Rayon taffeta was a popular fabric for “fancy” clothes, first gaining popularity in the 1920s and during the depression, because it could resemble silk but not cost nearly as much. Since silk was not washable either, the fact you couldn’t wash rayon didn’t deter people from using it.
More “young lady” dolls were popular from the late 1930s and through 1940s, like Madame Alexander Portrait ladies, bridesmaids, and dolls representing entertainers, dressed in formals that were often made of assorted types of rayon, from rayon taffeta to rayon chiffon. ( during this era, women’s silk stockings were replaced with rayon stockings! Much cheaper than silk-but looked just as good.) In doll size, the light weight, rustley rayon taffeta was perfect for brides, bridesmaids, and prom dresses— and inexpensive. Many of those dresses are lost because they were ruined by washing them– who thinks of dry cleaning a doll dress?? But then, if we are making heirloom doll dresses, the people making and using them know the dolls will just be for display and the dresses won’t need to be washed, so it is okay to use this lovely fabric for fancy formals, bride dresses and such.
Your only problem in using it is to make sure it is very light weight and you cut it with pinking shears and allow 3/8″ seams. There are lots of different kinds of rayon taffeta, here is a vintage taffeta brocade dress and here is dress of new rayon taffeta for Cissy doll, just click the links to see the samples.
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