I don’t specifically collect dolls with the old Theresa face sculpt, but they are so pretty I do sometimes end up keeping them when they arrive in job lots. That said, I actually bought the first Theresa, Pearl Beach from 1997, by herself because a) she was a bargain and b) she has the most incredible, beautifully painted violet eyes. She came with her original fluffy hairstyle and her enormous pearl earrings. I’m sorry, 90s Barbie purists, but I never liked big earrings on dolls so I removed them. I also straightened her fringe, and I think it looks much better now.
Theresa Number Two is a fairly common doll on the second-hand market. She was the doll who was sold in 2006 with Mika, the weeing cat, and got to clean his litter tray out (hence, I suppose her pre-fashionista jointed body, so she could bend down to do it). Poor Theresa, what a way to be remembered! She is much too pretty to suffer such an indignity. I’ve gone to sell her on loads of times and then never quite gone through with it, until in the end I’ve just decided to keep her. In the box, this Theresa came with two plaits at the front of her hair, and as mine arrived with them undone, she had two annoyingly perma-crimped bits at the front. A boil wash would only take these so far and her hair was also still quite bushy, so I used a trick I sometimes use with Sindys to disguise the roots at their hairlines – I took these two semi-straightened front sections and secured them together at the nape of her neck with a clear hairband. This also diminished the “bushy” look of her very fine, flyaway hair.
So, their outfits. Some time ago, I took these dolls to my Parents’ house while I was there on a visit. I had started sewing Pearl Beach an outfit, but it was grey and tweedy and I’d lost all motivation to finish it. While I was visiting, my Mother presented me with some underwear, which she had brought me as a present. This is one of the ways that my Mother expresses affection – buying underwear or similar everyday items to give away, or of course through cooking. As I’ve got older, the underwear she has started to buy for me has become more and more matronly, and on this particular occasion it consisted of three pairs of absolutely enormous knickers. Yes, I am now pushing forty, but I just didn’t feel ready to wear this sort of thing – as much as anything, I would feel as though I was wearing a pair of shorts under my trousers. But she’s my Mum, and I knew what her motivation was, so what could I say? “Thank-you”, obviously.
When I looked at the knickers, though, I was quite impressed by the host of possibilities they presented, resource-wise. Broad, elasticated, lacy trim. Good amount of fabric. Small flower print in two coordinating colours. I thought about my Theresas. No, I couldn’t, could I? Well, its taken me a month or two to come round to the idea that I’m really never going to use them for any other reason, and it was really incredibly easy to make some simple sun-dresses out of them:
They’re not my best make ever but I think it worked out OK. As far as I am aware, my Mum doesn’t read my blog but just in case: Mum, I love you too. I’m sorry I cut up the knickers to make doll’s clothes. But really – they look much better on the Theresas than they ever would have done on me.