Friday, January 15, 2016

Restoring Felicity

In which mother and daughter bond over doll restoration.

My daughter's Felicity was a much beloved doll, but eventually she took up residence in her original box while her owner went away to college and then grad school. She didn't rejoin her former playmate until Fillia moved to another state for her first full fledged, adult job. And she didn't really come out of the box until Fillia noticed how much fun her mother was having playing with dolls in her old age. So on one of her visits she brought Felicity with her for a dolly spa session.

Fillia had been a very careful little girl, so the years had been kind to Felicity. She didn't need much treatment except for a light cleaning of her vinyl and a proper brushing of her hair.

We knew we'd need to spray her hair with water when we brushed it, so we wrapped her body in a towel and a plastic bag. 

Then we protected her eyes with cotton pads and painters tape.

The combing out process was long and painstaking. For those who have never done it, doll hair requires a doll brush with metal bristles or wig brush. The hair must be spritzed with water, and then it is brushed from the bottom up. It's also advisable to hold the lock of hair you're working on between your thumb and forefinger while brushing. All of this helps prevent hair loss. 

It's a very tiring procedure, so we took turns. I guess it was one of those mother-daughter bonding experiences. I was never one of those moms who enjoyed playing with her daughter's hair. A short, practical bob was my philosophy when poor Fillia was young. But I did enjoy working on the Felicity's hair. And here is the final result. 

Felicity is looking quite well, though her pin curls have disappeared as have the tiny straight pins that used to secure her pinner apron. Fillia said that Felicity would need a steam punk outfit because she is going to be a time traveler. That was quite a challenge for my dolly dressmaking skills. Felicity is a Pleasant Company doll and therefore has a chubbier build and broader shoulders than the American Girl dolls made by Mattel today.

Also wider feet. "All the better to stomp you with!" says Felicity. I bought her some adventure boots from The Queen's Treasures which were a rather tight fit. Of course she also needs an outfit to match. Fillia requested something sort of steam-punkish. Simplicity 1392 seemed like a good possibility.

Current 18" doll patterns are sized for the slimmer Mattel dolls. I'm not very good at alterations, so there was a good deal of trial and error before her new clothes were completed.

But at long last I was able to ship them to her. The pattern calls for amazingly cool clasps for closing the short-waisted jacket, but the jacket as sewn was too tight to close in front, and altering it was beyond my skill. So Felicity wears it open with two rows of decorative buttons because style trumps function -- she's just that kind of girl!  However, I was successful in widening the back of the corset so that Felicity can be both stylish and comfortable.

Here's a close-up of the nifty hardware that allows her to hike up her skirt -- though I haven't quite figured out the reasoning behind that feature. It can't help you run any faster because you'd still be impeded by your petticoats. (Yes, I know I'm talking like a mother now.)

Well, they do help Felicity show off the embroidery on her petticoat and her seriously awesome adventure boots. 

All in all, I enjoyed helping Felicity equip herself for her second career as a time-traveling, alternate-world, adventurer. And my final contribution was  this:

Because if you can't have a tiny pearl handled pistol for your adventures in Victorian London, a Japanese sword is probably the next best thing. 

1 comment:

  1. Alright now Felicity! So cute. She needs a jaunty little facinator!