Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Twice As Sweet Ginny

Restored Strung Ginny with Painted Lashes.

Restored Ginny Straight-Leg Walker with Painted Lashes.

As promised in my last post, here are the two Ginny dolls from the big doll lot. Both are fully-restored now. The main issue with these dolls is they had gotten quite dirty and grimy. The blond Ginny shown here needed re-stringing and some very minor splits repaired. The brunette just needed cleaning and a new hairdo, and to have her arms re-strung.

Ginny with her new hair style.
I restore a lot of dolls, but I don't often come across Ginny dolls. As I mentioned in my Fab Pam post, I am more a fan of the Lesney face Ginny. That's the Ginny doll I had as a child! Her face is thinner. I now realize that Ginny is supposed to represent an older girl, maybe 8 or 9 years old, whereas the original Ginny is supposed to look like a toddler. When I was growing up, though, I thought my mom's old 50s Ginny was ugly and mine beautiful. I didn't know they were supposed to be different ages! Also, you might remember from one of my first Betsy McCall posts, my mom's Ginny and Betsy were trashed by the time I came along. Both were missing limbs, their wigs were all messed up, and they were really dirty.

After re-stringing, this Ginny can sit.

Now that I'm a parent I can see the appeal of the toddler Ginny. I know she was modeled after the artist's daughter, Virginia. I especially like the little blond one. Maybe they're just so much cleaner than my mom's doll, I can appreciate them. I do think the combination of the blond wig and bright face paint with the little blue and pink dress is very nice. The brunette looks really good in her bright red polka dots too! The blue and pink dress is tagged Vogue, but I don't know the name of this outfit (if it had one). The red dress isn't tagged. It is a commercial dress. The snap has a Greek key design, and I've seen the same snaps used by Stashin for their Andrea (Ginny clone) doll, but I don't know if Vogue used the same snaps. The blue dress has a hook and eye closure so I can't compare them.

I know just enough about Ginny to date the blond earlier than the brunette. For one thing, the blond is strung, not a walker, and her wig is mohair, not Saran hair. Also, the blond is marked only "Vogue Doll", whereas the brunette is marked "Ginny" and then Vogue Dolls Inc. and Pat. Pend., and Made in U.S.A.. I know Vogue originally marketed an unnamed toddler doll who was later named Ginny.

The original hair pins seem to still be in place.
The brunette Ginny still has pins in her hair which I think are her original hairpins.  I cleaned the dolls with an old toothbrush dipped in doll cleaner. For the brunette's hair, I brushed it with a wire wig brush and rubbed a little fabric softener/water mix in it to clean and soften. When it was dry I only had to brush it around my fingers to get it to curl into a flip, so it didn't need a new set. I re-pinned the sides as they had been with the original pins. Then I wet the bangs and let them dry with a ribbon tied around them to get them to lie down like they're supposed to.

The dolls are cleaned.
The brunette is a head-turning walker. The walker works perfectly. As you can see, her eyes don't function. Occasionally I can get them to close by thumping her head really hard, but mostly they stay open. I can't get her to sit. I don't know enough about these dolls to know if the walkers were supposed to sit and I don't want to force it and break her, so I haven't tried. I re-strung her arms, though they are still somewhat loose. It's really hard to get the arms super tight without stringing the head, which isn't possible on a walker. They will hold a bit of a pose though.

This Ginny has a mohair wig in need of re-styling.

Combing out the mohair.
To re-style a mohair wig you can't brush it. That will ruin it. Instead, use a bamboo skewer or long toothpick to pick any dirt and tangles out and re-arrange the hair. Be very careful because the mohair tends to fall out of the wig cap. This doll's hair was already quite thin, so I had to arrange it carefully. When you are finished, just dampen the hair and roll it on tiny perm rods using endpapers, just as though you're giving the doll a perm. Don't saturate the mohair or use hot water, as both can cause the hair to felt. Let the mohair dry on the rollers at least 24 hours. Then carefully unroll and arrange using the skewer again if you need to, or just your fingers. Spray with Mink hairspray if you can find it. Mink makes the mohair shinier. Around here you can only find it at Food Lion usually, so I stock up when I see it.

The repaired splits.
Before I re-strung the blond Ginny and styled her hair I repaired splits in both legs using epoxy and painted it when dry just as I describe in my McCall Twins Visit the Hospital post. This doll also has obvious seams, but not splits, on her shoulders and crotch. These don't warrant repair at this stage; anything I did would look very obvious and ugly. If the doll is played with as a toy again they may eventually split, but it seems unlikely this doll will be used other than for display.

The blue dress washed nicely. It still has some faint browning from age.

The hat was a thrift-store find, but matches perfectly.

To clean the dolls' vintage clothing I first assess whether I think the outfit can stand up to hand washing. The cotton blue and pink dress looked as if it could and it was very dark and dirty, so it really needed it. The red dress is unhemmed so I didn't attempt to wash it.

For the blue dress I first soaked the dress and bloomers in a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and cold water for one hour. Before you do this, rub straight white vinegar on an inside seam or some other inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn't cause the fabric to bleed or bleach or tear. Then I dab Fels Naptha laundry bar soap on any stubborn spots and soak for one hour in a mix of cold water with gentle detergent and Snowy or other gentle non-chlorine bleach. Then I soak for one hour in plain cold water. When this is finished I gently squeeze the excess water out and let the clothes dry on a glass or bottle (to help them hold their shape) in the bright sun. Often clothes dried this way will hardly even need pressing, or won't need it at all! If you do press old fabric, use only a warm setting.

The red dress was dry-cleaned and steamed. It turned out very well.

To clean the red dress, or any other fabric I deem too delicate to wash, such as the old Cissy taffeta underclothes, I use a Dryel or other brand home-dry cleaning kit. First I gently clean with the spot remover or booster included in the kit, then I dry-clean it following the instructions on the package. These will come out damp so I dry in the sun as with the other method. Drying outside really helps eliminate musty odors. I don't iron these delicate clothes at all. Instead I hold the iron over them and steam them and smooth the cloth with my fingers while the fabric is still damp from the steam.

The lashes and brows are somewhat faded, but the rest of the face is bright.
As you can see, these dolls didn't need the level of restoration I usually perform. They wore pretty complete outfits too. I added a thrift-store hat to the blue dress because it matches so well and fits Ginny perfectly. Everything else, including her pink bracelet, came on her!

Ginny's original bracelet. Note the faint browning of the skirt on this side.

The brunette Ginny came wearing the red dress and white taffeta bloomers and shoes. I added the heart-shaped hair pin. It came on a Roberta Ann doll in the same lot but was obviously not original. She was wrapped in strips of fabric secured with the heart pin rather than clothing! I do think it is a vintage pin, however, as everything in the lot was from the 1940s and 50s except for one Sindy doll.

I added the vintage seed bead bracelet.

I thought the heart pin looked really cute with the red dress. I also added vintage bobby socks from my doll stash. These are not rayon, so they are probably later vintage, maybe for Skipper. Then I made a bracelet from a vintage doll jewelry box I have. This came with all kinds of commercial doll jewelry, like a Cissy necklace, but also contained little thread necklaces which I think are homemade from vintage seed beads. I doubled one to make a cute little bracelet. I will say, though, I have seen commercial seed bead on thread necklaces since I got the jewelry lot, so it's possible they aren't homemade.

Each doll comes with a Knickerbocker stand.

 I think these two little ladies turned out well. They are available for sale, along with many other dolls, in my store: http://stores.ebay.com/atelier-mandaline.

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