Make do, use what you have – That is just what great-great grandma and grandpa had to do long ago in Pioneer days. There were no department stores or shopping centers and even had there been, no money was available to purchase store bought toys so they were made of whatever was available. In the case of the vintage doll craft, church babies, they were made of pillowcases.
Dolls were called church babies, pew babies or be good babies because they were soft and noiseless if they were dropped during long church services. Pillow cases were stripped off the pillow that morning because there were no spares then scraps stuffed into the top and tied up with bits of yarn or string or great, great grandma took her hankie from her pocket to make a miniature version quickly.
“Church Baby” is one of the projects my partner in crime, Mary, and I made to put in a consignment store and we had such a great time creating them. Matching up just the right pillow case with coordinating hanky to match for a bonnet. It was like a “Church Baby” fashion show adding ribbons, trims, appliques or whatever we had on hand and trust me, we had a lot on hand. When we ran out of our own pillow cases we scoured yard sales, Goodwill, home sales and when we ran out of those we broke down and made pillow cases – for crying out loud, they are the simplest things to make unless you get into all that embroidery. They were very popular and all of them sold.
Vintage Doll Craft: Church Baby
So, here is “Church Baby” in her blue embroidered gown:
These bonnets were in the bag along with ribbons, etc. left from making our originals.
the lace bonnet was made from the lace yardage-the white lace bonnet is from a 6″ doily in the bag
The lace doily bonnet is one of my faves
This bonnet was partially made in the bag, I changed the ribbons
Then I decided to make “Mini Church Baby” from the handkerchief from my purse-it was too large to make a bonnet
tie one corner to form left arm, tie opposite corner for right arm-tie both loosely
insert ball of batting into hanky between arms to form head, tie ribbon for neck
Her bonnet is a 2″ crocheted applique that had been rescued from a sweater, also in bag, and Voila-
-Mini Church Baby-
and here she is with “Church Baby”
To make hanky bonnet-simply fold back 2″ [or whatever it takes to fit the doll head] with pretty side out, repeat for back fold
machine or hand sew casings to insert ribbons
you can use: ribbons, yarn, buttons, laces, beads
casings sewn with ribbons inserted lace bonnet gathered at back with ribbon
To make your own “Church Baby” use the pattern for body below
sew-leaving a 4″ opening to turn and stuff or purchase a blank muslin doll from craft store
place body in center of pillow case-put rubber band around neck
decorate to your hearts content.
Thank you for joining me and may the joy of crafting be upon you