Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer, Spring, Or Fall, On My Mind Through All




Tonight I have a little Nancy Ann Storybook mystery for you. I recently sold out of Nancy Ann in all my shops, so I've been buying and buying to restock. I have a lovely quartet of finished dolls and more are on the way. If you love Nancy Ann make sure to keep watching the Atelier Mandaline shops on eBay, Etsy, and Facebook.

Now back to my little identification problem: of my four dolls, three were easily named because they were identical to the corresponding photos in my Pardee Nancy Ann Encyclopedias. The fourth doll, however, is not so cut and dried. I thought at first she was "Summer", since my Volume II, hard plastic encyclopedia shows a brunette doll in a dress with a skirt made of identical organdy to my dress. My doll is bisque, however, and the dress is rather different, so I decided to look further.


Summer in hard plastic

Then I saw the bisque "Thursday's Child" doll wears a nearly identical dress, except with a floral ornament on the skirt rather than rows of cord. She also wears a bonnet, which my doll doesn't have. One thing in "Thursday's" favor is that the transitional 1948 "Friday's Child" was included in the same lot. My doll had a red ribbon sort of tangled around her when she arrived which looked original to her, however, and I didn't see any place a flower might have been sewn to her dress, so I kept looking.


After a while I came across "Autumn," #92 in the bisque Seasons series. Though her hair is blond rather than the dark auburn of my doll, her dress is closest to the my doll's. The green rickrack instead of red cord, and a green satin ribbon tied around her hair rather than a red one are the only differences in the costume. I notice very few versions of "Autumn" were blond dolls; most have the deep mahogany wigs like my doll, so it seems plausible they changed the hair color in later releases. I have decided to go ahead and call my doll Autumn and go with it.



Nancy Ann first dressed and then manufactured and dressed bisque dolls until the late 1940s. For a couple years she used frozen leg bisque bodies with hard plastic arms. Then in 1948 for one year only she made all hard plastic jointed dolls with painted eyes. Unless you pick up those transitional dolls and hold them you can't tell they aren't bisque (unless the neck joint shows in the costume). After 1949 the Storybook dolls were all hard plastic with sleep eyes. My Autumn doll is one of the bisque body dolls with hard plastic arms, so one of the later bisque versions. Two of the dolls that came with her are the rare 1948 painted eye plastic dolls, and the last is a sleep eyes plastic doll, so it's pretty safe to date the entire lot to production from around 1947 to 1950 or so. My theory is the summery, sheer organdy dress seemed somewhat inappropriate for a fall garment, so the later "Summer" plastic dolls used that print instead.


The Nancy Ann mark on the bisque bodies

The dolls in the lot are all in great condition and the clothing on most looks nearly pristine. The fragile organdy on this dress was disintegrating, however. I treated the holes and thin spots with Fray Check. After it dried I sewed patches of darning stitch over the holes to repair them. The repairs aren't beautiful, so I covered them with vintage satin ribbon and paper flowers. I was lucky enough to find a fellow Etsy shop owner with the perfect green and turquoise florals in stock. These little flowers are getting super expensive nowadays. Maybe I should start producing flowers along with dolls! To finish her ensemble I tied a matching bouquet into Autumn's hair ribbon. Although the dress retained its original safety pin closure, it's just too fragile to use, so I added a large hook and eye to the back of the dress to make it easier to fasten.


The organdy was disintegrating.

I repaired the holes.

Autumn turned out beautifully. She's a sweet little girl and displays very well. Her costume is too fragile for play or much handling, so she's really ideal as a display doll. I tried to add some of Nancy Ann's asymmetrical flair to the design of my repairs and used period notions so the new elements should not appear as new and the doll should look original to most observers.


I added vintage flowers and ribbons.
The attached linen petticoat

I added a safety pin closure.

The finished doll
I sure wouldn't mind it being autumn right now. We haven't had a drop of rain for at least three weeks and temperatures have been at or near 100 for the past two weeks. My rain barrel in the backyard is bone dry and the one in front is nearly empty. I've spent an hour or two each day for weeks hauling buckets of water all over the yard trying to keep my hydrangeas and vegetables alive. So far we've lost almost all the hostas, one of the apple trees, the dogwood tree, and the fuchsias and sage are on their last legs. Nearly every night there are storms and rain all around us and then the storm splits when it hits Little Mountain and the lake and passes on either side of us. I visited my parents last week and their yard is just sickening because they've had so much rain. They have hundreds of enormous hydrangeas all over the yard that are just incredible. I brought home a bunch of cuttings and had them out on the patio table but even under the umbrella they were basically cooking so now they're cluttering up my mantle shelf and counters and everything else. I sure hope they root soon! And that we see some rain!

Below I'm showing the other Nancy Ann options I have in stock, so please make sure to visit my shops.

Friday's Child Is Loving and Giving

The Pinch Face Bride of 1948

Oh, Suzannah! from the All Time Hit Parade series

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