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!

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