Monday, November 25, 2013

Cissette On Tour

1950s Cissette ballerina
Several months back, during my ballerina blitz, I got this doll all restored and ready to go except for her shoes. Then I got a little burnt out on ballerinas and put her aside for a while. Now, though, all my ballerinas have traveled on to new homes so I decided to finish Cissette and list her.

Cissette, having her split repaired.
I originally planned to make a trunk set with the "On Tour" theme. This is something Madame Alexander used to do back in the 1950s and 60s at Christmas time. She would make big sets with a ballerina doll and lots of clothes and call it Cissette or whomever, "On Tour". They were often exclusive to the FAO Schwartz or Montgomery Ward catalogues. I've seen these sets with Cissy, Cissette, Elise, Lissy, Pamela (who first used the Lissy mold and then switched over to the "Louisa" or "Nancy Drew" mold used by the Wendy doll I have listed right now), and more. It's such a fun idea for a child, and it's a great deal of fun for me to amass all the outfits and accessories, not to mention find a suitable "trunk".

Cissette after repair
The result is quite expensive, though, given the high cost of the 50s dolls and clothing, and few adult collectors are able to justify the cost of buying all those clothes for a doll they will most likely display in one outfit only. Trunk sets do sell for me, but they often take a long time to move and I end up making less profit than if I sold each piece by itself. So, I decided to list Cissette alone as a ballerina and then finish and list the outfits I have for her separately. I have a few more Cissettes lying around my office, so I may indulge myself with a trunk set later on.

Dolls with bright face paint like this are called "high color".
Cissette came to me having been already "restored" in the past. Someone knitted her a pretty dress trimmed with pearls and glued matching pearls to her earlobes. I didn't try to remove these, as they don't look bad and trying to get them off would certainly damage the plastic doll head. Then the restorer styled Cissette's hair in pigtails with rhinestones sewn to the tops. I removed the rhinestones and styled her hair in its original set.
New stringing allows her to pose well.

Otherwise, Cissette needed a split repair, re-stringing, and a good cleaning. The only things I was unable to remove are a scratch on her belly, very slight, and a couple tiny red marks on top of her head.

Cissette has a couple tiny red marks on top of her head.

Cissette looks stage-ready now, and her tighter stringing allows her to pose many ways. Her knees bend well and her eyes function.

A while back I bought a mixed lot of doll clothes and housewares and found this ballerina outfit in it. It's tagged "Madame Alexander" but doesn't list the doll. The age appears to be 1950s or 60s based on the style of the floral trim.

A much larger doll had been squeezed into the dress, tearing its crotch seam. When I put the dress on Cissette I saw it's a bit large in the rear and thighs. I don't know if it originally belonged to Lissy or if the larger doll stretched it out. I repaired the seam and cleaned it with carpet cleaner.

The dress is loose in the thighs and may have been for Lissy.
I was unable to remove rust-red spots on one shoulder ruffle, so I sewed vintage-look florals over the spots to hide them.

Floral trim hides the red spots.
I found a vintage floral bouquet with another lot of doll stuff and sewed it to a doll bobby pin so you can use it as a hair ornament. Then I made ballet shoes from pink ribbon.

Her hair ornament is made from a vintage bouquet.
These are a little weird. Even though I used the same pattern one turned out larger than the other. Still, they stay on her feet, and if you don't study them too close they look like regular ballet shoes, so they are fine for display.

Handmade ballet shoes
All in all, I think this doll turned out very well. Her bright facial paint is lovely and her hair is shiny and pretty. She's sure to star in any collection. Please keep watching my store for the rest of her "on tour" clothes, coming soon:


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