New Toy in the Toy Room

If you are around my age, you might remember Betsy McCall. This cute paper doll was printed in McCall’s Magazine beginning in the early 1950’s. I am unsure how long the doll was included in the magazine but I did read that Barbie took over in popularity pushing poor Betsy aside. I remember cutting out the dolls and her clothes though. As kids, my sisters and I also enjoyed these booklets made of heavier paper with dolls and their clothing printed in them. I think the printings were perforated so it was easier to ‘cut’ them out.

Betsy McCall in McCall’s Magazine

Fast forward to 2022 and a new way of playing with dolls!

Dream and a Wish, by Riley Blake Fabric

I have had three of these panels in my stash for a short while. I saw them on a destash sale and snapped them up ($3.00 each including shipping)! I thought it would be fun for my grand daughters to play with plus having another panel for a future gift wouldn’t hurt.

The carrying case for the doll.

This week I put this together. It didn’t exactly go together according to the instructions by Riley Blake. Creating the outer pouch and handles was very simple. It is filled with a stiff, fusible fleece to give it some body.

The inside of the pouch

When the pouch is opened, you see a bed for the princess and on the other side is her closet – much needed for her beautiful dresses.

There are quite a few dresses for this girl to choose from!

Such a fancy wardrobe.

This is where Riley Blake’s instructions failed me (and other makers according to a quick internet search). The company then tells us to cut out the doll and her dresses. We are told to fuse flannel to the back of the dresses so they will stick to the doll. Ummm, nope – that was a fail. The dresses didn’t stick even a tiny bit. Just kept sliding off the princess in the most embarrassing way. I felt so sorry for the girl. Also, for some reason the flannel doesn’t adhere terribly well to the doll and clothes so I did a quick stitch around the perimeter to make sure they didn’t come apart. I think the flannel is helpful in adding substance to the clothes so stitching it is better than just skipping that step.

To fix this, our princess had to undergo a bit of surgery where I stitched a small bit of velcro to her chest and head. It didn’t seem terribly painful and she recovered quickly. Then I stitched matching bits of velcro to the backside of each dress and hat. Now she won’t endure the shame of running around in her nightgown and my grand daughters won’t be upset when they cannot keep her clothes on.

My younger grand daughter is coming tomorrow for a sleepover. Her big sister has a field trip to the pumpkin patch and her dad is volunteering with that. I am curious to see how A likes this new toy. I could see this being great for a distraction on a car ride or maybe in a restaurant while waiting for dinner. But mostly I plan to play with her and see where her imagination takes this princess.

Aren’t these curls amazing?

So excited to see the kids this weekend! I hope life is treating you well – What are you up to? Home enjoying the beginning of fall weather? Doing something creative in the sewing room? Tell me!

Linking to my favorites – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

36 thoughts on “New Toy in the Toy Room

  1. Karen

    I remember Betsy and we got the magazine and the punch out ones from the craft magazines or whatever they were called way back then – It seems like they were always with the coloring books for books – I actually never had a Barbie doll but remember a friend had one and her older sister was a whiz at the machine and made all kinds of clothes for her – weird that we played with them in 3rd grade or so and now it is for pre-school and kindergarten kids I guess. I don’t know any kid over the age of 6 or so that plays with dolls anymore

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Karen – Yes! The paper doll books were with the coloring books. It was such a treat to have one.
      I agree it is strange that little girls don’t play with dolls for as long as we did. Or it doesn’t seem ike they do anyway. The issue (for me) with Barbies is it is such a pain to get their clothes on and off. So if a younger kiddo wants to play with Barbies, they need an adult to do the work! Not a fan of that.
      Take care Karen. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Wendy

    I remember Betsy McCall, too. I cut out as many outfits as I could and had them for years. I think I actually backed Betsy with cardboard, maybe. Anyway, I enjoyed hours of play with her. I love the new Riley Blake design, and I hope A has hours of fun play with it. (I love her curls!!!) Today I am prepping for another road trip while Wilbs zooms through the house and gets into things.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Oooh, a road trip! Where are you going? Hope it is somewhere fun. Is it time for a trip to Santa Fe? I remember you have done that several times.
      A comes tomorrow. I hope she is happy to be here without her big sister. I have no idea how that will go. Crossing my fingers though. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Carol Westover

    Oh my word are your grandchildren ever blessed to have a grandmother like you! Wow. I so remember the Betsy McCall paper dolls. I have an artist friend who designs and creates paper dolls, but they’re not the simple ones you would expect. Loved playing with paper dolls when I was young. I have to wonder whatever happened to them? Thanks for the trip down memory lane. And your granddaughter’s curls are fantastic!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Carol – thank you for the note. I did some searching for paper dolls and there are some out there but not a lot. Also, remember ColorForms? Those sticky things you could put on a background scene? I remember playing with those quite a bit. Fun to reminisce!

      Reply
      1. Carol Westover

        I found the paper doll artist friend–had not been in contact with her for several months. I sent her a message with links to your site and the paper doll discussion. Hope to hear back from her so we can re-connect.

        Carol

        Reply
  4. Torry

    I have made 318 ornaments. The ornaments this year are. . . ornaments! I also finished 116 Barbie dresses for donation to the Toy Rescue Mission, here in Tacoma. It is a great charity and Martha, who runs it is a delightful lady. I am trying to get pj pants made for Christmas gifts. I have some serged, but others aren’t even cut out, yet. I am also making more hair scrunched, in satin, which is better for curly hair.

    Speaking of curly hair, did you know that regular towels are not good for curly hair? I use either t-shirt fabric (100% cotton) or microfiber to dry my hair and wish I had known decades ago to do it that way! Old t-shirts work, too.

    The dolls and the surgery sound familiar to me. Years ago, my daughter’s Fisher Price doll was wearing out where the fabric attached to the hands. I found another doll, in way better condition, to give to my daughter. She wanted nothing to do with it, because she loved her dolly with the worst hair ever. So I was putting the old head on the new body, when daughter came into the room and asked, rightfully upset, WHAT I was doing?! I told her I was doing surgery, to fix her doll. She said, “Okay.” And went back out to play, Whew! Disaster diverted!

    Your granddaughters are lucky to get such a fun gift and a grandmother who will play with them. Both are gifts of your time and talents.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Torry – So sad that our get together never happened this summer. Time just flew by. But we will meet at some point. I am interested in knowing more about the Toy Rescue Mission. If there is a website, would you send me a link?
      The story about your daughter and her doll is so cute. So fortunate that the doll had her surgery and recovered. I can’t believe a head transplant was successful!!
      Take care and hope we get together soon!

      Reply
      1. Torry

        I would love to get together, just let me know when you are available.
        I will try to do a link to The Toy Rescue Mission.

        Reply
    2. Carol Westover

      What ornaments are you creating? I just purchased a pattern for a folded point Christmas ornament made from folded squares of fabric attached to a shower grommet. I’m still looking for ideas for ornaments or other things to give to our friends at New Year’s.

      Reply
      1. Torry

        So, I do a different ornament each year. I started the tradition in 2016, when I was fighting breast cancer. It was something to take with me to appointments.
        2016, trees made with a free pattern on the Joann’s web site
        2017 star, I traced a cookie cutter
        2018 mitten and 2019 stocking I used free coloring pages on the internet and adjusted the size on a copier.
        2020 candy cane, I used another cookie cutter
        2020 I made a snowman face with a stocking hat, this one was my original idea; I made a circle from white polar fleece, painted the face on it, sewed it onto another circle , and added a stocking hat made from polar fleece scraps
        2022 ornaments, another coloring sheet

        Reply
        1. Carol Westover

          My husband and I had a ritual of having Chinese food on New Year’s Day, no matter where we were (traveling or at home). We moved to Tehachapi in 2007 and began volunteering at the local railroad museum. There was a group of volunteers called “The Tuesday Crew” who did maintenance on the Depot building. The crew got together for breakfast one morning per month. The second year we were here, I decided to invite the Tuesday crew and a few additional friends to our New Year’s Chinese dinner ritual. I made up dinner invitations based on the Chinese New Year calendar and sent them out the second week in December, asking people to RSVP. I made favors for each person attending plus some extras for the restaurant staff. I’ve made Christmas ornaments, mug rugs, drink coaster sets, Lavender sachets, hot pads, table runners and all sorts of other things. All of the favors were wrapped with Christmas papers and placed at each individual’s place there at the restaurant. With the COVID pandemic our get togethers got set aside until just last month when we got together for our monthly breakfast. Friends have begun asking me if I’ll be doing the Chinese get-together again for 2023. I’m thinking I will, health permitting. All of this is just to say I’m always on the lookout for ornaments or decorations that can be made to be given as gifts. Thanks! Carol (aka Tehachap)

          Reply
  5. Barbara Moore

    Probably what RB was trying to do with the flannel backed dresses, is the old Sunday School idea of the flannel board stories, but it was usually flannel to flannel, helping the pieces stick to each other. Velcro to the rescue! Whatever would we do w/o it?? Betsy McCall – wow – remember her well – wanted that doll badly but never got it – Santa had other things for my siblings that were more needed. I ‘settled’ for the paper dolls, but always from cast-off mags as Mom never chose to spend her pennies on frivolities.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Barbara – I agree with your thoughts on the flannel. It sure didn’t work though. I tried putting some flannel on the doll – I cut out a rough looking shape to cover the torso. But it didn’t stick! Then I tried putting felt on the doll – still didn’t work. Finally I resorted to surgically adding the velcro!
      Love hearing about your memories of Betsy McCall. 🙂

      Reply
    2. Pamela Dempsey

      Yes, I enjoyed the Betsy McCalls dolls but didn’t see many after I had my daughters. The color forms sets were more fun and I loved the smell!🤭 love you granddaughter’s curls!

      Reply
      1. Bernie Post author

        Color Forms and paper dolls and coloring books – the stuff we played with! Fun to think about all of that.
        Take care and enjoy your weekend.

        Reply
  6. Hubblebird

    My sister and I lived in Singapore (military family) from 1962 to 1965. One Christmas we were each given a Sindy doll (made in England). I had the chestnut coloured hair doll, and my sister had the brunette. I think they were a rival for Barbie for many years and were created because they had a more realistic body shape than Barbie. We loved them and kept them for many years. Mum and Dad and other relatives would buy clothes for them for our birthdays and any other special occasion. Also, I still have my very first doll (I’m 63 now) that I named ‘Jean’. She has lost most of her hair and her fingers and toes have been chewed off! She is still wearing an outfit that my Mum knit for her when I was a child. I remember Mum and Dad sending her off to the Dolls Hospital in London for new eyes and to have her hair fixed when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I’ll never part with her. I am going to look for the panel you have described. My grand daughter is only 2 but she would have great fun with this.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I hope you find the panel. I have an extra one but I think the postage would be high sending it to you. Let me know if you need it tho.

      Reply
  7. Anja @ Anja Quilts

    Too bad for the troubles, but I think it turned out great. A great gift for little girls. Well done.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Anja. I love making things for the girls – I know you understand with your little ones too.
      Enjoy the weekend!

      Reply
  8. Stitchin at Home

    I too remember Betsy and had a collection of clothes. I made machine embroidery dolls and clothes for my granddaughters. I used glue called tack it again( I think that’s the name) on the back of the clothes and they stuck to the doll well. But surgery in your case seems to have worked great.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Cindy – how did you use the glue? Just to make the back of the dresses tacky? Like put some dots on and then let it dry? Let me know as I have another project that is similar and I am trying to figure out the best way to do it.

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I hope so Alycia. The girls didn’t end up coming over due to a virus that is being passed around their house. Hope to see them soon tho! I need someone to play paper/fabric dolls with me. 😉

      Reply
  9. Jay

    Those curls are fabulous! All but one of our grandkids have stick-straight hair, but that one was born with long curly locks. Thanks go to her mama.
    I’m getting ready to think about maybe planning to make a list of Christmas gifts I need/want to make. One more stocking, then gifts for everyone. I should probably get going on that.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Yes – time to get any holiday projects started! It seems to come so fast once October ends.
      Good luck with your Christmas gift plan. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks Cheryl. I sure couldn’t get those dresses to stay on otherwise!
      Enjoy the weekend. It is rainy, rainy rainy here so a good time to be inside!

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I am surprised to see how many of us played with those paper dolls! Very fun to read about the memories around this. Take care Nancy. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Kathleen McCormick

    I remember those dolls and the velcro seems just the right fix! I am sure A will have fun with them! I do love her curls…they are just gorgeous.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Well the girls ended up not coming over because big sister had a fever. Since she started Kindergarten, that household has had one illness after another. I remember those days with my kiddos and do not miss them!
      Thanks for the note Kathleen!

      Reply

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