Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Black Patsyette Lookalike

Circa 1930s Effanbee Patsyette lookalike

Released by Effanbee in 1931, Patsyette is a composition doll that was available in 9- and 9-1/2-inch sizes. Black versions were released that year as well, probably in fewer numbers than their white counterparts, which attributes to their elusiveness in today's market.  White versions remain plentiful at costs that vary, based on condition, but are usually affordable.  When found, the cost of black versions is usually multiple times more, no matter the condition. 

Composition Patsyette competitors entered the market during the 1930s, too.  These were made by various doll makers.  Minus the absence of the Effanbee mark on the dolls' backs, lookalikes can be practically identical to original Patsyette.

Patsyette lookalike arrived with fleece jacket, knit sweater, and fleece tam.

After purchasing in a buy-it-now auction for less than $15, with a goal to create a black version, the above 9-1/2-inch Patsyette lookalike arrived as shown in the first two photos.

Having never completely painted a white composition doll brown, I was up for the task, but it took several weeks to do.  Time and unforeseen occurrences caused the delay.

Hat, jacket, and sweater post-soaking and hand washing in laundry detergent and  OxiClean

Immediately after arrival, however, I did hand wash accompanying clothing articles shown above.   I do not believe the sweater belongs to this particular doll, but I washed and mended a tear in it anyway.

Once painting commenced, I applied a few coats in a few areas at a time, often daily and/or several times a day, with the end result proving to be well worth the time it took.

Portions of the lookalike's complexion deepening process were captured in the following photos:

During painting, I used paint brushes to hold her joints apart and while the paint in these areas dried.  Ideally, I wanted to use craft tongue depressors, but I couldn't locate the ones I know I have here, somewhere.  The paint brushes and sometimes pencils were good joint separators.
I used "Real Brown" Apple Barrel gloss acrylic paint for the body, which eliminated having to seal with a matte varnish.

Lying flat to dry

Voila!  She's done!

I worried about being able to repaint the eyes and eyebrows, so these areas were painted last and I'm actually pleased with the result.  I used "Toffee Brown" acrylic paint with black for the pupils and eyebrows, which were essentially drawn on with the tip of a paint-dipped toothpick.  Black acrylic paint was also used for the hair.

My Patsyette lookalike (LAL) took two profile photos before getting dressed.

In order for her to try on and be photographed in the fleece tam and jacket, I made a temporary dress using a child-size glove (the fingers were cut away and the resultant hemline made as even as possible afterward).

The next step was to find something more suitable for her to wear.

Trunk and two fashions for Effanbee's vinyl Patsyette circa 2005

Throughout the late 1990s through mid-2000s, Effanbee reproduced in vinyl a few versions of the 1930s Patsyette.  Along with the two vinyl dolls shown at the previous link, I purchased the above trunk and two fashions made for Patsyette.  Before the composition doll's arrival, neither fashion had ever been worn.

Patsyette in "Strawberry Sweetheart" outfit
The "Strawberry Sweetheart" fashion includes a pink dress with cap sleeves and lace trim at hem, white undies, white socks (which Patsyette LAL cannot wear) and pink Mary Jane-style shoes.  I had my mind all set for her to wear the navy blue felt "Chill Chaser Outfit."

Unfortunately, Patsyette LAL can only wear the hat, knit socks, and red shoes from "Chill Chaser."  I was, however, pleasantly surprised that this outfit includes a jumper.  Before opening, for all these years, I thought it only included the jacket, hat, and shoes.  Who knew?

Because closed toe shoes worn without socks is one of my doll pet peeves, I made a pair of ankle socks using cut-to-size tube socks.  I purchased yards of this sock tubing years ago and have made several pairs of socks for smaller dolls.

Wearing "Strawberry Sweetheart" now with her anklet socks and a sheer ribbon headband, in this photo,  Patsyette LAL is joined by Effanbee's 11-inch Patsy Jr., circa early 1930s.

The clothing pieces that arrived with her as well as the Chill Chaser outfit and shoes have been stored in Patsyette LAL's trunk where for the time being, she is also stored.  It feels great to have completed this task at a fraction of the cost of an authentic black Patsyette and simultaneously cross that doll off my want list.

Since I don't know if I want to call her Patsyette (because she is not the Effanbee doll) and Patsyette LAL is awkward, I need to determine an appropriate name for her.  My first thought was Patty, but I'm not really "feeling" that name.  Patiqua (pronounced, Pa-teek-wa) was my next thought, which is a name I probably won't forget.   Name suggestions are welcome.

Check out my eBay listings here.



  1. Thanks for sharing your before during and after pictures.She's so cute, you did a great job with her and what with her trunk and clothes she so lucky to have a new lease on life.
    I've used acrylic paint for touch ups on older dolls but I'd never seen it used all over. Is there an advantage to that over spray paint in this case?
    The name Odette comes to mind:)

    1. You're welcome, Maricha.

      There is no advantage to hand painting with acrylic paint over the use of spray painting, except that I have spray painted only once, so my expertise with it has not been mastered. I can visualize the paint running here and there into places unwanted. I know if done correctly, spray painting would give a smoother appearance than hand painting.

      Odette is a pretty name. Thanks for the suggestion.


  2. You did a fabulous job on her! She is beautiful and I love her traveling case ensemble. I'm the worst at naming dolls, so I can't help there.

    1. Thank you, Vanessa! I think you're great at naming dolls. All your doll family members have wonderful names.


  3. Oh my goodness, she's just darling! What a good job you did! I love her dressed in her outfits at the end. A great doll!

    1. Thank you, Stephanie! I am so happy with her.


  4. Hi Debbie! You did a great job painting her and all. BRAVO!


Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!