Peddler Doll

This project could easily fit into my history focused site. But, as it is very much a relaxation and comfort project, I will put it here instead.

PDsPeddler dolls are fascinating. They are even more so when I simply do not have the space nor budget for the doll house size millinery shop that I want.

Looking at originals, these dolls seem to have all sorts of heads spanning a good bit of time. I see porcelain heads, composite heads,  heads with hair, wood heads, even one I think is cloth. The red cloak with hood seems to show up on nearly half of the peddler dolls I have seen. Otherwise, the almost always utilitarian dress seems to vary, while a hood of some sort is worn by nearly all. (The Strong has a good bunch of peddler dolls in their online collection.)

A basket, with a cord or ribbon assisting in holding it around the doll’s neck is the most common carrier of goods. Occasionally, a table or cart is used as well. Most baskets are a little wider than shoulder width. A few are smaller or deep. Dangling items from the sides adds more space to the basket surface.

One of my first questions is: “Did peddler dolls have legs?” It seems that answer is yes and no. This article suggests a “Twig Doll” is ideal for a peddler doll: “This simple [twig] doll could easily be made into a popular “peddler doll”, which is a doll dressed as an old fashioned street peddler carrying a basket. The empty basket is filled by the collector over time with appropriately scaled miniatures. A peddler is a fun type of doll to own since the collector can continue to personalize their doll with each new accessory.”

Now, this brings me to the question of whether she should have porcelain arms, cloth arms I can sew to, or rope arms with hands. The latter of which I haven’t a clue where to find the hands for.

Another is: “What is used to suspend items from the basket?” Permanent thread? Tiny hooks?


A Peddler doll will need:

  • A head – Photo to the right. Peddlerdollhead
  • A body – This will be determined by the feet/legs and hands question.
  • Feet and hands – see above
  • A name – Currently thinking “Penny” or “Milly”
  • A basket! – RubyLane has this already filled basket – I’ll be looking for the perfect empty one – strong, yet petite.
  • A stand or base – I don’t know if I just want a stained wooden base or one covered in cloth. The later can have pieces sewn on.
  • Clothes and a bonnet – Chemise, stays, petticoats, dress, apron, cloak, bonnet.
  • Things for in the basket
    • Bonnets, caps, headdresses, ribbons, flowers, laces….
  • She may need a smaller basket, sewing box or such for her sewing supplies.

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