On the following pages you will find the answer to almost every question you will need to ask about caring for and repairing your Tressy dolls, and their wardrobe. When you get your new doll home have a good look over her first and find out all her little faults, I will take you through in steps the methods we use to clean and repair a doll.
Please click on the following titles to go to the info but please note that there are many more pictures to come over the following weeks
Removing Tressy's Growing hair
Take out the belly button by firstly removing the ring from around the keyhole and pulling it out from the front. Release the cord that is caught in between the prongs, this cord can be replaced with new if needed. Sometimes by doing this you can make the dolls hair longer if it has been made with a short cord on its hair. Hold the strand tightly at the top and brush it to remove knots then part it at each side of the cord.
Lay it flat and put a long new cord round the hair and tie it off. Now you can take the old cord away. Fold the strand back together and bind it around the top of the strand with a strong thread like you would if you were making a tassel.
Don't cut the cord shorter yet, leave it till later. Next, wash her hair in a two in one shampoo and then condition and allow to dry or set in curlers( more about that later.) Wash her grow strand in the same way and allow it to drip dry. When dolly is dry, thread the cord back inside the doll and catch it through the tummy button hole with a crochet hook and pull it out slightly. Position the grow hair just inside the head hole and mark the cord inside the belly button where the knot will go, knot it and cut it off just below the knot. Thread the cord back through the two slots catching it in the little round cutout on the underneath side of the belly button piece pop the belly button back in and put the ring back round the key hole.
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First remove Tressy's growing hair strand and then soak the doll in luke warm water for a few mins. Clean her using a soft tooth brush and cotton buds for around the painted areas on the face. You can use a mild detergent to bathe her, but we always use 9-1-1 from Twin Pines of Maine. It is specially made for cleaning vinyl dolls and will not damage the vinyl and also gets rid of some of the common odors. If the doll has stains that need to be removed, here is a list of products you can try out. For the lighter stains Oxy 10 benzoyl peroxide lotion and cream, or Quinoderm cream ( for acne treatment). You can get all these at the chemist. For hard to remove stains you can use Remove-Zit available by mail order from the Twin Pines site. I have successfully used this on Tressy faces without problems, but I had a problem with the Cricket Toots and magic make-up legs and arms, as the dye comes out, but I reckon a white mark is easier to re dye than a green stain is to paint out. All these products must be tested on your doll first in an out of the way place that wont be seen, and please test every part of the doll that you are going to treat. Please note some stains can take a long time to fade but its worth the wait. Re wash the doll lightly when you are satisfied that she is free from stains, you can replace the growing strand.
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Splits in the vinyl can be mended with Loctite super plastix now available in the UK at Homebase. We have had to import this product up to now, it stays pliable unlike the other super glues. To re glue a Tressy head that has broken away at the neck, you will firstly need to pull the vinyl neck piece out from the inside of the doll. Make sure the pieces match exactly, and then follow the instructions on the glue pack re-join it to the head. Allow it to dry for 24 hrs then twisting gently push the head back on through the neck hole. Occasionally you will have to repeat this process as some of the necks tend to be very thin vinyl and need a second attempt to get a good fix. Tressy's with missing fingers can have them rebuilt using an acrylic powder and liquid mix that can be bought from the salons that do the nail extensions, or in a kit from the drug store or super drug in the UK. Dip the brush into the liquid and then into the powder and a small blob will form. Blob this onto your missing digit. You will need to let it dry and repeat the process several times. The more you do it the more you will get used to shaping and molding it as you are putting it on. When the acrylic piece is long enough to replace the digit, you can file it into shape and paint it in a shade to match the rest of the hand.. You can also use this product to fill in teeth marks.
pic to come
This little toots was rescued from the jaws of a dog and her legs, feet and hands had been bitten very badly. I bought her and worked on her for two days to get her like this, her legs, arms and hands have been glued and filled in and gone over with a flesh coloured acrylic paint. I would never sell her, she is my favorite little doll and sits on my computer all the time, (yes I know silly isn't it but I felt so sorry for her). Dents in boobs can be carefully pushed out from the inside through the armhole with a smooth round instrument ( knob end of a knitting needle works well) and hot water to heat the vinyl, but don't push too hard against it in case you split it.
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To do a total re-root on Tressy firstly you must remove the growing strand. Also remove one arm and then carefully remove the head by lubricating the neck with baby lotion and from through the arm hole push the neck together to make a fold and you should be able to gently work the head off at the same time push from the inside with a blunt instrument. Never strain or try to pull the head right off, you must keep twisting gently. Tressy heads are the most difficult doll heads to remove, so great care must be taken. The only other option is to root the hair through the hole in the top of the head. Firstly remove all the old hair. Cut it off on the outside and use a curved pair of overlock tweezers (from your local sewing machine shop) and pull out all the hair from inside the head.
Take between 15 to 20 strands of hair and thread them into a doll needle.
Push it into a plug hole at the back and pull it out through the neck. Knot the end and trim off the excess and pull the hair back out through the plug hole until the knot hits the inside of the scalp. Continue until all the plug holes are filled.
Trim the hair to a decent length wash and set on jumbo straws cut into just under 1" in length and use either end papers or cut up kitchen roll around the ends of the hair to stop it going frizzy. Fill a container with boiling water and dip in the head filled with curlers for 15 seconds only ( no longer or it will frizz ). Leave to dry over night for a tighter curl, or run the head under cold water and remove curlers and allow to drip dry for a looser curl Don't boil perm the growing strand. If Tressy needs a new strand make it from a bunch of matching hair as described in the removing Tressy's growing hair section above.
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Touch up & painting
Firstly, Mary or magic make-up dolls are not supposed to have full make up, so don't give it to them. Just touch up what they have unless they are a basket case, then go to town and use them for practice. For this you will need a selection of good quality acrylic paints in varying colours, including white, black, blue, cadmium red, a peachy pink, yellow, green, brown, burnt umber and flesh. You will also need mat varnish and a fabric medium. This should cover most things. You will also need very fine paint brushes, cocktail sticks and blending pens in your painting kit. To touch up the eye start with the white, then the blue, and blue mixed with grey for the center dot. To do the dot use a cocktail stick with the end broken of and filed flat to make a little dot. The pointed end of the cocktail stick is what I use to touch up the brows, I find this firmer to use. When you are doing the lips mix the paint with fabric medium 2 to 1, this will stop the red paint bleeding into the vinyl. Carefully varnish over what you have painted. If you are left with white spots after removing stains blending pens are the easiest to use to re dye the skin. These are ink and you will need skin colour and a few others of your choice, but melon, peach, red and a yellow are good for doing skin colours. The blending pen to go with it has no colour , mix your colour and then use the blending pen to pick up the paint and apply to the doll. Blending pens are just like a felt tip and are very easy to use to fill in the tiny bits.
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Caring for Tressy's Clothes
Inspect the clothes carefully and do any minor repairs before washing. If any dresses such as this Toot's dress has stains, take off the skirt and soak in a light bleach solution, and then re-sew the skirt back on the bodice,
Any bits that need replacing such as the white on this dress can be replaced with matching fabric using the originals as a pattern.
You can replace the doll elastic carefully on most things, and fit new little dolly presstuds. Before washing remove any paper labels from clothing and put in a safe place to re attach when the garment is dry. For badly stained items that are coloured soak them in oxy clean or steradent extra, I have had items soaking in these for a week to get stains out but make sure the garment wont run. Take great care if washing the winter journey coat as it runs like mad and so does Soda Pop Cutie if you soak it. I use a old jar as a mini washing machine then rinse or soak in fabric conditioner, spin dry and re-shape them. If you have an old Tressy body put the wet garment on it to shape it and let it dry on the body. To repress Tressy garments without getting those dreadful side creases in, carefully unpick the back seam and press flat then re-sew the back seam up, now you have a perfect Tressy dress.
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