Friday, August 1, 2014

Cissy, Career Girl


Cissy takes her latest creation to a meeting with investors.

I have a friend who, though she's a little older than I, has never married. She happened to fall into a fantastic job when she was in college, and she doesn't want children, so she's put her energy into building her career. Now, after 20 years in her field, she owns a very fancy home, has her own boat, drives a BMW, all on her own dime. She still spends her weekends out, usually docking her boat at a local restaurant, and travels all over visiting her like-minded friends. On Mondays and sometimes into Tuesdays, she and I go over her weekend adventures. We talk about all the men she's juggling and all the happenings of her days and nights. Sometimes, I admit, I get a little envious. She has taken me on impromptu tours of her house, something that would require hours or even days of frantic cleaning at my house. Her boat is never broken down, her cars are so nice and clean, and she does it all on her own. That's not the path I chose, I remind myself. As long as I can remember I've wanted to have children and find a job that lets me be with them. I always wanted to make things and make my living that way, and I'm doing it. We'd live in a cardboard box if I supported us on my own, of course, but there's no reason to dwell on that! I do admire my friend, though, and I decided to dedicate this Cissy to her. This Cissy's a career girl.





I bought this Cissy doll a while back. She was dirty and needed some split repair, but overall she was in really good condition. One reason I bought her is for her dark brown hair. Brunette Cissy dolls are rare in themselves, but this Cissy is particularly unusual for her very unique wig. She has very full hair rooted into a vinyl wig cap. The only time I've even seen mention of this wig is on a Binnie Walker shown in my Madame Alexander book, and the wig is listed as unusual there. I've never seen a Cissy with this wig, and I look at Cissy dolls every single day!




Besides the atypical color and wig cap, Cissy's hair is unique for its longer, straighter style. She has thick fringe bangs and loose curls that make her look a little like Betty Page. I wondered if someone put the wrong wig or head on a Cissy body, but the rubber band in the head looked old and correct and the wig had old dark glue residue around the perimeter. I washed and set her hair to make it a little more like what Cissy collectors are accustomed to seeing.

Cissy needed a partial lash replacement, so I went ahead and did that. I noticed how unusual her eyes are while I was working. They're very light ice blue with some brown highlights. They aren't the yellowed color of eyes that change from aging, like the Cissy bride from my last post. I think they're original but just very rare. A few eyelashes on one eye had rubbed off, so I traced over those in matching gray.

Cissy has an unusual eye color.

Over the years I've purchased many lots of Cissy accessories or clothing. Some of these are real Alexander pieces, and some are recognizable as Premier or Jane Miller, but others are mystery pieces. One such lot was described as being "untagged Cissy pieces". Some were obviously Alexander and others were not. The blue metallic snood came in that lot. I've never seen it before, but it does look just like a gold snood sold for Cissy and shown in some Alexander books, so I do think it's probably by Alexander. The watch was sold for fashion dolls in the 1950s. It's not by Alexander, but it's really cool. The hands really more when you turn the tiny dial! The purse was in a lot with the tagged Cissy sweater and it really opens. It's made of brocade.

The watch and purse.

The snood may be real Alexander.

One lot of dolls clothes had the tagged Cissy sweater, the green bead necklace with sating ribbon tie, and the brocade purse. The corduroy front and tag of the sweater were perfect, but the wool jersey knit sleeves and back of the sweater had been chewed into lace by moths. I carefully picked the seams apart so I could use the damaged pieces as a pattern, and I made new sleeves and a back of wool felt. I sewed them to the front pieces, replacing the tag as I made the sweater.

I sewed new wool pieces to the original front and tag.
I used the original back piece to make a pattern for a shell for Cissy to wear under the sweater as a twinset. I tried to emulate the Alexander original, with grosgrain ribbon facings and a snap back.



Cissy's checked taffeta skirt came in the same lot as the sweater. I can't tell if it's factory or handmade. It's beautifully-sewn, with tons of hand work, but it isn't tagged. It does have the pinked seams typical of many Alexander pieces, and the style is pretty de rigueur for Cissy, but I just don't know. It's very nice, though.


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Under her clothes Cissy wears all Alexander pieces. Her panties and hose are from a Portrette doll with the Jacqueline face. Her slip was originally made for Elise, but it works on Cissy as well. I tried to make her some new shoes on vintage bases, but when I clamped the soles and elastic on the bases so the glue could dry one of the bases cracked all across the bottom! I gave up on the vintage shoes and just gave Cissy new replacements.





Cissy, as you might have noticed, is a doll maker, just like Madame Alexander. She has just finished her latest prototype, a composition Geisha doll, and she's on her way to show it to her buyers and investors. The little Geisha is a real 1950s tourist doll, made in Japan. She was bald when I got her. I glued on new mohair and a floral decoration.



I sure hope my doll company is as successful as Cissy's one day! In the meantime the best I can do is try to copy her fab fashion sense! You can help me with my own doll store by shopping with me on eBay: http://stores.ebay.com/atelier-mandaline.

The Alexander mark

Cissy's replaced lashes.

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