Friday, August 15, 2008

Hitty According to Gail Wilson

Soon after I bought my first Hitty, I discovered the Hitty-size furniture on Gail Wilson's website ( Many of the pieces of furniture and accessories in my Hitty's bedroom and sitting room are made from GW kits. Gail also sells her version of Hitty, ready-made and in kit form. The original Hitty was carved of wood, while the GW Hitty has molded paper mache head, arms and legs with a cloth body. At first, I wasn't sure that a non-wood doll could truly be a Hitty. But then I realized that my other Hittys were all made of resin, which makes them non-wood dolls. So, I bought a GW Hitty kit and gathered together my courage to make a 6-1/2" doll.
This is the GW Hitty that I made. She is a pudgy little thing, more childlike that the original Hitty. She is named Hitty Charity. (There is also a Hitty Hope, as yet unclothed).

Her petticoat and pantaloons are made of cotton voile, trimmed with cotton val lace. I used simple drawstring closures for both the undergarments, so that I could loosen the strings and let them ride a little below her waist if need be.

Also in this picture are the cotton batiste nightgown and nightcap, both made from a GW pattern.

Here is Hitty Charity in the dress made from the fabric included in the Hitty doll kit. She also has a pinafore, both garments being edged with a crochet-type lace. The instructions had the option of embroidering "Hitty" on the bib of the pinafore, but obviously I chose to keep the bib plain.

Also in the picture is Hitty Charity's cape, made of thin cotton flannel. I wanted a forest green flannel, but couldn't find any in the fabric stores, so I dyed it. While I was at it, I also dye a piece of cotton batiste with which to line the hood and collar. I had a piece of narrow jacquard ribbon with a touch of green in the design. I thought it made a good trim for the cape, giving it a Tyrolean flavor.

Hitty Charity is wearing what I think of as a pioneer girl's outfit in this picture. It doesn't show up well in the photo, but the dress fabric is a little cream-on-tan print. Hitty Charity has a pioneer bonnet made of the same fabric. To go over her dress there is a navy-and-tan checked apron, which buttons in the back.

On the dress form is a blue-on-white print dress, which the pattern identifies as one of Hitty's 'best dresses.' This is the style of dress worn by Miss Columbia, a late 1800's cloth doll.

In the GW pattern, this dress was described as a Quaker outfit, designed to be made in gray fabric. I made it decidedly non-Quakerish by using dark red fabric. In the pattern, the dress was two pieces, a blouse and skirt, with the white fichu tucked into the waistband of the skirt. I made the dress all one piece, and modified the fichu so that it tied around in the back. Both are ways that women in the early 1800's wore fichus. Hitty Charity is wearing a Quaker cap, which basically is like the caps worn by women of that time period. At her feet is a Quaker bonnet, with silk ribbon ties and a ruffle to protect her neck.

In this photo, Hitty Charity is wearing a very simple dress, made of a brown-on-tan cotton print. The dress has a hand-dyed brown silk sash as an accent.

In this picture, Hitty Charity is wearing a dusty pink print dress. I dyed the sash to match the darker shade of pink in the print. It took several tries to get the right color! Also, Hitty has a pink bonnet that she can wear with her dress, which has its own hat box. When I made the hat box, I got the lid a little tight. It comes off, but it takes a lot of doing.

Here Hitty Charity is wearing a brown cardigan sweater that goes so nicely with her brown-on-tan print dress. The sweater was knit by my friend Edna. It has real buttons and buttonholes, as well as the tiniest of ribbings. It certainly will keep Hitty Charity warm in the winter.

And finally, here is Hitty Charity wearing her blue shawl with a matching cap, also knit by Edna. The cap has a tiny eyelet pattern worked around the edge.

I had finished all these dresses and finally declared Hitty Charity's wardrobe complete. Then I learned that Gail Wilson had published two new patterns for Hitty. One is an early 1800's dress, in the style of Jane Austen. The other is a style often worn by dolls in the mid-1800's, such as the Izannah Walker dolls. I can hear Hitty Charity saying that she has absolutely nothing to wear and needs some new dresses!

A Few Weeks Later  . . .

Here is Hitty Charity in her new Jane Austen style dress and bonnet.  The dress is made from white batiste, with a tuck and lace at the wrists, tucks near the hem and a ruffle of lace at the neck.  The sash is made of French blue silk satin ribbon, with a large bow in the back.  This style of dress was popular in the early 1800's, the era depicted in the Jane Austen novels.  
The bonnet is also typical of that era, with a large brim and Hitty's curls showing in the back.  The same ribbon in a narrower size trims the bonnet.

And here is Hitty Charity in a dress typical of mid-19th century doll dresses, like that frequently worn by dolls made by Izannah Walker.   It has a round yoke with a bound neckline.  The bell sleeves gather onto the yoke, as does the body of the dress.  The apron has a printed pattern simulating embroidered doll aprons of that same era, which were often seen in brown, such as this one, or red.  Hopefully, Hitty Charity is satisfied with the state of her wardrobe.  Her sister, Hitty Hope, has not a stitch to wear and is beginning to feel slighted.  Sibling rivalry exists even in the doll world.

1 comment:

Kimberley said...

i have to tell you that my ten year old daughter and I love your hitty work. i have to apologise, because my shift key is being recalcitrant, and won't work most of the time. anyway, i have it on good authority that santa is bringing her two of the new wooden gail wilson dollies, a hitty and a mason taylor, as well as several furniture kits and patterns for clothes. your work really inspired us, and i know that we are going to have fun with our new dollies and all of their stuffs. thanks for posting such lovely photos. we would love to see an update on how you are doing with your work.