Friday, February 12, 2016

The Story Behind My "Celia's" Victorian Doll Pattern

A lot of my dolls have stories behind them. Here's the story of my "Celia" doll:

Celia is married to Elmer (see my post The Story Behind Elmers Little Boy ). They have been happily married for over 50 years and were recently moving into their new home. Since they were downsizing they had to either get rid of a lot of items or throw a lot away. So, they decided what to throw away and what to sell at their yard sale. When you've been married over fifty years there are a LOT of items.

In any event, one of the items Celia had decided to throw away was this old, grungy, doll who was just plain "a mess". She had lost most of her hair on the top of her head and had one long bunch of strands down one side of her head. Her fingers were all broken and her face was dirty. She had on an old, dirty, prairie dress and bonnet. I wish I had taken a picture of her so you could have seen how she was. Needless to say she was in desperate need of a make over. I think she was considering going to a day spa, but she wasn't aware of any dollie day spas. There definitely weren't any in the yellow pages.

So, of course, I took her home and we pondered her fate together. We decided she should be elegant. She'd had enough of this simple, primitive, country look and wanted to be a real "Lady". So we decided on a bit of a "French" aristocratic look for her. We needed something that would cover up her bald spots while still making it seem like she had a full head of hair. Definitely a twist was in store. The problem, however, was what to do with the rest of her head. I though maybe a combination of a large hat and "Gloria Swanson" type of turban would work. Celia was skeptical. It was a drastic step.

So we twisted the one long bunch of hair strands she had on the right side of her head into a bun over her ear. We decided that some old green velour material that I had would make a good turban, high-waisted jacket top, and part of her fancy hat. The other part of her fancy hat was made out of the same material as her dress. You have to be coordinated, you know, to be an elegant "Lady" from France. We arranged some of the green velour material so that it appeared to be a turban around her head. We put her fancy bonnet together and decided it would look very "elegant" if it was slanted towards the left side of her head and tied in a bow on the right side of her neck.

Of course, she had on all the underclothes and items proper "Ladies" just do not discuss. Celia was shaking and had her hands (or what was left of her hands and fingers) over her eyes. I positioned her in front of the mirror and told her to look. Reluctantly, after 15 minutes of coaxing she finally looked. What she saw took her breathe away. She spent the next week just looking at herself in the mirror. Talk about someone getting a "big" head. Celia wanted to change her name to "Venus" as she was now the most beautiful woman, or should I say dollie, in the world. I'd had enough of this and decided it was time for Celia to go home.

So, we took Celia back to the real Celia. She couldn't believe it was the same doll. So elegant, so beautiful, so "aristocratic", so...... well, conceited. Well, I tell you, when you've been around for 80+ years you know how to tame an ego that was getting out of control. Celia sat Celia down and told her "Enough of this crap! You're a doll named after me. The beauty belongs to me, not you." Celia was humbled, or so we think. She now resides in the real Celia's bedroom, turned away from any mirrors. Once in a while she does, however, manage to catch a glimpse of her beauty in a mirror and she just smiles.

Well, since I had already created the patterns for the undergarments, dress, fancy hat, etc. I decided that I should make a Celia cloth doll and pattern. My version of the Celia doll is shown below.

"Celia" is dressed in her "Sunday" Victorian best. From her high waisted dress to her tiny jacket, to her bloomers, to her frilly lacy hat, to her slip she is all "Lacy Victorian." She, of course, couldn't be happier as she is a "frilly girl" through and through. Lace, frills, and ruffles. The more lace, ruffles, and frills the better. She wants it all. That is, she wants it Victorian and all.

“Celia”, 22” Doll - Victorian Doll - Victorian Series - 1893 Empire Gown

Designer-Linda Walsh Originals

Celia has a fancy double-tiered lace and ruffled trim lined jacket with long puffed up sleeves, very fancy lace & floral decorated lined hat with tulle, fancy lace & double-ruffle tiered dress, lace gloves, lace trimmed and gathered slip, lace trimmed and gathered bloomers, and blond hair tied in a bun. She has boots tied with laces and her lined jacket has large ribbon ties which are tied in a bow in the front. She also has a fabric covered head and body and black bead eyes.

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