Elizabeth Stewart Clark & Company

Christmas for Your Old-Fashioned Girls

So many have already taken advantage of our new digital-download doll pattern! It’s very exciting to see pictures posted on social media of the various unique little cloth girls everyone is making; I’ll do up an inspiration post soon!

DISCLAIMER: this post contains links. They’re either to items we publish, or to items we admire but do not sell. The outside links are non-affiliate; I share them only because I like them, with no kick-backs or considerations of any kind.

Make a Making Kit

Any doll lover or little history girl will love her own doll and wardrobe. If she’s a “maker” herself, consider gifting the finished doll, her own copy of the pattern, and a box of sewing supplies and fabric cuts.

If she’s starting from fresh, use your copy of Fanciful Utility to make her up a little sewing case, stocked with needles, a thimble, little scissors, and tiny, delightful notions to round out her supplies.

Fat-quarters of good white cotton, cotton prints, fine silks, and wool will give her plenty of drygoods options.

Stash it all in a wooden box for historic uses (I’m currently in love with re-papered cigar boxes, personally), or a nice little lidded tote for at-home use, and old-fashioned girls of all ages (but particularly those sewists ages 12-or-so and up) will be delighted to unwrap their goodies.

Doll-Scale Fun

Now, I’ll admit we fall into the Possibly Nutty categories, due to the four-story, 7.5′ tall, 150 pound dollhouse anchored to the wall studs in our Little Girls’ room. But I do adore doll-scale items, and adding a few fun things for your history-driven friends and relations can be a lot of fun. You might consider some of these fun projects for a china, cloth, or play-scale doll fan:

One of the sweetest Victorian-styled feather trees I’ve ever seen!

Historical “china” plates made with paper and glaze!

Little mini-books for a doll to read on the train!

For History Girl Readers

For those old-fashioned girls who also love to read, consider introducing some of the historic heroines that have been making readers happy for decades. (You can find copies of these books through most booksellers; I’m just a fan, so there are no affiliate links here. But I probably ought to do that affiliate thing some day!)

Back to Book Friends: for instance, have you met:

Caroline Woodhouse, the inspiration for Caddie Woodlawn, circa 1855

Caddie Woodlawn

Carol Ririe-Brink’s young heroine is hardly sedate, always compassionate, and had wonderful adventures in rural Wisconsin during the mid-19th century. Caddie and her brothers work and play with vigor, and the book does not shy away from a child’s perspective on tense inter-ethnic relations during the 1860s.

I’ve loved Caddie since I was a little girl. The best part about her? She’s not entirely fictional. Modeled after Ririe-Brink’s own grandmother’s actual life events, and the stories her grandmother told of her own childhood, the three-book series (Caddie Woodlawn and Magical Melons are by Ririe-Brink alone, with an additional volume, Caddie Woodlawn’s Family containing 14 shorter stories about, surprise, surprise, the family) has a realism and nifty material culture details that provide great inspiration for building a Caddie Set for your cloth doll.

Rose Campbell

Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom follow a wonderfully pert family, as written by the ever-new Louisa May Alcott. The books follow Rose from age 13 into adulthood, and I love the details of her life, home, and family shared all the way through.  It’s a great introduction to the concept of extended girlhood; at 13, Rose is still considered a little girl, and she retains her girlish life for several more years–a refreshing change from today’s push to early adulthood! The sometimes mad-cap adventures of Rose and the whole Campbell clan are delightful!

Emily Byrd Starr

Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily’s Quest are three of my favorites from LM Montgomery. Her orphan status and writing abilities are the only similarities to the more well-known Anne Shirley; Emily is her own creature, sent to live with relatives at New Moon Farm on PEI after the death of her father. Any reader will find sympathetic characters in the trilogy, along with a bit of Gothic horror shivers, and some romances both tragic and lovely.

Emily is not a mid-19th century character, but her rural and city adventures set a few decades later still recall a great deal of the earlier era. There is a film adaptation, but the books are still the best way to meet and enjoy Emily!

Laura Ingalls Wilder

We can’t skip this beloved friend! Laura is many a girl’s first introduction to historical fiction, and she remains one of my all-time favorites. Yes, the timeline is skewed from reality. Yes, there’s a whole brother left out of the series. Yes, it was probably ghost-written by Laura’s daughter Rose to help her mother out in financial difficulty. A few unhelpful bits of reality do nothing to tarnish the joy and adventure in the entire series, and make Laura a must-read for any young person. My favorite books are the ones with the Garth Williams illustrations.

Whatever your plans for projects, here’s to the last few days before Christmas, and all the flurry of Making it brings!


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About The Sewing Academy
With a focus on the 1840-1865 era, The Sewing Academy is your home on the (internet) range for resources to help you meet your living history goals!

Elizabeth Stewart Clark has been absorbed by the mid-19th century for over 20 years. She makes her home in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, four children (from wee to not-so-wee), far too many musical instruments, and five amusing hens.

Email Elizabeth Or call 208-523-3673 (10am to 8pm Mountain time zone, Monday through Saturday)
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