Friday, September 18, 2015

Baby Dreams

Ideal Baby Dreams Velvet Skin

I've written before about my first baby doll, the Ideal Baby Dreams Velvet Skin doll, and how I left her lying on the floor of the foyer one day, looking in my memory just as she looks in the photo above, and returned to find her gone. Her flocking was turning brown and flaking off and my mother threw her away when I wasn't looking. For years and years I had a dream I was trying to find her again, so in real life I started looking. It took years to find one of these dolls, though, because for one thing, I didn't remember the name of the doll and neither did my mother. When I found her identity through research I realized she's an incredibly rare doll. I wanted to buy one for my daughter and that took years, because I couldn't ever get one for an affordable price. I finally managed to snag one but her bunting was missing. So it was surprising when I recently found one mint in the box and for a reasonable price. I snapped it right up and decided to sell the one I have.

My new mint in the box doll

When my new mint doll arrived I decided I could make a pattern from her original bunting so I could make a replica for my first doll. I went out and bought some pink flannel, the closest I could find to the original. It's a good thing I did, because my new doll had barely arrived when I got a message from another buyer asking if I would sell her! I traced the mint bunting and made a pattern to sew a new bunting.

The original bunting on the left, my copy on the right.

Of course, my replica isn't exactly like the original. I don't have exactly the same fabrics and trim and no instructions as to exactly how to sew it. The resulting garment does still have the same look, with the little peaked hood I remember so clearly, and the cuddly fabric.

The peaked hood.
I was a bit disappointed to see my new doll isn't fully flocked. There's no flocking on her legs, like the other doll has. My original doll's hair seems thicker, too. I've seen these dolls with no flocking on the legs before and wondered if it was scrubbed off. In fact, I thought that is what happened; that the flocking had wear so the mother or father scrubbed it off the legs. That's the only remedy when the flocking starts to peel. Now I see Ideal must have cut corners a bit on the later dolls, skimping on the flocking and hair where it doesn't show, under the hood and bunting. I was happy to see, however, the mint doll's body is as dark as my original doll. When I got that doll I thought the body had gotten dirty, but now I see they are both the same color. In fact, the mint doll has some dark places on her arms my original doll doesn't have.

The doll on the left is fully flocked.

The doll on the right has no flocking on her legs.

You can see why it was attractive to leave the flocking off the legs; my fully-flocked doll clearly had almost no play and yet she has some rubbed off flocking on the toes and the tip of one finger.

Some rubbed flocking on the toes

A rubbed finger

My original doll has a couple small stains on her face. I have been able to clean these mostly off, but not all the way. I don't want to do anything to cause the flocking to peel, so I was very cautious. I used lemon oil diluted in water and sunlight to lighten the spots.

Faint spots on the face

The doll's tag has some fraying but it's still legible. Her neck is marked "Ideal," although it's hard to see with the flocking covering it.

The tag has some fraying.
The Ideal mark
Besides the new bunting, I gave Baby Dreams a bottle to hold and tagged her with my own signed tag. She has her box and original cleaning brochure, and I included a color copy of the ad for Baby Dreams Velvet Skin from the 1975 Ideal catalogue.

I tagged her with my tag.

I gave the doll a bottle.
A copy of the ad and the original care brochure.

The box has some wear to the edges and discoloration. This is minor, given the age of the doll, and there are no holes or anything so the box makes good storage for the doll.

The box has some wear.

I read somewhere years ago that Ideal made the Dream Baby dolls for many years, but I can't find any evidence of that. Armand Marseilles made porcelain Dream Baby dolls for a long time. I've seen one that looked like it could be Ideal, of early hard plastic I think, but it was just marked "Dream Baby", so it's impossible to tell who made it unless I find out more. When I look at photos of myself around the same time as this doll was made I can see why my mom bought her for me. We were practically twins! This doll might already be spoken for, but if not I will list her and I have many dolls already for sale in my eBay and Etsy branches of my Atelier Mandaline store.

The doll set

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