Primrose; a little restoration story

Written on April 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Article with tags: ,

Primrose is a centre-part brunette Kenner Blythe doll. She came to me with seven lines on her back, super frizzy hair, a replaced string (and pull ring). At one point, her cracked pelvis had been reglued, but she came without any legs. She is also one of the ‘Vancouver Seven’ or ‘Group of Seven’ Blythes that you might have heard about when a Vancouver Blythe collector happened upon a secondhand toy shop that had seven Kenners in stock. Poor Primrose, along with two blonde sisters, were shoved aside because they weren’t presentable enough for the display case.

My two 'new' acquisitions

There was some speculation (on my part, mostly) about what kind of hair she really has. After all, centre-parts are very rare. But close examination of the rooting pattern (and the length of the hairs in front) help secure her place in the world as a centre-part.

Really a centre-part

At one time, someone well-meaning had somehow managed to replace her string. They also gave her a layered hair cut and glued her pelvis. Of course, some little girl out there must have loved her legs right off because despite the secure glue job, she came without her original legs. I like to imagine that at one point in the last forty years, a little girl presented the doll with the pulled-out string in tears and some handy fix-it dad managed to replace the string. Her head, despite little parts of the scalp looking like it’s coming up, appears to not have been opened before.

As always, my disclaimer: I am not a “professional” when it comes to restoring dolls, so if you’re not comfortable with fixing your own Kenner, you should really seek out someone who knows what they’re doing. So I am not responsible if you try this out on your own doll and cause any damage.

I was more than a little nervous when I was pulling out the glued-but-cracked pelvis piece from her 1972 torso. After all, I hadn’t opened her head and did not want to break her neck. I leveraged it out through the leg holes though. Oh, I also hacked apart a stock Takara body. I cut across at where the body’s breasts are and leveraged apart the halves of the torso until I was left with the pelvis and legs.

Are you *sure* you know what you're doing?

The problem with Takara bottoms is that the little ‘plug’ that keeps it from falling out of the torso is too big, so it needs to be made smaller. After reading some tips on This is Blythe and Blythe Kingdom, most people seem to file it down or shave it down. I opted for filing. I was nervous enough about ruining it forever and making it too small. After getting it down to almost the same size as the hole in the torso (but just a wee bit larger), I had to start trying to get the legs in.

Tip! Hot water works wonders! If your hands are getting too hot holding the pieces into water,  you can use tongs or oven mitts to make it easier on you. If you’re trying to pop the pelvis in and it’s not going, put it back into the water (or reheat the water) and try again. Don’t try to force it when the pieces have cooled down.

Learning from what I did when I had worked on Emmalynn, I had a cup of hot (steaming, but not boiling) water. I dipped the plug of the pelvis into the water and also dipped the torso into the water as well. And then I held them there until I got bored of holding them (so probably about 2-3 minutes).  I had the pelvis sitting up and then I pressed down on the doll’s shoulders while holding the pelvis straight until it popped in. Do not press down on the doll’s head, you might break the neck.

I still haven’t switched out Primrose’s string for a while string, or swapped out that weird white plastic ring for a Blythe pull ring. But for now, her restorations are “complete” (mostly giving her legs). Besides washing her hair and giving her a bit of a bath, I did nothing to her hair (not even combing through it!). Her frizzy hair makes for a lot of fun.

Primrose - now and then

Too cool for school.


5 Responses to “Primrose; a little restoration story”

  1. Thank you so much for helping me when I sent you message on flickr. I am so doing this for my blondie.

    Hugs to you! I love your blog!

  2. Melissa says:

    It’s really irresponsible of you to post “restoration” advice when you’re NOT a professional. Maybe when you’re actually doing it for a living, then people would be willing to take your advice. It’s wrong of you to post things like this when people could seriously damage their vintage dolls. You should take this post down and all of your other Kenner “restoration advice” posts down too.

  3. Pief AKA @pedrofanti

    I think you should post whatever you want, since it’s suposed to be fun and not taking yourself too seriously with it is a must. It’s interesting to read about it.

  4. Melissa says:

    Pief, I disagree. Would it be “fun” if you followed her advice and caused damage to your vintage Blythe? No, it wouldn’t be. It’s *wrong* of her to post things like this because then people will begin to think that they too can become “restorers” when they should be going to someone who knows what they’re doing, like a *professional*. I get that she’s being “nice” by sharing what she did, but it doesn’t lower the risk of people causing damage to their dolls *because of her*.

  5. Pief AKA @pedrofanti

    She never said to follow her advice, she made it clear that she isn’t a professional, she’s just sharing her experience.

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