Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Madame Alexander Elise in 1957 pants outfit

You can probably tell that I've been having a lot of fun lately with fixing up my dolls. Here is another project doll that has just recently been completed: a Madame Alexander Elise wearing a pants suit that was sold boxed in 1957 as #16-46.

Madame Alexander Elise wearing 1957 pants suit #16-46: black velvet pants, lace blouse that buttons in back, and a cumberbund sash

I bought this Elise about five years ago. Her legs and head needed to be restrung, but what drew me to her was her perfect red hair, still with the original barrette and hair net.

Redhaired Elise with original metal barrette and original hair net

I believe this Elise was originally a pink bride, which were produced in 1959. She had on original pink taffeta panties, original stockings with pink elastic at the top, and a pearl necklace that I think might be a little pink-tinted.

I was going to put a 1957 (white) bride dress on her, but I decided that wasn't quite appropriate and put her in this outfit instead. First, however, she donated some of her original outfit: her stockings to the doll who will be wearing the 1957 bride dress (another redhead), and her pink undies to my Elise peignoir set.

I got the blouse and pants outfit six or seven years ago with my Elise #1610. The lace on the blouse is unraveling in back, and the flower at the point of the V-neck is missing. However, the top still displays well, and the pants are in good condition. I found a pair of black Elise spike heels to go with it, probably also about five years ago.

Madame Alexander Elise with red hair and blue eyes, wearing pants outfit #16-46 from 1957

With most of the outfit assembled, Elise sat in storage for a long time, waiting for me to restring her. She is the skinny-hipped Elise construction, which confused me at first, so I had to take the time to research it. I finally strung her a few weeks ago, at which point I decided that I wanted her to wear the pants outfit.

I gave Elise a pair of vintage fashion doll stockings that are a little short on her, but that doesn't show with the pants on. I also had the same seamstress who made my Elise wedding doll outfit make a reproduction sash out of fuschia organdy, the same color and type of fabric that the original sash would have been made of.

This outfit is very similar to my Cissette #905-1957. Don't they make a pretty display together?

Madame Alexander dolls in matching outfits: Cissette in #905-1957 and Elise in #16-46 of the same year


Monday, December 8, 2008

Cissette's new coat and shoes

When I photographed a bunch of my dolls the other day, one of the ones I photographed was my redhead Cissette, whose fancy hairdo I fixed.

Cissette is no longer barefoot, as I had someone make reproduction shoes for her. They are very close reproductions, as the woman uses a mold of an original Cissette shoe to make the plastic base, and then to finish them uses similar fabrics and elastic as Madame Alexander used.

Madame Alexander Cissette in her new reproduction shoes

I also did two other things with this Cissette: identified her dress, and added a coat to her outfit.

The outfit, I learned, is #918 from 1957, and did not come with a little shrug as I'd thought. (That one was virtually the same dress, but had the flowers at the V-neck instead of at the waist.) The other day, I was able to get a much better picture of Cissette in this dress:

Madame Alexander Cissette wearing #918-1957

I also decided to add to her outfit a tagged Cissette coat that I have had in storage. The green felt coat is a separate boxed outfit from 1957, #925, and would have originally had a little matching felt hat to go with it.

Madame Alexander Cissette wearing green felt coat #925, available in 1957 as a separate boxed outfit

The coat is perfect because it hides the faded dress — which is pretty enough, but I am a little embarrassed about it being faded. I also like that the matching felt hat is missing, because I wouldn't want anything to mess up Cissette's beautiful fancy hairdo, which I restyled. I got a better picture of that, too:

Madame Alexander Cissette with red hair and a fancy hairdo

The shoes also made me feel a lot better about the outfit, because they look so great — whether or not Cissette is wearing the coat over her dress!

Madame Alexander Cissette in a faded lavendar dress from 1957 (#918) and a green felt coat that was sold separately the same year (#925)


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Madame Alexander Cissette #905-1957

Lately I've been fixing a lot of my project dolls that have been languishing in storage, such as my Kathy skater, whose replacement oilcloth skates I restored.

Shortly after that, I also restrung this Madame Alexander Cissette, outfit #905 from 1957, the first year that Cissette was made.

Madame Alexander Cissette #905-1957: A lace top with rhinestone buttons, black velvet pants, and a blue taffeta cumberbund

Cissette came to me as a project doll, missing her shoes and with her head detached. She is also a little pale in the face.

Madame Alexander Cissette #905-1957

Cissette's strong points are her original outfit, including her earrings, and her hair, which is still in the original set, pulled back into a cluster of curls at the nape of her neck.

Madame Alexander Cissette - original hair style

I found her authentic black Cissette shoes not long after I got her, but it wasn't until about two weeks ago that I finally strung her head.

Cissette and some other fashion dolls, such as Elise, have their heads strung to a hook anchored in their necks. Their construction is extremely different than the early hard plastic strung dolls, so I took pictures of my stringing job on Cissette. I am working on an expanded version of my ebook, which will contain chapters explaining how to restring dolls other than the standard hard plastic strung dolls. I plan to include a chapter on restringing just the heads of these dolls, with this Cissette as my model.

After all, isn't it worthwhile to be able to restring — and restore life to — pretty dolls such as this one?


Friday, October 31, 2008

Elise in her peignoir set

This doll is not one I have up for sale, but another of my Elise dolls. Madame Alexander Elise is by far one of my favorite dolls to collect, albeit one of the most expensive dolls I collect, so I have several nice ones!

I bought Elise's peignoir set several years before I bought the doll to wear it. In fact, the peignoir set was one of my earliest Elise purchases. For some reason many people don't care for nighties and peignoir sets, so I bought this tagged, near-mint set for an extremely good price.

Madame Alexander Elise doll

Elise's peignoir set is made of a light pink material that is like super-silky, super-soft, super-light nylon. My mom has an Elise peignoir from her childhood that is made of a slightly different material. I think my mom's is Elise's crepe peignoir, but I'm not sure what material mine is made of.

Elise's peignoir and nightie

The doll, on the other hand, I bought just a few years ago at a local doll show. The man I bought her from collected and redressed Elise dolls, and had many beautiful examples. In particular, I remember an Elise doll dressed in an exquisite black ballerina outfit that appeared to be patterned off of Elise's original ballerina outfits.

Anyway, what triggered my interest in this doll was her perfect wig, which still has its original barrette, and is still tied up in its original hairnet. (I have a penchant for Madame Alexander Elise dolls with perfect hair, it seems!) The wig is a beautiful golden blond color, and very shiny.

Madame Alexander Elise original wig

Elise's face color is slightly paler than her body, with a very faint grey cast, but as you can see in the pictures, her vivid blush and lip color more than makes up for it.

Elise doll's face

Elise also has beautiful original rhinestone drop earrings. Since she has the hairdo that was often reserved for ballerinas and brides, these earrings make me wonder what she wore originally.

Madame Alexander Elise original earrings

Finally, Elise wears pink taffeta panties that I actually stole off of another Elise, one of the two Elise dolls I have left that I haven't photographed. I think she was probably a pink bride originally, but since she isn't any longer, I gave her pretty pink undies to this doll.

Madame Alexander Elise's pink taffeta panties

Eventually I would like to find her a pair of Elise's pink low-heeled mules with the big pink flower on each toe. If I can't find a pair, though, I may have to have replicas made. I hate doing that, but reproduction shoes are better than no shoes at all!

Here my Elise doll is, all ready for bed. Isn't she a lovely girl?

Elise is ready for bed!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New pictures of Margot

My very first post on this blog was about my 1961 Madame Alexander Margot, my sister's gift to me last Christmas. The pictures I showed on that first post weren't very good — just pictures of Margot on display in my doll case — so I took a few new ones:

1961 Madame Alexander Margot

Her face paint is beautiful, with Margot's elaborate eye makeup and gorgeous soft pink blush on her cheeks:

My 1961 Margot's beautiful face

Her hair is in the original set, not a single strand out of place.

Margot's hair, perfect in the original set

Her beautiful purple satin gown is tagged on the inside, so that there's nothing on the outside to mar its elegance.

Madame Alexander Margot's beautiful gown!

You'll remember I also posted a link to a stunning — and expensive — example of a Margot. With the exception of my doll's missing hang tag, I think she is every bit as perfect as the one in Lia Sargent's catalog!


Saturday, October 4, 2008

A pristine mint example of my Cissette

I blogged the other day about my Cissette in the drop-waisted floral street dress, so I wanted to share with you this link of a pristine mint Cissette in the same outfit. The doll is from Lia Sargent's catalogs, which I have linked to before in previous blog posts.

Lia Sargent calls this outfit "Cissette is Going to the Flower Mart Today" and says the doll is #811 of 1958. Good information to have!


Friday, October 3, 2008

Madame Alexander Cissette in a pretty floral outfit

Let's take a break from the "for sale" listings and look at a pretty piece of eye candy that I have no intention of selling: a beautiful 1957 or 1958 Madame Alexander Cissette, one of my "project dolls" whose outfit I put together piece by piece.

1957 or 1958 Madame Alexander Cissette

This ensemble started with shoes. I bought a Cissette doll on eBay from a local doll store, and they lost one of her shoes, so they gave me a pair that didn't match her dress: cream shoes with green felt lining.

The next piece I acquired was a green felt jacket tagged "Cissette," but I no longer consider that part of the outfit because the dress is far cuter without it.

The dress features a beautiful drop waist, puff sleeves, square neckline, and a pretty white cotton print with green and blue floral wreathes. The correct 1950s vintage Cissette undies, half slip, and stockings complete the outfit.

1957 or 1958 Madame Alexander Cissette

The doll who wears it is lovely — a pretty blonde with perfect ruby lips, perfect hair, and original rhinestone drop earrings.

1957 or 1958 Madame Alexander Cissette

There's been a few times I've considered selling her, but as soon as I take her out and look her over I change my mind.

Isn't she lovely?

1957 or 1958 Madame Alexander Cissette


Saturday, May 17, 2008

My favorite Cissette

This Cissette was not as much a project doll as some of the others in my collection. I didn't have to restyle her hair, and she didn't have any unsightly damage. On the contrary, her hair, face paint, and dress were virtually perfect from the day I won her on eBay.

My favorite Madame Alexander Cissette

One of the reasons this doll is my favorite is because of her dress. I like the cotton dress in light blue floral stripe, with its cute little rhinestone accents and light blue ribbon sash, better than any other Cissette dress I've seen. So even though the dress was the only thing she wore when I bought her, my goal was to eventually complete her.

And I have managed to do so. I was able to find a pair of original Cissette stockings from a local dealer at a doll show here in Denver. Through eBay, I found a seller who was able to supply me with a number of Cissette panties and slips — and of course, the best pair went on this doll. By getting her Cissette strappy sandals one at a time, I was able to get them for about $15 total — a real steal when it comes to these tiny, hard-to-find shoes.

Cissette wearing light blue floral stripe

Although the original owner of the doll said that the dress was original, it seems that might not be exactly true. The lovely ladies in the "JustCissette" Yahoo! group I belong to tell me that this is a boxed dress from 1961, which was sold in a number of different fabrics, and usually without a hat. Since my doll has the triple-stitched wig that dates her to 1957 or 1958, she actually predates the dress by several years.

Supposedly, all this information is contained in a Cissette reference book by Marjorie Merod. I will definitely have to look into adding it to my collection of doll reference books!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How to date vintage Madame Alexander Cissette dolls

I've blogged recently about a couple of my Madame Alexander Cissette dolls: my white ballerina, and a redhead with a fancy hairdo that I partially restored. I also mentioned the triple-stitched wig part a couple of times, which dates a Cissette doll to 1957 or 1958.

In this post, I want to explain the rest of the ways to date a vintage Cissette doll. When I say "vintage," I mean dolls that were made between 1957 (when the doll was first introduced) and 1963. Cissette's mold was also used for the Portrette dolls, which were made between 1968 and 1973.

Madame Alexander still uses the mold in her modern dolls, but the plastic is pretty different than what was used in the 1950s and 1960s. A doll collector who is familiar with both vintage and modern Cissettes should be able to tell the difference pretty easily: The plastic is lighter and cheaper, and the face paint tends to be more gaudy.

Cissette dolls all have high-heeled feet and jointed knees, except for the Sleeping Beauty doll of 1959 — she has flat feet and no knee joints.

The most sought-after Cissette dolls are the 1957 and 1958 dolls. If a Cissette has the standard hairdo (like my ballerina), you can date her by the stitching down the part in her wig: In 1957 and 1958, they used triple-stitched parts, and in 1959 they switched to a simple zigzag stitch. Cissette dolls with fancier hairdos and a triple-stitched part were made between 1961 and 1962.

Vintage Cissette's wig stitching

Fingernail paint can also date a Cissette doll, as it was only used between 1962 and 1963.

Finally, a Cissette doll's eyelids can also date a doll. Between 1957 and 1963, Cissette had either beige or pale pink eyelids; only Jacqueline and Margot had blue eyeshadow, and both of those dolls have very distinctive hairdos. (For an example, see the pictures of my Margot.) Portrettes, which aren't as desireable, also had blue eyeshadow.

All of the above information on dating Cissette dolls comes from Linda Crowsey's 2008 Madame Alexander price guide.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Possible correction on my Cissette ballerina

In my post on dating Elise ballerinas, I mentioned that I suspected Cissette ballerinas might have followed the same schedule. While the gold ballerina was definitely 1959 only for Cissette as well as Elise, it appears that the same might not be true for other colors of Cissette ballerinas.

Lia Sargent has two white Cissette ballerinas in her catalogs: a blond and a brunette. She lists both of them as #914 from 1957.

My white Cissette ballerina has the same hairstyle and earrings as Ms. Sargent's dolls, but her tutu and flowers are different. Still, this seems to indicate that the color of Cissette's tutu did not necessarily match Elise's every year.

Regardless, my Cissette is definitely from 1957 or 1958, as she has the triple-stitched wig.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Fixing Cissette's fancy hairdo

My last post was about my redhead Cissette with the fancy hairdo. I wish I also had a picture of what her hair looked like when I first got her — it was not as lovely as it is now.

I had no idea when I bought this Cissette that she had a fancy hairdo. The seller's picture was bad, and in any case, her hair was falling out of the original style on one side.

Basically, the hairstyle consists of a pigtail on each side, pulled back into one pontail farther back — kind of like Snow White's original hairstyle, except that the resulting ponytail is curled. Then the rest of the hair is drawn into a low ponytail or chignon, which is also curled.

Madame Alexander Cissette with fancy hairdo

Fancy Cissette hairdo

Side view of fancy Cissette hairdo

Like in other Madame Alexander dolls of the era, the pigtails are tied with string, rather than rubber bands. The hair was partially coming down out of the pigtail on the doll's right side, and the string holding both the high and low ponytails was entirely gone.

I knew I could fix her hair, but I wanted to be sure I got it right, so did some research to find out how it was supposed to look. Because I wanted to copy the original as closely as possible, I decided to use string. I didn't have an exact match for her hair, so I used maroon — which makes it easy to see where I touched up the hair.

First, I fixed the right pigtail — but rather than taking the original string out, I just pulled up the loose hair and tied it to the original pigtail. Then I pulled the hair from both pigtails together and tied that with string, too. Finally, I used string to tie off the rest of the hair into the lower ponytail.

You can see the darker string I used in both of these pictures:

Fancy Cissette hairdo - restyled

Restyled Cissette hairdo

Unfortunately, some of the curl had fallen out, most notably in the hair that had come out of the right-hand pigtail. I touched that up by wrapping the hair around those tiny pink rubber curlers that came with the dolls in the 1950s, then zapping it with the hair dryer on low. The heat sets the hair, so when you take the curler out the curl stays in place. The curls on the right side of the upper ponytail in the pictures are mine, though you can hardly tell the difference.

Finally, I had to arrange and recurl parts of the low ponytail. I used the hair dryer method to do this part, too.

Cissette's restyled hair looks pretty close to the original, and I'm proud of the results. Most of all, though, I'm pleased to have been able to fix her hair without destroying what remained of the original set. Original is always best, so I like to do the least amount of restoration necessary!


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Barefoot beauty: Redhead Cissette

This Cissette redhead is another doll that I made beautiful again via simple doll restoration.

Just like my Cissette ballerina, I bought this doll for a good price, thanks to her less-than-perfect condition. I don't think I paid more than $40 for her; although she had no damage, she was very dirty, and the seller's pictures were very poor.

She was a gamble, but she turned out to be a worthwhile one. After I received her I realized that her hair was indeed red (the pictures were so poor that it was difficult to tell). Even better than that, she had one of Cissette's fancy hairdos — although it was a bit mussed, it was something I could fix. I'll talk about that in a future post.

Madame Alexander Cissette with fancy hairdo

Anyway, this Cissette was also so dirty that her cheek blush wasn't visible. However, as you can see from the pictures, she has very vivid blush — so that should give you an idea of how dirty she was. As I cleaned her face and discovered the blush underneath, I literally shrieked with surprise and excitement. It was quite a discovery!

Beautiful Cissette face

This Cissette was a good deal in another way, too: The seller sent her to me wearing a Madame Alexander dress she assumed belonged to the doll, but which is actually a 1956 Alexander-Kins dress. She was also wearing a pair of original Cissette undies that appeared to have once been pink, but were a little faded.

Judging by Cissette's fancy hairdo, her earring holes, and her pink taffeta undies, she was originally dressed in one of the fancier outfits — perhaps in a dress with matching opera coat. I originally intended to keep her in the dress she is wearing now, which was originally one of Cissette's fancier dresses, #943 of 1957-58; however, it is badly faded (should be lavender, not pink), may have been laundered, and is missing the short jacket (like a shrug) that originally came with it. Therefore I am thinking of trying to find a different dress for this Cissette to wear.

Stay tuned for the post on how I fixed this Cissette's fancy hairdo!


Saturday, May 3, 2008

White Cissette Ballerina

The story of my Cissette white ballerina is a perfect example of my soft spot for TLC dolls.

I found this doll when I was first becoming interested in collecting Cissette dolls, back in 2004. I think she was my second or third Cissette.

She was listed on eBay as a TLC doll. She looks like she must have had a run-in with a dog: The top layers of tulle in the front of her tutu are shredded, and the last three fingers on her left hand have been chewed or broken off.

Madame Alexander Cissette white ballerina - TLC doll

Despite her difficult childhood, Cissette is still beautiful. By some miracle, the flowers on her tutu and in her hair were untouched — in fact, her hair is still in the original set, with very little muss. Her original tights somehow escaped getting torn, and are in good condition.

Madame Alexander Cissette white ballerina - TLC doll

Her face is especially pretty. She has both rhinestone earrings, and a nice complexion with light blush that doesn't show up in the picture.

Madame Alexander Cissette white ballerina - TLC doll

Of course, she didn't look this good on eBay. In addition to the obvious damage, she was also very dirty. I ended up paying only about $25 for her.

When I got her, I carefully soaked her tutu and tights. Most of the soil came off, although her tutu still retains a faint grey cast — probably from being displayed in open air (which is probably also how the dog got her). I also cleaned her face and body with a good doll cleaner, which is when I discovered the blush on her cheeks — it had been completely covered up by grime!

I found a pair of pink rubber toe shoes with original ribbons; although I know these shoes were used on the Cissette ballerinas made in the early 1960s, I'm not so sure they are correct for a 1958 ballerina. However, they'll do until I find the correct slippers.

Although Cissette is less than perfect, and many collectors would probably not even consider displaying her, she is one of my front-row dolls. She is beautiful despite her imperfections, and as such she represents the miracles that are possible via even the simplest methods of doll restoration.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Elise and Cissette white ballerinas

Back in March, I blogged about my white Elise Ballerina and how to date an Elise Ballerina by the color of her tutu. I also mentioned that I have a white Cissette Ballerina that I believe may be from the same year as my Elise Ballerina (1958). She is definitely from either 1957 or 1958, since her wig has the triple-stitched part.

Here is a picture of the two of them together:

Madame Alexander white ballerinas: Elise and Cissette

I'll blog more about my Cissette Ballerina in a separate post.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Elise #1610 - 1957

This is another of my favorite Elise dolls, although I've never had to do any restringing or any other work on her — she was in lightly played-with, but perfectly display-worthy, condition when I bought her from a fellow collector/dealer here in Colorado. She is #1610, from 1957, and you can see her in the back row of my new Elise display.

#1610 - blue checked day dress with white organdy puff sleeves and Peter Pan collar

I love the hat on this outfit: a white cloche adorned with a black velvet ribbon and flowers.

Elise #1610 - original hat

My doll also wears (all original) a lovely crispy-mint half-slip, white taffeta undies, hose, and low-heeled black shoes.

Elise #1610 - original slip, undies, hose, and shoes

But by far the most interesting thing about her is the little braid pinned across her hairline like a headband. Some doll in the 1950s came with an extra braid of hair, in a little plastic canister that was attached to the doll's wrist; in addition to being able to wash and curl their dolls' saran hair, a little girl could also use this braid to create fancier styles.

I didn't know Elise was ever sold with an extra braid like this, but it appears she was, as the braid's color is a perfect match to her wig:

Elise #1610 - extra braid in hair

This same Elise is pictured in pink on page 81 Marjorie Uhl's Madame Alexander's Ladies of Fashion.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Elise Southern belle: Part 3

The last two posts have discussed the history of my undocumented Elise formal and the doll who wears it now. The story of the doll that originally came with it is also interesting, particularly from a doll stringer's point of view.

I mentioned in the post about my Elise wedding doll that I had to put the doll's elbow back together, and that it wasn't the first time I had worked on an Elise doll. In fact, I could take an Elise doll apart from head to toe and put her back together again.

Well, almost. I've never seen the inside of an Elise doll's ankles, but I'm sure if I did I could figure that out, too.

When I bought the Southern belle outfit, it was worn by an Elise who had a broken leg: Her leg had come apart at the knee. This was my very first experience with repairing dolls, but I took the gamble: I assumed I could fix the leg, and purchased doll and outfit for an absolute steal.

Eventually I would find out that I was right, and that I could fix the leg, but it took some time. I ended up dismantling that doll almost completely: I took her hips and her good leg apart, then repaired the "broken" leg and put everything back together again. I also removed her head and arms, as they got in the way when I was working on her hips, and restrung them when I was done. At one point I had that doll in eight pieces on my living room floor!

Ultimately, I decided to sell the doll but keep her outfit. The doll herself was clearly played with, and although I was able to soak the dress to clean and brighten it, there's not much (besides repainting, which ruins the originality of the doll) that you can do for an Elise with a yellow-spotted face (a common problem with Elise dolls).

Although that Elise was technically my first experience with restringing, and definitely the most difficult restringing job I've ever tackled, I don't regret selling her. I am certainly glad I kept the outfit, though — especially seeing as how pretty it looks on its new owner!


Monday, April 7, 2008

My Elise Southern belle: Part 2

In my last post, I talked about my undocumented Elise yellow formal. I went into a lot of detail, partly because I've never seen the outfit documented, and I'm sure there are others out there who could use some information on it.

Now I want to tell the story of the doll who is wearing the outfit in my new Elise display.

Elise in a yellow shadow print formal

I bought this doll about four years ago. Her blond hair is still tightly contained in the original set; her face paint is perfect, with beautiful soft pink lip color and blush. She came with her original silver low-heeled shoes that had (unfortunately) been painted with gold airplane paint, a pearl necklace, a pair of net and lace gloves, and a dingy veil and blue lace garter that were clearly not original.

Elise's perfect hair

I originally bought her to wear an Elise bride dress that I have, but I never completed the outfit. When I went through my dolls recently, I decided she ought to wear the yellow Southern belle outfit, which had been another doll — a redhead with mussed hair — for several years. I switched the outfit, and the transformation was amazing: Whereas the outfit looked played with and imperfect on the mussed doll, on the perfect doll it practically glows!

Madame Alexander Elise


My Elise Southern belle: Part 1

I've gotten kind of sidetracked lately, so I want to get back to my Elise dolls. There is a long story behind the Elise in the yellow formal, so I'll talk about her next.

Madame Alexander Elise formal

I call the outfit a Southern belle outfit, but I don't really know much about it. Although I haven't found anything about it in my doll books, I've seen this gown exactly four times on eBay. The first time, it was on a doll I bought; that same dress is now on the blond Elise in my display case.

The second time I saw this dress on eBay, it was part of a near-complete outfit, a relic from someone's childhood. She called it a Southern belle outfit, so that's how I've thought of it ever since.

The third time I saw this outfit, it was on a tissue mint/mint-in-box Elise. And the fourth time I saw it, it was played with and incomplete — in worse condition than mine, if I remember correctly.

My outfit isn't complete, but it's tagged (inside seam of the separate half slip). Unfortunately, it's had a rough life. It is stained light blue in a few places in the back, and although I tried both washing and soaking the gown (carefully!), I never could get it out.

Also, the elastic on the slip had been replaced, and whoever stitched on the new elastic did a very poor job of it. I'm not an expert sewer, by any means, but I was still able to cut the stitching and (carefully!) repair the damage as best I could.

Thanks to the MIB Elise that I saw on eBay, I was able to restore the outfit in a few respects. I knew that it was supposed to have a wide yellow ribbon sash, with a couple of large red or hot pink flowers at the left side of her waist. I bought a length of yellow ribbon to replace the original sash.

Elise's yellow ribbon sash

I also know that the hat is supposed to have a black ribbon around the crown.

Finally, the outfit should have gold spike heels and some jewelry: a cameo pendant on a black ribbon choker, and a simple metal or goldtone link bracelet around her wrist.

Fortunately, the Elise I chose to wear this outfit had her own jewelry and a pair of gloves that complement the outfit nicely. However, this story is getting too long for one blog post, so I'll continue it in the next post.