Friday, December 17, 2010

Playing with Dolls

I loved playing with Barbies as a child. I think I got my first one when I was around two years old--there are several old snapshots of me in family albums with me toddling around clutching a blond ponytailed Barbie in her black and white striped maillot. Yes, that iconic one. I had a lot of other dolls too, but Barbie and her friends were always my favorites. Like many sewists, Barbie was an early muse and a inspiration to start sewing. Chatty Cathy didn't have a chance even with the ability to speak.

In the early 2000s, my ASG chapter ran several fundraisers featuring the raffle of a doll with a complete wardrobe made by members. After some American Girl fundraisers, we decided to have one featuring the Gene doll in 2001. Gene is a collectible fashion doll whose narrative was that of a movie star of the 1940s and 1950s. As a result, lots of glamorous vintage-inspired gowns,  ensembles, and costumes! Eventually, other dolls were added to the line before it was retired this year.

I remember making an outfit for our fundraiser on 9/11--making it helped me stay calm during that horrible day. It was based on this pattern:

I always had fond feelings towards Gene for so many reasons. She was pretty, detailed, a bit larger than Barbie, and what a backstory! Long story short, I've been wanting one for quite a while. I recently bid on a used Gene on eBay and brought her home. She came with the teal "Destiny" ensemble--the gown, earrings, gloves (which I can't get on her), stockings (!) and shoes.

I also bid on an outfit so I could see how the clothes were made--and face it, so I could play with her. I'm not one of those people who'll keep something unused in the box for collector value. No point in that.

This outfit is incomplete so I was able to pick it up for a semi-reasonable price. The ensemble is called "Gene's Day Off," or something like that. I guess even a movie star can't wear gowns all the time.

I realize this is totally frivolous and silly, but I have a long history with fashion dolls and their little wardrobes so they occupy a soft spot in my heart.  I'm sure I'll have fun dressing and wardrobing Miss Gene. I have several patterns from back when we did the fundraiser so I'm ready to go.


Melodye said...

Frivolous and silly is not always a bad thing. It serves to distract us from the everyday. May you never lose the ability to play. Gene is adorable. Enjoy!

Little Hunting Creek said...

My sister and I love dolls too. My sister has a whole glamorous Barbie collection. It makes her happy and it helps her releax from a stressful job

SewingLibrarian said...

Have fun with Gene! I had (still have) two American Girls before my kids arrived. I don't "play" with them any more, but I still like to set them around, especially at Christmas.

Terri K said...

You go Nancy! Our neighbor in VA gave Barbie dolls to my sister and I as a going away present in 1961 before we moved away. We lived in our mother's home town in Kansas while our dad was overseas, and our aunts sewed and knitted fabulous outfits for them. That is how I learned to sew!

Lizzie said...

Hi Nancy, I collect the odd vintage doll here and there, and because I can't afford an expensive one, they mostly need a new outfit. What an excuse to sew one! But I recently bought the same Gene doll as you as well as a Tyler Wentworth. Tyler came without an outfit, so what better excuse to play dolls and make one for her. I get to research and design an outfit in much the same way I do for myself. Have a look at the outfit I made for my 1950's doll on my blog if you get a moment:
Looking forward to seeing the outfits you make for your doll.