Friday, February 23, 2018

My Love Of Black Dollies

I have loved black dollies since I was a child.
Growing up as a child I had an Aunt Jemima doll.
I did not think of myself as being racist...
I loved my black much that it ended up in rags,
just like my stuffed pink and yellow bunny.
I was a tomboy as a child, 
so my black dollie was the only doll I played with. 
Today I still love black dolls and bunnies!

Now let me tell you a bit of history of these dolls.
Black dolls are considered the first true handmade
dolls in America as they were all hand sewn,
one a kind dolls made from no longer used clothing.
I hate to use this word slave, 
but it was the slaves who created these
dolls that I consider works of art!
It was the only toy their own children could have.
So very sad.

The first black dolls were Topsy Turvy.
One side was a white doll, the other a black doll.
They were made by mammies for the white children
who they took care of as slaves.
White children were mostly cared for by their mammies,
therefore they wanted a doll to represent them.
In order to please their masters, they made the 
Topsy Turvy doll.

Ever since the one time I saw an antique
Black Dollie at the Greenfield Village museum,
I have wanted one.
But alas a true antique black doll is worth
thousands of dollars...something even this
antique dealer wishes she could get her hands on.

I was once again perusing these dollies on Pinterest,
and decided to make another one for myself.

I tried to be as primitive as I could with my stitches.

Made her dress a plain grungy brown check.

Her scarf a red grungy print.

However I keep looking at her every night after work,
and I think her dress needs a little more OOMPF.

So please if you have any suggestion, please let me know.

Well today will be a mix of freezing rain to rain.
Have to leave early for work now.
But it soon will be the weekend!

Any plans for your weekend?
Black Dollie Blessings To All!


  1. She's sweet ��.. :)
    How about a little wool heart appliqued to the bodice and a patch on the skirt?
    Drive carefully!

    1. Thank you Lauren for the idea. I actually already have a heart necklace on a different black dollie...but love the patch idea! Janice

  2. I like her just as she is but the wool heart idea might do it for you. I love black dolls too but hesitate to make them but your post about them makes me feel differently. Happy day y'all.

    1. Thanks Peggy! Hope you can come to the Holly show. Janice

  3. I think every little girl should have a special doll that they love. I like the history you shared about the black dolls. The topsy turvy doll would be a great find for you or your store. I like how you added the scarf around her head on the doll you made and her prim little dress.

    1. Thank you Sandra! I plan on making another one in the near future and will be using most of everyone's suggestions. Janice

  4. Hi Janice,
    I was actually thinking of a wool heart necklace and her name stitched on the bottom of the dress, but love Lauren's idea of the patch and applique heart, too!! She is really sweet and thanks for sharing the history! I have a wonderful book about Folk Art Dolls that I love to look through!! I love old dolls, period!!!
    Enjoy your weekend!
    Heart Hugs~

    1. I made a wool heart necklace for a different black dollie I had made. Great minds think alike. :-) Janice

  5. How about a couple of patches on her skirt? Maybe a knitted shawl?

    1. I took your advise and added a shawl. Thanks Mary! Janice

  6. I have several black folk art dolls, one a Civil War reproduction made by Ms. Schneeman, and the other by a Kentucky folk artist. I love them both. Yours is impressive, and I admire you for having made her yourself! I would suggest a patch, or a tear that has been crudely mended. Or perhaps an apron made of burlap and tied rudely around her. And, you could give her a brief row of tiny ivory beads for teeth!

    1. Thank you! Wish I new your name to thank you properly. I have seen Ms Schneeman's work. Janice

  7. Thank-you Janice for your post today about black dollies. I love them too but only have the one my Mom made for me many years ago. She has an apron on her dress and a smaller little girl of her own that goes with her. Maybe a prim apron in case she worked in a kitchen instead of the field? Another idea would be a sack she could wear that had some cotton in it? Here is the South, slaves were used for cotton growing all the time.

    Like you, I have been conflicted about black dolls but I do love them and yours is really wonderful! Your perspectives today have given me a new way to reconsider these wonderful pieces of folk art. It is indeed a touchy topic and one that I wish to be respectful of while indulging in my love of these primitive dolls of our southern heritage.

    1. Everyone had such great was hard to decide. Will show soon what I did. Janice

  8. I very much like your pattern it's beautiful,thank for sharing good i dea !



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