Friday, July 5, 2013

Cissette's Charmed Life

Cissette in her corduroy suit with fur trim.
Today is a first, I think; two posts in one day! Earlier today I wrote about several dolls I have in the works, and tonight Jerry was nice enough to cook dinner for me so I could finish the Cissette set I had almost complete. When you last heard about Cissette I was trying to find a pair of shoes to fit her. I knew I had them somewhere and I needed to find them. Besides Cissette needing shoes, these tiny doll shoes retail near $20 a pair; more than some of my own shoes! If you've been reading my blog you night remember we have moved twice, living at three different addresses between June and November of last year. Our current home has needed a lot of work, so we have been unpacking and repacking things as we've moved them in and out of rooms as we renovated. As a result, I am thoroughly confused as to where a bunch of our things might be stored!

Cissette's strawberry dress with lace fascinator

 I took a little break from dolls yesterday while we celebrated Independence Day. We watched one parade because our son was playing his trumpet in the marching band. Then we attended a party with bounce houses and horseback rides. In the evening we took a picnic to town to watch another parade and the fireworks. I was able to sleep late this morning, and I woke up refreshed and ready to work on my dolls again.
Cissette's reproduction shoes by Madame Alexander and lingerie.
 I found the Cissette shoes right where they should be, in a box I searched about ten times yesterday. Then I found another pair of shoes to fit Cissette. These were probably for Barbie or another fashion doll of that era, but they do fit Cissette. They are snug with the stockings on, but so are the Madame Alexander pair.
Cissette's repaired split
I always am buying lots of doll clothes for various dolls when I can get a good price, and I had a little too much fun looking through my "stash" for Cissette! I ended up giving her an enormous wardrobe. I wish I had a closet like Cissette's!

This is the triple-stitched 1950s Cissette wig.
This doll came wearing a fine wale corduroy suit with real fur trim. It feels like rabbit fur. This looks factory made to me and it has the square silver snaps used by Madame Alexander. I haven't ever found any pictures or information about a Cissette outfit like this, however, and it seems like a dress with real fur would be documented. I added a vintage blue purse with chain strap. Cissette also wore blue lace-trimmed panties and stockings. These are almost certainly original to her. The panties look like they may have been part of an outfit.

Cissette's knees bend.
I found a strawberry-print dress in a lot of Cissette-sized doll clothes recently, and I am almost positive I've seen this identical or near-identical print used on a larger Madame Alexander doll before. This dress also looks like it could be a Madame production; it has the square silver snaps and amazing details. The back of the bodice is bias cut so that when you snap the bodice the stripes make a V-shape to accentuate the waist. The selvage of the fabric is marked with a name in the back of the dress, but it has no tag. When you consider how hard it is to sew these minuscule dresses, this level of detail is impressive! I made a fascinator style hat from vintage lace and trimmed it with vintage-style berries to match the dress.
The dress has no tag, but the fabric is marked Marcus Brothers.
Another factory dress in the lot is this taffeta plaid sundress with a complete ruffle bodice. I know this was a commercial dress because if the commercial snaps used. They look like Ideal and Vogue snaps to me, so this was probably a Little Miss Revlon or Jill dress. The snaps had pulled out of the fabric so I replaced them with hook and eye closures.
This turquoise sundress may have been made for Little Miss Revlon.
A matching coat was in the lot with the turquoise sundress, but I can't tell if it is factory-made or not. I think, since it matches so well it probably was made to go with the dress. The straw hat Cissette wears with many of her outfits was a thrift store find. It fits Cissette perfectly and coordinates with many of her clothes.

The turquoise coat and dress set
The navy satin ball gown is a sweet Mommy-made piece. It needed a closure so I added a hook and eye. This is a very classic look, with the navy and off-white ribbon trim, and the dress is in exceptional condition.
Cissette's navy satin ballgown
Another Mommy-made piece is the sheer lace-trimmed nightgown. This has silver metallic ribbon straps. It has some discoloration and fraying and a small pinhole in the back of the skirt. I repaired it as well as I could and it should stand up to display pretty well now. I added a pink plastic vintage mirror.
Cissette's nightie and mirror
The yellow ballgown is really lovely. This is flocked sheer dotted Swiss, and it's in nearly perfect shape. It has an attached net crinoline and a matching sleeveless bolero. The straw hat and blue shoes look very nice with this ensemble.

The thrift store hat matches this dress well!

The red polka dot dress is a factory-made dress with the snaps like those Ideal and Vogue used, so probably originally a Little Miss Revlon or Jill dress, but untagged. This reminds me of the red and white jumper dress some Cissettes wore when new. There was a matching Cissy dress. It's got some discoloration from age, which I wasn't able to clean off.

This dress was also probably made for Little Miss Revlon.
I made Cissette a very full crinoline or Can-Can slip to give her dresses the proper 1950s fullness. I repaired a hole in her vintage stockings, which made one stocking shorter than the other, so I made vintage lace garters to hide the discrepancy.

In another lot of untagged Cissy clothes and accessories I got a broken Cissy bracelet. I repaired the bracelet, but it was too short for Cissy's wrist due to missing pieces. I added a silver-plated chain clasp and made it into a necklace for Cissette.

Cissette's face paint is perfect.
Cissette is a really lovely doll. She has the triple-stitched wig from the 1950s in blond. I styled her hair in its original style and it looks very new. Cissette had the crotch split that seems as ubiquitous among Cissette dolls as among the tiny Betsy McCall. I repaired this and restrung the doll. I strung her loosely to prevent further splits, but she can still hold a pose and her walker works. These dolls didn't move their heads when they walked, but when you move one leg the other moves slightly.

Cissette has the Madame Alexander mark
I feel like this is a really successful restoration. I was even able to make Cissette a custom box. I used a photo box with a magnetic closure and glittered decoration. I "monogrammed" it by printing Cissette's name and placing it in the photo frame. I had such a good time putting this lot together I feel like I've been playing all afternoon!
I gave Cissette a huge wardrobe and a custom box.
A close-up of the box

Cissette's necklace


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