or "Fabric" dolls date back as early as the time when man first
wore woolen cloth, thus there were "rags" around that could be
rolled or roughly sewn into a doll like shape for children.
Early American dolls are based on fabric/muslin dolls. Antique
collectors today and yesterday tended to keep away from the
"rag" doll because they were much harder to keep nice, weren't
as pretty, and didn't survive as well as a "china" type of doll
might have. But the fabric/muslin dolls that have made it down
through the centuries are much cherished today.
Cloth dolls could be
dressed pain or fancy depending on the era of the time the doll
was made. Some dolls have elegant needlework or embroidery,
depending on the doll maker. Dolls can be stuffed with other
fabrics, sawdust, straw, or cotton. Dolls of today are usually
stuffed with batting, or polyester fiberfill. Some dolls today
are stuffed with sawdust, then painted. One will pay "top"
dollar for this excellent and unique type of artist work.
Doll faces could be
painted or sewn (needle point). Depending on the artist or doll
maker, the faces could be plain or highly detailed. They could
be very primitive or very elegantly done. Dolls were VERY
appreciated by children in those days, after all, it was
probably their only "toy" and it was handmade by mom or Grandma.
cloth doll bodies were homemade with scraps of fabric.
Nothing was thrown out or wasted back then. Most were
constructed with a front and a back including legs. The
arms were attached separately. One piece body dolls were
produced commercially in the early 1800's in many European
countries. By 1840 muslin bodies were being made that