Sunday, February 26, 2012

Petite Sophisticate: I Am Seduced by Miss Revlon

A Revlon doll and Virga doll before restoration.

Little Miss Revlon or look-alike after restoration.

A new leotard matches her vintage skirt and bag.

A new hat and refurbished shoes to match her vintage outfit.

A new pink net hat completes her vintage ensemble.

Miss Revlon's hair can also be styled in an updo. She's shown here with all her clothes and accessories.

So if you've been following this blog you might remember my last post about my temporary 50s doll buying frenzy. In a moment of pure insanity I purchased a bunch of different 1950s dolls. The first complete restoration was recounted in my last post; a Virga Pam walker with clothes. That doll came with the one shown here. Now I've restored both big and little "sisters" and their copious clothing.

Someone really loved these dolls! They were supplied with the best of everything and have an absolutely enormous number of outfits between them. The restoration of this little doll started with identification. This was tricky because, although once marked on the back of her head, the doll seems to have had her marking sanded off the back of her head. I don't know why anyone would do that, so I'm sure what actually occurred is that many years of being placed on her back in her case and carried around caused her rough synthetic hair to "sand" the logo off. I don't know a lot about 50s dolls, so I'm really grateful to the many bloggers who specialize in these dolls and write extensively about them. I found through my research that the Revlon company produced many incarnations of Revlon and Little Miss Revlon. They even sold the use of their molds to other companies, so it can be really hard to tell one doll from another. This particular doll has oddly-colored hair. It's very pale blond with a pink tinge. Revlon did produce a pink-haired ballerina or fairy type doll, but I think it was a larger one and her hair had a ponytail. The bubble cut hair is very rare for a Revlon doll; they only did a few bubble cut prototypes. So then I thought maybe it was a knock-off or had its hair cut at some point, but the other day someone listed a doll with the same face and hair on eBay and that one actually still has its mark. So maybe it is a real Revlon after all!

The white shoes the doll came with are the bow-front Ideal shoes the Revlon dolls wore. One was split in front and the owner's mother had sewn it together with thread. I brushed Golden acrylic flexible modeling paste over the split, which is sort of like brushing on new vinyl. Now that the shoes are fixed the doll can stand alone wearing them. The red shoes are too small; they were probably for Barbie. One of them was split too, but I took a hint from the previous owner and sewed elastic gussets in to make them fit. I covered the elastic with ribbon. These fit well, but the doll can't stand alone in them.

Anyway, as you can see from the "before" photo, this was an enormous undertaking, and I had way too much fun with it. I had to force myself to stop taking pictures of her in all her different outfits! I started by cleaning the doll and washing her hair. I tried to set her hair but it was rather brittle and she had some hair loss and breakage. Her hair is nice, though, because you can curl it by brushing it around your finger or brush it into and updo and it will stay where you put it. I found the vintage Fisher Price Mandy hair matches perfectly, so I rooted some in the top layers of her hair to thicken it up.

The doll's rubber face had yellowed and it and her arms were sticky. I repainted the lips and blush, which helped even out the tone. I varnished the paint. To address the stickiness I massaged the doll with baby powder. You can do that periodically with old dolls to address the sticky finish. The legs had dark ink marks. I was able to fade them quite a bit by placing the doll in the sun with 10% benzoyl peroxide on the spots, but they didn't go away totally so I painted over them and varnished the paint. As always I used the artist's acrylics. The repainting can be removed with Goof Off if desired.

Once the doll was restored I concentrated on her clothing. I made replacement earrings for her from silver posts and glass beads. I finished any unfinished seams with overlock stitching and Fray Check and stabilized all the closures. I sewed any torn seams and cleaned all the clothes. I starched and pressed them. Then I sewed new pieces to complete some outfits. I used vintage fabrics and trims so the pieces look authentic. The yellow satin dress and pink polka dot dress have commercial snaps I recognize as being used by Vogue. These are both a bit snug and fit better without the doll's underwear, so I think they were originally Jill or Jan clothes. One snap on the yellow dress was broken but Jerry fixed it somehow. He won't tell me how; he says he "worked his magic"! I had such a good time putting the outfits together! It made me remember how much I used to love dressing up myself.

In fact, I think maybe I'll try to make myself some nicer clothes! It's crazy to me that this was a "teenage" doll. I don't remember having it this together as a teenager! I love all the 50s glamour too; the thigh-high stockings, garters, girdles, lace bra were all made by me and made me wish I were as well-dressed as this doll! I do like these dolls as a role model for girls. They are so much less slutty than the teen dolls sold now, and I really appreciate their more realistic figures. These dolls actually have a body type a girl can aspire to without contemplating plastic surgery. So here's to Miss Revlon's transformation...may it inspire my own!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.