Dolls have been a cherished part of cultures worldwide for centuries and possibly throughout all of human civilization. As toys or as collectibles, dolls are beautiful and charming companions for all ages. The earliest known dolls were made of raw, natural materials like clay, sticks, and even leaves and corn husks. The first commercially produced dolls were made of delicate china and was more of a collectible than a childhood toy. In those days, dolls for children’s play were usually made from cloth scraps.
Cloth dolls, usually made from scrap pieces of the fabric used for the family’s clothing, were an important part of children’s lives in early times. These simple rag dolls were sewn out of fabric and features were either painted on or hand embroidered. Most early dolls were made to resemble little girls. Clothing was handmade for the doll, usually in the style of the era, and could usually be taken on and off. Shoes and socks were generally painted on and hair was typically fashioned from colored yarn.
Today, Lilydolls recreate the original cloth doll in a durable, modern rag doll sure to delight children of all ages. Lilydolls are soft bodied fabric dolls about 16 inches tall with tangle-free cloth hair that can be styled. Each doll is named with her own personality and a removable outfit to fit her hobbies. Other clothing and many accessories are available for Lilydolls to enhance play and develop young imaginations.
Children today still love their cloth dolls just as those children many years ago. The dolls are usually carried around, slept with, and even taken outside. While keeping your child’s fabric playmate clean is important, it must be done with care. Rag dolls are well-made, but they are still quite delicate, especially those stuffed with something other than polyester fiber or nylon filling.
Lilydolls are made to be cleaned. The doll and all her garments can be machine washed on a gentle cycle, but to ensure a long lasting toy, you may want to follow a few general care tips for cloth dolls. First, check each area of the doll for steadfastness. Rag dolls with yarn hair should be closely tested and extra attention should be paid to embroidered details as well. If any of the dyes used in the doll bleed, you should wash the doll without getting these areas wet.
Use a mild, gentle cleanser to clean the fabric doll. Shampoo or dish detergent are the best choices. Fill a small bowl with the soap and warm water and gently submerge the washable parts of the doll. Wet the dolls body and then softly squeeze out the excess water but avoid using a wringing action. Once all cleanable areas of the doll have been washed, lay her on a thick towel to air dry. Cloth dolls can be dried in the clothes dryer, but it is best to put the doll inside a pillowcase and use the low or air heat setting.
About the Author
Gary Clay is an authority on Lilydoll and owner of Traditional Toy Shop MonkeyShine