mind sort of a Jane Austen style of hat like you would see in Regency times. An online search turned up a great selection when I clicked for it to show images.
Searching for images online of Jane Austen style bonnets
It looked like the light-colored straw hat that I was about to cut into would be just what I needed. I’m hoping that I can get 2 or 3 hats from it. Those might be in a different style though.
Cutting up a man’s golf hat to make a doll’s bonnet
First step in making a hat for my Toni doll.
Once I had a piece cut from the larger hat, I tried it on my doll to see what needed adjusting. The brim was okay and framed her face well but it seems like I should have been more generous in cutting the part for the back.
By folding in the back part and stapling it, I achieved a reasonable shape. Then I stapled ribbon down from each side of the brim for tying under the doll’s chin. The staples don’t show much with the texture of the woven straw.
Side view of the bonnet
Back view of the bonnet
Front view of the doll’s bonnet
The band on the hat is what was there originally. I could glue on a pretty pink ribbon to match her dress and then for Easter add some flower clusters or a pretty bow. Instead of stapling, one could hot glue the ribbons used to tie under the chin. I get impatient and want immediate results, so just grabbed the stapler.
I almost let St. Patrick’s Day slip by without a photo shoot for Toni. A quick look through her wardrobe confirmed that I didn’t have a green dress for her to wear. Since it was evening already, she had to make do with a green bow in her hair.
Here’s her quickie Paddy’s Day photo-op. Of course, she wasn’t happy with any of them. “The bow’s too big,” she complained. She didn’t think it went well with her pink dress and pinafore.
Toni Doll & St Patrick’s Day
Toni doll and the Irish flag for St. Patrick’s Day
Where’s the leprechaun?
I felt that she should be grateful to get a feature on the March holiday without criticizing the details. I’m already marking my calendar for Easter so I’ll be better prepared.