MPB is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



Nov 22, 2012

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT -- The Vintage 40's Sewing Mannequin Doll



Friends, a bit of advice: do not shop online at night, especially on sites like Etsy and eBay, where one-of-a-kind collectibles are available for purchase at the strike of a computer key.  After 11 pm, particularly around a holiday, one's resistence WILL BE LOW.

Which is why I am now the proud, if mildly embarrassed, owner of Suzanne, a vintage 40's  mannequin doll manufactured by Latexture Products, Inc. during WWII.  This doll, and others like her, were sold with sewing kits intended to help teach young girls to sew.  These kits were branded Simplicity, McCall, Butterick, etc., and included sewing patterns, notions, doll and doll stand, the works!  I think I saw one of these at the flea market once, but I had no idea what it was for.

Here are some photos from around the Internet: be strong, doll/sewing paraphernalia/minature lovers!  Doll names included Suzanne, Marianne, and Peggy McCall.  They were also labeled "Fashiondol".  There was a 12 1/2" version, and 15" version; mine is the latter.  Arms were removable so you could get the clothes on more easily (Mattel, why didn't you think of this?), but alas, this meant limbs were sometimes lost.















Here's the doll I purchased.  She comes with panties and a sewing pattern: really, what more do you need?





You can read more about these latexture dolls here.

Readers, had you ever seen these mannequin dolls before, or -- be still my heart -- owned one?   (Apparently there was an even larger and more glamorous McCall's mannequin doll, Margit Nilsen.)

I have every intention of sewing the vintage Forties dress pattern she comes with -- I mean, how could I resist?  Plus, what a great way to experiment while putting together my Cyd Charisse/Irene Lentz knock-off gown!

Have a great day, everybody and Happy Turkey Day!

30 comments:

  1. You have triggered a yearning in my heart that I didn't know existed. Recently, I spent a week cleaning out my 92-year-old grandmother's sewing room (in Bucks County, PA, ever been there? It's lovely and my ancestral homeland) and while I found every sewing notion under the sun, I did not find one of these!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's how I felt last night trolling eBay! ;)

      Delete
    2. I second that - I didn't know I wanted one until I saw one... sigh!

      Delete
  2. OMG!!!!! That is so darn cute. I have never heard of these, and now will have to have one!

    I recently found some 60's notions for Barbie clothes at a thrift shop, and was very tempted, but this is even better! The one you got sure is adorable.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow. I have never heard of these before, but now I must have one! I did once buy a pattern for the "Mimi Doll" which is a sort of fashion doll you make yourself out of felt, but I could not manage it. There's a seam right down the center of the face.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have seen these come up at auction a few times, but they have always gone for ridiculously high prices. I would love to have one! Poor Cathy will undoubtedly be taking a backseat, fashion-wise,for awhile, to this lovely new model.....

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm not sure if this was the same doll, but we had one that looked very much like this in my junior high home ec class. I thought it was bigger than 15-inches.
    I did make that doll a dress.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Peter: see Threads magazine, issue #31 page 79 for an article on half-size mannequins.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Teresa Ayerra BallesterosNovember 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    You are my hero! You said you haven´t sewn for so long time, but you does it perfectly. I´m sewing a jean for me following your step by step jeans sew-along you posted on may 2011 and it is awesome. I enjoy a lot with you and your teaching. If it is possible you should make a linen shirt to you, and for us too. I am writing and learning from you from SPAIN. If you are a normal person as you usually say, you must be very proud of you as a teacher.
    Thanks for taking your time to teach us.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Was this a drink and click episode? Not that there's anything wrong with that-more expensive that drink and dial but less embarrassing. That is one beautiful doll. Didn't know they existed so thanks for posting. That would be a great promotional item to put in with a kid's first sewing machine. "And if you call now we will include (fill in name here) for no additional charge..."

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, indeed the dangers of midnight Ebay trolling! That is when I've spent the most on a pattern, and it was for men's pants in a size that no one I know wears!
    Suzanne is fantastic, but my mom and I both agree she is a tad masculine. We think she might be Ken's fraternal twin.

    ReplyDelete
  10. She's stunning! You really found a lovely example of her. A lot of the ones I see are covered with crazing, or the face paint was not on point and is noticeably off.

    And I remember when you were talking about not wanting to sew doll clothes, and look where we are. I'm thinking some spiffy new duds for Ken will be coming soon.

    Welcome to the doll side.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yes, I have seen these on eBay and have resisted for years. I do have an Miss Revlon twist-waist fashion doll from my childhood handed down from a cousin. For the longest time I though she had been stolen along with my 1960's Barbies, and Midge. After my mom passed my sister asked if I wanted all the "dolls". Thinking it was only my mom's and grandma's dolls, was very pleased, and curiously sad that my mom had hid my brunette beauty from me.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's Barbie's Mom! Love her. Sooo glad she didn't get breast implants like her daughter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahahhaha omg... spilled my coffee.. thanks

      Delete
  13. Love the doll. Yes Ebay trolling for yet another vintage photograph I don't really need. So far I have resisted the urge to buy, but there are so many other tempting things.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You truly find the best stuff! She ought to stir up trouble with all your Kens...

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have had my eye out for something like this; a new half-size mannequin is a little out of my price range, so have been looking around in the kids' department in the thrift stores, and keeping an eye open in a local second-hand shop that has lately been busily stocking all kinds of used dress forms now that I gave up and bought one NEW...where were all these damn things when I was looking for one? However, I have been having fun coming up with design ideas draped directly on my dress form, which I padded out to conform to my measurements...wish I had known about the concept of "draping" as a kid!

    ReplyDelete
  16. My lord - now I want one, and (shamefaced) I don't even sew! I suppose if one got the 12 1/2" one, she could go, as it were, off the rack and wear vintage Cher and Farrah dresses (they were bigger than 11 1/2" Barbie).

    Fashion in wartime makes me think of something distantly related to these lovely ladies - do you know the Théâtre de la Mode? It was a collection of dolls in couture created in 1945-46 to showcase the return of Paris fashions - amazing stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, yes! Before I ever learned to sew I found the Rizzoli Theatre de la Mode book at a local thrift store and was enchanted. I believe those dolls were at least 30", so roughly twice the size of Suzanne.

      Delete
  17. I think you have started a run on these. Prices will skyrocket! Love it, love it! Want it!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'd never heard of these. What a great product! I am trying to learn pattern drafting and bought a 15" fashion doll do I could do experimental designs using a small amount of fabric. Your Fashion-Dol is better, because her arms come off.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Take a look at the Tonner 22 inch American Model.
    ...at the moment 30%off at tonnerdoll.com
    ...or search for CED dolls on ebay.

    ReplyDelete
  20. It's Barbie's Haute Couture model aunt. I love the look of disdain on her face.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh dear, oh, dear really oh dear. Who knew? Obviously I have to have them all, and the dress stands and the patterns. Off to Ebay, Peter you are a "new obsession whisperer"

    ReplyDelete
  22. I always see these at my local flea market (with all the little pieces in the set), but they are priced a bit high for what I can currently afford. I think the VERY cheapest one I found was around $40-$50. But I want I want I want.

    ReplyDelete
  23. on ebay, there is a PDF CD for sale with a bunch of original patterns for the 15-inch mannikin doll (about 15 patterns for 10 bux, i think).

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails