Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spotlight on Maggie

A few months ago I purchased a Madame Alexander Maggie-face doll in need of total restoration. I bought her from another doll restorer who had gotten behind on her projects and felt like she couldn't finish this one. I know the feeling well! I have a few dolls for sale right now who are restored but not dressed and dolls parts in need of restoration because I got too ambitious in my purchasing. My workshop/office, at less than 200 square feet with a dramatically sloped ceiling, doesn't allow for much storage of unfinished works! You can help me thin out the herd in my tiny room by purchasing some inventory from my store:

I really enjoy restoring dolls in the raw state of this Maggie. Since she didn't even have a wig there is no clue as to which character she might have originally portrayed. Maggie didn't need much difficult restoration. I re-strung her. Her face paint was very faded so I just traced over her eyebrows, lashes, and lips and added some blush. She had a tiny bit of original eyeshadow left and I enhanced it. Thank goodness she didn't need a lash replacement! I've done entirely too many of those fiddly jobs lately. Her joints have scraping, which I mostly left alone, as they will just scrape up again. I did paint over the scrapes under her chin and on her hips and shoulders where they might show in brief clothing. The main issue was that Maggie's fingers were chewed up a bit. I considered whether to try to fill in the chew marks with epoxy. This would involve sanding the fingers back into shape and repainting them. In the long run I decided that would be as obvious as just leaving the chew marks, which are like tiny pin holes, and painting over them. So I just painted her hands and gave her a bouquet to hold after her performance. This hides the marks well.

Maggie before restoration

I left some joint scraping unrestored.

I painted over chew marks in her fingers.

Maggie was a blank slate waiting for me to endow her with an identity. I played around with various wigs and costumes until I found the best fit. I decided on a blue ballerina dress originally made for the 17 inch Elise doll. As well as I can tell from my Patricia Smith Alexander Dolls book (the photos leave a lot to be desired) this is the ballet costume produced from 1967-1970. It's only slightly loose on Maggie's shoulders and is festooned with flowers and rhinestones. I sewed and glued vintage unused flowers over some that had fallen off at the waist and used the same flowers to create a new headpiece and bouquet. Maggie also wears new sheer thigh high hose and Alexander pink flocked ballet flats from the Mary Ann face dolls of the 1960s-1980s. These are both slightly large on her but will stay on well enough for display and posing. The dress has a few spots and age discolorations here and there and the shoes have some yellowing, but nothing major.

Since I chose a fancy dress for Maggie I decided her hair should be something special. I was torn between a platinum blond mohair wig and this long brown wig with straight bangs and curls in back. I decided on the brown wig, partly because I already have a Maggie I wigged with a platinum mohair wig and partly because I thought I could style it to look like the Maggie ballerina's which Madame Alexander produced in a red costume.

I had trouble gluing the wig on low enough to cover the old glue marks. When I had the wig low enough to totally cover them Maggie's eye wouldn't open because her bangs were in the way! So I pushed the wig back. If you move the bangs aside you can see the old glue, but I sprayed them really heavily into place. Then I pulled part of the hair into a pile of curls on Maggie's head and pulled the rest into a ponytail. I pinned the curls into a chignon at the nape of Maggie's neck. Finally, I made a crown of vintage flowers and pinned it into place.

Maggie's a beautiful ballerina! Her tight new stringing lets her hold many poses. She's a wonderful doll for play or display. Her costume is a little fragile, so I would give this to a girl about 8 or older if you wanted her to be a play doll.

In the end I was glad I hadn't used the platinum mohair wig on Maggie, because I used it on a Honey Cinderella whose wig had been cut. Her original wig was reddish blond, but the platinum wig is the correct style and looks very fairytale-ish. I have Honey all restored but her dress is in a shambles and I'm trying to figure out how to make her a pair of "glass" slippers. I'm hoping I'll be finished with that soon. I'm not feeling very well today, though. My husband worked from home the past two days because he was unwell and now I woke up feeling crummy. I've just been lying around in pajamas all day and haven't really accomplished anything other than writing my blog. Well, actually I'm wearing a cami with a built-in bra, so that counts as "lounge wear" and not pajamas, right? I've done something to my Achilles tendon as well, with all my 10 miles walking a day aspirations. My hope is, if I take it easy today I'll be back to myself tomorrow. Keep watching for Honey, hopefully coming soon!

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