The Turnabouts

1940s TurnaboutsI started sewing doll clothes around seven years old and took all the sewing classes offered in my high school during the 1970s.  I learned by doing that polyester fabric responded to cutting, folding, ironing very differently than cotton or wool.   Through the years I saw polyester and other such materials blended with cotton and wool to increase flexibility and longevity.  I have also learned that the longevity advantage of plastics in all its forms is becoming a societal problem-it lasts a very long time and is piling up on the planet (  I try to consider many options before I select new plastic.

By contrast, vintage paper is currently abundant, but fragile and will not last forever.  Vintage magazines have far more hand-drawn images than later eras.  I was initially reluctant to from them until I shared this feeling with a good friend who is a historic preservation professional who suggested that I release those images to the world.  That concept freed me and the images.

The Turnabouts, produced during the “Golden Age of Paper Dolls”  from the 1930’s through the 1950’s, needed more thought.   These American mid-century images of woman’s fashion in the muted colors are  printed on both sides.  The paper dolls had been cut and saved for over 60 years, probably by women in the same family.  In this instance embalming – to preserve from oblivion; keep in memory – is my intention.

Barbie appears to have been a disrupter and an adopter of paper doll technology.  The historians write that “Barbie may be credited or condemned for the decline in popularity of paper dolls in the 1960s, yet in the 1990’s Barbie was one of the most popular paper dolls among children and collectors alike.”  ( and 1940s Turnabouts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *