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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Doll Transformation

by Conservation


behind the scenes , conservation , doll , Dollyver

Everyone enjoys a satisfying before/after pair!  You may have seen a post about this doll a few weeks ago when her costume was undergoing treatment in the textile conservation lab.  Now you can see her after treatment and all put back together. These views show the dramatic transformation of the back and the front. This fabric doll is one of the Dollyver Family, a collection of 25 dolls made by Laura Turpin in the early 1900s.  The purple silk fabric had become so weak over time that it broke apart into little pieces and much of it was lost, especially the back of the skirt and the sleeves of the bodice. 

The sleeves were recreated by making a pattern of the original and using dyed-to-match fabric to reconstruct them.  The skirt was reassembled a panel at a time--almost entirely replacing the two back panels—and the surviving sections adhered to patching fabric, then sewn back together by hand.  The doll was vacuumed, her apron (and petticoat) were cleaned and pressed, and she was redressed in her freshened (and repaired) ensemble.