Machine Sewing for Antique Dolls?

The sewing machine for home use was first created around 1850. It was quickly adopted by home sewers. 

So it is not unusual to find machine-sewn clothing on antique dolls made after the mid-19th century, whether professionally made or home sewn. 

I was surprised to learn that even the trousseau of Rose Percy contains machine-sewn items. Learning this was a revelation to me. Her wardrobe was sewn by students in a private girls’ school and I just assumed that they were learning hand sewing. But it makes sense that they also learned to use the “new” technology of a sewing machine.

I still prefer to sew by hand, but it’s good to know that I can make historically-correct clothing for Lily Auguste with my sewing machine. 

I would probably only use machine sewing for straight, inside seams, or  things like attaching piping, button holes, or tucks. For finishing work, like hemming, attaching lace or trim, I would sew by hand. 

Visible gathers are very common on antique doll dresses. To achieve an antique appearance, I recommend sewing gathers by hand.

At some point, I’ll show you some tricks for using your sewing machine to make precise hand-sewn scallops and tiny button holes. 

The skirt for LA’s first dress has 11 tucks. That’s 11 tucks almost 5 feet around each or 55 feet of stitching. Wouldn’t they get done faster on my machine. It’s tempting.

The question becomes why am I sewing. I really don’t enjoy sitting at my sewing machine. It is a useful tool, but when I use it I just want to get the job done, get it over with. Is that my goal when I’m sewing for Lily Auguste? 

Nope. I don’t want it to become a chore. I enjoy hand sewing.

So, if sewing by hand is therapeutic, the repetition of sewing 55 feet (660 inches, 18 1/3 yards, or 16.76 meters) of straight stitches should cure just about anything. I’ll let you know. (Stats courtesy of my Dewalt app.)

So far, I’ve only gotten through the hem and 3 of the 11 tucks. 

We took Supergirl to New Orleans for her spring break. No sewing.

My weekdays have been busy. Very little sewing.

Then there’s the old married couple eyesight issue. I need more light to sew and the glare of my ugly lamp bothers DH. So I no longer sew in the evenings when DH and I watch TV.

This past weekend at the cabin, it was rainy and I had really good intentions. But I forgot my Aurifil 80 thread, so I worked on my embroidery instead. 

If you read my post, I Chose…, you know how I spent the previous weekend.

BTW, the nuthatch eggs have hatched.

Luckily, LA seems content to sit around in her underwear waiting for me to dress her.

Eventually, I will finish all these tucks.

And find inner peace?


Machine Sewing for Antique Dolls? — 3 Comments

  1. You are blessed that your hands will still allow you to do that extent of hand work. It’s the machine for me. The hum of the motor is music to my ears!

  2. I am So Amazed about how Much Hand Sewing that You accomplish ! Have Your Hands ever given You problems that causes difficulty Sewing ?
    If not, then You are Very Blessed ❤️