A guide to Princess Diana&Catherine Dolls

This month is a special treat – a Mother / Daughter team — Mom creates the FM reproduction outfits for the dolls and Daughter makes accessories — jewelry, purses, clutches, hardware on the reproduction clothing, and flowers for the doll’s hair ….. and Sharon shares their meeting with Diana in person…………..

Sharon Wiliamson:

How did you get interested in creating accessories? Especially for dolls?

I have always been reasonably “crafty’” and have always enjoyed DIY and the like, so it’s just an extension of that really – but on a smaller scale!

What about Diana made you a fan?

I was only 10 when Diana was married and she was everything a 10 year old girl wanted a Princess to be, beautiful, wonderful dresses and tiaras!! My Dad bought both my sister and I a scrapbook each to collect newspaper cuttings of the historic event and although my sisters interest waned after one scrapbook, I went on to fill another ten! I collected lots of different things over the years and when the doll came out I decided I would like one of those too! My highlight came in 1986 when I actually met and spoke to the Princess as she did a walkabout in my home town.

What drove you to create the reproduction clothing / accessories for the Princess Diana dolls / and now the Duchess Catherine dolls?

I bought the navy ‘Changing of the Guard’ ensemble and was disappointed to find that it didn’t come with a handbag, so thought I would have a go at making one. That done, I bought the navy strappy back evening dress from eBay and didn’t have a bag to go with that either so again made one for myself. I started to think that if I needed bags for certain outfits perhaps other doll collectors might too, so I popped a few on eBay and they sold! The rest as they say is history – I was hooked!

I am aware that at one point in time there was a gal who made fabric to match many of Princess Diana’s actual dresses but to the scale of the doll….. how do you find the fabrics you need for these reproduction outfits you make – no need to give away any secrets – just a general reply. What & how do you search for the fabrics / materials / hardware?

I scour local fabric shops and the internet and even charity shops! I do have one very lovely lady who’s business supplies me with fine glove leather for most of my bags. I have been known to get material specially printed too.

What keeps you creating the accessories for these dolls?

I enjoy making them and reading the lovely feedback I get from my customers on Ebay.

What would be the ultimate Diana doll outfit / accessory for you to create? Or if you have already created it – what outfit was it?

I would love to be able to make shoes really well – I have had a go but they seem to take me forever, and (In my opinion) are never quite good enough!

Contact Information:

E-Mail: sharonwilliamson@live.co.uk

eBay: sharonb5173

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Val Green:

How did you get interested in sewing / creating accessories? Especially for dolls?

I have always sewn, but tailoring was my job many years ago. Diana outfits are a fairly recent hobby, I have been doing them for 2 years.

What about Diana made you a fan?

I have been interested in Diana for many years, from the time she got engaged onwards. She had that special something you could not define.

What drove you to create the reproduction clothing / accessories for the Princess Diana dolls / and now the Duchess Catherine dolls?

My daughter Sharon collects all things Diana and has her own collection of outfits etc, she thought I should try making dresses myself. I did not think I could, but she persevered encouraging me, so I gave it a try. I am now hooked and still learning all the time.

I am aware that at one point in time there was a gal who made fabric to match many of Princess Diana’s actual dresses but to the scale of the doll….. how do you find the fabrics you need for these reproduction outfits you make – no need to give away any secrets – just a general reply. What & how do you search for the fabrics / materials?

It is difficult to find the right material, especially in the right scale. I look in fabric stores – even markets. I would like to try doing certain outfits but due to lack of the perfect material, I often am unable to.

What keeps you creating the outfits / accessories for these dolls?

I keep creating outfits because I enjoy it, it is also a challenge. More importantly it keeps the memory of Diana alive.

What would be the ultimate Diana doll outfit / accessory for you to create? Or if you have already created it – what outfit was it?

I would like to create the dress Diana wore in India in 1988 (green and pink floral bodice and matching bolero with pink full skirt) when I can locate the right fabric. I have just completed the red sequined sash dress (worn in Washington to a Red Cross event) which I have wanted to do for some time, and was pleasantly pleased with it.

I can be contacted through my daughters email address (sharonwilliamson@live.co.uk)

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Sharon shares their personal experience while meeting Princess Diana in person and replies to some questions I had concerning patterned material and her reply when I shared pics of my FM Diana dolls :

My meeting with the Princess was brief but memorable. She had just finished planting a tree in the centre of our town and went to do a walkabout before opening a new Health Centre. It looked as though she was going to go over to the other side of the road much to the dismay of my Mum and I – and others around us (we had all been there for hours to get a spot right at the front) so I called out to her to come to our side. Much to my astonishment she turned on her heel and marched straight over!! I gave her some flowers and said ‘ these are for you’ (pretty lame really, but I think I was in shock!). She said ‘Thank you, thank you so much’ gave a lovely smile and moved along the crowd. She spent a couple of minutes chatting to the ladies right next to us as they were in Red Cross uniforms (of which she was patron) so we had plenty of time to admire her. She was so tall and elegant, and had absolutely beautiful skin – I know it has been said by people before who met her, but she really did! She was more beautiful in real life than any of the pictures taken of her. Later on that day after we had had a wander around the town, we went to the back of the Health Centre where we knew she would be leaving after her days engagements. We waited patiently on a corner not knowing if we had missed her or not, most people by now had gone home and there was just us on that corner, then her car swept past and she waved – just to us!! She probably remembered me as that crazy girl who had shouted to her earlier!! I will always treasure my memories of her that day.

I design some materials myself on my computer and then use one of the many custom fabric companies which operate on the internet to print them for me. Sometimes it’s a bit hit and miss as the scale is always hard to judge and the patterns are never an exact match, but are usually good enough to give a similar overall impression. One example is the ‘caring dress’ material which my Mum then makes up into the dress.

Hope this answers your questions.

Thanks for sharing you pics, I would love to have more dolls – I only have the one – due to space and hubby’s tolerance!!, but she does have rather a large wardrobe and has a fair few changes over the weeks and months!!

Sharon 🙂

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Most of the photos on this website came from the personal collection of Dani Deininger who has purchased a majority of them through ebay auctions over the last three years . A majority of the Franklin Mint Doll ads were given to her by Jody Brittian. Some of them may have come from the web in the form of web searches . The actual photos of some of the dolls are also Dani's unless other wise noted.
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