Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rag Doll....Victoria:)

Jan Conwell.....was talking today about the appeal of rag dolls which reminded me about a rag doll that I made last year called Victoria. I had blogged about Victoria on my other blog but not on here.

I bought the pattern for her in 1981 from Canadian Living Magazine. She was an exclusive design for the magazine by Canadian doll artist Judy Pilgrim Stewart who was the designer of a line of dolls called Jenny Dolls.

There was a lovely article in the magazine about Judy and her dolls. Apparently she was a prolific designer and at the time the article was written she had produced 1,394 dolls and her inventory was growing at a rate of 60 a year!!!!

Judy graduated from the University of Manitoba after studying textiles, costume design and art history. Her studio was in the attic of a rambling old house on the bank's of Winnipeg's Red River. She first started making dolls in 1967 with hand painted faces and meticulously researched period clothing.

Her attic loft had a cast of doll characters.......Praline the maid, Lavinia Catchpole the housekeeper, Charlotte the milliner and lovely Blanche the model, all under the strict scrutiny of Madame Clothilde, her workroom supervisor. One of Madame's duties was responding to all correspondence much to the delight of Judy's younger customers.

Victoria, is a Manitoba pioneer doll circa 1860, named after Judy's youngest daughter. She stands 20 inches tall, with yarn hair and embroidered features. Here is a scan of the picture of Judy's Victoria doll from the magazine......

Here is my Victoria....she was my third attempt at making a cloth doll and I really love how she turned out.





Not the best photos...I really should take better ones:)...and, I still have to make her shoes!

I had mentioned at the time of my first blog post on April 21st, 2011 that I could find very little about what happened to the designer and then I received this lovely comment .......

Dear Mary Ann,

           I grew up in Winnipeg as a young girl in the '70's, and I owned (and still do) a Jenny Doll. For years every christmas and birthday I ordered and received a beautiful victorian style dress or outfit which Judy Pilgrim Stewart designed made by hand in her magical attic. I have a wardrobe of about 15 outfits, it was a great childhood passion of mine, and I am very proud of my collection. I was one of many little girls in Winnipeg in that time who had a Jenny Doll, and collected outfits from Judy. Judy was a wonderful lady, and had incredible taste and flair. All the doll's hats were hand crocheted straw, and she would embroider and knit to scale. She usually made the dolls to look like their owners, but would also make fictional characters like Laura Ingalls and the Little Women sisters.
           I still keep in touch with Judy from time to time, as her husband was a teacher at my high school. Judy worked also at the Dugald Historical Costume Museum near Winnipeg. She came back to making Jenny Dolls (named after her daughter) after a long break (my nieces were happy recipients about 5 years ago), but has since quit making them. I have wonderful childhood memories of Judy, an incredible lady with a great passion for craft, design, and history.
regards,
Maria L

How cool is that:)

I'm joining up today with The Needle & Thread Network.......please visit and see all the lovely work created by other Canadian bloggers:)

Take care.













15 comments:

Annette said...

nice story about the doll and her origins. Great work on making her as well.I have not made one in a while, I have enrolled in a doll making class the end of May and I am looking forward to it.I just may have to play a little before....

elle said...

oh, wow, Mary Ann. Dugald is not very far away from me. The first dolls I made my girls were cloth dolls with yarn hair and button eyes, one blond, one brown to match their owners. Yours looks better but I have wonderful memories of staying up late in December making them and doing a wardrobe for them. Lovely bit of memory making.

HollyM said...

What a lovely doll and an interesting story! It's wonderful how we can make these connections on line isn't it?

Jan Conwell said...

I commented via email, but let me say again, your Victoria is beautiful!

Mary @ Colony Mountain Stitcheries said...

Enjoyable post on the Jenny dolls. Your Victoria is beautiful...such a pretty face!

felicity said...

Your Victoria doll is beautiful! Such a serene face. I loved reading the history of these dolls - I'd never heard of them.

Patti said...

Great story on a Canadian designer! You did a fantastic job on your doll-love the shawl she is wearing!

famfa said...

Lovely post. What a wonderful story. Love your Victoria doll. X

Lunch Lady Jan said...

Oh, how lovely is that story? I felt the hairs on the back on my neck stand up reading all about that amazing woman. And THAT is the reason why I'm indebted to WOYWW - where else would we get to hear about stories like that? I feel quite emotional about it and can't explain why. Your doll is beautiful too and is following in august footsteps :)
Hugs, LLJ #7 xx

Maureen said...

Lovely doll, and great story!

Regina said...

Your doll is much lovelier than the one in the magazine!

Rhissanna said...

You made such a lovely doll, Mary Ann; her face is so sweet and I love the knitted shawl. I remember the Jenny Doll post from your other blog and I have to say, I'm reall impressed by the 60 dolls a year. Puts me to shame!

Grandma Coco said...

I love the knitted shawl! So sweet.

Mrs A. said...

This is a lovely story. I too have a doll pattern kept from 1980 that was published in a magazine. I have just looked it out but the pattern has no designers name on it. The doll is called Victoria as well and is 24" tall. I made her for my Daughter's 6th Birthday and one for each of her friends when they all reached 6. I think I ended up making about ten of these dolls in total as a couple of grannies wanted her too. Mum still has hers. Will see if I can get a photo of her when I next visit.
Hugs Mrs A.

sandee said...

Your doll is beautiful and I enjoyed reading the story behind the making of her. I just stopped by to wish all my blog followers a very Happy Easter, may you be blessed, waving hi from the hills of North Carolina :)