Thursday, July 7, 2016

Tutorial: How to Re-Attach Broken Muffie Walker Legs

Recently a customer bought two of my doll stringing kits (find them on Etsy and eBay) but sent me a message after she got them to say she wasn't coordinated enough to string her dolls. That should have been a red flag, because stringing dolls really is quite simple. However, I didn't dwell on it and agreed to string her dolls for her in my doll hospital. Well, when the dolls arrived I could see the problem; these are the Muffie and Betsy McCall walker or walker type dolls that don't have strung legs. So, re-attaching the legs requires a good deal of epoxy work. The Betsy McCall was straightforward enough; I show that repair several times in this blog's past posts, such as 

Muffie, however, is a different story. I've never repaired one of these and I couldn't find any tutorials by anyone else. There were entirely strung Muffie dolls and then there were walkers and the latest ones were jointed dolls. Unlike most walker dolls, the Muffie walkers have legs which were apparently attached directly to the walker mechanism instead of being strung through it. I couldn't figure out how to recreate whatever was originally there and I couldn't figure out how to attach the legs to the walker mechanism so they would still move, so I decided to see if I could re-create a strung Muffie, bypassing the walker altogether.

I added new leg hooks.
First I made two tiny wire leg hook loops by twisting wire. I poked the twisted end if the wire into the hole in the leg with some epoxy on the tip of the wire. Then I surrounded the wire with more epoxy. When you do this make sure the loops are slightly bent, so help keep them from pulling right out of the hole, and cover the interior of the loop with epoxy for extra support. Allow the epoxy to cure for several hours.

Thread the wire around the walker mechanism.

Initially I tried to run the elastic behind the walker mechanism like always, but in this case the tension was not tight enough and the legs kept slipping out into a very wide stance. I found if I looped the elastic around the waist part of the walker and then strung the legs I got a tighter tension and put less pressure on the fragile homemade leg loops.

Stringing the legs
Then I went back to stringing as usual, running the cord through one leg loop, through the groin, through the other leg loop, and then tied it off. This repair is very fragile; mine pulled out twice and had to be re-done, so it's imperative to try to keep tension centered in the body rather than the leg loops.

Her ankles cross.

The downside of this repair, besides the fragility, is the tendency of the legs to cross at the ankles. I suppose it makes Muffie very well-mannered and demure! She can sit alone with this repair but for standing display she will require a doll stand. I guess it's still better than being legless, however. If you've repaired this problem a different way please comment (you will have to follow the blog to leave a comment).

Muffie can sit.

As you can see, Muffie was in need of a bath after her stringing. She got one and will soon be on her way back home. In other news, as I mentioned months ago, my Penny Brite diner dress, listed in my Etsy shop, is being featured in the shopping pages of the UK magazine, The Doll's House August issue. I hope you'll pick up a copy and that you'll check it out in my shop. I'm sure this will catapult me to instant international celebrity! Seriously, though, I'm honored to be chosen and truly appreciate the exposure.

The Penny Brite diner dress

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