Friday, March 14, 2014

Sleeping Beauty, Revived

Sleeping Beauty, 1959, by Madame Alexander for Disney

A few months back I was surprised to win a super hard to find Sleeping Beauty doll on eBay. This doll was made by Madame Alexander for Disney in 1959. She came in several sizes: the 8 inch Alexander-kins (I think), 10 1/2 inch Cissette, 16 inch Elise, and 21 inch Cissy. The Cissette Sleeping Beauty used the Cissette face and comes up fairly often for sale. I think I once saw the Alexander-kins, using her typical face mold, as Sleeping Beauty. The 16 and 21 inch sizes, however, used the Elise and Cissy bodies but had a different and unique face mold. This special face mold is infused hard plastic, meaning the paint color is integrated into the plastic. I think it's a lovely face.

The doll before restoration.

Unfortunately, the infused face has a tendency to darken and develop orangey-brown spots. I've seen this on Cissy and Elise dolls before as well. The stains can be removed with a Mr. Clean Eraser, but the eraser can remove much of the face paint as well, especially the eyebrows and lashes. The color doesn't come completely off, though, as it's infused into the plastic, so a shadow of it remains.

The face had darkened.

In this case the discoloration was focused on the doll's chin. There was some darkening her nose as well, so her lashes and brows were faded when I cleaned the face. I was able to see the shadow of the original paint, so I just traced over it lightly after the face was clean.

I cleaned the face.

Princess Aurora, or Sleeping Beauty, had loose stringing and her leg had become unattached below the knee. She had her original dress and underwear but lost her shoes, crown, slip, cape, and ring. She was wearing a mystery glass bead necklace and had been given Cissy gloves that were too big for her. Her dress was stained and had a couple tiny holes. Her hair was messy as well.

The doll after restoration.

My husband helped me re-attach the leg. I restrung Aurora with elastic cord. Then I treated her frizzy hair with a fabric softener leave-in conditioner and gave her a new set. When I was re-stringing her I removed her strange necklace. The necklace is a mystery, because as far as I've ever seen this doll has a rhinestone necklace. In fact, she is often found with black or green marks on her neck and chest from the necklace. In this case, however, she had glass beads strung on gray thread around her neck. The necklace had no clasp, so it couldn't be removed until I had her head off. I thought someone must have put the necklace on her when they restrung her, but she seemed to have her original bands. The beads were obviously old, as well. The thread color had rubbed off onto the interior shaft of the beads. So, maybe the necklace is a rare variation. I got the rhinestone necklace from an Elise doll to which it wasn't original, so I replaced the beads with that necklace. Then I restrung the beads and added a clasp and put the bead necklace on the Maggie face Good Fairy doll I have listed in my store. You can read about that doll in my Magical Maggie post.

The doll with her original rhinestone necklace.

To complete her jewelry, I made a new rhinestone adjustable ring for Aurora. I cleaned the dress the best I could with carpet spot cleaner. I wasn't successful in entirely removing the stains from the skirt. I also just left the tiny holes, as they are in the middle of the fabric and don't seem to be enlarging. I decided a cape would hide the stained areas well, so I sewed a new one. This has a band adorned with a Swarovski crystal and a hook and eye closure so it can also be used as an overskirt. It really hides a multitude of sins! Maybe I will start wearing a cape. I could worry less about my weight! I sewed a crown to match the cape and trimmed it with a vintage rhinestone. I replaced the elastic in Aurora's original panties and a slip that came on a 1960s Elise bride doll.

Her dress has staining, fading, and two tiny holes.

Aurora's shoes are vintage Madame Alexander shoes from a Mary Ann face doll. They are flats so the doll's ankles are bent to flat feet to accomodate them.  Aurora came wearing the stockings, but they have stretched out and are too short and wide. I made gold garters to help hold them taut. I got Aurora all dressed and took her photos. She looks just stunning! The slip and cape really make the dress stand out. Aurora's an incredibly impressive doll. I made sure her hair was just-so perfect and placed a new hair net on her curls to hold them in place. I got ready to tag her with my own signed tag, and... HER OTHER LEG FELL OFF below the knee! I was SO furious and frustrated! Luckily, by this time the husband was home from work and he took charge. He replaced the leg and now Aurora's good as new. I tested her knees by very carefully bending and straightening them. I did have to style her hair again, of course, and get her all dressed again. It's always something!

I gave her a newer Elise slip.

I am pretty proud of this restoration. I think this Sleeping Beauty could stand up against any I've seen. This is such a rare doll it's a great investment to snap it up if ever you see it. I've seen fewer of the Elise size than the Cissy size, but I really hardly ever see either. Even this head sells sans body for a good amount. I had to pay more than I wanted for even this very disheveled princess. I think the Alexander-kins version would be smart to pick up if you ever saw it as well. I don't remember for sure if one was made, but Alexander usually made each series of dolls in all the sizes.

The cape can also be worn as a skirt.

I made her a ring.

I have a ton of dolls in the pipeline. I was hoping to finish several this week, but I was out driving our teen home from band until after 10:30 last night and today he came home from school and announced he has to go to a theater performance about 45 minutes from here tomorrow for extra credit, so I guess I won't get quite as much done as I'd hoped. Those dolls should be listed soon and this one will go into my store tonight, so please check:

The doll wears her original panties and tagged dress.

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