Barbara K. is a folk artist from rural North Carolina and lives in a beautiful 1890's farmhouse, which is wildly appropriate for someone who's main passion is quilt making and more recently the restoration of her 50 year old Raggedy Ann and Andy collection originally made by her beloved Grandma Toots in the 1970's. Barbara figured she could 'deconstruct' the body parts that needed replacing and use the old parts as a pattern. However, before embarking on such a drastic surgical option, she launched an internet search and found a reference to a McCall's pattern #6941 offered in our store which included the original face transfer, just like the one her Grandma Toots used. So just after Christmas 2019, she ordered the pattern and set out on a quest to bring her collection back to it's original glory! Barbara used materials already at her disposal from her many quilt projects, and when she couldn't find any baby blue rick rack, she removed the old apron, brought it back to life and reused it!
"The four dolls that she made in the early 70s for my own children had been loved nearly to death, then ravaged even more by the passage of time stored away in an upstairs bedroom dresser drawer. Torn stockings, ripped aprons, faded trousers, stained body parts, laughably dreadful hairdos! Every once in a while I would unpack them and remember the fun times we had had together."
Preparing for Restoration
"I could hardly wait to dive in to my special project! I would need to make several pairs of new legs, stockings, shoes in several sizes and two pairs of arms. New aprons, new bloomers, new trousers. Lots to do. The pattern was in remarkable condition, despite its having been used to make several dolls already. During my restoration process, I ended up having to make two brand new faces and the pattern's transfers for embroidering the facial details even worked!"
Long Lost Surprise
"I told one of my sisters about my project and asked if she would like to bring me her family Raggedies as well. She brought me three more. The best part of her contribution though was even more special. Stored with her three dolls was a paper bag that had come from Grandma Toots. Inside that bag was a pair of legs and a pair of arms that had never made it into a finished doll and one unclaimed dress. There was also a wad of folded up tissue paper which turned out to be the remnants of our grandmother's own McCall's pattern 6941!"
Grandma Toots Would be Proud
"When the project was finished, I had restored the seven original dolls plus made two more, one using the extra pair of arms and legs, and one from scratch to fit the unclaimed dress. Nine in all. What fun!" Barbara's dedication to honor her Grandmother's handiwork took just under a month! What a wonderful winter project to restore her families heirlooms for both herself and her sister.