Mid-century Madness


Happy Thanksgiving!


So I have to admit I was a little let down that not everyone loved the Prettie Girls as much as I did.  There will be patterns coming for them, just not a series. When the voting closed, a historical series had won, so I scrolled through all the blog survey responses and decided to do the 1770s and then was at Goodwill and found an AG, and really, no matter what condition it’s in, if you find an AG at a thrift store you buy her!  This one unfortunately seemed to have had her head/wig sprayed with perfume 😛 but was in otherwise good condition.  Her coloring reminded me of Chatty Cathy and I changed track completely and decided to do that as the historical series.  You can argue with me, as DH did, that the 60s are not “historical” but in my mind, if it happened before I was born, it falls into the category of history.  Long story involving vinegar, borax, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, shampoo, laundry detergent, etc. short, the perfume smell seems to be there to stay, and after looking at countless Chatty Cathies (um…in the interests of researching their dresses, of course!) I ended up getting one, since “Stinky” is clearly not suitable to model all the things I’ve been making.

Right now you’re either saying “Chatty Who?” or “I had that doll when I was little!”  You can see a 1960 commercial showing the original dolls and their clothes here  and a documentary about them posted by Mattel here:

So get ready for several weeks (months?) of retro marvelousness!  The outfits that will appear are a mix of things based on Advance & McCall patterns, dresses commercially available for her and paperdolls.

Unless otherwise specified, these were drafted by me based on pictures of vintage outfits made to fit a modern AG.  After I got Cathy, I was pretty happy to find out she’s quite similar to a modern AG.


22682501193_80a21377d9_zAs you can see, they can share clothes just fine!

Click here for this week’s pattern

33 responses »

  1. Oh, such a great idea for a series! And I’m sure it’ll please a lot of people since some of the dresses will also be suitable for AG Maryellen (some styles, like your lovely white dress, being still close to those of the fifties), and also for the new 1960 historical AG doll coming in 2016!

    If I may suggest, it would be great to try to reproduce this super cute dress that we believe is intended for that upcoming doll (you can see it here: http://lissieandlilly.blogspot.ca/2015/11/photos-of-1960s-beforever-green.html).

    Your white dress is really beautiful and looks so much like the original! Thank you for the tutorial! Congrats on getting this Chatty Cathy! Growing up in the ’70’s, I didn’t own one, though, but I’ve heard of her before. Yours looks to be in pretty good condition! Does she still talk?

    • Yes to both…in fact we’ve tried so many things the wig is about trashed, and replacing it seems not an option because the smell has migrated into the plastic of her head 😛

  2. Thank you for thiis design!! ! It will be a happy series of clothing if you ask me. I always wanted one of these dolls growing up and finally got one in my collection when I was in my 30’s and she talked.
    Something about the innocence of that era with ranch homes, father knows best on TV and the infamous Nite we all saw the Beatles sing on the Ed Sullivan show. Great era to design for.

  3. I wonder if tomato juice would work on “Stinky?” It works on dogs that get “skunked.” Susan Mayhew Tucson,AZ

  4. I LOVE dolls from the 60’s, and I’ve bought quite a few “fixer” Chattys. I’m SO excited for this series! I never owned a Chatty when I was little, but I think I’m making up for lost time now. Thanks SO much for all you do and all you’re willing to share!

  5. The dress is adorable! I’m so glad that you included the measurements for Chatty Cathy because I am a lucky owner of one of them as well as an AG. I would never have thought that the two dolls were sized so similarly. Cathy may finally get some new clothes. Many thanks for all your hard work,

  6. Happy Thanksgiving, Jen! Thank you so much for this sweet little 60’s dress — Maryellen is dressed in her poodle skirt and looking over my shoulder eyeing it — looks like I’ll have to make one for her — LOL!!! Since I couldn’t have a ‘nice’ doll (Chatty Cathy or otherwise) when I was little, it’s great that I can capture some of that joy now! Your beautiful patterns just make it that much more fun, Jen!!! ;~)

  7. Happy Thanksgiving and what a wonderful treat down memory lane! I was a Chatty Cathy owner and fan! This had me cruising ebay but, I find she is so close to Gotz Hannah and the AG dolls that hahaha, I bought another Hannah instead! Poor sweet Cathy! Love the patterns! This will be sew much fun!

  8. You designs are just wonderful. As to the smell of the AG doll, get a plastic bag put charcoal i the bottom, put the head and hair in and tie it closed around her neck. Let her sit for a week or two. The charcoal absorbes the odor. Hope this helps.
    Sandy L

  9. I have to admit that I’m a bit disappointed too about the Prettie Girls not winning, but this will be a fun series too. I’m in the I had one growing up group. I also had her cousin Charmin’ Chatty. And I had very similar dresses to this pattern too. I’ll have to look at photos and see if any of them give me inspiration.

    I was going to say what Sophie did about this being a timely historical era with the 60s historical coming next year.

  10. Thank you! So cute and fresh looking! I did not feel the love for the Prettie Girls, but I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. We all have our favorites (my girls can’t understand my fondness for vintage brunette Sindy or Fisher Price My Friend Mandy.) I think Chatty Cathy is an excellent choice because the earlier 1950s hard plastic girl dolls like Sweet Sue have a smaller waist (and usually also have an old plastic smell – I know, I have one, in a box.) Retro and nostalgic, yet still she looks so modern. Excellent design and thanks again for the pattern to try.

    • The My Friend dolls were my best childhood friends…I keep thinking they need to appear on the blog and then they don’t because they’re in very “played-with” condition. My Mandy has developed a different sort of old plastic smell as she aged, different from the 50s dolls though.

  11. Thank you so much for the pattern. It is just adorable. I shrunk it for my new Ten Ping (used) who arrived today. She is so sweet but needs some new duds. Any tips for sewing tiny rick rack? It seems to slip for me.

  12. Timey Tell, Hi, Dottie, and the 70s Chatty Cathy all have measurements similar to AG. I’ve used several other AG patterns for my little 70s 18″ Mattel doll collection. So excited to use yours !

  13. My mother used to call me “Chatty Cathy” when I talked a lot, lol. I was an adult before I discovered that CC was an actual doll from when my mom was a kid.

  14. Thanks for updating this dress and yet keeping the vintage feel of it still. Being born in the early 60’s, I just got my first two Chatty’s recently & just love them! The 1998 re-release version still talks, but has the most cosmetic issues, ironically (smoke stains on clothing and smell in hair, eye color change, etc.). My early one should be a prototype (w/covered speaker) but she has a date on her back. Can I ask, if I were to make this dress fro Chatty as well, how much larger would I want to make it? Thank you so much – I look forward to your Historical series as I really enjoy vintage dolls; rescuing them from thrift stores and restoring them as much as I can. Take care ^_^

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