Doll News Winter 2018 - 127

R

egional, folk, ethnic, foreign,
these are terms that define
dolls representing people from
other countries. As seen in the
article on beaded dolls, we will touch
the surface here of dolls representing
people from around the world-this time
wearing appliquéd decoration as part of
their adornment.
According to The Folkwear Book of
Ethnic Clothing by Mary S. Parker, woven
clothing was a luxury in many areas of
the world. Most common people pieced
together their clothing in imitation of
woven strips. This became even more
popular when man-made dyes became
available, expanding the color range
substantially. Some of the piece work
was done with what we call appliqué or
appliqué-like methods.
The term appliqué refers to a
needlework technique in which patterns
or representational scenes are created
by attaching smaller pieces of fabric to
a larger piece of fabric with contrasting
color or texture. Applied pieces usually
have their edges folded under and are
then attached by a straight stitch or a
satin stitch (which overlaps the edge). In
reverse appliqué, the attached materials
are sewn together then cut away where
another material covers it on top, before
being sewn down around the edges of
the original material.
We will look at four areas of the world
where appliqué is well-known: with the
dress of the Seminoles of the Everglades,
the molas created by the Kuna Indians of
San Blas Islands and Panama, the coats of
the Laplanders and the great coat worn
by the Hungarians.
As with all the miniatures of ourselves
that we call dolls, we can learn about
a people, a time in history and society
itself. Take a look at your own dolls and
see what they can tell you about where,
what, and how they were made. It's all
part of the fun of collecting.

The female dolls have stump bodies with no arms and legs. The men
are constructed with arms and legs and harder to find. This 10 ½-inch
man has some strip trim but also appliquéd sections on his outfit.

This close-up of the largest lady's skirt shows the appliquéd section and
also the rick-rack trim that is commonly found. Much of the work on the
outfits was done using pedal sewing machines.
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