Doll Parts

September 6th, 2011

Doll Parts - Behind The Awkwardness

“My sister Erica (6 years-old) is on the left and I am on the right(7 years-old). I am sure you can imagine the disappointment when my thrifty mother handed us these homemade Cabbage Patch Kids!”

(submitted by Michelle)

127 Responses to “Doll Parts”

  1. Esther says:

    OMG freaking Hilarious!!! My mom bought me some pants like those in EVERY SINGLE COLOR when I was in elemantary along w/matching shirts for all of them. So for like 2 years, every single picture of myself, I am wearing some color of them pants w/a cutsie shirt. Ugh…I cringe when I see them photos!!!

  2. Ted C says:

    My parents gave me homemade wooden blocks that where just blocks of wood. I was so disappointed.

  3. Hannah says:

    My sister was disabled and so my parents liked to make a bit of a fuss of her – poor kid, she spent so much time in hospital and died in early adulthood. Anyway, the year the Cabbage Patch Kids came out (I live in the UK) my dad queued outside Harrods to get my sis a CPK. He managed to get her one and I think she really liked it. I admit I felt a bit jealous as I didn’t get one. At the time, I was too young to understand that adults feel guilty and sad about ill children so tend to over compensate. It’s fair to say I have mixed feelings about CPK. It is probably quite revealing that I bought myself one when I was an adult. It wasn’t quite as solid and well made as the original ones and had a very distinctive, sickly smell. My sister’s doll, named “Sandy”, still sits on her bed at my parents’ home.

    • Picodog says:

      Wow, I don’t know what is more disturbing/bizarre the picture or your comment. lol

    • Megannno says:

      yikes…that disturbs me that your cabbage patch kid stunk like ‘sickness’…mine smelt like plastic and cloth and yarn.

      • Hannah says:

        Hi Megannno – I think that sickly is an English word that doesn’t translate well into American (I’m from UK). In Ye Olde Englandshire, the word ‘sickly’ doesn’t describe a vomit smell. It means an overwhelmingly sweet, cloying smell. I think my CBK was meant to smell of talcum powder but it smelt more like candy to me.

  4. Eileen says:

    Wow. Honestly, I had no idea till today that the home-made doll my aunt gave me when I was four was supposed to be a Cabbage Patch rip-off. It probably helped that I hated the look of the real Cabbage Patch dolls. I also was a real mother to my dolls, loving them even more if they were a bit odd-looking, or if they got damaged. I had about fifteen of them in the end, each with their own name and personality. This one was named Alberta, after my province.

    My doll came with yarn hair which my little brother promptly cut off, a fact that I never let him forget for the next fifteen years. I’m over it now.

  5. Beth says:

    I got the homemade doll, too, and I loved her! She was pretty cute and made to match the way I looked. And I’m gonna guess that she was pretty expensive for the time period, being custom made. Alot of mom’s had to go this route just because you couldn’t get your hands on one in the store and they didn’t want to disappoint us. I got lots more of the real thing later when the craziness calmed down a little, the cornsilk, world traveler, preemie, koosa. But I wish I still had that first handmade one. My sister even sent me two when she was stationed in Korea, they were supposed to be “authentic” but smelled like they were stuffed with rags soaked in gasoline…I wasn’t allowed to leave them laying in the sun or anywhere hot, my mom constantly warned me that they could spontaneously combust. “You just don’t know about things made in other countries!” haha

  6. Laura says:

    Apparently sewing the doll was so popular, that they sold just the cabbage doll heads. My mom bought the head, and made the body. I loved that doll 🙂

  7. Cammotwin says:

    My mom made me and my sister home made dolls too, (being cheap not that we couldn’t afford them)! I hated mine and drew on its face with markers. My aunt and grandma felt so bad for us, they bought us real ones for Christmas. I can’t believe how many other moms made them too!

    • chris f says:

      Ha! Your story made me laugh! I would love to see that doll’s face. I think a lot of moms made them because they were not much more than a stuffed sock with a head. Very simple and hard to screw up because they were so ugly to begin with. Kind of like a voodoo doll if you ask me. I’m glad your aunt and grandma saw the importance of having a real Cabbage Patch Doll.

    • linda says:

      VERY interesting. my mother-in-law made a cabbage patch doll for my daughter when she was 3 or 4. i always thought she liked it. but she did draw all over it (and herself) with a red sharpie pen when she was about 4 years old. so now i’m thinking maybe she really hated her doll. i hope she didn’t hate herself too. LOL!!

      • Clucky1 says:

        I made four of them for my kids and I tell you …I put lots of tlc into making them and (modestly) they turned out cute…I think way cuter than the store bought ones. I am going to ask my kids if they hated them…;-)

  8. Nikita says:

    I had one of the same thing! These were from the “Little People Pals” pattern by Xavier Roberts himself. They weren’t supposed to be real Cabbage Patch Kids, but were intended as “friends” for the real ones. My mom totally did not understand that at all.

  9. Meredith says:

    On behalf of my sister who also received a homemade Cabbage Patch Kid, “I feel your pain.” My parents bought me the real thing, she got the homemade version. She never held it against me, since I was 5yo, but it’s still a sore spot in terms of parents/grandmother.

  10. Dione says:

    When I saw this picture on my Facebook, I seriously had to do a double-take because I had the exact same hairstyle and glasses when I was in second grade!! What a riot-

  11. Gina says:

    I’m pretty sure I had those same exact glasses except mine had a G decal in the corner.

  12. Mic C says:

    I was just as disappointed when given a homemade pet rock.

  13. chris f says:

    Michelle may cherish this handmade doll NOW (though I have my doubts), but I’m sure it was a bummer to have the Amish version of the Cabbage Patch Doll then!

  14. armchair hero says:

    I had a “Patch Kid” which was a knock-off CBK. It looked like the real deal, though (and I did get a real CBK a year later). What is fascinating to me about this picture, though, is the clothing. Are those Grranimals? I wore Grranimals for way too many years.

  15. glasstabletop says:

    I also remember the real things having a distinct smell. Their shoes smelled terrible.

    • Bev says:

      lucky for these girls, those dolls didn’t come with shoes! lol

      • Fisk says:

        Of course- how could you get shoes on those gnarly little feet? LOL This is the only picture that I’ve looked at the comments, and it has been worthwhile. Thank you so much for sharing your picture and thanks for all the funny and touching comments. I really appreciate a good laugh right now.

  16. Azza says:

    Those dolls seemed so expensive (in Australia anyway) when I was a kid (I have no idea really though). I was so desperate for one, my parents did end up giving one to me for Christmas. She was bald though. I thought that maybe the hairless ones were cheaper? Felt a bit ungrateful at the time… probably would have been a livid 8 yr old had my mum made me one.

    • Cartlin says:

      LOL, no the bald ones (my favorite) were Cabbage Patch BABIES, the ones with hair were Cabbage Patch Kids. I had both (the baby the next year), and actually preferred it without hair! It was slightly smaller, and the head was always nice and cool when it was hot!

  17. Mollie says:

    My mama made my sister and I one of these homemade dolls. It is one of my favorite Christmas memories. I think it means more to me knowing all the time, effort, and love she put into making them. Money can’t buy that. And – yep – I still have mine 🙂

  18. It's me! Dee! says:

    Aw, your Mom didn’t do such a bad job. My Mom refused to pay for the outrageously over-priced doll and my little sister got a home made one too. Her’s wasn’t as well done as what you got. In fact it was pretty dodgy but my sister loved it none the less because it was made with love. Fortunately for me I always found the cabbage patch dolls rather hideous and never understood the attraction. It would freak me out to wake up in the middle of the night to that little screwed up face.

  19. Erin says:

    We had homemade cabbage patch dolls with open mouths for holding a pacifier. If you lost the pacifier you had this big old doll with this huge gaping hole where the mouth should be. Also, I totally had glasses like that.

  20. Becky says:

    Reminds me of the *original* Cabbage Patch Kids! They were all hand-made! It was only once they went commercial did the plastic head become popular.
    My dad had a cousin who made the soft-scupture dolls. She gave one to me when I was young – *before* the commercial dolls hit the market. The doll was bigger than those that would start civil wars at the Toys-R-Us…and she was beautiful (and resembled my hair and eye color)!
    My grandmother went a little crazy with the CPKs and had 50 or so of them lined up on shelves in her sewing room. Still in their boxes with all of their birth certificates. Every so often I would get lucky and receive one (with clothing wardrobe that she made) for Christmas or my birthday.
    I still have one or two (in addition to the original, larger soft-sculptured doll) CPK packed away as a treasured memento! Thank you for sharing this photo and taking me on a journey to my childhood!

    • Asil says:

      Yes. Exactly like the original cabbage patch kids. They went for over a hundred dollars and were hand sewn.

    • Fisk says:

      Wow, Becky! I’m wondering which kind of original you had. In about 174, my husband and I took our 5 boys to the Berea Folk Art Fair in central Ky. Martha Nelson Thomas had several soft sculpture dolls, completely hand made, for sale at the modestly high (at that time) price of $50. I fell totally in love with the impish Fisk, dressed in his worn little corduroy (I think) overalls and scuffed brown shoes. All of the soft sculptures had their own birth certificate. A few years later, the local children’s shop had a window display full of the handmade dolls, but it was of the knock-off dolls of Xavier whatever his name was. Martha later successfully sued him, and produced her own line of doll kits. So, did you get one of his early knockoffs, which I think he had made by a group of ladies from down south, or did you get one of the REAL dolls, which were not made to be toys, but were folk art pieces. BTW, Martha was also selling small ‘painted ladies’ dolls with hand painted faces and clothing.

  21. Carol says:

    The stitching on those dolls looks very familiar. I’m pretty sure I made one just like that, only I bought a plastic head for mine. What a nightmare that was to hand stitch on. (ambitious kid, I was) I remember thinking how ugly the feet and hands were, even though I read the directions carefully. I kept trying to alter the feet so that the dolls could at least have ankles instead of just a straight shaft of a leg. Yep that is the same kind of doll I had! I also had glasses with the bent bows like that. They had a puppy sticker in the corner too. Gosh we might as well have been sisters.

  22. dorothy says:

    Having lived through the time when those glasses were fashionable, I have to correct you. No, they are not upside-down. For a few years, high fashion glasses had the stems coming out from the bottom and zigging upward to go over the ears. This left a lot of space for the secondary fashion statement–the decals or etchings in the corner. Mom still has a pair she wears when working around the house.

  23. Rachel says:

    My aunt made me a homemade cabbage doll and it kicked ass. She was beautiful and to this day one of my favorite toys as a child. She made clothes for my doll too. I loved it!!!

    • Mistymagnus says:

      I had one too. Mine was a little nice then the ones in the picture. Her name was Betsy and I learned to love her. I was a bit disappointed when I first got her but now I wish I knew what had happened to her.

  24. Erica says:

    Lol – I was fortunate enough that my mom had thought we’d like ’em before the fist fights and insane pricing started. She picked up 2 for my sister and I when they first came out and were still roughly $30. That being said – when I asked for another (when the preemies later came out) I was given the ‘Kids in Africa don’t have one, you don’t need two’ speech. Eventually, my sister’s and I (3 in total) all ended up with one Doll, one preemie – but mom learned the hard way they couldn’t couldn’t be put in the wash – more then one had gashes from the spin cycle to their craniums.

  25. Cindy says:

    These things are not alleviating my long-held belief that dolls are creepy. Still, gotta give props to mom for putting out the effort! 🙂

  26. Justin says:

    Poor girls! Not only the knock offs, but the forced photo op. I always feel bad when I see kids ask for the cool new trend and get a knock off. Everyone had Razor scooters a decade ago, and my brother got a ‘mojo’ scooter. Just doesnt cut it…

    • It's me! Dee! says:

      Mmmmmm let me see…….
      Pay the bills and put food on the table or…….
      succumb to the demands of keeping with what all the other kids have got.
      Pretty tough decision…..


      • Jody says:

        I totally understand… It’s just not the same when you get a generic. LOL, my sisters and I got knock off all of the time. We just laugh about it now !

      • Nicole says:

        I don’t think that was the choice for a lot of parents who chose generic. They just realized it was the fad of the day and why sink lots of money into something that will be played with for a minute until the next hot thing comes along?

        On the other hand, I still recall with distress the fact that my mother gave me a Wendy doll WHEN I WANTED A BARBIE!!!!

        • justme says:

          Now THAT is no laughing matter! Those knock off Barbies didn’t have bendable knees! And they were hollow inside. SO not the same.

  27. mary says:

    My mother never made me one of them but I wish she had. These are much cuter and probably smell better than the real ones. I lost my mom about 8 yrs ago and would love to have a memento like this from her. Cherish them :o)

    • Jean says:

      Yeah, my parents bought me the real things and I’ve been trying to get rid of them for years. If mom had made them, I’d never let them go. I lost my mom 5 years ago. She did hand make some other stuff I get to keep. Miss her.

    • Sam says:

      I agree things like this you don’t fully appreciate/treasure until years later usually.

    • Laughin says:

      My Mom made the ones with the sewn body & plastic head complete with yarn hair. I still have a few heads & packaged bodies from her sewing stash.

      (Raggedy Anne is in a small rocker in the living room.)

      Yes, I hope Michelle & Erica have those dolls — and their Mom!

  28. Heather says:

    I was in the same boat…homemade doll. 🙁 Mine had almost the same hands/legs etc but the face was a little different. How sad that our mothers couldn’t fork out a little cash for us to have the real thing.

    • hushupp says:

      I can’t believe you said that. Some families choose to eat rather than buy toys. She did the best she could for you. How ungrateful.

      • Lil' says:

        Oh, you assume she was poor. Not every parent is frugal b/c they can’t afford the real thing.

      • Sara says:

        um, as someone who grew up poor and got knock-offs of a lot of toys and/or the thrift store version, i can tell you: it never felt good. and my mom would have loved to have been able to buy the real thing for me/ my sisters. so knock off the austerity-sainthood bs, please. poor people deserve to have cool toys too.

      • Fisk says:

        Ladies, one thing you haven’t taken into consideration is supply and demand. There were not enough Cabbage Patch Dolls to go around. As soon as they arrived in stores, they were cleaned out. I had boys, so didn’t have to worry about them, but they were only moderately high-priced. However, their scarcity led to reselling, and those were the ridiculous prices. There were fights in stores between people arguing over who had the doll first. Give your parents a break, as there just weren’t enough dolls to satisfy the market demand. And, actually, the “real” CPKs were just cheesy knock-offs of the original folk art soft sculptures of Martha Nelson Thomas. Google her name!

    • Kootie says:

      i only hope i smell sarcasm…

      • chris f says:

        Probably cost half as much to make the doll as purchase it. I sympathize with Heather (and Michelle). I’m much older and Barbie’s were the thing to have when I was a young girl. I got a Barbie, but the only clothes I ever had were the ones she came with. I fashioned clothes from stained handkerchiefs, ratty pillowcases and toilet paper. When my friends got together to play Barbie’s I sat and watched. I was too ashamed to bring out my doll’s “wardrobe”. My mother never missed Happy Hour though. If Heather knew her parents were too poor to purchase a Cabbage Patch Doll she would not have shared her story, I’m sure.

        • CarrieM says:

          I agree. I had a lot of home-made stuff, but given a choice between groceries for a week or a new pair of shoes for herself, Mom picked the shoes — often. A homemade doll does not confer sainthood on Mother.

        • justme says:

          Yep, I think what we’re all saying here is that you can’t make assumptions about a persons circumstances when replying to comments.

  29. Sharlee says:

    I wish I would’ve kept the CPK my grandma made me. She even crocheted all kinds of outfits for them, too.

    • Mary says:

      Yeah, I remember my grandma crocheted afghans for us. We used to take them out in the yard to play with them, and we pretty much destroyed them. She was probably thrilled that we used them, but oh, I would love to have one now.

  30. Denise says:

    I remember those glasses, I had a pair. The ear piece came to the bottom of the lens and ya got stickers to put on. Mine were my initials. I have a cabbage patch doll I got in the 80s and she sits in a mini peacock chair on my stereo speaker. Her name is Tracey Elisabetta.

  31. julie says:

    That is a totally cute picture, no matter what! But, I do think the doll’s protruding leg is a bit awkward!

  32. badfae says:

    My grandmother made me a knockoff, too, though it looked a bit better than these. She was trying, but just didn’t get it. My mom did, though; I got a real one the night my younger brother was born.

  33. MP says:

    Nothing odd about the dolls or the photo IMO – you had a loving mother who took the time to make you ‘cabbage patch’ dolls. What love that mom had – they aren’t easy to make … and ironically a similar type of handmade doll will sell like crazy for $50-100+ in today’s market.

  34. NKL says:

    Yeah, those are scary. Faces only a mother could love. A bit of a stretch for the 7-9 y/old set, though. Sadly, tweeners need to fit in, not stand out.

  35. Amice says:

    My mom bought a Cabbage Patch doll’s *head* at a garage sale, intending to fashion the rest for my sister. She never did, and for years, we might be innocently searching for something else and come across that damn disembodied head in a box or a drawer somewhere.

  36. fuzznewtons says:

    Hey, why are your glasses upside-down? My first pair of glasses had a little star in the corner as well, but I remember that mine was in the top corner, not the bottom. Ah, the 80s…

  37. glasstabletop says:

    Oh dear, this gives me flashbacks to my own childhood during the early 80s.
    Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage. My mom was not about to line up with the other mothers at 4:00am in front of the toy store, so I got a homemade one and was mercilessly made fun of by the brats I grew up with.

  38. Tiffany says:

    Oh my gosh! My mom surprised us with the same style “cabbage patch” dolls. They were hand made, and I’m sure expensive… but it wasn’t a REAL Cabbage Patch Kid! We were gracious about it, but those dolls didn’t get much play time. 🙂

  39. Sonia says:

    Wow, I totally have one of those! My grandmother made one each for my sister and me, for Christmas one year, only they had long yarn hair. I hated CPK’s, so I didn’t mind these!

  40. Natty says:

    Oh wow…I remember those homemade Cabbage Patch knockoffs! Where I lived they were called “adoption dolls” and varied in their hideousness depending on the skill of their creator. I had one that was actually kind of pretty, and my kids still play with it! But no, it wasn’t a CPK!

  41. adrianne says:

    Oh my, you poor dears. Were the eyelashes sharpie-d on?

  42. YoBimbo says:

    Gah! Yes! Those are worse than the homemade burgers that were “better than McDonald’s.”

    • chris f says:

      How funny! We were told the same thing. Who were they kidding? My mom’s burgers were more like tiny meatloaves. I think they contained more egg and stale bread than beef. We got McDonald’s hamburgers maybe 2 – 3 times a year. Each time we went I asked for a small fry, but my mom said “Absolutely not. I can make french fries for the whole family for the price of those”……but she never did. My sister and I had to share a small Coke. Once she put her lips on the straw it was over for me. I would end up with my solitary burger with no fries and no soda. It was still a lot better than those mini meat loaves my mom made.

      • Fisk says:

        Chris LOL I resemble that remark. I tried so hard to make my hamburgers thin, but, yes, they were more like meatloaves! At least we didn’t have any McDonald’s to compare them to, just Dairy Queen.

  43. Robyn says:

    My older sister and I had real Cabbage Patch Kids. My younger sister wanted one too, so my mom made her one for Christmas. Mom thought she’d barely realize they weren’t the overpriced real thing…yeah right.

  44. Lil' says:

    Honestly, until I read the caption, I thought the awkward part of this photo was the shape of the doll’s protruding leg.

  45. Stiletto says:

    Mom’s totally indie!

  46. Warrrreagl says:

    I would imagine you’d cherish those dolls made by your Mom’s own hands forever.

  47. Kelly says:

    They’re a much better facsimile than the one my mother came up with! LOL Ahhh the good ol’ days!

  48. Candi says:

    Oh my gosh, my sister and I were given homemade CPK dolls too. Same reaction from us.

    Love the glasses!

  49. Laffen says:

    Hey, her glasses are upside-down.

  50. Eliza says:

    My grandmother made me a homemade cabbage patch doll when I was four– it was 1988, and I still have it. ‘Andrea’ is perhaps the most precious toy I have.

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