Sunday, August 18, 2013

Doll History and Company Fail

You would think a big name 150 year old company that had a sewing pattern cover with a doll on it would know what the doll was, wouldn't you?  "Oh just get a doll and put the clothes on it, we have to go to print!" must have been what someone said.  Not a bit of concern for what they were dealing with, no credit to the original company or anything.  I guess it saved them from dealing with the modern publicity hungry company.

This is the first photo that shows up on the catalog page for Butterick B5864, a pattern I was sort of looking at as a potential source of measurement information for my files, because someone had asked me about the little girl type dolls I don't have much affection for. Actually, I think they are CREEEPPPYYYY, but I blame Chucky for that.

Current Butterick Pattern link might go away after it's out of print.


She's incredibly retro 50s, and I kept looking at the doll and thinking, wow, she really is neat.  She must be a museum loan or something.  Beautifully kept and just perfect, but not in a box like some doll collectors would insist on. It also looks like she's got a fresh coat of preservative polish or wax on her, and her mohair hair doesn't seem anywhere near as much of a sticky mess as the old dolls are.  I wondered, was she new?  She's got her little sunday dress and also shows up in a few other retro pattern reprint outfits, like B5865.  

Link to this pattern's page might also disappear if it goes out of print. 
Something about this doll is what this type of doll should look like, to my mind.  Is she composition?  Molded plastic?  I wanted to know.  After looking all over the internet trying to ID her, and my email to the McCall company which owns Butterick and Vogue patterns as well getting me a barely polite "I-uhn-no", and basically not only did they not know, didn't care and it was most likely, frankly none of my  business.... I finally found out by accident today.  I love the internet.  I hope the government doesn't break it.

This Old Doll has her right on the page for the American Character doll Gallery.  

"She's an 18" Sweet Sue Sophisticate. Hard plastic with vinyl forearms and hands and vinyl-covered (gauntlet) upper arms. She is a walker, jointed at the neck, shoulders, elbows, knees, and hips. Her feet are flat; not arched for high heels. Her Saran wig is rooted into a vinyl scalp that was fitted into her hard plastic head. She was made about 1956. Value? Well, Sweet Sue was an exceptionally high quality doll but they were very popular and quite expensive (remember a middle class family of four only spent about $20 a week on groceries in the 50s) so $20 for a doll was very expensive. Little girls treasured them and a lot of them have survived in really good condition so they're not particularly rare."

If a you-know-what company doll is around $150 this is the 1950's equivalent. Curiosity satisfied.  Pretty good looking for a 57 year old, isn't she?  I can only hope my dollies look as fresh in half a century.  I wouldn't mind having one of these to sit on a shelf behind glass where she'd be safe, with a few frilly dresses from the era's look to put on her every few months as a seasonal change.  She's not bland or creepy.  Maybe it's the expression on her face, sort of positive, curious and looking forward.  Not that creepy bland stare of the modern vinyl thing. 

When ever someone asks me what I'm sewing for in line at the fabric store and I tell them, Big Dolls (because no one knows what a BJD is, they think terrible things when you tell them a Ball Joint Doll, my god the weird looks one gets!) and hold out the hands about 18 inches apart, and they say "Oh, (fill in the blank) dolls, they're so sweet, but expensive!"  I usually just smile and let it drop, but if they press me for more, and the line is long, I whip out my tablet and show them my latest holy grail doll.

Soom Idealian Zinc
It's always good for a laugh.  Alas, if I could get every doll I wanted....Sweeeet, and expensive....Also very damned HOT.  One of these days, Idealian.   

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