New Dresses for the Innaugural Ball and for Your Antique Doll

Victorian pin cushion
Victorian pin cushion doll dressed in ribbons and lace

“Yes! We get to get a dress for the inaugural ball!” was one of my favorite quotes from Tuesday night’s mid-term victory speeches. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s win meant much to many and for the two darling daughters of Lieutenant Governor Sherry Kleeficsh and Representative Joel Kleeficsh that meant new dresses. Finally, politics I can understand.

Bleuette in original dress
Antique Bluette doll in original dress

Speaking of dresses, a vintage dress in pristine condition can add to the price tag of a collectible doll. Original clothing and in good condition can add to the value of a doll. The description original or appropriate clothing in a price guide on antique dolls indicates prices for a doll dressed either in its original clothing or wearing clothing designed and stitched as the doll might have worn at the time of production; thus appropriate.

Shoulder head on kid body
Shoulder head on a  kid body

Today, when we buy a doll, it comes dressed, but that wasn’t always the case. In the 1800s, shoulder head dolls were available without clothes and/or a body and clothing, which the mother could buy or make separately. The shoulder head included a shoulder plate with holes that could be latched to a cloth body or molded without holes and glued to a kid-leather body. Shoulder head dolls were a less expensive solution to German and French dolls made of bisque and composition. (Click for shoulder head dress patterns, either in the style of the Civil War or the American Revolution.)

Blond China Head Doll
Antique china head doll

With a china head doll, the mother could keep the dolly in good condition and avoid tears if the dolly broke. Mom could either remove the old china head and latch on a new one. Or, if the doll’s body became worn and soiled, she could make a new body and latch it to the doll’s head, thus rescuing a beloved, little girl’s doll.

[Incidentally, a French Jumeau doll is not well dressed at all without French clothing and French Jumeau shoes such as we recently auctioned for sale on eBay. Just saying, a new dress means new shoes.]

Pin Cushion Doll
Half Doll or Pin Cushion Doll

In a similar fashion to china head dolls, a myriad of pin cushion dolls or half dolls were produced in the Victorian era to add glamor to a dresser bureau and a perfect place to stick hat pins. Holes at the doll’s waistline allowed for attaching the half doll to a pin cushion, which could be made in the loveliest fashion to suit a women’s whimsy.

Well, all good things must come to an end, they say. Elections always mean my mailbox is full, but now it’s empty. My friend said she received so much political mail she had to buy a larger waste basket.

Surprisingly, I was sad to see Halloween come and go this year. I was particularly fond of watching Geico’s  Scary Movie Commercial. It was a bright spot in TV land this Halloween season.

Imagine how happy I was later to find the ad on YouTube! Now I can watch it anytime. Eventually I will tire of playing the ad but for now, I like to listen to the voice of reason … “Why can’t we just get in the running car!”Paper Mache PumpkinsPaper Mache Pumpkin Heads or Jack-o-Lanterns
In the 1940s and 50s, paper mache pumpkin heads were designed as gifts, wrapped in amber cellophane and filled with lollipops and toys
The smallest, is 2-1/2 inches tall and is paper lined; the largest is 7-inches tall and has a scary face; and the singing pumpkin is 4-inches tall and has a wire bail handle.

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Patricia Wiskur

My love for art comes from years in the studio of Wiskur Productions, with my husband, Darrell Wiskur, a designer and photographer. Also, I was an editor and photographer in the real world for 17 years ... all the while, thankful for an artful life and cherished memories. Photos are ©2019 Darrell D. Wiskur