A scrapbook of whatever I'm making, collecting, or just obsessing about
at the moment.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ideal doll: 12" Betsy Wetsy

Here's the only other doll to survive my childhood, a sweet little Betsy Wetsy doll made by Ideal.  A few months ago I was lucky enough to find the molded hair version of Betsy Wetsy in the same size and in lovely condition--such beautiful coloring and no marks or scratches. I think of him as her twin brother. The little nightgown he's wearing is one of two matching ones I found at an antique store; the pattern on it is little tiny baby faces.

About twenty years ago I made Betsy a pretty yellow dotted swiss dress and bonnet to wear; finally this year she acquired some new hand knitted clothes. The booties and soakers I made from the Sasha Doll Clothing and Patterns book, but the sweater is special because it's the first one I've ever made with no pattern--just started it out top-down and kept trying it on her for fit.

She's been with me longer than anything else I own. It must have been Christmas of 1961 or '62 when I got her; we were at my grandfather's farm, and someone--probably my sister Mary--was taking pictures of our new toys. She posed me in our favorite "spinning and rocking" chair with my brunette doll, Jean's matching blonde one, and Mary's own 10 1/2 inch Little Miss Revlon. The babies are wearing red polka dot kimonos that my mother made; she made little diapers for them too. These must have been packed in the little round cases, though I don't remember that part very clearly. I do remember being posed for the picture.

One of the first things I did to that sweet little doll when I got her home was to scribble up and down her spine with a blue pen, in the sure belief that it would wash off with soap. I colored in her ears too. I was so sad when I found out it wouldn't wash off that I hid her in a drawer for a while--but not long. I still loved her. Happily, time and high-quality vinyl are forgiving and now the marks have all but disappeared. And she still even has that lovely "new doll" smell I love so much.

Wish List: another blonde haired 12" Tiny Tears like the one Jean had. I did have one, but I wanted to give her to Jean so that her granddaughters could play with her. These dolls aren't rare at all, so we both can easily own one. Also, I'd like a nice 16" baby doll, as I don't have one in that size but do have several nice contemporary patterns for it.

To Do List:  Use some of my vintage doll clothes patterns to make these two dolls some matching "brother-sister" outfits. Also make more outfits for Jean's dolls.

Lastly, here is a fascinating look at how Betsy Wetsy was developed and manufactured--from extruding the heads, through make-up and hair-rooting--and yes, peeing--right into clothing and packaging. So neat to see!

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