Dolly Dresses…

A tiny doll’s dress on a mini- mannequin is all it takes for me to recall the kind of frock which I wore as a child. In an instant I can feel the crisp, flower- printed cotton against my skin and the warm sun on my once, little girl legs. Such tender memories from so many years ago.

All the women in my family could sew and my summer dresses for myself and my dolls were made by my Grandma or Great Aunts. Often a ‘cut out and ready to sew’ kit for a new dress for me would be ordered from a magazine, such as ‘Woman’s Realm’. I can remember the thrill of choosing the colour way and then the excitement of waiting for it to arrive and be made up. There was absolute joy in wearing these special dresses with a little cardigan and a sweet bracelet.

 This was one of my  favourites –it was decorated with oranges and lemons.


 And this one was pink and white and decorated with a dominoes print and a sweet bow. The colour of my sandals was ‘Champagne’.

Once the Cherry Blossom starts to bloom and the sun is shining and I want to dress up, I still reach for a dress with a flower print, a cardigan and a pretty bracelet and it always makes me feel great. Add a little bunch of flowers in my hand, freshly picked from the meadow or garden and I am right back where I want to be.

We may get older, but we don’t really change that much inside do we?






22 thoughts on “Dolly Dresses…

  1. Oh, Karen, how pretty all these pictures are. And yes, your post reminded me of the pretty frocks my sisters and I wore too. My mother sewed them all. She did not appreciate when we’d climb trees and get those pretty dresses torn.

    • How I would love to see photos of you and your sisters in your pretty dresses! It sounds as though you were an adventurous little girl! I never climbed a tree or tore a dress in my life! Perhaps it is not too late to start. 🙂

  2. Now are these pretty little dresses your dolls dresses?? And what a cute and adorable little girl you were!! Champagne sandals…always wanted those when I was little. My mom predicted they would not last a week and end up in a muddy mess…snif, she was right. But luckily that changed…I can wear Champagne sandals and not make a mess of them ;0)
    Lovely post, Karen!

    • Sadly I don’t have any of my own doll’s dresses left 😦 But I bought these at a flea market and carried them home like treasure in my little basket and I glowed with happiness! Were you a tom-boy dear Johanna?! x

  3. How sweet. My mother made my dresses and her mother sewed clothes for my dolls. I appreciated them even as a child as you did. And I carried on with my own children…..even the boys baby and toddler things. This has brought back memories. I still love to dress up too.

    • Isn’t it so lovely that we can all share in these memories. Somehow it feels as though we are connecting with an aspect of Motherhood which has all but disappeared. I suppose it is so easy to buy everything . Except that you can not buy what we are describing. I am glad you like dressing up!

  4. Wonderful story, beautiful photos and memories, Karen. My grandma and my great-aunt used to knit and sew for me, too. They always tried to make the impossible possible, because they didn’t have a tailor apprenticeship. They made hats, shoes, knitted, crocheted, embroidered etc. which I do, too. By your post I got the opportunity to look back at the time when I was a child, too. Wish I could turn back time. I hope you are fine, have such a wonderful sunny weather like we have here. Kind regards Mitza

    • Oh Mitza, I am so pleased that you too have sweet memories of so many hand made items. How industrious your family were! Do you have any of the items still? I am so sad that I did not keep any of the clothes, but I suppose being so young I would not have been able to influence their safe keeping. My Mother did not keep anything. The one thing I do have is a small collection of baby clothes which my Grandma made for my Mother when my Mother was a baby. These are beautiful and worthy of a post on my blog.
      Yes, I too have loved the hot weather, although my tiny germinating seeds did not appreciate it so much.
      Love Karen

      • Karen, I stil have hand embroidered blouses (Hungarian style), towels with a crocheted lace, a lot of wonderful embroidered table-cloths with colorful floral wreaths and scattered flowers, crocheted bibs for my son etc. I’m waiting to see the collection of your baby clothes from your Grandma. I’m knitting in the evenings.
        Regarding the garden: germinating seeds always need a lot of water. I had to water a lot in the last days but since yesterday it is raining. Fortunately. Has been much too dry. I started my jewellery again in the cellar because it was warm enough. But next Sunday I will sell some things on a fleamarket and have to prepare this, too. Wish me luck for the weather. Love Mitza

      • Thanks a lot, dear Karen. I’m just working on 4 brooches with different semiprecious stones. Will take quite a while to finish it. Soldering is a difficult business. I must find some new artisan markets again to sell my jewellery (I think the fees are much too high). For the time being I’m selling my antics and fleamarket finds on fleamarkets. It’s a lot of work and really exhausting. And I really prefer strolling around and looking instead of selling. But maybe in wintertime I will do artisan markets.
        Have a wonderful day. How’s your house? I’m sure you did a wonderful work, kind regards Mitza

      • Your jewellery was what first attracted me to your blog. It is stunning Mitza. I too do fairs sometimes and the work involved is considerable.
        The work on the house is still going on. Believe it or not, but I work on it with the retired postman from the village. He is a lovely guy and we do it all together. He is very reasonably priced and happy to use recycled materials and work on a very low budget. All my windows need replacing, but the house is my home and I love it so much. I am trying not to worry about it too much. Kind Regards, Karen.

      • I’m glad you found such a nice guy for a reasonable price. It’s always good to use recycled materials. I would be so happy to have a house. I can understand that you love to have it. I would go nuts if I had a house. I could spend my life with home decoration, sewing curtains, bed sheets, etc. and putting all the hundreds of things I collected in the right place. Sooner or later I will send you some photos from my collection – mania, haha. Mitza

  5. What delightful memories! I remember also my yearly “three” dresses. Once the dresses began requiring more fabric my frocks became more often a pinafore and a “little bit bigger”. That way come winter I could still wear them but with a turtle neck underneath, lol. Oh so practical but the bonus was that from the scraps my mother would always make dresses for my dolls! 🙂

    • It is wonderful to hear how different families provided clothing for their children. But I love your story and the idea of a pinafore to allow for winter layering. I do that now too! Your Mother must have stitched those dresses and dolls clothes with so much love. x

    • Thank you Lucy. I would be happy to wear those doll’s dresses…..but I would have to drink an Alice in Wonderland potion, making myself tiny. It would be worth it though! x

  6. Such a sweet, nostalgic post! My mother sewed our clothes, too, so our dresses were special and no one else had the same dress! Those childhood photos are so adorable!

    • Thank you so much Kerry. When I was young, every small town had a store which sold patterns and rolls and rolls and rolls of gorgeous printed cottons. There is a revival in making clothes, but good fabrics are hard to find. I am lucky in that a neighbour in my village is teaching me how to cut a pattern from dresses I love so that I can make my own 🙂

  7. You are adorable! Reminds me of my mom. One of my favorites she made me was a green corduroy skirt with matching vest. Such special nostalgic memories. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • It is so lovely that this post has evoked so many meaningful memories for so many of my friends. It makes me wish that the little items I loved so much had been saved. Still, I can still see them in my minds eye very clearly. x

  8. OH MY!!! I don’t get your posts either for some reason in my reader:-) This post speaks to me!!! I am glad I stopped by this morning before I headed outside-My grandmother use to make our doll clothes for all us (cousin) girls. I even had a knitted coat with angora fur( or something soft like-tee hee) as a full length coat for my dolls. I also had pretty dresses my mother sewed for me. I even remember going to jr. high and girls asking me where did you get your “jumper” and I said, My mother made it:-) LOL-don’t know if that would go over today!
    I love these little dresses. I had the most amazing doll clothes. I need to ask my mother where those are since they are moving close to me this year. My mother turned 80 this year + clearing out her stuff. A lot of work:-)
    I love stopping by your blog-you always inspire me to appreciate these precious items from my past that I took for granted too often when I was young. Hand sewn doll clothes and beautiful dresses:-)
    You were adorable in your spring dresses-
    Happy Spring!

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