Repairing Old Dolls: Baby Rosie is reborn

Recently my daughter has become quite tender and loving towards our collection of dolls. She is spending lots of time talking softly to them, and listening to them and making them comfortable. It has been an absolute pleasure to observe her play with the little people who have been in our playroom longer than my daughter has been alive. Baby Rosie is at least three times older than my daughter.

I am not sure how old Baby Rosie is – maybe 12 or so years old? I think maybe even older. She was made a long time ago as a preschool baby at Silkwood School, and I brought her home to give her some repairs. Then I had babies of my own and time escaped me … and Baby Rosie had become a part of our family and our children’s lives and she still wasn’t properly repaired.

The children have always loved her as she is. Her balding hair and her faded skin and her loose limbs were just a part of who she was, and children are remarkably acceptable of such shortcomings. I did re-attach her limbs several times but I never used the right kind of thread. Once I even used dental floss because I didn’t have any other thread strong enough! I did always mean to fix her bald spots too … but you know how it is. It just never happened.

Baby Rosie, however, had been whispering to her newest mother and was telling her how sad she felt about not having a mouth (you know dolls do not really need mouths to speak to the people who love them – communication is achieved through the heart), so when Baby Hans had his arms and mouth and hair repaired, it was clear that Baby Rosie needed immediate attention too.

 Here she is, all pretty again. I really did want to maintain Rosie’s original stitched fleece hair (particularly as I wanted to do a tutorial on how it is done!) but I couldn’t find the same colour fleece. I did have a similar colour yarn though, one of those fluffy yarns I found in a discount store. It didn’t cost any more than $2. It is synthetic fibre, however it is so soft and fluffy and I have found that it crochets into a beautiful hair cap for baby dolls, and looks as much like real baby hair as yarn is going to.

I think it still captures the essence of Baby Rosie, and she seems happy with it. Her original hair is still under the cap and maybe one day it can be restored.

My daughter picked out a rose-coloured thread for the mouth, and together we gave her some pink cheeks with a bit of crayon rubbed onto a bit of paper. Her arms and legs were firmly re-attached with linen thread (it was funny to find the dental floss in her limbs that I’d used previously!) Doesn’t she look happier?

Baby Rosie now goes everywhere with my daughter, and when I slung our (real) little baby up on my back to go to the park, Baby Rosie needed a sling too. We improvised by making a baby wrap with a really long scarf … but guess what Baby Rosie received for Christmas?



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