6/07/2020

Evening gown Dawn - Part 1, The doll and her story

I know I say that a lot, but I don't remember where Dawn came from. You must keep in mind that we went to a lot of fleamarkets, and sometimes things came home with us together with others. Maybe she tagged along with a Barbie doll or she was in a doll case.
Dawn had been lying in a box for many years. I simply didn't have anything for her to wear because she's so small, and I can't sew. I often thought about beading an outfit for her, especially after I made the Flapper and hippie outfits, but even that was more than five years ago, shame on me, after I messed up measuring a new Francie dress and I was frustrated. I never even cut it up, it's in a drawer - ugh, all those drawers!

A while ago, however, I started beading a dress for Dawn, a wedding dress. I got as far as the bodice and a skirt that was around her calves when I ran out of the white Delicas I had used. Even more, I didn't like the dress much anymore and thought seed beads would probably look better. So Dawn ended up not in a box in this time but in another one of my drawers. From time to time I took her out, but cutting up bead projects is so frustrating (see above), and the sorting of the beads - two kinds of white and two different sizes for one of the whites - can almost make you cry. Not that I finished that yet.

I completely forgot to introduce Dawn formally, though!
Who's Dawn?
Dawn and her friends were fashion dolls produced by Topper Toys from 1970 to 1973 when the company went bankrupt (there was a short lived comeback from 2000 to 2003 at Checkerboard Toys). On different sites I read that they were very popular, especially because Barbie started having problems at that time, and still are as collectors' items. They are rather inexpensive compared to other dolls, however, because they were produced in very large numbers.
I can't remember seeing them around at all, but then I was deeply in love with my Stacy doll and her outfits at the time and didn't have the need for a different doll. I like the Barbie doll faces better, for example the eyebrows, but for such a small face this is done really well. I like the little smirk Dawn seems to have.


When I looked into her history, I was quite amazed about how many outfits she had, but also furniture and cars, even her own fashion show stage. How could I have missed that for so long?
Not that I intend to start a new collection, but I noticed how much I missed researching aspects of a doll's life, too. This sounds so very wrong. What I'm trying to say is that I always enjoyed doing research. When we started out collecting, there was no internet. We bought books like encyclopedias, price guides, but also brochures and catalogs wherever we could get our hands on them, and we spent hours to learn the important facts - especially about Steiff and Barbie. Due to the internet I haven't done that in a long time, and if you show me a Barbie outfit now, I can't tell you the outfit number or sometimes even the name in a nanosecond anymore.
Seeing how much books about Dawn dolls cost, I won't get one although I'm sure it would be big fun, but I'm not getting drawn into this one, thank you very much. Instead I found my fun on several websites that I'll link to at the end.

Back to my Dawn. This little lady - because little she is indeed - is 6 1/2 inch. She has short blond hair, quite coarse and so far it has resisted all my attempts to make it sit a bit closer to her head. Neither washing nor brushing did the trick. I think it has to do with it being rooted thickly. So all I did was trimming her bangs and the back a bit.
At first I was confused and thought that she may be a Jessica because of the short hair, but the bangs and the markings on the back of her head, K11A standing for the head mold, tell me that it is a HTT Dawn. I love technical terms ;-) HTT means Head-to-Toe. They came with a short bubblecut hair style and several wigs. As you can tell from the picture above, Dawn has rooted eyelashes, very thick ones, too. I am a little jealous...
 
My Dawn had very swingy legs and also quite a swingy waist which would influence the making of her dress later.
Unfortunately she won't be able to take that dress off and I forgot to take a picture of her butt markings first. They say Topper Corp Hong Kong which helped me identify her in the first place.

Unlike many Dawn dolls she doesn't have the green knee problem which can be caused by the copper in the knee joints. Her legs won't hold a bend anymore, though.
Dawn's feet have square holes, so you could make her stand up on pegs.


Kudos to you if you have read this far, but I thought Dawn did need a little introduction, and the post would have become way too long if I included the outfit as well, so I'll get to that in part 2. I hope it will follow in a few days, I have to have an idea for the shoes first, everything else is done.



Thank you to these pages:
The Dawn Spot
Jennifer Chronicles
OverZone - Dawn Doll Archive
The Spruce Crafts 

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