Thursday, October 15, 2015

Betsy Ballerina

Betsy McCall goes trick-or-treating.

The Uneeda Betsy McCall doll I repaired in my vinyl doll tutorial is finally ready to go. As I mentioned in that post, this is a seriously rare doll. I am so happy she turned out really well. It would have been an awful shame if such a hard to find doll was not salvageable. Betsy's just so darn cute, too! I've wanted one of these for a while now, ever since I saw the 1962 McCall's magazine Betsy paper doll series. During that year instead of paintings or drawings, the paper doll sheets were illustrated with photographs using this doll. Actually, I believe they used the 29 inch version, but at any rate, the doll that has this face and jointing. I love those photos! Betsy is photographed out in the world doing all sorts of things a real girl would do. I was inspired to make some photo illustrations of my own. I had Betsy go trick-or treating, with some help from my kids, who pretended to be fellow trick-or-treaters. Then I photographed Betsy teaching a tiny Betsy doll to dance and holding the same doll. I think these turned out so cute, I will have some note cards printed up to sell in my Etsy store. A lot of doll sellers do that in order to have a steady supply of inventory that doesn't require restoration, and probably also because it's just fun!

The doll has 10 articulation points.

She can pose well.

Her vinyl has some spots.

Part of the reason this particular doll is so fun to photograph is the fact that she's so poseable. Leave it to Uneeda, creators of the famous Dollikin dolls, to re-imagine Betsy articulated. Betsy has ten points of articulation, so you can move her head, wrists, ankles, waist, hips, and upper thighs. The swiveling thighs are really unique; I don't think I've ever seen another doll, even Dollikin, with that feature. I've asked Betsy to perform several of her dance moves so you can see how well she moves. I took her photos under my studio lights and in natural light. The studio lights highlight every flaw, but you don't notice imperfections nearly as much in natural light. I've had several people leave me feedback that my dolls are nicer or prettier than shown, so I decided to use two different kinds of light. This way, you can see any flaws really well but you can also view the doll as she will really look to you in your home.

Betsy can dance.

The restored face under studio lights.

Betsy's trick or treat pumpkin is included.
I know this Betsy was sold in a ballet costume, as well as a plaid dress, and I think she also came in a day dress with a pinafore. I'm pretty sure her pink leotard, tights, and shoes are original to her. They are factory made and fit perfectly. Her tutu was missing, though, and her tights are cut off and finished along the tops of the thighs, turning them into stockings. I made her a new tutu and replaced the silver elastic cords in her shoes. I thought she might like a tiara (what girl wouldn't?) so I made her one from glass beads, Swarovski crystals, and jewelry wire. There are a couple tiny holes in her tights and leotard, so I treated these with Fray Check to keep them from getting bigger.

Holes in her outfit have been treated.

I made Betsy a tiara.

Betsy in natural light

The restored face in natural light

Betsy comes with her pumpkin, so she would make a terrific Halloween centerpiece or decoration. For the rest of the year, just remove the pumpkin. Betsy is sturdy enough to stand up to play, although you should remember vintage toys might not meet some of today's requirements for toys. She's also a very expensive doll, due to her rarity, so you might not want to risk letting her be a play doll. She could withstand it, however, especially for ages 8 and up. I've given Betsy a new hair net and tagged her with my own signed tag. Right now I have Betsy priced at less than half her value on Etsy, although that price will rise later. I have several of my listings much lower than usual, which I'm calling my Introductory Pricing in an attempt to drive more business to that new store, and I am also offering a 20% off coupon to the first 20 customers who leave a positive review for my Etsy store. I hope you'll stop in and check it out!

Betsy has a hair net and tag.

I have a tiny Betsy McCall doll in the works,and when I saw her in my studio next to this doll I realized she's the perfect size to be a doll for this doll. So I did a series of photos with both Betsys dressed as ballerinas. They are so adorable! The Tiny Betsy will eventually become an ice skater, but for this series she's a sweet little ballerina. I plan to have some of these made into note cards suitable for framing, so please be watching for those. Please also make sure to check out Atelier Mandaline on eBay for even more dolls!

Betsy teaches Betsy to dance.

My Betsy doll with her Betsy doll.

Halloween Betsy

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