Monday, January 8, 2018

Finishing Flora


Flora McFlimsey

Recently I have had an explosion of dolls arriving on my doorstep in need of restoration. I'm not complaining; it saves me buying and restoring dolls and then trying to sell them. The most recent doll I finished is Flora McFlimsey. Flora McFlimsey is another character from the McGuffey Readers educational books. Flora uses the Princess Elizabeth face and was produced from 1939 to 1944. You can differentiate Flora from Princess Elizabeth and McGuffey Ana, who use the same face and body mold, by her strawberry blond human hair, rather than mohair, wig and the sprinkling of dark brown freckles across her nose. I have a Baby McGuffey from this series for sale right now in my shops if you're a collector.



Before restoration

The doll had all-over crazing.

She had shattered eyes.

She had a broken foot.
Flora arrived with all-over crazing, a broken foot, a chipped finger, shattered eyes, and a hole in her upper arm. I fixed all those, as you can see in the Before and After pictures.


Sculpting a new foot
I use hard plastic epoxy, like Kwik-Plastik or J-Weld, the kind that comes in tubes,  to repair chipped composition dolls. Then I paint them and conceal crazing with oil paints, as shown in this post. I repair shattered glass eyes with a technique I developed. I've had people ask for repair kits for these restorations, such as I make for stringing and eye replacement, but I haven't ever made up kits because it seems like the demand would be so low the paints would dry up before the kits were purchased. What do you think? Should I develop the kits? I appreciate the feedback!



The restored doll



The new foot



The doll can sit.
When Flora's body was repaired and dry I re-strung her. As you can see, this doll sits by doing the splits. If you string her too tight she won't be able to sit, so you want to keep her just slightly loose so she can both stand and sit. It takes a little practice to develop a technique for each doll. My client asked me to try to find clothes for Flora and amazingly I was able to find and purchase her original outfit in the correct size! The outfit needed a lot of restoration, which isn't surprising since it dates from the first year of issue, 1939.


The original chemise.



It has an attached panty.

The shoes and socks are vintage replacements.

The original dress



I added the button to hide a repair.
The dress is tagged.


The original pinafore with Tyrolean trim

The hat was trimmed by me to match.

Replacement hat
I repaired several seams in all the pieces as well as a few holes in the fabric. I covered repairs in the dress and chemise with a button and flower, respectively. I chose a smaller hat than Flora's original hat and pinned it to the back of her head because her original wig is a little sparse in the back and the hat hides that nicely. I use regular straight pins as hat pins for dolls.


Flora belongs to my client and will go home soon, and I have offered her outfit to the client with right of first refusal. If my client doesn't want the outfit then I will put it up for sale in one of my shops. It fits the 16 inch Princess Elizabeth toddler type dolls. You can link to my shops from ateliermandaline.com and also contact me to request an estimate to repair your doll.


Flora McFlimsey

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