Sunday, November 30, 2008

Alexander-kins "Wendy's Morning Dress" - dress only - SOLD

I listed this dress, "Wendy's Morning Dress" for the 1958 BKW Alexander-kins by Madame Alexander, on eBay just this morning. Only the dress is for sale — my Alexander-kins is just modeling.

The dress is in good condition. The cotton is crisp and the white parts are still very white.

As for the dress's flaws: There is some faint brown staining on the dress and the grograin ribbon sash, which you can see in the pictures. In addition, the ends of the grograin ribbon are a little frayed.

The dress is tagged, but the tag is a little frayed.

You can see this dress on page 112 of Patricia Smith's World of Alexander-kins. I used to worry that the sash had been cut at some point, but based on how little of the bow is visible in the picture in Smith's book, I think the sash is the right length — if it were any longer, you'd be able to see a whole lot of the bow from the front!

I've listed this dress on eBay with a $9.99 starting bid, and a Buy It Now for $39.99. It's in good shape, and with the right undies, socks, and shoes, would make a very good replacement outfit for your nude BKW Alexander-kin!

Little Miss Nancy Ann - SOLD!

This Little Miss Nancy Ann is not yet on eBay, as I am giving my readers and friends of mine first crack at this one.

Little Miss Nancy Ann is wearing a tagged Little Miss Ginger outfit with the hard-to-find coordinating jacket. Although her clothing is not original, LMG was her competitor, made by Cosmopolitan (LMNA was made by Nancy Ann Storybook), so it fits perfectly and is the correct age.

The undies look like modern replacements to me, but the shoes fit perfectly and may be vintage. The jacket is in very good condition but the dress has seen a few repairs: There are a few stitches on the neckline hem, and someone has repaired (with thread and glue) the top of the Greek key snap, which had started to tear free of the fabric.

The dress is tagged "Fashions for Little Miss Ginger."

Little Miss Nancy Ann has very nice blond hair that someone may have restyled. She also has great face coloring, including her blush.

All of her legs and arms have the same even flesh tone — and anyone who collects these old fashion dolls knows how hard to find even coloring is! She does have one pale patch with a brownish, bruise-like center on her lower back — perhaps discoloration from a snap?

The only other flaws I can find are a small scratch on her left eyelid, and a missing tip of her pinky on her left hand. However, the tip is smooth, not rough like it was chewed off, so I rather think it was a factory flaw — most likely a problem with the mold. Her finger and toe nail polish is faint but all there, with the exception of the short pinky.

I am asking $45 for Little Miss Nancy Ann, primarily for the value of the doll and the outfit. Considering how difficult Little Miss Nancy Ann is to find, being unmarked, this is a great opportunity to own a LMNA in good condition!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Madame Alexander Alexander-kins "Wendy At Home" - SOLD!

I listed one other doll on eBay this afternoon: a 1956 BKW Alexander-kins by Madame Alexander. She is called "Wendy At Home" and she is a special hairdo doll with the correct hairdo.

Wendy is in great shape from head to toe. She is wearing ONLY her tagged original dress, but I will be including newer Alexander-kin socks and side-snap suede shoes with smooth bottoms.

Wendy could use a light cleaning, and I don't see any blush on her cheeks. Her eyes flutter nicely and her lip color is all there.

Wendy's best feature is her special hairdo, which is correct for this dress: front pulled up into a bunch of curls at the crown and tied with a black velvet ribbon. The ribbon is tied in a little bow with long streamers. Her hair is in the original set with lots of little curls.

Wendy's body is in good shape, with one flaw that I can see: a dark scuff mark where the staple on the dress's bodice (would have held a flower once) has rubbed against her chest. The mark didn't show up as clearly in the picture as it shows in person, so it is slightly darker than it looks here, though not by much.

Wendy is in otherwise good condition with no cracks, splits, or other damage (besides the scuff). Her walker is strung a touch loose, but she still walks fine. Her arms are well strung and hold a pose.

Like Muffie, I have listed Wendy At Home with a $9.99 starting bid and a $75 Buy It Now, which will disappear when the first bid is placed. Alexander-kins with special hairdos are worth more than others, so with her correct dress I think $75 is a very reasonable price!

Nancy Ann Storybook Muffie Brownie - SOLD!

Just this afternoon I listed on eBay a Nancy Ann Storybook Muffie Brownie. You can see the full description and photos there, but I'll post everything here as well.

Update: Wow! Muffie already sold, only about three hours after I listed her. Hooray!

This Muffie is a walker and is dressed in her original tagged Brownie uniform. Her outfit consists of her tagged dress (very good condition with a crisp, perfect tag), molded brown felt Brownie cap, brown Muffie Mary Janes (flat bottoms with no heel), and rayon socks that have yellowed slightly with age.

Muffie doesn't have her original underwear, so I added a pair of correct Muffie underwear, white cotton organdy with heart lace trim. The undies are very white and have plenty of stretch left in the elastic.

Muffie's face is very pretty — I love the sultry look of the full, ruby red lips and wide-spaced, heavily-lashed eyes. Her eyelashes and eyebrow paint is all there, but her cheek blush has faded.

Muffie's hair appears to be in the original set, except for a little mussing on each side. Her hair is pulled into a curly ponytail and tied with what looks like the original hair ribbon. Her cap is held on by her original barrette.

Unfortunately, I think Muffie was probably displayed in open air, and as a result her hair is a little bit dingy. It isn't noticeable until you pull back her cap to see how shiny and bright the blond color is underneath. It might benefit from a washing, but I haven't tried because I didn't want to disturb her curly ponytail. I'll leave that decision to her new owner.

Muffie is overall in very good condition, with no cracks, splits, or other damage. Her walker and sleep eyes both work beautifully. She is marked on her back "Storybook Dolls California MUFFIE".

I have a Buy It Now on Muffie for $75, but she is also a regular auction starting at $9.99. The Buy It Now disappears after someone bids. I think it's a very good price, based on what I saw other Muffie dolls selling for lately, so don't wait if you want her!

Friday, November 28, 2008

My new display cabinet

My husband has given me my Christmas present — a new display cabinet for my dolls — early this year. We brought it home last night, and I literally spent the rest of the evening — about four hours — fussing over my dolls.

First I had to take all of the dolls out of my other display cabinet in the living room, so that we could move it over and make room for the new one. While we rearranged the furniture, "the girls" milled around on the kitchen counter:

Like my other cabinet, the new doll cabinet is an antique, though not quite as big or quite as nice. Still, I estimate I'll be able to get a good 25 or so dolls out of storage and on display.

Of course, because so many of my dolls were in storage, I am short on stands: I need about a dozen stands for the 8-inch dolls, and probably four or five more stands for my 14-inch dolls. However, after a long evening and many difficult decisions, I think I have settled on which dolls will be displayed and which will be left in storage. (I have three cabinets now, and still need another cabinet in order to display all my dolls!)

Getting a new cabinet has also motivated me to do certain things, such as fixing doll outfits that have been waiting for a few stitches. I'm also planning on washing, conditioning, and restyling a few dolls' wigs in the near future.

Playing with dolls is so much fun!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My red net Jill slip is original!

Recently I listed an outfit for sale, Vogue Jill's record hop outfit, that had a net half slip I wasn't sure was original. I later found very similar half slips in my Vogue reference book, but here's a current eBay auction for a slip just like mine, clearly identified as an original Vogue Jill slip.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My favorite SLW Alexander-Kin

Here's another doll I'll showcase before I start listing dolls for sale: My favorite straight-leg walker Alexander-Kin. Also often known as Alex or Wendy, Alexander-Kins are Madame Alexander's 8-inch toddler doll, competition for Vogue Ginny and the others. I personally think this 1954 outfit is one of the cutest made by Madame Alexander during the mid-50s.

This doll is all original except for her socks, which I added after getting her. (The strap on her right shoe was broken by me, unfortunately — the shoes were brittle and shrunken after years of being on her feet without socks, and the strap broke when I tried to snap it over the sock. I was very upset about it. I wish I had know then that I could steam doll shoes to get some flexibility from them when they are like that!)

Her shoes are the original fuzzy bottom Mary Janes, and her undies (which I did not photograph) are little bloomers made from the same checked taffeta as the dress. She also has gorgeous high-color blush on her cheeks.

I decided to blog about her tonight because I watched a doll in the same outfit sell today on eBay for $365 — three times what I paid for my doll five years ago. Although this doll had red hair, which is more desirable than blond, it also had replacement shoes and undies. (The seller thought the white taffeta half slip and panties were original, but since I have the doll and know she should have matching bloomers, I believe they were replacements. Also they didn't look anything like any Alexander-Kin slip and undies I've ever seen.)

Now, don't get me wrong, this doll that sold on eBay was beautiful — but she was also incomplete. It was immensely satisfying seeing her sell for so much, and knowing I got a much better deal for a more complete doll, but it also demonstrates how fickle the doll market can be!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

An early strung Sweet Sue

While I'm taking a short break from listing dolls for sale, I decided I'd briefly return to the subject of Sweet Sue (click here to read about how I saved Sweet Sue) and blog about one of my favorite Sweet Sue dolls.

I found this doll at a doll show several years ago, and paid a pretty price for her (about $80, as I remember). She has beautiful face paint, clear blue eyes, and lovely carrot-red mohair braids with curly bangs. She is also one of American Character's earliest Sweet Sue dolls. You can tell because of the different face: The lips are painted smaller and appear more pursed than on the later Sweet Sue.

Compare her face to the Sweet Sue I blogged about a little while back:

The earlier face was not used for very long, so most strung Sweet Sue dolls you find have the later face. The early Sweet Sue dolls are very hard to find, making them desirable and quite valuable.

Of course, as with any hard-to-find doll, early Sweet Sue outfits are even harder to find, so my early Sweet Sue is one of my only dolls NOT wearing either an original outfit or an appropriate replacement. Her dress is a tagged Madame Alexander dress for a 14-inch doll. It matches Sweet Violet's dress exactly, and is made in a similar style as Active Miss's dress, so I'm guessing it's for a Winnie Walker or a Binnie Walker around 1953 or 1954. This is the only time I've ever seen this dress for a doll other than Sweet Violet, so I am assuming it is pretty rare.

The color of the dress — an iridescent fabric that shifts between blue and violet — looks so pretty with her red hair and blue eyes that I decided I had to leave her in it. I bought an original Madame Alexander slip and undies combination to go under it — the eyelet lace and a faded blue ribbon bow on the outside of each leg identifies it as most likely originating from an early 1950s Alice in Wonderland.

Her shoes are suede, fuzzy bottom, side snap shoes that are definitely Madame Alexander and most likely from a Winnie or Binnie Walker. Her socks are the correct rayon socks that were used on dolls in the 1940s and early-to-mid 1950s.

I've toyed with the thought of finding an early Sweet Sue dress for this doll, and then finding a Winnie or Binnie Walker to wear the Madame Alexander outfit, but I think actually I won't have the heart to separate Sweet Sue from this dress. It just looks too perfect on her!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Restoring stiff oilcloth doll shoes

I took a couple of days' break in order to work on a couple of Madame Alexander project dolls: restringing an Elise's head and legs (a skinny-hip Elise), restringing a Cissette doll's head, and getting a pair of stiff oilcloth roller skates on my Kathy's feet. In the coming week or so I will post on Cissette and Kathy (Elise needs an outfit and isn't ready for pictures yet), but tonight I want to post some tips for restoring stiff oilcloth doll shoes.

These skates are not Kathy's originals, but a pair of replacement skates made during the 1950s by another company (like Premier) and sold separately. They had never been out of their box or on a doll, so they had become extremely stiff and shrunken over time. I tried once to put them on my doll's feet, but they were so stiff that I was deathly afraid of damaging them.

To solve this problem, I steamed them to soften the oilcloth without damaging it. When I was done, I was able to get both skates on and tied without splitting or tearing the oilcloth.

Here are the skates, with one of them steamed and on the doll, and the other still stiff and collapsed:

Since stiff oilcloth shoes are a problem with vintage doll accessories, you might want to try this technique yourself. Here's how:

1) Bring a saucepan of water to a gentle boil and hold each shoe over it until the oilcloth become pliable, checking every 30 to 60 seconds to be sure you don't accidentally get the shoe too wet. I held the skate 8 or 10 inches above the water. In general, if the shoe is in danger of getting splashed or the heat is too much for your hand, you are holding it too close.

2) Let the shoe sit for several minutes to allow the steam and/or excess water to evaporate. If you've been careful not to let it get too wet, this shouldn't take more than a few minutes.

3) Either put the shoe on your doll's foot (over a sock, of course!), or stuff it with cotton or tissue to preserve the shape. Doll shoes shrink and get stiff when they are stored off a doll for long periods of time. If you are not putting them right on a doll, stuffing them will prevent the same thing from happening again.

I also have used this technique to reshape a Cosmopolitan Ginger dress that was very stiff and had been stored flat. In my experience with the dress, it stiffened up again as the steaming wore off, but it isn't now as stiff — and it retained its new shape. So this probably won't completely do away with the stiffness in your oilcloth shoes, but it will get rid of the brittleness and help you to get the shoes on your doll's feet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All original Cosmopolitan Ginger #112 - NFS

I'm taking a break from fashion doll stuff for just a little while and posting some Cosmopolitan Ginger (the 8-inch doll) things.

This doll is a vinyl-headed Ginger, which in general is not desirable; however, the outfit is extremely desirable, which is why I bought her. The outfit is #112 (the vinyl-headed doll wearing this outfit is #V12, according to the catalog) and was the outfit worn by the Ginger "poster child," the doll whose image was usually used to market the company. For instance, this is the outfit worn by the doll in the Ginger paper doll book put out by Golden Books.

Ginger has very good blush and good face coloring. Her hair is in the original style, if a bit smashed in the back from storage. She has the correct white velvet ribbon sash, and a hairbow that matches her dress — two accessories you don't often find on these old Cosmopolitan Ginger dolls.

Ginger also has original white satin bloomers, white rayon socks, and the correct unmarked red Mary Janes.

This doll is pictured in one of the little Ginger booklets, the one with the vinyl-headed doll on the cover that features the Disney outfits (rather than the Miss Ginger outfits). Here is a scan of the catalog listing:

I have priced Ginger at $40. For an all original, near mint Ginger doll in a desireable outfit, this is a little on the low side. However, my pricing is intended to reflect the lack of interest in vinyl-headed dolls. It's definitely the best price you'll find on a doll in this outfit and in this condition — and believe me, I've looked!

Please note: I've decided I can't part with this little treasure after all, so I'm afraid she's no longer for sale — but I'm leaving the pictures here for everyone to enjoy!

Miss Ginger taffeta dress - NFS

I believe all the Vogue Jill stuff that I'm going to sell has now been listed, but I still have some more fashion doll stuff to sell. This particular dress is for Miss Ginger, Cosmopolitan's version of the 10 1/2 inch fashion doll. Jill is only modeling and is not for sale at this time.

The dress is in very good shape. I spotted a tiny snag in the front, but it's so small the camera really doesn't pick it up. I soaked it once to remove a stain but it does not have a laundered appearance — I use a very gentle method of cleaning doll clothes and you usually can't tell afterward.

The dress is tagged and has the Greek key snap that Cosmopolitan is known for using, so much so that it is often called "the Ginger snap" by collectors. As is common, the fabric has started to tear around the snap from too much tugging on it. (To avoid this, always insert your fingernail into the snap to release it — NEVER pull on the fabric to unsnap a doll's dress with these factory snaps!)

I've taken a couple of closeup pictures to show you where the tears are. Fortunately, they shouldn't show when the dress is on a doll, and as long as you are careful they shouldn't tear any farther, either.

This is a gorgeous original dress for your Cosmopolitan Miss Ginger. All you need is some undies and shoes, and you'll be set!

Please note: I've decided not to sell this dress after all, but I left the pictures up for everyone to enjoy!

Vogue Jill pajamas #7562 - SOLD

These Vogue Jill pajamas were a separate outfit in 1957, #7562. You can see the outfit on page 214 of Judith Izen and Carol Stover's Collector's Encyclopedia of Vogue Dolls, the edition with the pink cover. My Jill doll is not included in this sale.

These pajamas are tagged and in good played with condition. Both snaps on the top are intact, with no tears in the fabric where the snap is pressed on. The elastic waistband on the pants is stretched out. The outfit is clean and in good shape, though — well worth $10!

Vogue Jill formal outfit #7403 - SOLD

I told you I had a lot of Vogue Jill outfits set aside for the dolls I meant to get someday! This is Jill's formal outfit #7403 from 1957. The outfit can be seen on page 211 of Judith Izen and Carol Stover's Collector's Encyclopedia of Vogue Dolls, the edition with the pink cover. My outfit includes the dress, half slip, taffeta panties, and black elastic shoes. Jill and her nylons are not included in this sale.

This outfit includes the tagged dress, Jill's parchment half-slip (shown on page 216 of Izen and Stover's book), taffeta panties, and black elastic shoes.

The dress is in very good condition, with the exception of a little pink dye that has transferred to the white taffeta from the hot pink flower. The tag inside the dress is perfect, and the velvet neck ties are in great shape with minor fraying at the ends. The snap is intact with no rips in the fabric around it.

The parchment half slip is an original Jill item and can be found on page 216 of Izen and Stover's book. The slip is still crispy mint and the elastic still has plenty of stretch in it. Someone (I think me?) put a few stitches in the waist where the parchment had torn away just a little from the elastic.

The panties are adorable white taffeta with tiny black lace trim. The color scheme makes them a perfect match for this dress! The elastic is slightly stretched out but still has enough stretch in it to make it a good fit around Jill's waist.

The shoes are Jill's black elastic heels with a rhinestone on each one. The elastic is nice and tight. I displayed this outfit on my doll for a while, and I think that may have been the only time these shoes spent on a doll.

All of the various pieces of this outfit — very good dress and undies, near mint slip and shoes — enable you to completely dress your nude Jill with just one purchase. Such a deal at $45, especially for a formal outfit!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vogue Jill pants outfit #3139 - SOLD

This is an adorable period pants outfit for Vogue Jill, #3139 from 1958. The doll and shoes are not included in this sale.

The outfit consists of a white sweater with goldtone buttons, and plaid pants that are SO 50s. One side of the sweater's collar is faintly darker than the other side, so it might be a little dirty. I don't see any snags in the sweater.

The pants snap closed in the back, and the snap is intact with no tearing of the material around it. The sweater is tagged.

This outfit will need shoes to complete it, but at $25, it's an easy and cheap way to dress your Jill!

Vogue Jill's bodysuit, two skirts, and shoes - SOLD

Here is some more clothing for Vogue Jill: Jill's black bodysuit, two Jill skirts, and one pair of fancy shoes. All pieces are from different outfits, but they go well together. My Jill is not for sale at this time — she is just modeling the clothing for me!

I believe the black jersey bodysuit is what the basic dolls came with. This bodysuit is tagged and in very good to excellent condition. The snap is intact and the fabric around it has not torn.

The first skirt is the black and white checked skirt that goes with the shirtwaist outfit #3211 from 1959. It is pictured on page 224 of Judith Izen and Carol Stover's Collector's Encyclopedia of Vogue Dolls, the edition with the pink cover.

The skirt is also in very good to excellent condition. The only issue is that one end of the "eye" on the hook and eye fastener needs to be sewn back down, but that's a two-stitch fix. The skirt is tagged.

The other skirt is the pink skirt that goes with Jill's party outfit #3233, also from 1959. The outfit can be found on page 225 of Izen and Stover's book. This skirt is pretty much perfect, with an intact snap and a tag that is also pretty much perfect.

The only problem with this lot is the shoes. I don't think they've ever been on a doll, so the fancy gold elastic straps aren't exactly elastic anymore — they are stiff beyond belief. Someone (not me!) tried to force one shoe on Jill's foot, apparently, and all but a few gold strands have torn free. Also, the soles have lost their shape somewhat, and the arch no longer matches Jill's feet (also, I think, from never being on a doll). I don't know if some TLC could fix these shoes, but I think they are very pretty and worth trying!

I will sell the lot all together for $30, or separately for as follows:

Bodysuit: $7
B&W skirt: $10
Pink skirt: $12
Shoes: $5

As you can see, you do save a few bucks if you get everything, but even if you buy them separately you're getting a good deal!


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