Friday, January 09, 2009

Flashback Friday - 1973 - It's a Holly Hobbie world

My mother is a doll collector. In her collection is a beautiful old nun doll that she won as a young child. As children, we enjoyed hearing her tell the tale of how she won the doll. This doll was a coveted prize among all the girls at the Catholic grade school she attended. Well she won, and the older girls all wanted to walk her home from school and help carry the doll. She, thrilled to be the new owner of this precious nun doll, refused to let anyone touch the doll, let alone carry it for her.

Needless to say, my mother has always loved dolls. And I have always loved my mother.

As a teenage expression of that love, in 1973 I sewed her a stuffed Holly Hobbie doll. (Holly Hobbie was wildly popular at the time.) I used the sewing pattern Simplicity 6006. (Copies of the pattern can usually be found on eBay or etsy.)

My mother has kept Holly Hobbie on display somewhere in her home all these years. Holly Hobbie has gone through numerous grandchildren and has survived fairly well.

See for yourself. Here she is in all her 1973 country-charm glory.

The sunbonnet was needed to shade that delicate freckled face from the bright sunlight. After all she was a 70s back-to-nature country girl and would have spent a lot of time out in the sunshine filling her straw basket with wild flowers.

I love that the one-way design of the floral fabric runs in opposite directions for the dress and sunbonnet as I was still learning about layouts for napped fabrics and one-way designs. (See this post for an embarressing sewing moment concering one-way design fabrics.)

I also love the fact that I choose to make her as a blue-eyed blonde when most of my family members are brown-eyed brunettes. Must have been that late 60s, early 70s advertising influence - after all, everyone heard that "blondes have more fun".

The hand stitching defining the fingers is only slightly beginning to pull out.

And look how well she has aged! Created in 1973, she would now be 36 years old. Her embroidered features on her nylon stocking face show little signs of wear and tear. And if you look closely you can still see the yellow transfer markings for the freckles.

Recently my mother gave Holly Hobbie back to me, saying it was time for me to enjoy the doll I lovingly sewed for her all those years ago.

Holly Hobbie now resided proudly in my sewing studio, a reminder of how much I enjoy sewing as a gift of love. Pin It


  1. what a beautiful tribute to your mother. Enjoy the doll as much as she did. g

  2. That is precious! I used to make soft sculpture dolls all the time when my daughter was small...think I need to start again before the grandbabies start coming! Thanks for sharing a fabulous Flashback Friday! Mary

  3. What a wonderful doll - you must be happy to have her.

  4. I made a Holly Hobbie doll like yours in high school! Mine has brown hair and violet eyes and she sits, naked, in my laundry room. Unfortunately, she got peed on by one of the cats (who knows why they do this stuff?). I'm still trying to salvage her. The clothes got pitched, they were kind of faded and dry rotted and didn't hold up well to the laundry. I received a replacement pattern from an internet friend so I'm planning to remake the clothes at some point. Hopefully, I won't have to remake Holly too.

    Thanks for the memory, it was such a fun project!

  5. What a lovely story to go along with your doll. I don't remember who my mom made these for, but as soon as I saw your picture I had my own "flashback" moment. At some point she had dolls all over her sewing area at different points of construction. Thanks for reminding me!


  6. Oh, that's such a nice story. I remember Holly Hobby in the 70s too.

  7. Oh, this bring back memories of the dolls my mom used to make me! Thank you!

    Um...Oh, Tag! You're it! Check my blog to see what to do!


  8. What a wonderful story & doll! I loved Holly Hobbie as a child. But, my older sister always got the Holly Hobbie item - I always got Heather, her friend or sister - not sure. It's so nice she can now watch you sew in your studio. Beth

  9. aw such a sweet story, thanks for sharing! :)



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