Fashion Doll Restore5 - Cissy
By: Roselyn Gadia-Smitley
Photo1: "Cissy" (circa 1958) by Madame Alexander Doll Company. Cissy is redressed. Photo by: Roselyn Gadia-Smitley.
The year was 1981, in Pasadena, California, U.S.A. Downtown Pasadena is looking run-down. It's charming main street, once populated by shoppers and stores with glass front windows are now replaced by discount stores and thrift shops. The glass windows are boarded up with wood paneling. Tucked in one street is a vintage doll store with porcelain dolls. This store carried French dolls and German dolls, way out of my price range.
In a small open closet corner were knick-knacks of glassware. In a corner sat a naked "Cissy" doll by Madame Alexander. Her hair was cut, but her face was unmarked. As the saleswoman approached my husband and I, she saw that I was looking at the doll. She apologized for not having any clothing for her. She explained that she was selling the doll for a friend. Modern vinyl dolls were not her regular merchandise. She priced the doll at $23.00. I promptly paid her. As the hourly wage at this time was $1.45 an hour, my husband was rather surprised that I purchased the doll so quickly. I knew who she was and I was very excited to have her.
"Cissy" was manufactured by Madame Alexander Doll Company in the mid-1950s to the early 1960s. (Manufacturing Cissy with a modern look was resumed around 2000.) In the 1950s, Cissy was dressed elaborately to reflect the fashions. My "Cissy" stands at 20 inches. She is marked at the back of her head with the word "Alexander". She has high heeled feet. Her hard plastic head, body, and legs are jointed at the neck, arms, elbows, and legs. Her arms are of softer plastic material (possibly vinyl). She is wigged with dark blonde hair. I have not decided on the final outfit that I would dress her, so I began with a floral fabric from a recycled dress in combination with white cotton fabric. At this stage, I am testing the pattern fit of the dress. To complete her presentation, I pulled her hair back and stitched with transparent nylon thread in chain stitching. The chain stitching can be removed at any time, without damage to the original hair. I added gathered netting to simulate a ballerina bun and added blue satin rosettes with multi-colored pearl beads at the center.
Today in 2012, downtown Pasadena, California has been renovated to its former glory and discount stores are replaced by upscale boutiques and restaurants. "Cissy" can be purchased for no less than $200.00 in good condition with cut hair. I have the internet seller, Ebay, to survey and no longer have to hunt down places for good bargains. Times have changed and I can afford collectible dolls without cut hair, but my "Cissy" doll remained my treasured doll.
Happy Doll Collecting!
RETURN TO HOMEPAGE
For additional information, click at these links:
HISTORY OF THE DOLL
THRIFT STORE DOLLS - HOLIDAY DISPLAY