Monday, February 9, 2015

Tutorial: How to Replace a Baby Crissy Doll Growing Ponytail

Baby Crissy with new growing hair.

When we were kids my sister had a Baby Crissy doll by Ideal. These dolls, part of the Crissy fashion doll family, were made starting in 1972 by Ideal. They continued production all the way into the 1990s, when they were made by Tyco. I actually have a 1990s Baby Crissy listed right now. Baby Crissy dolls were advertised as having "growing" hair. They had a long pony tail you could pull out to make the hair "grow" and a string in back you pulled to shorten the hair again. The trouble with this idea is that young girls, hearing the doll's hair would grow, would pull it put long and then cut it. It's very common to find these with cut hair. Luckily, it's not too hard to replace the ponytail. I'll show you how here.

Color 130 is a good match

I got a Baby Crissy doll whose ponytail was missing recently and was about to sell her cheap for parts when I wondered if her ponytail could be replaced. A quick Internet search revealed you can replace the ponytail. I searched my box of hair and found I had wefted human hair extensions that were a so-so match but not long enough. I found Prilly Charmin selling Diane Yaky Pony extensions on eBay and ordered a pack of two. The Yaky Pony red color #130 is a great match to the Baby Crissy hair and since they are already formed into a ponytail they're easier to use than wefted hair. I have one ponytail for sale in my store right now: Atelier Mandaline.

Baby Crissy missing her ponytail.

The cord goes in the hair slot.
Once you've obtained your hair go ahead and see if you need to root any new hair or just replace the ponytail. My Crissy had her original hair and mostly just needed a ponytail. The top of Crissy's head has a hole mostly plugged by some kind of rubber or felt or something. I just used tweezers to push that down into the head so I could put the ponytail in the top of the head.

Take this material out of the hole in the head.

To get the the inside of the body I removed one of Crissy's arms. You can just pull these off. They were originally held tight with rubber bands around the flange on the top of the arm but these rubber bands are typically rotten so the arms are easy to remove.

Drop a cord through the top of the head into the body.

Find a good strong, thin cord, like kite string, and tie a weight to the end. I used a large-eye tapestry needle. Run the needle and cord through the hole in the head and down through the neck into the body. Baby Crissy dolls originally had a cardboard tube in their necks. This isn't necessary but will help with tension, so if it's still there leave it in.

A tube-turning implement

Once the  cord is inside the body you will need a way to thread it through the hole in the doll's back. I used a tube-turning sewing implement, which is like a long narrow latch hook. I poked this into the back from the outside, grabbed the cord, and pulled it out through the back. You could thread the cord on a short needle and push the cord through from the inside if you don't have a tool like mine.

Grab the cord.

Hooking the cord inside the body

Pull the cord out through the back.
Once the end of the cord is pulled through the back you will need to attach the ponytail to the top of the cord. Tie the top of the cord through the top loop of the ponytail. If you're making a ponytail from loose hair you will need a length of hair about 30 inches long folded in half to make a loop at the top.

Tie the hair to the top of the cord.

When you've securely tied the hair, pull the cord from the back of the doll, just as a child would have played with it, until the looped end of the ponytail is inside the doll's neck.

Pull the hair down into the neck.

Test the ponytail's "growing" action a few times by pulling the cord in back to shorten the hair and then pulling the ponytail out to grow the hair.

Shorten and lengthen the hair to test it.

When you've confirmed the hair works you can add a handle. Tie a marker on the cord to show how long the cord must be when the hair is long and short. If you don't have a long enough cord you won't be able to make the hair go as short or as long as it should. The marker will make sure you don't cut the cord too short when you attach a ring handle.

Mark the length of the cord with some extra.

When you're sure the cord is the proper length, find a ring you can use as a handle and tie it to the cord in back. I only had big curtain rings. I would have liked to use a smaller ring but not enough to drive around trying to shop for one! Tie the ring with a double or triple knot and then cut the excess cord.

Tie a ring handle to the cord.

When the hair is replaced you can put the arm back on by just popping the flange back into the arm hole.

Pop the arm back on.

If your doll needs a re-root you can do that either before or after replacing the ponytail. I decided to fill the rooted hair in a bit around the hole in the head. The original hair was present but had gotten thin from years of play pulling the ponytail over it. I used wefted human hair extensions. You could also use the second ponytail in the package for re-rooting if you buy a two pack.

Human hair for re-rooting

The hair had gotten thin around the hole.

To root hair, first cut the weft off a small section of hair if your extension is wefted. Lay the section of hair over the spot you want to root. Hold the hair taut over the section and push a felting needle over the hair and pull it out several times. This pushes the hair into the hole and tangles it up inside the head so it won't pull out again.

Place the hair and push a felting needle into it.

Stretch the hair taut over the area you wish to root and repeatedly stab it with a felting needle.

When you've re-rooted or replenished the hair to the extent you want, trim the new hair to match the original or cut it into the style you want if you're totally re-rooting it.

The rooted hair helps fill in the thin spots.

The new ponytail and rooted hair.

After you've replaced all the missing hair you can brush it gently with a wire bristle brush to style it. Try styling it long and short and blend the ponytail into the short hair when you pull the string out in back. Now your Baby Crissy is ready for play or display! The doll shown in this post will be for sale in my store soon so please check:

Crissy with short hair.

The short ponytail makes a bob.

Crissy with long hair.

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