Sunday, September 13, 2015

Vintage Vinyl Glamour Dolls

I don't set out to find 20+ inch dolls from the 1950's. I prefer to work with dolls 8 to 12 inches. Still, I have ended up the owner of more than one tall lady doll.

My first Revlon was an 18-inch pity buy. She was in the window of a 2nd hand store for months. I recognized her. I could afford her. The fact that she was in original clothing and nearly pristine dolls in original clothing left me cold should have stopped me. We failed to bond.

An 18-inch doll with fried hair and chewed hands excited my imagination. After my mother had had her for 2 years and done nothing, I asked for her. Hot water helped me push the vinyl back into place on the gnawed fingers. I tested several wig-making methods involving deconstructing wigs for people and sewing them to a cap. The former sandy blonde has two dark brown wigs and looks mysterious and French. Her dress is vintage 1960's fabric sewn from a commercial pattern.

 A 22-inch doll  spoke to me. Her hair was matted and thin in places, but this could be fixed with a crochet hook and some curly doll hair. I bought her for experimental purposes, and she nagged until she had clothing of her own. My drafting skills are minimal, and I had 3 different poly/cotton dotted swiss fabrics.


A Canadian doll saved a vacation. We'd gone to Canada for July 4, forgetting that Canada celebrated Independence Day July 1. Nothing was open, and nothing was going on.There were, however, garage sales. This lovely Earl Pullan doll has luminous skin tones and great hair. She's just tall, and different enough in body from Revlons that I need to work on my drafting skills. In other words, she's still waiting for clothing of her own. When I found her, she was wearing a baby dress and bonnet of  dark blue that had begun to stain her body.

One day at Goodwill a familiar foot shape poked up from a bin of assorted stuff and stopped me where I stood. I reached for the doll I could not see. I pulled her out to discover that she was a pink-haired lovely, an 18-inch Revlon I had only read about. And that the metal glitter on her tutu was staining her body.

My latest large acquisition is a 24-inch with a stuffed vinyl body. I bought her because there were no dolls where I was staying, and because she was available. Remarkably, this grocery store lady has good hair, both her earrings, and uncloudy eyes. Most grocery store lady dolls wore long formal gowns, but this one was quite clear in her instructions to me: She wanted  a day dress in a cotton print. The muslin almost works.  

I don't set out to buy large dolls. I cringe when I think about it.  But large dolls seem to have acquired me.