On Friday we had a look at a West Tennessee Amish community, including some signs of Amish businesses in the settlement. Today Brenda shares a little bit about one of those businesses, a local Amish doll maker:
My Amish friend, Kathy, asked me to help her come up with an idea to make some extra money, which was needed to help her husband, Mahlon, pay some unexpected doctor and medical bills for their 14 month old daughter, Rebecka. I managed to get her several orders from some of my friends for baked goods. That helped tremendously!
Then one day when I was over visiting, and the girls were playing with their dolls. I asked Kathy where she got their dolls? “From Susie”, she said. (Susie is another close neighbor and cousin to Kathy). She then told me this story…”As their Amish custom, each little girl gets her first doll on their 1st birthday. It is approx. 8” tall. On their 3rd birthday, they are given a larger doll. It is approx. 14” tall.”
~Brainstorm hit me!~ I asked if she could make the dolls; knowing what a great seamstress she is at making all the family’s clothes, kapps, curtains, etc.? She replied, “I could try”. We drove over to Susie’s and borrowed her patterns. So that is the beginning of how her little doll making business began.
I told some of my friends on various Amish sites, that she is making/selling these dolls, and the response has been overwhelming! “The 8″ doll is the hardest to make, as the pieces and clothing are so tiny”, she said. She consumes about 3 continuous hours on each doll she makes. She usually makes two a day, between all the other chores, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and seeing after her three children. “It is something I love to do. Once I begin a new doll, I want to finish it as quickly as possible. There is ‘Love and Pride’ in every stitch”, replied Kathy.
Here are some photos of Kathy’s operation, and a few more comments from Brenda describing what is going on:
The first 4 photos are some of the dolls ready to be mailed out.
The one with the scissors shows the ‘home made pattern’, which has been passed down through many generations. This shows a few of the many pieces for the 14” doll. (The pattern was cut out using a cracker box.)
On Kathy’s wood cook stove, you can see the iron heating to press the doll clothes.
The final 3 photos are the 2 sizes shown together, the 14” doll and then the 8” doll