Sandra’s $1 Toni

Sandra Rothers couldn’t believe her luck when she found a vintage Toni doll at a garage sale for a dollar. The doll looked pretty sad with dull-looking hair and a grubby body but Sandra felt sure that she could revive the 1960s-era doll.

Toni doll’s spa day.

First, the doll needed a good wash as she smelled musty. To wash the hair, she gave it a very hot water rinse, a tiny bit of Dawn dish soap, and then followed that with a hot water rinse. After setting the hair, she gave it another hot water rinse. Sandra said the hair was matted and smelly when she found the doll.

It was her first attempt at curling hair, so she was nervous and worried about ruining the doll. She concocted curlers from straws and mini-clothespins. You can get mini-clothespins at craft stores or from Amazon.

Toni’s Curly Locks

Toni’s Wardrobe

Toni was dressed in the red ballgown with a red net crinoline underneath. She had ruffled panties and thigh-high stockings and black shoes. At the same sale, Sandra found a shabby wardrobe case containing dresses for the doll. She gladly splurged an additional two dollars for that. Although the case couldn’t be salvaged, Sandra gently washed the dresses to restore them to their original bright condition.

The other outfits included a pageant dress with a Miss America sash. It had a white fur cape that fastened with a glass button. A green winter outfit was trimmed with white cuffs and a matching fur muff. The interior of the muff was satin and there was a loop to hold it on Toni’s wrist. Stiff and yellow with dirt, the muff smelled musty. Washing it removed the smell and made it soft and white again.

A slim white lace dress was adorned with sequins and on the back was a pink bustle. In the background, you see Kittumz the basket cat, who apparently lost interest in the fashion show. A remarkable brocade jacket lined in satin completed this outfit. Although the jacket was filthy and smelled musty, Sandra was pleased with how well it cleaned up. She remarked on the awesome craftsmanship and artistry of the homemade doll clothes.

Click on the side arrows to see the slideshow

A Christmas outfit included a red velvet top and a gathered skirt decorated with sequins to form poinsettias.

Congratulations, Sandra, on acquiring and restoring this Toni and her wardrobe. I’m sure she was dearly loved by some little girl some sixty or seventy years ago and now she’s found a new home with you.

Making Toni’s Swimsuit

Swimsuit in the making for Toni.

With the weather warming up, it would soon be time for the pool or the beach. I had some stretchy material that seemed suitable for making a swimming suit for Toni. Being the smallest of the Toni dolls, I didn’t need much.

I draped her in the elastic material and figured out where the armholes and leg openings needed to go. I marked those on the material. Cutting it out was easy and then she tried it on.

Fitting the swimsuit on Toni.

Oops, it needed some adjustments and a change to the neckline. After a little more work, looked reasonably like we wanted. If you have any elastic bandages in your home, that’s what this stretchy material is. The great part is it sticks to itself so no sewing was needed.

The first time we went to the local pool, Toni made a new friend. They were the very same size and this new friend had a well-made swimsuit and a surfboard. I was afraid my Toni would be jealous, but they hit it off right away. Her new friend’s name was Malu and she won Toni over by letting her try on her colorful beach sandals.

Malu, a new friend for Toni.

Toni whispered to me, “what is that bulky top that she is wearing?” I whispered back that it was a life jacket to keep her from drowning. I can’t possibly concoct something like that from bits and pieces that I have around the house. Fortunately, Toni didn’t ask for her own life jacket. Malu, very nicely, let her try it on.

Toni and Malu, ready for the beach.

For those interested in a poseable doll like Malu, here is where I found her (click on the picture to go to Amazon).

Toni’s New Coat

Toni put on her puffy, pink winter coat and her pink boots. I asked where she was going and she answered, “I’m going to make a snowman with my cousin Belinda.” Oops, I’d been telling her about the recent snows in Kansas and Missouri but didn’t realize it would lead to this.

When I told her that it was just late spring snow and was already melting away, she was disappointed. I also advised her that Missouri was too far away to go for a quick visit. She wanted to know when she could play in the snow here. “It’s not going to snow in Orlando,” I cautioned her. Winter weather is pretty mild in Florida, so this was her first time wearing the coat.

Toni in her pink coat and boots.

I brought out the camera to take her picture, hoping that would distract her from her snow fixation. She was glad to pose on the patio. After just a few shots, she suggested we go inside and turn on the air conditioner. I guess 80-degree weather was too warm for coat-wearing.

Inside the house, she wouldn’t take off her coat. “Turn the air conditioner higher,” she demanded. Maybe I should let her play in the freezer for 10 minutes. There would be room if I pushed the packages of frozen foods over to the side. It would be dark in there with the lid closed, so I gave up on that idea.

Click on the picture to see where I got Toni’s boots and coat.