Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summertime Cissy

This week has been seriously crummy. We've had the hottest weather for almost 150 years, we are in the midst of a drought, and our neighborhood pool is out of commission due to unsupervised teens who dropped a glass drink bottle by the pool so that it broke and glass fell into the pool. So, the pool is closed while the management company drains, sweeps, refills, and treats it. Not only can we not swim, our swim team is having to rent pool space all around the area so I've been having to drive all over taking the kids to meets and practice. My eBay store has had only ridiculously low offers (like people offering $20 for a $200 doll) for days. Then, to top it all off I somehow managed to get an ear infection in this 100 degree heat! I'm just on antibiotic ear drops, thank goodness, since the last time I took oral antibiotics I reacted badly to them and gained 20 pounds. One of the only bright spots all week is the new Cissy I finished. I sweated it out, literally, in my hot attic office and restored not just the doll but her dress as well. The result is really feminine and summery and over the top.

Cissy before restoration.

Her fingernails had been painted.

I ordered this early Cissy doll because her wig, which is an unusual golden blond, was advertised as being wonderful and she didn't seem to have too much damage. When she arrived I found her wig just okay, not really great, and also saw she'd gotten some bad repainting along the way. Cissy had a chip near her lip paint and someone painted her mouth in a bubble gum pink enamel that might possibly have been nail polish, smearing some on her face when they did. Her body had a repaint with too-pink paint and that was dripped on her torso. Her fingernails were black from dark nail polish applied long ago.

I think the dress was originally #2143.

The dress is tagged.

The fabric was disintegrating.

There were a lot of stains.

The dress had heat damage from ironing.

The lining showed the dress was lavender.

Cissy herself was in terrific shape when compared to her dress. I believe this is the dress from the 1957 outfit #2143. It would have originally been trimmed with roses here and there and would have come with a matching bolero jacket. It's a little later piece than the doll herself. The dress is tagged, which is pretty much the only thing it had going for it. It was stained all over and had many tiny holes, probably where the floral decorations were once attached. The taffeta was disintegrating along the hem on one side. I could see from the lining the color had been lavender, but now it's faded to a pinkish beige.

I added side panels to the skirt.

I attached a tulle crinoline.

I made a peek-a-boo skirt.

I dealt with the shredding hem by treating the fabric with Fray Check to keep it from tearing any further. Then I turned both sides under and hemmed them and ruched the skirt up into panniers. I made double-layered panels from vintage flocked handkerchiefs of the same period and allowed them to show. Under the skirt I attached a metallic gold tulle crinoline. Every bit of this alteration is hand sewn! I kept a purple and yellow theme throughout the ensemble for a classic summer feel.

Flowers and beads cover stains and holes.

Where the dress had damage from a hot iron, pinholes, and stains, I scattered flowers and beads. I wanted it to look as though a storm of blossoms blew across the dress. I hand applied all those. Then I added a gold tulle sash with long streamers arranged across the back of the skirt to hide stains there. When Cissy wears her picture hat the streamers on the hat fall down and line up with the dress sash to appear almost as continuous. A gold tulle attached stole wraps around Cissy's shoulders. Real Swarovski crystals wink from the folds of the tulle and taffeta.

Stains in back of the skirt are covered by tulle streamers.

The hat streamers line up with the dress sash.

To restore Cissy herself I had to give her a really good scrubbing. Then I styled her golden curls, gave her a partial eyelash replacement, and refreshed her cheek blush. I also painted over her poorly restored mouth and torso. I repaired the chip in her paint near her mouth. I painted her fingernails to cover the old nail polish and re-strung her with elastic cord. Cissy does still have her original eyebrows and painted lashes and even a touch of her original smoky eyeshadow. Cissy has some typical paint scraping in her joints. Her hips are a bit stiff but she can sit and stand alone and her knees bend. She poses quite well for a high heeled doll.

Cissy's wig after styling.

Cissy's knees bend.

There is paint scraping in the joints.

I painted over old nail polish.
To finish off Cissy's fabulous outfit I gave her a vintage pendant of purple resin with real dried flowers inside. I found it in a thrift shop months ago and have just been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it. This is surely the moment! I added a vintage Premier doll bracelet of yellow beads and a yellow silk doll handkerchief. The handkerchief has a small dark stain that is not visible when Cissy holds it in her hand.

I made Cissy a new pair of shoes with clear gold-flecked bases, gold elastic, and purple floral and bead trim. These are entirely handmade as well, other than the plastic bases of course.

I made matching shoes.

The stockings have some tiny holes.
For underclothes, Cissy wears vintage Alexander pink stockings with a couple tiny holes here and there and a really nice pair of seamstress made satin panties with lace trim. Cissy's enormous picture hat of golden sintamay matches her hair. It's trimmed with a profusion of tulle, flowers, Swarovski crystals, and even a purple butterfly, so elaborate Cissy looks like she's ready for tea with the queen! I sure wish I had Cissy's figure and haute couture wardrobe! You can purchase this Cissy and many other lovely dolls, including more Cissy dolls, in the Etsy and eBay branches of my store, Atelier Mandaline, so please check.

Cissy's picture hat has elaborate trimming.

I sure hope next week is better than this one. With the heat and my ear I've had trouble sleeping. I haven't felt well enough to work out so I'm sure I've gained weight. I did find a fabulous diet in Women's World magazine. You MUST drink 5-10 ounces of red wine each night. Finally, a diet I can stick to! It would sure be nice if I really lost weight on it. As much as I prefer to prevent illness with my Young Living oils, I have to say after one dose of antibiotic ear drops I was able to take a two hour nap, so my hope is for uninterrupted, healing sleep tonight. I truly hope your summer has started off better than mine! I'm taking a week off starting Saturday but I promise to get back to creating and blogging next week, and of course you can always follow my adventures on Instagram.

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