Thursday, 4 June 2009

Discovering Gotz Dolls

In 2008, after seeing the Sarah ballerina Gotz play doll owned by my cousin's daughter, I went searching on the web for a Gotz doll for my younger daughter, and discovered the Bambolina website http://www.bambolina.co.uk/. I ended up buying the Gotz Zauberwelt Ice Skating doll, in her lovely winter costume and fur lined boots rather than one of the Sarah dolls. Something about her naturalistic face appealed to me and I knew that ice skates would be popular with my little one. She was intended as a Christmas present - but I bought her in July so kept her hidden for 5 months!

I showed the doll in secret to her big sister, and the green eyed monster emerged. I could tell that she really liked the doll too and really wanted a doll with skates but didn't want to admit it. After all which modern day girl of 12 wants to admit to being interested in dolls when her peers might consider it childish. So I showed her photos of some of the Sarah dolls to try and gauge which one would suit her, and she was torn! I did not let on that I might get one for her. Eventually I bought the Sarah and her Dog 2008 (cream outfit with black boots) as this is quite a sophisticated outfit and the hair colour matched my elder daughter's hair.

In the meantime, I was really taken with the Gotz Anna doll, with her painted eyes. Her face is very similar to the Zauberwelt girls, but seems slightly narrower, and her skin tone is more yellow. Her outfit really appealed to me, so hints were dropped, and in the event Christmas came for all three of us! Even the grown up 'girl' got a doll (I said he was tolerant).

The Sarah doll was named Harriet, for the little red headed girl in White Boots by Noel Streatfeild. The dark haired Ice Skating doll was named Samantha - because she liked the name!

Anna, Harriet and Samantha with Mia and Sarah (cousin's daughter's dolls) on Christmas Day
Harriet is wearing the fleece I made to match my elder daughter's fleece, and has borrowed the skates from Samantha. Samantha is wearing a blue jumper set I made which is now dubbed her 'school' outfit. Mia was a Christmas doll too (special edition Sarah) and the fairy outfit that Sarah is wearing was our present to her.

Before Christmas, I got sewing in order to provide the dolls with clothes to wear apart from what they came in, and the additional outfits I had bought. However it was only after Christmas Day that the following outfits were made for the three dolls:

Anna, Harriet and Samantha in their Christmas party dresses (pattern from the Joan Hinds book 'Sew the Contemporary Wardrobe for 18-inch dolls' which is available from Amazon).

And this was just the start of it all!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Susie restored

Me with Susie when I was small.



Susie was my first play doll. I got her for my first birthday. My grandmother had knitted some clothes for her, most of which I've still got (the shoes and socks went missing very quickly). Unfortunately when I was about eight I gave her a very bad haircut, and her hair was brushed a lot too before that, so it went very wiry and frizzy. I knew as soon as I cut the hair that it was the wrong thing to do, and I vowed then that somehow one day I would get her hair rerooted, a big thing for an 8 year old to resolve.

Last year I finally honoured that promise to Susie and sent her off to have her hair expensively rerooted by a person who specialises in restoring Sasha dolls http://www.sashahospital.org.uk/medical.htm. Some restorers had told me to buy her a wig, which admittedly would have been MUCH cheaper, but this was not what I wanted to do, Susie deserved to be restored, I was having a difficult year and really needed to repair something from my childhood when other illusions about that time had been shattered. So it was definitely an emotional, cathartic thing to do, and I could finally afford to fulfil that wish.

Susie is a vinyl doll, probably made by Roddy, although there are no marks on her body to confirm this. She has a much nicer face than many Roddy dolls, but her lips had faded, her skin looked pale beneath the sticky grubbiness (even though I had washed her) and the restorer gave her a reconditioning wash before removing her old hair for the rerooting job, which took a couple of weeks. She smelled lovely after that.

The restorer sent me the first of two work in progress photographs which bowled me over, as it was obvious that Susie was well on the road to recovery (this was taken before her new fringe was cut).

However it was clear that she deserved more than the new hair, so her lips were repainted and her cheeks given new rouge to make her less pale. I had sent her fully clothed in her original hand-knitted outfit (somehow sending her naked in the post didn't appeal) and the restorer asked her mother to make new socks and shoes (she happens to fit Sasha shoes, though is about 17 1/2 inches tall, which is slightly bigger than the Sasha dolls).

When she arrived home again, my younger daughter's reaction was instantaneous - Susie received a big hug.



I want to make her some additional clothes, but have been rather side tracked by sewing for my daughters' Gotz Sarah and Zauberwelt dolls, however that is another story.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Hello Doll lovers

I've loved dolls ever since early childhood, and have kept most of the dolls from that time, even getting one of them restored recently though she is not worth anything in monetary terms on the collectors market. My elder daughter prefers teddies/cuddly toys though has always liked dollshouses (like me) and has recently happily embraced the Gotz play dolls that she has acquired, even though she is nearly a teenager. My younger daughter enjoys pretend play with her dolls, including her new Gotz play dolls and Groovy girls that actually belong to her elder sister.

I learned to sew and knit as a child, made dolls houses as a teenager and have recently started making dolls clothes again after a long period of studying. This blog is likely to mostly contain photos rather than lots of text, as they are a great way of documenting and sharing a collection with others. Watch this space for details.