Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas dress for a 19th century doll sewn on a Red Eye Singer

 Firstly, for my sewing machine loving, quilting  and needle-working friends. rejoice with me on  success in my quest for a Beautiful RED-eye SINGER. 

This was a lucky deal as I had been SEARCHING for one on Ebay and then ending up FINDING one in my own  neck of the woods  at a local antiques Shop for $75. I scarcely believed my eyes  when I entered this Shop on a whim,and there she was,  A RED EYE Singer, in wonderful condition!

 We brought her home, plugged her in and walah! Runs like a champ.

 According to the serial number this model was made in 1924, the last year they made the RED EYES, so  named for the red "eye" designs on the fabulous markings. These were first manufactured in 1910 as treadle and hand cranked machines.
For my first project using this machine , I decided to make a Christmas dress for this poor old doll...
These  Bisque head dolls with leather bodies, were made in Germany between the 1860's and 1900.
She has a patch on her back, and her WIG is disintegrating beyond belief, it's horrid.  Other than that, her leather body is in good condition for such an old gal.

 Having those black stockings and lacy pantaloons has helped preserve her cloth feet, stuffed with sawdust. Only 2 small holes appear. I believe the legging items are original to her.
I purchased her about 30 years ago and she has never had a proper dress.  She has worn this ghastly, ill-fitting old "rag of a gown", all this time.

 It was never HER dress, just a hand-me-down from some other dolly... but she was wearing it when I purchased her and HAS DONE, ever since.
 Referring to the full size pattern I used when sewing my own Charles Dickens dress a few years ago, I adapted the pieces to make a Victorian 1850's-1860's dress for this poor neglected soul.

 The RED EYE stitches very nicely, but I am having trouble adjusting the stitch size. Does anyone know how to change the stitch width on this machine? Also, I can't seem to figure out reverse; anyone?
  It did not take much time to make her a Christmas dress. The waistband on the skirt and bodice were hand-stitched, all else was done on the machine.
The dropped shoulders and billowing sleeves are typical of the mid 1800's

Tiny buttons and a few snaps, hooks and eyes, and the 19th century dolly has a new wardrobe. She will soon have a new head of hair,  I have ordered a wig for her. Mamsey Bear has lent her a bonnet and a cap..until she is able to have her own..


After all, Mamsey Bear has many bonnets.

This little linen over-blouse came with the doll and is very appropriate to wear with the frock, the colors mesh perfectly.

But wait, She has no name!
     Can you believe she's not been named in all these years?! Now, it is your turn, please name the dolly for me, keeping in mind she is from the Victorian period. I will take the names you provide, and on January 1st, I will ask her which name she likes best.
 You can email me with a doll's name if your prefer:  jeri@hopalonggreetings.com

The winning name will receive a lovely gift from here in Hopalong Hollow. I'll let you know about that soon.

For now,  I wish to thank those of you  reading this blog, whether you are a frequent commenter or tend to read in anonymity, Merry Christmas to all!
And from SCROOGE (he was an actor strolling past my booth) and myself, here is a Tiny Tim Christmas greeting: "God Bless us Every one!"

Please listen to this wonderful group singing "I Wander as I Wander" Start the music at .55
Her original chorus is just awe-inspiring!


  1. Jeri, I'm in love with the red eye Singer! What a wonderful find! Your dolly looks so beautiful in her new dress. She looks so happy and I'm sure will be delighted with new hair. As far as a name for her, she looks like a Martha ---but I think Pearl would be lovely. That was my grandmother's name. I'm sure she will pick the perfect name! Wonderful attire you two are sporting--fabulous. Merry Christmas! xoxo ♥

  2. You and your husband look like you belong in the 19th century! Your husband looks too much in character--like it fits him! :-) Hopefully, he is just a great re-enactor! As for a name for dolly, I would think Victoria would be appropriate. My second choice would be Rebecca, then Emily.

    1. HA HA HA ! Cathy! That is not my husband, HE will never dress in character. That Scrooge was an actor strolling the Dickens Festival before a performance and I grabbed him for a photo. Thank you for the names!

  3. I like the name, Beatrice, for your doll. She reminded me of pictures I have seen of Queen Victoria's daughter, Beatrice. Lovely doll and dress, Jeri. Merry Christmas, to you and yours in the Hollow. ~Christine

  4. What a lovely transformation for your sweet doll. She looks so cute in her new dress. And so do you, by the way, in your outfit. I like the name Mary as it was my grandmother's name. I think she would suit that. Wishing you and your family (furry and feathered ones, too) a very peaceful and love-filled Christmas. Hugs, Deb

  5. Oh your dolly looks great with her new dress! I have been out of touch with blogging of late, but wanted to stop by and wish you a very Merry Christmas!

  6. I emailed my suggestions, but will copy that here in comments too. :)

    I believe your dolly is Wilhelmina Grace. ;)

    Wilhelmina was a popular name in the Victorian era, it is of German origin, like dolly, and it means 'willing to protect', which seems fitting, as she has been protected from decay by some careful previous owners and now by you. The middle name, Grace, also a Victorian favorite, is a nod to how she is now graced by her lovely new wardrobe.

    Thank you for the fun contest, and the always inspiring arts, crafts and whimsy you offer on your blog! By the way, your beautiful red eye Singer is gorgeous! I have my great grandmother's Singer, which I have yet to find a worthy repairman to restore to working order, but you have inspired me to begin looking again.

    Katie Kruger from Phoenix, Arizona.

  7. Here is a liink for the original manual for the Red Eye:


    and the google search for instructions, in case the pdf, above is not enough:


    There may be no reverse. I know the much loved old factory Singers we used in the garment business in NYC did not have reverse; you sew a tiny bit then stop and oversew at the beginning.

    The doll's name is Emmeline Amelia. Her new dress is beautiful. I hope you ll show us how she looks with her new wig, and perhaps tell where you got the wig, as I have a sweet little bald bisque doll who doesn t want fakey modern hair.


    lizzy at gone to the beach

    1. Liz, thanks for the sewing machine link. I found the dolls wig on ebay, they often show up for bid.

  8. Sophronia Rose has a nicely Dickensian ring to it. And any resemblance to her initials and those of my smaller grand-daughter are purely intentional.

    This may sound crazy, but my treadle reverses when I reverse the flywheel--would that work for your Red Eye? Might be worth a try. If all else fails, I guess you'd have to reverse the fabric every time you want to go backwards.

  9. I had a friend at school whose family were from North Yorkshire. Her great,great Grandmother went by the glorious name of Euphanie Trueblood. She has an air of a true blood about her. Although with the German origins she may need a more Teutonic moniker. Will think on.
    Happy Christmas Jeri xx

  10. I think she looks like a Victoria, not very imaginative I know! Anyway, no matter, I came here to wish you and yours a very happy and inspirational Christmas and a new Year filled with much hopping in the hollow. xxx

  11. Beautiful dress!
    One name? Its not an easy choice but I like Myrtle Marie (must have middle name).
    Happy Holidays!

  12. What a lovely lady your doll has turned into. You did a beautiful job with her dress on your NEW sewing machine. What a beauty and treasure that is!

    Love that photo of you at your booth. You so look the part and are a beautiful lady. Scrooge sure looks the part, it was 'kind' of him to pose with you. :-)

    For a name I came up with Jessamine Grace. Jessamine is French, and France and Germany are neighbors so this name could work for your sweet German lady. Grace is also a name astrologically associated with the jasmine flower which the name Jessamine comes from. Jessamine Grace.

    May your and your dear husband have a much love, peace and joy filled Christmas and a wonderful 2015.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

  13. Wow! What a beautiful machine...My grandmother had a singer machine and made almost all of my dresses when I was a little girl. Just looking at your Red Eye brought back so many memories.
    Loved the photo of you and your husband. Merry Christmas. ~Karen

  14. JERI LANDERS!!!!!!!

    I was away from the 'puter yesterday, and missed this!

    DO YOU KNOW that I had my grandmother's RED EYE FOR YEARS? I remember seeing it sitting in my aunt's house for years. Then it came to our house, then when my parents passed, I got it only to have to give it back to a cousin when I moved to Boston. Where it is now, I have no idea. But I too sewed on it for years!!!!! What a lucky deal you got and this sweet dolly? SHE SCORED!

    OK, I am not too educated when it comes to Victorian names, but when I see her, I see,


    That's my two cents! Oh, and you look perfect. What a gorgeous lady you are in our era and in this magical era of storytelling and English beauty!!!! HAPPY SEWING! Anita

    1. Anita, who knows, this MAY be YOUR old machine!

  15. Oooooo (squeel of delight)!! The Red-eye is wonderful!! I will go through my vintage Singer manuals and books send you a double (or copy one) for you. (after the holidays) This one is different from what I have seen, but I do know that some of the early "change over to electric" machines did not have the reverse, as the treadle itself reversed. This looks like a gem and it is amazing how after so many years they work!! They are like works of art!! She's a beauty to be sure!!

    Jeri dear that is a most BEAUTIFUL...stunning.. picture of you and your Dickens friend!!

    I just so enjoyed the DOLLY ( "Miss Millicent Ivy" ) getting her lovely new dress! She must be a happy gal to be getting such caring attention again. She's a pretty girl, and how nice of Mamsy to lend her a bonnet she looks right at home with the other Dollies of the Hollow!!
    Have a WONDERFUL CHRISTmas and may it be filled with JOY and many Blessings Love and warmth Linnie

  16. Love dolly's dress and the sewing machine. Bet you had the precious buttocks basket sitting around in wait. Have the best holidays Jeri.

  17. Well, Dolly may be German but I think she looks like she could be black Irish and so I am opting for an Irish name: Siobhan. The only problem is that Dolly will have to pronounce and spell her name every time she gives it to a receptionist or is called out for something or other. There are however many variant spellings many of which are more or less phonetic so that's a possibility. No matter, it is a lovely name----so soft sounding.

    Her dress is just beautiful and after 30 years I'm sure she is so happy to have something NEW!

    The sewing machine is just gorgeous. I always love to see those purely utilitarian things all fancied up with beautiful designs.

    Have a happy Christmas!


  18. Wishing you and yours, and all your creatures great and small ~ a most peaceful and Merry Christmas! :))))

  19. Two Beauties! I have always liked Jo from Little Women.
    Happy Holidays!

  20. She is such a pretty dolly. I think she looks like Phoebe.
    Merry Christmas.

  21. I think that is the tension button on your machine and, alas, no reverse. As for names, I've always loved the name Isabella, my g-g-grandmother's name who was born in 1852. Her knickname was Bella.

  22. Jeri

    Thank you for leaving such a sweet comment about my Hanna.

    I love your new sewing machine. I have never seen a "Red Eye".

    I suggest Violet May as a name for your doll. My sister's name is Violet .

  23. Oh Jeri, so glad you got a vintage singer. Those red eyes are beautiful. Yes that round knob controls the stitch length. To back stitch, I just hold the fabric in place, that kind of bar tacks its. Your machine is a little new than my red eye. Mine is dated 1919.

    Now that bear needs a name how about Onetta Alberta?

    Merry Christmas

  24. I have always liked the name Zelma Janette. I so enjoy your blog, always excited when I see a new post. thnx for sharing your talents with us. Blessings to you and your family.

  25. A popular name in the 1880's was Edith, but I'm suggesting it as a nod to one of my favorite doll characters in a book from my childhood The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lonely_Doll. Merry Christmas. I love doll rescue stories!

  26. I have an 80 year old Singer, also found in a Thrift Shop. Mine has no reverse, forward only. And yes, the silver knob is the stitch regulator. The stitches get longer as you tighten it and shorter as you go the other way.

  27. Happy Xmas Jerri. LOVE your red eye, the designs on it a are just gorgeous, what a score!

  28. What a wonderful find and the Singer does look it great shape. You have the doll looking so wonderful Jeri. I was a past your booth in Columbus at the Country Living Fair but girl you were swamped at the time so we went on. I never made it back to say hello. I hope you had a great time there. It is a highlight for us now in the Fall.
    Wanted to drop by and tell you and hubby to have a wonderful Christmas and a New Year filled with many blessings.

  29. Your rescue of this vintage doll is quite beautiful to behold. I also like the photo of you with the almost-obliging Mr Scrooge.

    A very Merry Christmas to You!

  30. Love this!!!! That sewing machine is divine! I love your blog and it is one of my "happy" places. Reminds me of Beatrice Potter, but all on its own. You bless me with such beauty in your posts! That doll, I think of the name Winnie, short for Winnifred. Or Beatrice :) Bless you, Jeri! Thank you for the beauty!

  31. Merry Christmas, Jeri....you look lovely in your period costume...actually, you look beautiful!!!

  32. Love your Redeye, hope you enjoy your time with her. I have a Featherweight that I use occasionally and an old Singer treadle that I would like to get refurbished. I would suggest the name of Araminta for your doll. She looks lovely in her new dress.

  33. My goodness, Jeri, are you ever stunning! Love those period costumes...
    This is a beautiful Singer, and your sweet dolly is as pretty as can be thanks to your magic hands.
    I wish you and your loved ones a blessed, beautiful Christmas!
    Hugs from MN,
    ~ Irina

  34. ... I am swooning over your loverly Singer ~ such beautiful graphics on her and great working condition too! I favor my 1907 Pfaff treadle when sewing…she 'hums' when she's stitching :)
    Your little doll's dress is perfect for her….{{when I leaned in for a closer look at her over-shirt,
    I think I heard her whisper that 'Arabella Sparrow' would be a befitting name for such a lass who lives at Hopalong Hollow }}
    ~ Merry Christmas Wishes for a Bright & Shiny New Year from all of us at Notforgotten Farm

  35. Dear Jeri - such a lovely doll and I am so happy for you that you found this prize of a sewing machine. I know your talent will certainly come alive with this precious machine. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas season (I am late in wishing you one but have been caught up in all the festivities). Have a Happy New Year. Hugs

  36. Jeri
    i have my paternal grandmothers singer and my brother has my maternal grandmothers, wish I had that as well it is the one with the drawers down the side and the tilt top, mine is in the cabinet(suppose that was upper class,but like the other better.) Must find out how to date them though, I cant open mine at the moment but i am positive it is red eye, treadle. I have used it heaps actually, sewed my bridesmaids dresses and all my maternity clothes and first baby clothes on it and only bought a Husquvana 2000 after my son was born .I still have that and help, he will be 40 next year ,so i suppose that is an antique as well now, still using both machines and love them both. Unfortunately don't get to do as much sewing these days as i would like, work too much, Both machines will keep going for when i eventually get the chance to retire and use all that fabric i have sitting around.
    love love your blog. I think your little ladies name should be Ruby sapphire for her dress and eyes love the outfit you made for her. Haven't made any doll clothes in 12 months after doing a heap for my grandaughter last Christmas but she was not interested in them, so have not made more she would rather be out on the bike or drawing oh well cant complain about that.May be i will try some period outfits for my doll instead.
    hope you had a great Christmas and look forward to 2015 and what ever it brings. Elizabeth S

  37. The machine is beautiful, a piece of art in itself. She looks like Miss Ida Redfern to me.

  38. Oh my goodness, your machine is beautiful! My vote is for Lilly Lucille. That's my mother's oldest sister's name and she was quite a hard working woman in her day, but did like to dress up from time to time. I think of your dolly in that same way.

    Happy New Year from Diane in North Carolina

  39. My many thanks and salutations to one and all for providing us with such marvelous names! I wish i could use them all. Today, dolly will pick just one.

  40. So so Beautiful! I have always thought the red eye decal designs were the most exquisite of all the decorations on the antique sewing machines.. Just to look at her every day would be a treat. I don't think there is a reverse on the red eye. I'm thinking reverse came in, in the thirties.
    You have probably found out all about the machine by now as I am late coming, but yes that is the same stitch regulator that I have on two antique singers. If I remember right, it seems to adjust in the opposite direction that I would have thought according to which way you turn the knob.
    This project you has chosen couldn't be more pefect as the first things made on you Red Eye.. I just Love the whole thing!!!!!

  41. hello sweetie :)
    nice post!, great pics so inspiring . . .
    love design of your blog ... like everything!
    Tell me how about follow each other?
    Let me know please, I always follow back :)
    Have an inspiring day :**
    keep in touch


  42. How to makeup your doll dress on traditional sewing machine. That information you have shared is very informative.


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