✯ Day 147 of Vintage 365 ✯
A few days ago I was reflecting on some of my favourite books from my childhood and vaguely (but very fondly) recalled a series of young children's books that were shaped like figures dressed in national costumes from various countries around the world (and each title disused various elements of a certain culture/country).
…Or at least that's what I think they were - there's an even less likely chance that they were in the shape of, and about, people in various careers.
I fear my memories of these books are very, very murky, but I would love to find out what they were called and perhaps add some to my present day classic book collection. To that extent, I started combing the internet high and low (I actually sort of enjoy shot-in-the dark challenges that take a bit of sleuthing, last year I found two other unrelated books I had distant memories via some creative search terms and online elbow grease), but haven’t lucked out yet.
While I do not remember any specific titles, I do recall that one of the books featured an Inuit girl (she was likely called "Eskimo" in those days, a term which is now generally seen as being derogatory) on the cover (I think she was sporting a fur trimmed parka).
It was when I was a very small child during the 80s that this series of books was read to me by my mother, however the books themselves may have been from the 70s (or even earlier). It's ever-so-slightly possible that they were from the UK (and there's a slight chance they might have been published by Ladybird Books, though I tried searching via that avenue and came up very empty handed).
In the midst of cruising around the web in the hopes of turning up these charming retro children's books, I came across a rather adorable fabric featuring images of vintage paper dolls (drawn in much the same way as the iconic Campbell's Soup kids) sporting traditional costumes from various world nations.
There are so many splendidly delightful uses that one could have for this Paper Dolls of the World fabric (which retails for $5.27 per 44" wide panel over at Fabric.com). You could turn it into throw (toss) cushions, decorate a skirt/blouse/apron/purse/book bag/etc, cut out the cloth paper dolls pair them with an equal sized backing, stuff them, and transform them into actual tiny dolls or even brooches.
You could snip them out for use on cards, scrapbook pages, and other paper craft projects. Frame one or more squares and use them as decorative art. You could even cut the panel into two rows of four squares and sew the two together into a small table runner for use at a potluck, ethnic foods gathering, Thanksgiving table, or other festive meal.
Of course, as fabric collectors the globe over know, you can always just buy some of this fantastically sweet vintage paper doll patterned cloth and enjoy it exactly as is, too.
While I'm happy to have stumbled upon such a splendidly precious fabric to share with you all (and add to my craft supplies wish list!), I'm still on the prowl for that mysterious line of figure shaped children's books. Should they happen to ring a bell with anyone, please don't hesitate to let me know.
In the meantime, every now and then when a new keyword combination springs to mind (or flicker of a memory that might reveal another clue), I'll keep hunting through sites like Flickr, Amazon, AbeBooks, and Google, in the hopes that these fun children's storybooks from the earliest days of my youth will spring up once more.