Saturday, January 17, 2015

Margaret Marries, Under An Assumed Name!

Margaret as "Wendy Bride" #1551 of 1955

Whew, it's a crazy week here in the doll shop! Margaret is getting married, but she's calling herself "Wendy". Is she enrolled in the Witness Protection program? Escaping an abusive boyfriend? Does she have amnesia? I guess we will never know for sure!

Seriously, though, here we have an extremely rare Madame Alexander doll from 1955. My research shows she's #1551. She's unusual for several reasons. She is called "Wendy Bride" but uses the Margaret face and 17 inch hard plastic body with vinyl Cissy arms. She's a bent-knee walker, though the walker mechanism in this doll is not working. I got the doll in terrible condition, but she's certainly worthy of restoration because you rarely see this doll selling for less than $300.

Before restoration

Wendy/Margaret was clearly a much-loved doll who saw lots of play. She came wearing nearly all of original outfit, but her hair had been styled to within an inch of its life and was still adorned with a pink plastic child's barrette. Her walker wasn't working, her nose paint was chipped, and she had a huge leg split. She came in a box of dolls who had clearly been thrown into a box with their accessories, shoved into an attic, and left for decades. They got so hot at some point, plastic doll hangers thrown in with them melted all over them.

I was able to repair everything but the walker mechanism. I've messed and messed with it and just can't get it to work. I did re-string Wendy/Margaret with new elastic cord so she will pose well. She can sit and stand alone and her knees bend. Her knees are somewhat loose and you have to position her legs carefully because of the walker mechanism, but she will stay up without the aid of a doll stand. You might want to use one just because she's such a rare doll.

The doll after restoration.

The leg repair

The knees bend.

Wendy/Margaret does still show her age in some ways. One arm has spots and the blush is mostly worn off that hand. There are some scratches and play wear all over. Wendy/Margaret's wig had to have the hair sewn back on the wig cap in some places. Luckily her bridal headpiece and veil covers that!

The arm and body still have some spots.

The hair had to be sewn back on the wig cap.

Given the state in which she arrived, I think Wendy/Margaret turned out beautifully. She displays well and is even sturdy enough for gentle play. Her hair won't take any more styling, I'm afraid, so young hairdressers should practice on a different doll!

Original panties and shoes with new stockings and garters.

The tiered underskirt

Wendy/Margaret appears to have an almost entirely complete and original outfit. I added a snap closure to her original panties because the elastic is stretched. She wore her original stockings when she arrived but they were rotten and shredding apart so I replaced those with new ones and made her new gold flower-trimmed elastic garters. Her shoes are the original satin center-snap "fuzzy bottom" Madame shoes. The heels are missing from both shoes. This bride wears a unique skirt under her dress. It's designed to make the dress stand out like a crinoline but the bottom ruffle is matching satin, meant to peek out under the top dress like a fairy-tale princess'. I took the waist in on the underskirt because that elastic had also relaxed.

The completed doll

She holds an unusual bouquet.

This bride carries a very unusual bouquet. I've never seen another like it. The flowers are attached to a cylinder of gathered tulle with an elastic wrist loop on one side. The center of the tulle is hollow like a muff and the doll can put both hands inside it and hold it that way. The original wrist loop was rotten so I replaced it with silver elastic cord.

All the other versions I've seen of the #1551 bride wear a headpiece made of satin or net in the shape of a bonnet with tulle attached to elastic in the back. This one has what appears to be a Mommy-made vintage headpiece of lace sewn to a pink satin ribbon. I added tulle and clusters of flowers at the sides. I sewed matching bunches of flowers to each sleeve to cover a spot where a place where a plastic hanger melted onto the fabric and left it stiff and stained.

The headpiece, veil, and necklace

The diamond ring

Wendy/Margaret didn't wear any jewelry when I got her. I thought that was too bad. Even if she's getting married under an assumed name she should at least have a ring! So I gave her a Madame Alexander non-adjustable "diamond" Cissy ring and a string of graduated pearls with an engraved box clasp.

The dress has some spots and thin places.

The underskirt has purple spots.

The dress is tagged.
Wendy/Margaret's dress does have age-yellowing, thin places in the satin, and spots here and there, especially on the underskirt, which has purple staining on the ruffle. The top dress is caught up into swags and fastened with its original floral decorations. These are looking pretty sad at this point, but I'm leaving it to the new owner to decide whether to replace them. It's fairly rare to see these old flowers after sixty years.

I gave Wendy/Margaret a hair net and tagged her with my own signed tag. She's a lovely doll and displays well. She looks wonderful in my case! I hope poor Wendy/Margaret can work out her personal issues, but at least she looks good! You can find Wendy/Margaret and many more vintage dolls in my store, so please check: Atelier Mandaline.

The face paint is all original other than the tip of her nose.

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