Friday, September 25, 2015

New life for distressed dolls

I've always been drawn to the old Nancy Ann Storybook dolls; several years ago I bought a plastic one and used her for a template to create the Forget-Me-Knot crochet dolls.  Produced in bisque from 1936 to 1948, and in plastic from 1948 to the 1960's, they are small (4 1/2 inches to 7 inches) and have simple and endearing faces.

But, I like making dolls more than buying them!  So here is the neat part: my friend Joyce started re-making distressed Nancy Ann's.  Dolls that had been loved very nearly to death, and looked it.  These are not collectibles, and can be found fairly inexpensively on Etsy or Ebay.  Joyce hooked me (literally!) into the world of re-make for these sweet dolls.

So above you have a 7 inch Nancy Ann, who came to me with a broken hip and competely unstrung.  I mended her hip with glue and fabric, and restrung her with stretchy beading cord, as below:

The idea to use glue-soaked fabric to strengthen the break at the hip came from another Flickr friend.  It appears to work quite well.

I removed what little hair she had left and crocheted her a wig cap from boucle mohair yarn, available here:

Weir Craft Boucle Yarn

And crocheted her undies with size 20 crochet cotton, size 8 perle cotton, and a size 9 steel hook.  The pattern is a slight modification to the undies pattern for the Forget-Me-Knot kids.

I now have nearly a dozen urchins waiting patiently for a new life, and a new opportunity to bring joy to someone special.

The two on the left are bisque, the three on the right are hard plastic, and all are charming.

Before leaving, let me introduce you to Charlotte, a very special Southern Belle made especially for me by Joyce :-)  I couldn't ask for a better friend, or a sweeter gift.  Joyce's crochet skills, and her imagination, are amazing!

Charlotte, by Joyce Yearsly

22 comments:

  1. Just beautiful! :) You have a wonderful doll hospital.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lois; it has been a lot of fun restoring these sweet dolls :-)

      Warmly,

      Beth

      Delete
  2. So glad to see I'm not the only one! I have a sweet 11" depression era doll. She is just like the composition Dream World national dress dolls but was won for a little girl by her father. She came wearing crepe paper dress and pants and was saved and loved by the child who had few other toys.

    I was asked to take her in when the 'little girl' was going into a care ome and am enjoying spoiling her with outfits and accessories.Many of my dolls are of much greater value, but none tug at my heart as much as this little cheapy - so well worth saving!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such a sweet story! The Depression was a time when toys were very precious to their owners. My Mother grew up in the Depression; she was never able to have a Nancy Ann doll, but I often wonder if she didn't yearn for one for her very own.

      Warmly,

      Beth

      Delete
  3. wow...you are so talented.....I still remember the first doll i ever made which was from one of your fairy patterns,and how happy i felt to crochet her :) you are one of my favorite amigurumi artists.....love your blog and i always recommend new doll crocheters to your site,there is so much here to learn...thanks for giving all the patterns for free...you are as wonderful as your dolls :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words, Monali :-) I am delighted you have enjoyed making my patterns.

      warmly,

      Beth

      Delete
  4. Has realizado unas estupendas restauraciones.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh this is such a delightful read. Thank you for being, well you. It makes me happy that we are sharing this doll journey together one little doll at a time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A large part of the fun of this is sharing ideas and tips with you, my friend :-) Thank you for 'hooking' me into this delightful dollplay!

      In friendship,

      Beth

      Delete
  6. Great idea to give them their beauty back.

    Have a nice day, Margaret

    ReplyDelete
  7. Beth you are so wonderful. I just can't seem to get enough of your site. What a wonderful thing to give to those less fortunate, you are truly a blessing. I am crocheting Bluette and I am so impressed at the beauty of this doll. I will share on your site in Ravelry when I am finished. Thank you so much for your generosity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am delighted that you enjoy the site, and are enjoying making little Crochet Bleuette :-) Thank you so much for your kind words.

      Warmly,

      Beth

      Delete
  8. I appreciate your work;your dolls are so beautiful
    I make dolls but I don't know how to make hairs;Have you a pattern that I can buy please ?
    Thank you for your answer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janick, if you scroll down the left sidebar of this blog to 'Tutorials' you will find a tutorial for making wigs called "Wigmaking Tutorial for All Dolls." Which is simply to crochet a cap, then hook strands of yarn into it. For very small dolls. lace or fingering weight yarns are best. Yarns of Mohair and Wool give the most realistic wigs.

      Hope this is helpful,

      Beth

      Delete
  9. Beth,
    I loved your story about giving these little dolls new life! It's a lot of fun to make new things for old dolls, isn't it? I also have started a small collection of the Nancy Ann dolls. It seems like there are a million different ones, and they are all so sweet. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Momma Cat! I am happy there are so many, and so many that need some love and attention :-)

      Warmly,

      Beth

      Delete
  10. Love that you are rescuing these dear sweet little dolls Beth, and also wonderful to see my 'Ipernity/Flickr ' friend also loves them just like I do! I will be watching all your pictures and posts with interest. As you know from my comments on your Flickr page, just love the gift from Joyce, that is so very special indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your sweet words, Serenata :-) They are such endearing dolls, so perfect to restore to their lovely selves.

      Warmly,

      Beth

      Delete