Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pretty In Pink Elise


Elise #1610 from 1957

Today's been quite productive so far, something that always makes me happy. I got to sleep in. Then I made a special treat: æbelskiver, a kind of Danish doughnut. These my husband's family tradition, famously perfected by his great aunt. She gave me the special pan required to cook them and I try to make them as well as she did. I am slowly learning to make them properly. They sort of taste like French toast, and today I filled them with lingonberry jam and served them with powdered sugar and more lingonberry preserves. Then I went into my office and finished a doll I've been restoring on and off for a year or so.

This is Elise #1610 from 1957 and she came to me nearly complete. This is not an easy doll to obtain. I've seen this dress only very rarely. When I got my doll I immediately saw why the dress has become scarce. The organdy puffed sleeves were rotten and were shredding apart. Only the lace trim was holding them together. The hat original to the outfit was also disintegrating. Every time I touched it the hat would fall apart a bit more. So, although I finished the doll months ago, the dress and hat have been sitting around waiting for me to decide how to restore them.


The organdy dress sleeves were rotten.

The hat was also rotten.

My solution for the sleeves was to carefully pick them part. I took them off the dress and removed the lace. Then I used the most intact sleeve to make a pattern for the new sleeves. I trimmed the new sleeves with the salvaged lace and sewed the new sleeves onto the dress. I think it turned out pretty well!

The sleeves have been replaced.


There is a pinhole in the waist.

The hat turned out to not be salvageable. I noticed a pinhole in the waist of the dress, which I supposed was the result of something originally having been pinned or sewn there. I removed the ribbon and floral trim from the hat and made it into a pin. I pinned the hat florals onto the bodice at the waist.

Elise herself needed cleaning, restringing, and to have her hair set. I gave her a partial eyelash replacement as well. Her walker mechanism is very stiff but works as well as these walkers ever do. This is not a head turning walker; the head just sort of bobs when you move the legs. Elise's knees bend and she poses well.

The doll after restoration.



The doll is marked.

Elise came with her original taffeta panties and very rare net lace slip with scalloped hem and stamped ribbon motif. I replaced the elastic on both pieces and took in the waist of the slip. Elise's original stockings were intact but had a few holes along the elastic. I treated those with Fray Check so they won't expand.


Elise's original panties and slip.




Elise's taffeta gingham dress is in very good condition apart from the original sleeves. There are tiny pin-sized holes here and there in the skirt. I treated these with Fray Check so they won't expand. The tag is quite faint but still legible.


The dress is tagged.
I found a different Madame Alexander hat from the same time period to replace the original hat. This is another piece designed for Elise. It's missing the original velvet ribbon and strap to hold it on her head, so I replaced those with a white satin ribbon. The floral decor has flowers identical to Elise's #1610 hat, so it matches the dress perfectly! Elise can wear the new hat as a cartwheel style or tie it as a bonnet to more closely mirror the original shape.


The replacement hat has the same flowers as the original.


The replacement hat is a perfect match.

I felt like Elise needed a few more accessories, so I made her a glass bead necklace with pink glass pendant, a "diamond" ring, and gave her a silver purse. Her original shoes were lost, so I made her new ones from vintage bases in pink and silver to match the rest of her outfit.



I made this ring for Elise.

I also made a necklace and gave Elise a purse.

I made Elise new shoes from vintage bases.

I treated tiny holes in the dress with Fray Check.

I think Elise turned out beautifully. Her pink ensemble is light enough that it doesn't overpower her pale peaches and cream complexion. Her blond curls are still shiny and lush, without the dry ends you usually find and they enhance her aquamarine eyes. Elise is a perfect example of the 1950s Teenage Dream: to be perfectly turned-out and well-to-do but with a sense of sweetness and decency absent from today's clothing for all but the youngest girls.

You can find Elise and many other Madame Alexander dolls in my store, Atelier Mandaline, and when you browse my catalogue.





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