I tried making shoes for my barefoot Toni doll. My shoemaking skills left a lot to be desired. When I looked online, I found quite a variety of shoe styles available for her. Some are vintage and some are newly made by crafty people.
My doll is a P-90 so she has the smallest feet of the various Toni dolls. To make these slippers, I used the glove tips from a worn out golf glove that I had. They make those of kid-leather which is also what fine shoes in the early 1900s were made of.
I should have left the lower part longer to reach the back of her foot. The next time I have a worn golf glove, I’ll try that. For now, this gives the appearance of her having footwear.
Here are examples of the shoes available for Toni dolls.
Ohh, maybe my title “R is for Risque Toni Dolls” caught your attention. Now, calm down. Toni dolls are a sweet doll from the 1950s, long before Barbie with her busty figure burst on the scene. Still, I admit feeling surprised when my sister sent me a leg shot of her Toni doll.
Now, that really is pretty mild, isn’t it? Toni dolls have shapely legs but certainly not in the realm of can-can dancers or Las Vegas showgirls.
Prepare yourself if you go shopping on eBay or Etsy for a vintage Toni doll. Sellers of dolls try to give potential buyers a full view of the doll’s good features and also any possible defects. This means they usually include a full-nude shot in their selection of photos.
Hey, this isn’t meant to be salacious or titillating. They just want you to know that the doll is in good shape with no disfiguring marks or broken parts.
This flaxen blonde doll shows off her good figure and the dimples on her lower back. It’s available for sale by NeverTooManyDawns on eBay. She has no wardrobe at all and really needs someone to adopt her and get her some clothes.
Here’s another, this time a brunette. She also lacks any clothing at all. If you want a bargain, scan down eBay looking for the bare Toni dolls. Apparently, a dress, especially an original dress drives the price up. You can buy this one from 3girls_and_their_dolls.
Now, one last photo that shows risque isn’t merely absence of clothing. This charmer in a sailor costume has a come-hither-look. Maybe it’s the deep v-neck that makes it seem a little naughty. When you see the whole outfit, it certainly doesn’t give that impression. Just this close-up. The doll is available on eBay from Wayda19.
Here’s another dress that our mother made for my sister’s Toni doll back in the 1960s. Some of the outfits were made from scraps of curtain fabric, but I don’t know where she got this pretty pink-flowered material. It’s rather silky.
She put pale pink ribbon as an accent on the bodice and the sleeves.
I see that the years are taking a toll on this dress, as one sleeve has pulled loose. Mom made the sleeves gather at the wrist but with some stretch to go over the Toni doll’s hands.
The classy straw hat that the doll is wearing is one I found in Colonial Williamsburg years later. My sister and I made a trip there. I wish I had more photos in my computer from that trip, but we have the hat to remember how much we enjoyed visiting the Colonial capital.
I’ve been looking at vintage clothing styles for inspiration for the Toni doll. She needed some night attire and here is what I finally made for her.
I found a catalog of nightgowns, robes, and underwear from the time of World War I. Ladies were dressing in a slimmer silhouette at that time. Quite different from the full skirts of the 1800s.
I really liked all the lace and the way the nightgowns flowed. I wasn’t ready to tackle making sleeves since I really don’t like to sew. When I rummaged through my stash of discarded clothing, I found a pair of nylon undies that I’d never liked and wouldn’t wear. You could use an old slip for a project like this.
The lace waistband became the hem of the nightgown and the narrower lace at the leg of the original panties became the top. In the graphic below, the lace at the leg and waist are the same width, so it doesn’t matter.
Steps for Making the 1918 Nightgown for a Toni Doll
Measure the material around the doll’s torso to see how much fabric you need. Allow some extra to overlap.
Cut from the waist to the leg opening in 2 places to end up with a square of nylon with lace at the top and bottom.
Glue or stitch the lace together at the back (at top and bottom). I used hot glue. Since the lace was stretchy, it will slide onto the doll easily.
Add straps of ribbon by gluing them to the front of the gown. Leave the other ends loose to tie behind the doll’s neck.
Glue or sew on embellishments like a bow to the front.
Here’s the description, “Lovely 1950’s Ideal P-93 Toni doll. … Made of hard plastic & measures 20″ tall. Sleep eyes & full head of blonde hair for play. Comes in a red pique dress with matching undies (may be original), shoes & socks. Beautiful face coloring. Great for your collection, display or gentle play.” (I had to look up the description of pique fabric and it is knit or woven with fine ribbing.)
Pretty Toni doll in a long pink dress.
This one is pretty in a soft pink dress with tiny flower accents. and lace. She’s a P-91. I wonder what talented dressmaker made this dress for her. She is for sale on Etsy from SassyGrannyVintage.
What a charmer this doll is in her blue and white striped dress, all fresh and crisp. She is available on Etsy from CCandGDolls. She even has matching blue shoes.
For more information and pictures of each of these sweet Toni dolls, follow the link to Etsy.
A number of dolls appear for sale online that at first glance I’d say this one was a Toni doll. Surprise! There are some look-alike dolls out there. This charmer is one of them.
She has that sweet face very much like all the Toni dolls I’ve seen and is jointed, made of hard plastic, and has hair very much like a real Toni. Her eyes open and close. What’s different? She has no marking saying Ideal P-90.
Here’s the description provided by the seller, Angelfare:
“Little 14” mystery doll, like Toni, Cindy Lou, Mary H, with human blonde wig, blue sleep eyes, newly strung and wearing an adorable pale green and white gingham dress and matching bloomers. Dress is accented with ruffled bottom, sheer sparkly sleeves, apron with lace trim. Her shoes are white vinyl originals. Her condition is NM, very clean and odor free, a real sweetie.”
Isn’t she a sweetie and wearing a really cute outfit too of ruffled gingham check, organza overskirt with lace edging, and pantaloons. Go to Etsy to see more pictures of this unmarked Toni look-alike doll.
One wonders if Ideal actually made dolls very like the Toni but marketed them in other ways so they did not have the Ideal markings on the head and back. It’s also possible that other toy makers produced very similar dolls hoping to catch some of the buyers that Ideal’s advertising was attracting.
I found an article about pre-Toni’s which are dolls that Ideal did a trial with before the Toni dolls came out. The article shows photos of two of these pre-Toni dolls and notes that they have a softer coloring and hair of mohair but the same bodies and same molded head. They were unmarked.
Earlier, I wrote about my mother making dresses for my sister Karen’s Toni doll. Now, here’s more of the story about Belinda.
I received a doll for my birthday when I was in second or third grade. It was a nice doll with feet set for wearing high heels. My little sister Karen threw a fit because I got a doll and she didn’t. She would have been about 3-years-old at that time.
Dad came up with a solution, he bought chances on a punch card at the local gas station or beer hall where the prize was a Toni doll. He won! I wonder how many punches he had to pay for to achieve that?
The doll he won was a blonde and he brought it home to my little sister. Later, she remembered her behavior and commented, “most productive tantrum ever.”
She named her doll Belinda. I named mine Helen after an aunt. Now, jealousy can work both ways. Initially, she was jealous of my birthday doll. After she received her doll, I liked it better than mine.
When Mom made a wardrobe of dresses for Belinda one Christmas, I was even more envious. At the time that my sister want away to college, she felt she was too grown up for dolls anymore. She volunteered that I could keep Belinda in my apartment then.
So for the next 30 years, Belinda lived at my house. I dressed her in her various outfits depending on the season and kept her on display. Now, Belinda has returned to her original owner, Karen. Another Toni, very much like Belinda, now lives at my house. We are both happy that in our sixties, the sibling rivalry is put to rest.