Saturday, April 13, 2013


A Revlon VT-18 doll, fully-restored
This week I've been working on several large fashion dolls, including this Revlon and two Cissy dolls. I finished this doll and one Cissy and got them listed for sale in my store: I have a large work box of 10 vintage dolls on the way, including another Cissy and a Maggie. I'm excited, because the Maggie faced dolls are so cute and I've never had one. I really did enjoy this Revlon lady, though. She is just a beautiful girl. Her stringing is very tight so she can pose well. Revlon dolls have one leg longer than the other so they can stand alone and they have a twist waist and internal band system that allows them to achieve what Ideal advertised as something like "hundreds of human-like poses".

Revlon with all her clothes and accessories.
The doll came in an 1858-1958 centennial anniversary box for Hutzler's of Baltimore department store. This was still wrapped in 1950s birthday paper! The doll was pretty much mint except for being dirty. It looked like someone got her as a birthday present in 1958 and just put her aside and didn't play with her. The box didn't survive shipping very well, unfortunately. The seller had taped an outer box to it with packing tape and when I took the tape off the box ripped all apart. The box smelled musty anyway, so I threw it out. The smell hadn't transferred to the doll, luckily.

The doll in her original box.
I cleaned the doll and her clothing thoroughly. The doll had dark stains that looked like dye transfer from a dark dress. She had to spend a month or so sitting around with acne cream on her spots to fade them They all came off, except one very faint one left on her thigh. According to the research I've done, the tear-drop "diamond" earrings she wears indicate she was initially a Queen of Diamonds or Glamour Revlon model, but she has lost all her original clothing except for her lingerie.

The original hairnet had rotted.
Revlon's hair was still in its original set with hairpins and hair net, but the hairnet had rotted into her hair, so I had to pick it all out. To clean her hair I very carefully unpinned one lock at a time and treated it with a fabric softener "shampoo" and leave-in treatment and then pinned the lock back up. When her hair dried I gave her a new hairnet to hold the 'do in place.

Once the doll was completely cleaned the fun part began. I carefully cleaned her dresses using Dryel and put them in the sun to fade some spots here and there. I was able to significantly fade the spots and so the dresses look really nice and new. There are still a couple tiny stains here and there, but they are minor. From my doll "stash" I gave Revlon a vintage see-through plastic purse and tiny vintage glasses. These really fold open and closed! The posts of the earrings that came on the doll were rusted, but luckily no green ear had yet occurred. I cut the original posts (Revlon dolls' earrings are "locked" into their ears and will tear the ears if you pull them out so you have to cut the posts) and gave her new 14K gold-plated posts. I bent them to help them stay in but you can still remove them without tearing the ear. No green ear will occur with the gold posts. I removed her pearl ring and cleaned it with jewelry cleaner. The band has become rather gray and she has a faint gray spot under the band on her finger.

Revlon wears the original hat she came with as well as vintage shoes.

Revlon in white brocade with peek-a-boo crinoline.

I made a very full crinoline for Revlon using three full yards of material! To put that in perspective, my bridesmaid gowns used 10 yards of fabric for real grown-up women and they had long, full skirts! I trimmed the crinoline with gold rick-rack to match Revlon's vintage gold mules.

Tear-drop earrings with replaced 14K gold-plated posts.
I just love all the clothes and dresses and little accessories these fashion dolls had! It reminds me of the vintage Doris Day movies; she always had such lovely dresses and a coat to match each one. My mother says no one really had all those clothes, but it's nice to imagine such a wardrobe! I was reading back over my blog and in my Fifties Fashionista post from over a year ago I pledged to work on my own wardrobe. Have I done it? NO! It's a shame to think these dolls I work on have such better clothes than I!

Revlon wears a new crinoline

Well, last weekend we were making a sandbox for the kids and I was carrying 50 pound bags of sand. I had forgotten to put on a sports bra, and when I picked up a sand bag a felt a big pop, and sure enough, my very favorite bra had broken its underwire. I got to thinking about it and realized my "new" lingerie, as I call it, was purchased to get ready for our trips to Italy and China in 2009 and 2010. I've also lost a lot of weight and my panties have literally been falling off as I walk around, so this week I finally decided to shop for new lingerie. It's weird to have underwear that actually fits; I've gotten so used to it being loose enough to fall down! Now I just have to work on the rest of my clothing. It's a good thing I have Revlon to inspire me!

The doll's stringing is tight so she can stand alone with balancing.

Revlon dolls have one leg longer than the other to help them stand alone.
Besides working on doll and personal fashions, I am also almost finished with the repairs to my two tiny Betsy hospital "patients". They are ready for new paint and then they will travel back home. I still have more Revlon dolls in progress as well, as I show in the last photo.

I didn't accomplish as much as I wanted to this week. I've been tired and my foot isn't healed yet, so I'm STILL walking. We've been having some sunny weather, at last, so I've been trying to get outside every day for a little while. I walk at night so I don't really get sun then. I've been drinking my green drink out on the deck to try to maximize my vitamin D production. I have a terrible time keeping my vitamin D level up. Apparently my body is awful at making it, so if I go more than a day or so without eating fish I am either overcome by melancholy and sleep and cry all the time or I get what Jerry calls the "Norwegian crazy eyes" and hate everything and everyone. If I let it go too long my hair starts falling out too.

The original hairnet was in place but had rotted.

The other day I discovered my 2012 Facebook photo album had disappeared. I am so upset about this! I do have copies of the photos, but all my captions I added with the context on the day they were taken and all my friends' comments are lost now. I feel like a year of my life has been erased! Jerry, the only other person who knows my password, swears up and down he didn't delete it, but I got so angry, he brought out a tin of smoked oysters and Triscuits in self preservation. Dang if I didn't eat that whole tin! Jerry knows the drill and says he's learned better than to get between a Norwegian and her smoked fish. Still, I decided I was probably disproportionally upset, so I've been working on building up my vitamin D. I hope it will give me enough energy to finish all kinds of dolls so you can see them finished!

A parade of Revlon dolls: VT-18, 15-N, and VT 10 1/2

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