I hope you had a chance to join us on the Little Dolly fabric showcase with Penny Rose Fabrics last week. One thing that fills up my heart with so much love and gratitude is seeing what other people make with my fabric. I’m feel honored to have some wonderful friends and designers join me in sharing their Little Dolly inspiration. Those treasures on the showcase include: Heidi Staples, Cassie Putney, Jennie, Lauren Nash and Minki Kim. If you missed any of their posts on the showcase, you can search for #littledollyfabricshowcase on Instagram to see all the pretty projects, too. Please stop by to visit them (a link to each on their name above) and leave them a sweet note or two. What inspiration! Beautiful quilts, a darling dolly basket bed, sweet handmade treasures and little girls that will light up your heart … await you from the showcase.
I wanted to take a moment and share some of my Little Dolly inspiration and tell you my story of how the Little Dolly fabric collection came to be …
If you scroll through my blog, you’ll likely find a common thread in my work: The love of my grandmother, Dorothy Mae. She was my paternal grandmother. And after my father passed away at a young age, my grandmother tucked me under her wing and was nothing short of an angel, in my eyes. And it’s an interesting thing I’ve discovered in life … the memories I hold near to my heart as a child, that shaped so much of who I am today … came in the form of small, simple moments. Sitting near my grandmother playing with my dolls and watching her crochet. Walking hand-in-hand with her through the craft sections of the tiny stores in my small childhood town to find new embroidery patterns for our pillowcases. Watching the love she poured into her handmade baked goods. Seeing her flip through her cookbook with a hand rested on her chin so thrilled with the adventure of making something new for a loved one. And little me at the helm of her apron … quietly – and unknowingly then – observing her joy, love and creativity. Learning in those moments …
It was Christmas time in the early 80s when Cabbage Patch dolls were all the frenzy. During the months leading up to Christmas day, I was dreaming and wishing and going on and on about these dolls to anyone that would listen. I had my heart set on a Cabbage Patch doll in a big way. But at the time, there was a craze for these dolls creating a shortage and steep prices in the marketplace, if you could even find one at all. Understandably, I knew deep down in my heart a Cabbage Patch doll was not in the cards for me that Christmas …
What I didn’t know is that my grandmother was quietly observing my heart’s desires while secretly pouring over details of something special in her sewing room. Christmas day finally arrived. I had circled the Christmas tree a dozen times before that morning. Taking note of the size and shape of any packages with my name on it … patiently waiting. I finished opening my gifts … there was no Cabbage Patch doll …
When the gifts were all unwrapped, my grandmother disappeared into her sewing room and returned with one more package. Her eyes twinkled with excitement as she handed the gift to me. She had quietly worked on this little surprise for months, for this very moment. 35-years later, here I am holding on to this dear memory.
Inside the gift box was a pair of precious rag dolls my grandmother had quietly sewn in secret to surprise me on Christmas day. They were treasures! My grandma’s love poured into every stitch and detail. Each doll was adorned with a sweet ruffled skirt, and their own pearled necklaces that grandma restrung to new life from a beloved broken necklace in her jewelry box. They each even had tiny little shoes. She made one of the rag dolls to look just like me. Brown hair. Brown eyes. Braids. I hugged them tightly. They were so special.
I will forever hold a piece of my grandmother’s heart in those sweet rag dolls she made for me. Little Dolly is inspired by this moment all those years ago and so much of the earlier tinkering I did on my childhood sewing machine making doll clothes. Creating special gifts with a needle and thread was one of my grandmother’s acts of love … and one I am so grateful to have learned from her.
This collection is dear to me – and I am overjoyed for the opportunity to create it with Penny Rose Fabrics and share it with you! I hear the fabric is now arriving to shops along with the Little Dolly accessories – and this is exciting news! My upcoming book, Dolly, will be featuring projects with this fabric collection, including the above little rag doll pattern to make, too. The book is set to arrive any week now! And you can read more about the collection, accessories and book in this post and this post, too.
Thank you, friends – I hope you love Little Dolly as much as I do – and I’d love to see how the collection inspires you, too. Please tag me or use hashtags #littledollyfabric #pennyrosefabrics to share your projects. I’d be thrilled to see a peek!
Hannah W says
What a lovely story behind your beautiful fabric. I’m excited for the book and the kits to hit the stores:) All the best!
Little Quiltsong says
Oh Elea, my heart just melted at your lovely story. I too remember that Cabbage Patch frenzy. What a treasured memory you have of your grandmother – so special. Looking forward to sewing with your new line of fabric and your new book – loved the sneak peak of that dolly dress pattern in it.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. All of the projects look darling!
What a beautiful story Elea. Thank you for sharing💞