Peddler Doll

“Penny” or “Milly” is way her from Germany. I have yet to make up my mind which she will be. I suspect she will let me know which she prefers when she arrives.

She is a doll made in the 1980s. I don’t think she was meant to be a reproduction doll, nor a high fashion doll. She is just a pretty doll, with a simple, sweet face. Her hair is center parted, wide on the sides and low at the neck. She will be a bit of a millinery fitting challenge.

She reminds me of a few dolls at The Strong, which was the go-to doll museum as I grew up. I remember wandering the hundreds of dolls, doll houses and accessories with my Grandma and Grandpa, when I was likely smaller than many of the dolls there. Now, it is the “National Museum of Play.” But, the top floor still has many of the dolls on display.

PDhNone of these are meant to be exact, just “in the feeling of.” Clockwise, “Penny/Milly” is at the top. 1) A doll by Conta & Boehme, which was a German pottery that started making dolls in 1845. 2) Another by Conta & Boehme. 3) A German doll, by A. W. Fr. Kister. 4 and 5) two German dolls, by Kloster Veilsdorf. 6) A doll by Hertwig & Co.  7) A Conta & Boehme head.

For her body, I am leaning towards going without legs for stability. I am picturing the standard shaped torso on top of a batting stuffed bell, cut all in one. I may also include a piece of wood up through the center and/or a weight at the bottom.

I am also leaning towards fabric hands. I figure these give more flexibility and the option of securing the basket to the hands/wrists.

I added a pin board for an imaginary wish list of what could go in the basket.

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.