367P: Victorian Dolls Get Beautiful New Clothes

I have been trying for a long time to remember the name of a book I loved as a child in the 1960s or very early 70s. In the book, Victorian-era dolls were outfitted with beautiful new clothes, shoes, and in one case, a muff. There was velvet involved, and the descriptions of the clothing and care the dolls received were beautiful (at least in my child’s mind). The dolls’ hair was fixed up as well. The colors of the clothing were rich. One of the dolls was a boy. The central character of the story was a little girl. There may have been a shop window or house with windows on the cover, but I have looked at so many books in trying to identify this one that I could be confusing this! It is also possible that this was a chapter book or series in which a particular doll needed to be repaired, as I recall multiple dolls with various problems that needed attention, and each was treated individuallly.

6 thoughts on “367P: Victorian Dolls Get Beautiful New Clothes

  1. Amy

    Could it be “The Best Loved Doll” by Rebecca Caudill? The little girl can’t decide which one of her beautiful dolls to take to a party. The cover of the book has the girl standing at the front door of a house with lots and lots of windows.

  2. Marisa

    It reminds me of a story called ‘The Toymaker’s Shop’ by Marie Smith, which I know from a 1980s anthology, but I’m not sure if that was ever a stand-alone book. At any rate, it’s about an old toymaker whose glasses are so badly damaged that he has started making all of the toys with distinct problems (the soldiers walk backwards, the kind and queen are wearing rags, the jack-in-the-box is not in the box, etc.). Until finally a toy wizard decides to find the wand that he’s supposed to have and try to make things right via magic. Utterly charming.

  3. Gayle Thomas

    This sounds very much like Racketty-Packetty House by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Cynthia’s old dollhouse with its worn-out dolls are sneered at by Cynthia and her modern new dolls in Tidy Castle. Then a real princess comes to visit, and is enchanted by the old-fashioned dolls, so they are fixed up and live happily ever after.

  4. Jen-the-Librarian

    Reminds me somewhat of THE SECRET MUSEUM by Shelia Greenwald. Jennifer Fairfax stumbles upon a playhouse in the woods and it is full of forgotten dolls. She starts to clean and fix them up, only for the wealthy woman who owns the playhouse to return.

  5. Kirsten Donaldson Wheal

    I think this is “The Dolls’ House” by Rumer Godden, also known as “Tottie: The Story of a Dolls’ House”. The family of dolls are the Plantagenets (Mr, Mrs and two children) and their housemaid Tottie. They live in a shoebox and start off quite tatty, but their owners, Charlotte and Emily, fix up the dolls and restore a Victorian dolls’ house for them – with beautiful details of the restoration process which has always made me want to make or restore a dolls’ house too. Unfortunately a villainous doll, Marchpane, comes to live there too and things are never the same. It’s a tale with real consequences for the dolls and I found it quite traumatic as a child!


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