Friday, 12 May 2017

Clothkits 1979

I hope this post brings happy memories for some people, I know it will for one of my good friends. Two years ago I bought this vintage clothkit kit from ebay for £2.12. It caught my eye because my mum made me one of these dolls in 1979, I was born in 1973.I planned to make this one for one of my girls but then didn't get around to it. Now that big Sis is nine and shows promise on the sewing machine I thought she might like to make it for herself.

She loved it. First she took great joy in counting how many clothes she could make for the doll from this one piece of material that we worked out was 38 years old! She was fascinated with all the little details.
22nd January
She made the handbag first and then started on the doll. It has taken many months but she has persevered. She stuffed the arms and legs firmly with a chopstick.

26th January
28th January
Machine sewing around the arms and legs was easy for her as well as sewing around the head but even I grappled with trying to keep the stuffing in the body as I attached the legs.

5th February - The dress PART 1
I liked that she anticipated each item of clothing with relish. It has been a collection which she has looked forward to completing. A rare thing these days when children can binge on anything from films, to book box sets to cheap toys. It made me feel quite old fashioned and wholesome to have given her this experience - 'character building' I would call it.

12th Feb - The dress PART 2
I listened to a debate on the radio about how mixed race and ethnic minority families were still finding it hard to get dolls with different coloured skins and hair texture alongside main stream choices in shops rather than making a specialised search online. This radio feature reminded me of my little purchase I had tucked away in my craft stash. It seems astounding to me that this is still a difficult purchase for families in the UK in 2017.

16th March Dungarees
She made the dungarees but the blouse was a fiddle too far. Even I found it hard to manage such small seam allowances under the machine. 

24th April 2017 Blouse and Shorts
She took the doll and the dress (those were the ones she made fully) along with a stick puppet and her crochet teddy to get her Toymaker Brownie badge. She made a little poster of some of these photos with captions about how she made the items. How about that? 

All I have left now are the original instructions and packing invoice with the last piece of fabric from the sheet. I think I will make her a scrapbook page about her experience for her album.

PS. We had to make one tiny modification. It really bothered Big sis that she did not have a nose so I had to draw one on with fabric pen. It was nerve racking I can tell you. Can you imagine if she had made all of that over four months for me to ruin it with a wonky nose!

Any happy childhood memories stirred? 
Did someone ever make you something special?
 Jo xxxx


  1. Absolutely gorgeous! What a talented little girl, such happy memories too because I had one as a child. My auntie bought me mine and I stitched it all by hand as I didn't have a sewing machine and my mum is no good at sewing. I loved it and it was a real wow seeing this one here this morning. Mine was a different style and I stitched in lots of brown wool for hair on mine. Thanks for sharing what a lovely memory to start the day! xx

  2. What an amazing job she has made of her doll, you and her must be really proud, I bet she passed the toy maker badge with flying colours. Sadly I didn't have a cloth kits doll but I do remember them well. I had a lovely auntie who used to make me clothes for my Sindy, now I think of it they must have been a real fiddle for her! She also used to knit and for Sindy too.
    What a lovely piece of nostalgia. CN x

  3. Wow! Your daughter is so talented in sewing at this age. She did a great job !! So nice you both share similar interests:)

  4. Yay! Dolly is a triumph, well done Big Sis. She really deserved that Toymaker badge. X

  5. Good afternoon Jo, oh my word, Clothkits, now that takes me back to the 1970s, they were so popular. I remember I made a doll for both my daughter's and they loved playing with them.
    Your daughter is so patient and it is so lovely to see that she found this sewing project so satisfying. She certainly deserves her Brownie Toy maker badge.
    Best Wishes

  6. Dolly good show big sis. A superb job and very well executed. Such patience and concentration. I may even have a couple of buttons to go on the scrapbook page.

  7. I don't remember these dolls at all, I was 1968 so I definitely think of myself as a 70's child. I did knit myself a doll about 12" long - it's the one with the mega fluffy hair do shown here - My Fun With Wool by Kate Pountney. I seem to remember my doll was a rhubarb colour with mustard coloured hair (shudder)! I can't remember what clothes I made, a few patterns are given in the book. Cathy x

  8. No there's a blast from the past! Not from my past unfortunately, I have never heard of Clothkits dolls. There must have been something similar in Switzerland but I doubt my mum would have bothered. Love big sis' dedication to a wonderful project. She is such a star! x

  9. While I am not familiar with these kits, I love seeing what big Sis and you put together, Jo! My oldest adult son [ 48] is biologically Asian and my youngest adult son [41] is biologically African-Caucasian. Neither of them had dolls in their childhood...a few stuffed animals, but mostly vehicles that could move, so I was oblivious to the scant selection of diverse ethnic dolls. When first shopping at IKEA a few years ago, I was delighted to note the ethnic diversity of their cloth dolls. xx

  10. Your daughter definitely deserved her new Brownie badge. The doll looks so well made she should feel very proud of herself!
    I fondly remember Clothkits. I was born in '72 and my mum made me quite a few dresses with Clothkits patterns - my favourite was a summer dress in green fabric with red parrots and other tropical flowers / plants on it.
    They are still in business ( having re-stablished the business again in 2008.
    I made one of their skirts in 2013

  11. Scout tee neckband info:
    Hi Jo - I only have the cut out sections and not the full pattern. My neckline is a size 0 and its 85.5cm long and 2.5cm wide. Hope that helps!

    1. Perfect, thanks. Ironically I have the piece at the end that I don't need so I can work back from that!. Thanks a million.

  12. I am so impressed. She is becoming such a talented crafter, just like her mom. I don't remember these specific dolls, but I do remember other cloth dolls and stuffed toys that were similar, with printed patterns on fabric. I remember a set of rabbits my mother made for me and my sisters, a family of mother, father and baby, from a fabric design. My husband has a Raggedy Andy doll that his mother made for him when he was little that may have come from one of these designs too. Andy is around here somewhere, I'll try to dig him out today and have a look at him.

  13. Well done, Big Sis. She really has done a good job and the badge is well deserved. I didn't know they did dolls. I thought it was all pre-printed clothes or am I mixing it up with another company. My Grandmother made me a doll, which I loved. When she died, as the only grandchild that sewed, I inherited her sewing things. Tucked away were the pages from a magazine, showing how to make the very same doll. Maybe I'll make another one day.

  14. This is amazing! I don't remember this doll, but my mum used to buy ready cut kits from the Clothkits shop in Winchester and make us clothes when we were little. But well done to Big Sis for persevering with that doll for so long, and she did such a great job. She has inherited your sewing skills. x

  15. What a talented girl. I loved reading this and looking at all those pictures. And I agree with Big Sis; she needed a nose!

  16. Wow! Well done big sis! Dolly looks great ..... and she really needed her nose! Congrats on the badge!
    Barbara x