A cloth doll as name suggests is simply made from a piece of cloth or fabric. Primitive cloth dolls were made of Felt- a compressed matted animal fiber. The rareness of cloth dolls lies in its method of fabrication. Unlike other dolls, it is not molded. The artist used to stitch it by hand, either with a needle or sewing machine. Though sewing machine came much later in mid nineteenth century, the earlier dolls were all sewn and hemmed manually. Though the technique was simpler still it calls for great degree of expertise on part of dollmaker. Antique cloth dolls, those survived from past don’t carry any mark or seal of the maker. This set hurdles in exploring its birthplace and history.
But fortunately a cloth doll tells her own tale; all you need is a vision to realize. The originality and provenance can be judged from the type of fiber used. The features of an antique cloth doll were highlighted with either embroidery or oil-colours. The artist used to carve the features so immaculately so as to give an appealing human look to the doll. Cloth dolls were made of good quality fiber. Artist used to exploit fiber in many ways. Some cloth dolls only had head portion layered with fiber, with bottom of some other material or vice versa. Some had real hair wigs, some painted.
But as we know nothing on earth is immortal, by the time durability of cloth dolls frayed. It instead made them even more valuable and rare. That is why an antique cloth doll is no less than a treasure for a serious doll collector.