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Design a Friend Morning Suit

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Its wedding bells all over for the Chad Valley Design a Friend dolls, with a bridal dress, morning suit, bridesmaid dress and even a bridesmaid version of the little sister doll available. And I couldn’t resist such a smart suit for my boy dolls.

Harry in a suit

And here’s Harry looking very smart indeed!

The suit comprises dark grey long tailed jacket with a high collar, matching trousers and a one piece white shirt with attached pale grey waistcoast (vest for the US folk) along with a satin tie in a bright pink shade to match the wedding theme (the bridesmaid dresses are in pink and the bridal gown has pink accents).

Harry in his suit, back detail

Back detail of the jacket, which is very elegant.

Harry's suit - waistcoat detail

The waistcoat fastens with velcro, which is handy for getting access to the shirt front and collar to tie the tie and line it up neatly. The trousers fasten with velcro at the fly and lie nicely flat against the body.

Harry's suit - the shoes

To complete the look, a pair of black shiny lace up shoes is also supplied.

Harry's suit with little sister bridesmaid doll

And here’s Harry posing with the little sister bridesmaid doll (reviewed here) to show the full effect of the wedding party play options.

I’m impressed with the design and quality of this outfit, the fabric is heavy duty cotton with a nice sheen to it, the styling is excellent and fits nicely, although its a little loose on Harry (the Design a Friend Josh doll is rather more muscled). The shoes are also well-made and the overall effect is pretty darn elegant. Boy doll outfits are always harder to come by and this is great value too (there’s a suit available in the Carpatina range for more than twice the price, which also only really fits the slim Carpatina bodies). Well done Chad Valley and Argos!

Beth – Design a Friend My Little Sister Bridesmaid

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Portrait of Beth

Meet Beth, one of a new range of smaller dolls joiuing the Chad Valley Design a Friend series exclusive to Argos (joining Lindy reviewed here and Josh the boyfriend doll I wrote about in this post).

The Little Sister dolls are 14″ (36cm) tall and like the 18″ girl dolls have a soft body with vinyl arms and legs jointed at shoulder and hips, plus a turning vinyl head with plastic eyes and rooted hair.

Design a Friend little sister doll box

A lovely purple stripey box rather smaller than the standard doll boxes, which contains..

Design a Friend Little sister doll box 2

Tissue paper and underneath..

Design a Friend Little Sister doll box 3

One little sister doll! The box is made of sturdy cardboard, and also if you look at the photo has a handy shelf at the top which holds the second outfit that comes with this doll (more on that later).

Little Sister doll posing

And here she is revealed, all ready for the wedding.Her dress features a pink satin sleeveless bodice with a pink sash and flower detail to the waist, which leads to a white satin skirt with netting over, dotted with matching pink buterflies. Her shoes are white sandals with pink detailing. Its quite an elegant dress for a young girl, and there is a matching bridesmead dress in the same shades available for the larger dolls in the range also.

Beth has brown eyes and long straight brown hair which brushes easily and holds styles well.

Little Sister doll - hair detail

Her second outfit is a pink and white striped onesie, which is very cute, although not too well designed as the cuffs are too narrow for her hands, requiring some snipping of the stitching to actually get the clothing on the doll, not a good design detail at all.

Little Sister Sleepsuit

So how does Beth fit in size wise with other dolls? Well, she is certainly in good proportion to the standard Design a Friend dolls – here she is with Lindy, you can see the family resemblance in terms of basic face mould and eyes:

Design a Friend Little Sister with Design a Friend Lindy

She makes a good little sister for Kidz n Cats dolls also, here’s Beth with Alex:

Design a Friend Little Sister with Alex

And here’s the whole family, girlfriend, boyfriend and little sister:

Design a Friend Family

As mentioned before, this version of the Little Sister doll is ready for the wedding party, with a wedding dress and morning suit for the large dolls available along with a bridesmaid dress. You can read my review of said morning suit here.

I’m quite pleased with Beth, her dress is very pretty and I like the hair, and she’s made to the same standards as the larger dolls though perhaps looks a little cheaper and more plasticky, she’s also priced the same which I think is a mistake. Other than the extra outfit supplied, there are no clothes available for this size of doll from Chad Valley: luckily a couple of Ebay doll outfit makers have come up trumps with suitable clothing to fit such a small doll, I imagine shoes will be an issue however.

As a collector she’s a sweet little addition but not really destined to be a favourite. For a child however I think it expands the play possibilities nicely to have a sibling doll, so I hope Argos will keep this size of doll in the range and produce new versions and outfits in the future.

Silver & Sparkle

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A Trio of Nellie Rose Frocks

Santa didn’t bring me any new dolls, but I’ve some gorgeous frocks to show off – the girls are delighted! Nothing says a special occasion like a fancy sparkly frock and Nellie Rose has come up trumps again with these creations.

Ariane in a Sparkly Purple Frock

This is the first of the two lilac dresses, I liked them so much I couldn’t pick between them. This is lilac satin in the bodice and skirt, with a layer of sparkly net over the skirt area, and more net beneath to give the dress body, I love the embroidery detail on the bodice, and the matching hair clip is flamboyant enough to work more as a fascinator than a hair clip. Nellie Rose always has an eye for detail and this dress is made with her usual skill and eye for design – all her outfits are one offs but there’s always something worth looking at on her website. The blue satin slippers here are from My Doll Best Friend.

Grace in a Sparkly Yellow Frock

As soon as I saw this yellow creation I knew it was just made for Grace, she’s positively glowing in this colour and it works so well against her skin tone. Again, this is a satin bodice and skirt with layered netting underneath and a layer of net with added sparkles over the skirt, set off with the big white net bow with diamante centre at the waist – it came with a matching hair bow but the clip wasn’t strong enough to stay securely in Grace’s mass of hair. She’s wearing beige tights by 123 Mulberry Street and a pair of gold sandals, and just looks adorable.

Helene in a Lilac Sparkly Frock

If there are purple outfits around you can be sure Helene is first in the queue to wear them. This one is a different shade to Ariane’s dress, though similar in design, but the layer of net over the satin skirt has many more sparkles which look like scattered stars. I like the way the brocade detail at the neck lifts the plain colour, and the satin flower detail at the waist is also nifty. The dress came with a hair clip matching the flowers but Helene’s hair is too fine for such things. The purple shoes are from the Design a Friend range. Yay Nellie Rose for three fabulous frocks.

Katy in A Silver Frock

Nellie Rose isn’t the only one capable of producing sparkly frocks – and I added this silver creation to my wishlist almost as soon as it was listed over at My Doll Best Friend. It has a satin bodice with ruched detailing, and a satin skirt with an overlay of silver lacey stuff picked out with silvery spirals, and netting beneath for body. The waist band has sparkling sequins for extra effect. The dress is sleeveless and comes with a black knitted bolero which really enhances the whole design, Katy looks most elegant here. I’ve teamed the outfit with silver shoes which aren’t showing too well in the photo, but are also from My Doll Best Friend.

Silver shoes close up

They’re just plain slippers but they really shine and are a perfect match for the frock.

Detail of Katy's silver frock

Here’s a closer look at the silver spirals on the skirt, I think this is one of my favourite outfits thus far for any of the dolls.

Katy & Ariane in Sparkly Frocks

Belles of the ball! Katy’s dress is equally stunning without the bolero, and the two colours complement each other nicely – lets hear it for satin and sparkles!

Kira – Madame Alexander

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Portrait of Kira

Autumn – seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness according to the poets, and the inspiration for this Madame Alexander doll, named Autumn Mist. Well, I call her Kira but that’s the official name, and you can blame Dolls Diaries for a round-up post on Fall fashion (“Fall Mist” doesn’t have quite the same ring, somehow..) where I first spotted the doll and rather impulse bought her, there and then direct from the US with the power of Amazon, ooh!

I’ve considered the Madame Alexander dolls before now, at least the African American ones, I’m not too keen on the face moulds and general look of many of the other dolls in the range but have exercised some willpower til I spotted her pretty face and rather fabulous outfit, and about 10 days later, here she was on this side of the Pond. There should at this point be proper unboxing photos but due to a slight camera mishap, said images got deleted. The plastic fronted box was the usual type with twist ties holding her firmly in place, and my fave feature of a hair net to keep her hair tidy during transport.

Madame Alexander is a traditional US doll brand that has been going for many decades, though the current incarnations were apparently bought by long-term licensee Kahn Lucas in 2012. This doll is one of the Favorite Friends range which features numerous 18″ dolls, clothes and accesories, with the range updated frequently.

Kira Posing

Here’s Kira in her seasonal outfit, consisting of a green jersey top and denim skirt, worn over green and grey striped leggings. The best part is the long hooded cardigan in some kind of knitted fabric in those wonderful shades of green and yellow, very reminiscent of a pile of newly fallen leaves. She has gold Mary Jane shoes to complete the look. The clothes are good quality and fit well, unusual styles which I do like muchly.

Kira herself is a soft bodied doll with jointed vinyl arms and legs and a posable head, which can tilt up and down as well as from side to side. Unlike the American Girl range, she has a chest plate, which avoids seeing her fabric body when wearing strappy tops, this seems to give the doll more stability without needing to be well stuffed so she is quite cuddly and stands securely on her own.

Kira's sleep eyes

Kira’s coffee-toned skin is set off nicely by her brown glass eyes, which are the sleep kind, i.e. they close when she lies down. Um, they actually rattle a bit when the doll is being carried around which is a little off-putting. She has lovely  long dark lashes and painted brows.

Kira's hair

The doll has quite unusal hair, meant to be dreadlocks I think, as they are tighter and coarser than ringlets. I like the look and style of her hair, though it took me a little time to warm to the central pulled-back section;  its not very shiny but is thick and well-rooted, of the kind that can only be finger curled however, I dread to think what the results of a brush would be.

She’s mid-range in terms of price and quality I would say, and even with shipping from the US was reasonably priced. As a soft bodied doll she’s closest to The Dolls House and Design a Friend dolls, as you can see below:

Bree with Kira
If you look closely you can see the difference the chest plate makes between the dolls, Bree’s fabric body is clearly seen under her cotton frock whereas Kira’s vinyl neck area looks more natural.

Lindy and Kira

Lindy from Design a Friend is the closest in looks to Kira, with similar colouring, though her hair is softer and falls in tight curls rather than dreads. And of course Lindy has quite a floppy body and can’t stand up without support (she also as thinner legs and her eyes are fixed).

For an impulse buy I’m very pleased with Kira, not sure I’d add any others of the Favorite Friends range as its this doll’s rather unusual features and outfit that drew me in, but design and quality wise I can recommend the brand,

Kira in b&w

 

Josh – Design a Friend

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Portrait of Josh

Meet Josh, the first boy doll to be added to the Chad Valley Design a Friend range from Argos.  According to the blurb in his box:

“DesignaFriend Boyfriend has been specially created to complement your stylish Designafriend doll. This very cool and trendy guy makes your two friends the perfect pair.”

Design a Friend boy box in blue

He comes in a blue cardboard box, which is quite classy and means any boys wanting a doll won’t have to worry about pink packaging.

Josh box opened

Josh box opened, close-up

And here’s Josh half unwrapped from his tissue paper, and a close-up of him still in the box.

Josh Posing

Josh arrives wearing a blue and yellow plaid cotton shirt, jeans and brown boots, he also comes with a more masculine bracelet with cord instead of chain for the owner to wear. He has brown plastic eyes, and brown wavy hair which needs a bit of ruffling to look modern and “trendy” instead of something in 1950s stylee (thinking cardi and pipe not Rebel Without A Cause here..)

Josh showing his well-defined chest

The most surprising thing on removing him from the box for the first time was that unlike the Design a Friend girl dolls, which are soft bodied with vinyl arms and legs, he is all-vinyl. To begin with I wasn’t sure about this change, but then I half-undressed him and he’s got a decent set of abs on him for sure! Not sure whether the target audience is going to care about defined muscles but he stands up tall and firm where the soft-body dolls do not. He’s less posable however, his arms quite stiff because of this build factor.

Josh unclothed

It took a couple of days for me to be sure I actually liked this doll, his face is more mature than the other boy dolls I have and his outfit isn’t the best quality compared to the usual Design a Friend clothing. I did suspect part of the problem was the outfit so I re-dressed him and wow, what a difference.

Josh dressed smartly

Here he’s wearing rather formal trousers from Nellie Rose, over a Kidz n Cats shirt and an olive military jacket I just got from mydollboutique with boots from Nellie Rose and it adds a whole new dimension to this doll. He looks more sophisticated and certainly more expensive – and though I’ve kept the name Josh for him he looks rather posh to my eyes (mater wanted to name him Tarquin, don’t you know…). The outfit actually costs more than the doll so its not surprising it makes a difference, mind.

Josh and Lindy

As for being the perfect boyfriend, here he is posing with Lindy, from the Design a Friend range and they look ok together, but he and Bree are a match made in heaven, I reckon.

Josh and Bree

I can definitely recommend the Design a Friend “ideal boyfriend” but would suggest a wardrobe upgrade to make the most of him.  I’m constantly impressed with this range, and look forward to seeing what else they come up with to expand the “lives” of the dolls.

Lindy’s outfit: long-sleeved t-shirt from The Dolls House, twill shorts from My Doll Best Friend, shoes & tights by Frilly Lily.

Bree’s outfit: lacy tee and shorts outfit from The Dolls House.

Fashion from The Dolls House

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The Dolls House Fashions - Group Shot

As I’ve mentioned previously, as well as the range of dolls, one of the best parts about The Dolls House company is the cool range of outfits available, which fit other 18″ dolls rather nicely. I treated myself to a parcel of new clothes from there the other week and couldn’t resist getting the gang dressed up and showing off their new togs.

From left to right above we see Bree, Katy, Helene, Grace, Maru and Alice, though there was some swapping of clothes later on, quite  a free for all amongst the girls in fact.

So without further ado, lets introduce the various outfits – imagine the girls have done their “little turn on the catwalk” and are just posing to show off the fashions to their best advantage..

Bree in a red silk kimono

i love this red silk kimono, the way the light shimmers off the fabric with its golden thread and other colours shot through is so effective, it comes with matching little red slippes but that was a bit too much red for me so Breee is barefoot..

Portait of Bree in a kimono

Despite the really long hair on Bree, it goes into an updo beautifully too.

Katy in a flowey top with shorts

Barefeet seems the order of the day – this lace and flowers shorts set is just so cute, and fits Katy (Gotz Hannah) extremely well.

Grace & Katy in green and denim

Grace has already shown off this lovely green dress but she didn’t want to be left out – so summery, the both of them, last chance to wear light fabrics before autumn sets in and its time to pull out the woollies.

Maru in a grey dress with leggings

This tunic is actually a dress, but Maru is so tall it was a bit too short on her, works great as a long top over leggings, though, I think this is one of my favourites, and its good to have clothes that can be versatile, with a bit of thought.

Closer look at Maru's grey top

Its the attention to detail on the outfits that really makes them, the layering on the grey ruffle dress is simple and effective and the rose details at the neck lift it and accentuate the red contrast without being over the top.

Alice in Lilac

Now this delicate lilac dress should be familar, I posted about it previously with Helene modelling, looks great on any doll, no question! And yet again a barefoot theme.

Grace whispering with Katy

“Psst!” whispers Grace, “You should change into the pretty blue dress.. go on.. “

::Katy scampers off::

Helene modelling pyjamas with a little friend

Helene didn’t want to put her AG mini doll Julie down to show off the outfit properly – such cute white cotton pyjamas with the blue bows and gathered detail. The top is a bit big on a Kidz n Cats so I ended up putting a clip at the back to help it fit better.

Bree & Hellene

Ah, now we can see the outfit properly, plus Bree changed into the flowery top and shorts set Katy was wearing, and looks just as cute.

Closer look at Bree's flowered top

These will work really well as separates but the way the flower embroidery is repeated from the top onto the shorts is a nice touch, very fresh and cheery little outfit all told, white cotton and denim complement each other well, and the flowered sash and the pink ribbon neckline demonstrate yet again how small details can be so effective.

Katy in a satin blue party dress

Aha, that’s how Bree ended up in the shorts set, Katy changed into this gorgeous full length blue satin party dress, I love the lace and ribbon detail on this, she’s truly the belle of the ball.

Katy and Alice in their posh frocks

Actually, both Katy and Alice are the belles of the ball, beautiful colours and fabric choice on these gowns.

As should be obvious by now, all outfits are by The Dolls House, as are Bree’s white shoes with the pink bow detail.

Grace’s gold sandals are from the Argos Design a Friend range.

Lindy – Design a Friend

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Portrait of Lindy

Not all 18″ play dolls need to be expensive: despite my preference for the Gotz and Kidz n Cats level of doll, I’ll never turn down a pretty face. Back in 2011 Argos spotted a market niche and came up with the Design a Friend range, made by long-established toy manufacturer Chad Valley. The clever marketing idea (which still applies today) offered you a doll, outfit and accessory pack of your choice for a discount on the individual price, and dolls with blonde, brunette and red hair, along with the Alesha doll with her darker skin and cascading dark curls.  Each doll has its own name and a different outfit, though based on a simple tunic and leggings idea, with shoes. The range also includes new fashions introduced each season, and new accessories such as a bed, a carrying case, even a make-up set.

So, meet Lindy – here she is newly unboxed in her original outfit of long cerise tunic, black leggings and pink shoes. Also shown are the various boxes for her extra outfit which was a blue striped jumper, leggings and beige knee high boots and the accessory pack of underwear:

Lindy Unboxed

Its a great example of how to emulate the expensive dolls like American Girl but on a budget, and despite only costing £20 for a doll they are very well made. The dolls come in a cardboard box, in candy-stripe pink with the Design a Friend logo on the outside and the doll wrapped in a single sheet of tissue paper within. The box is quite thin card but sturdy enough to be re-used for keeping the clothes in, for example. I also like the way the outfits are packed, in their own pink candy-stripe boxes and wrapped in tissue paper, like high end fashion choices –  such a clever and attractive way of doing things rather than a blister pack or some other toy-like packaging.

Design a Friend clothes box

Each doll comes with a charm bracelet for the new owner to wear, and each outfit includes a charm to add to said bracelet, thus encouraging collection.

The dolls themselves are the ubiquitous soft body with vinyl limbs type – jointed at hips and shoulders, the head also moves from side to side though does not tilt, and the plastic eyes are fixed, not sleep-eyes. The body is shaded the same as the skin tone of the limbs. The stuffed body is not as firm as other cloth-body dolls, probably to give the doll some shape – in the image below you can see she has a clearly defined waist, rather than being a solid up and down shape as is more usual. It has the added effect of making the doll quite cuddly, but means she doesn’t stand up too well on her own.

Deisgn a Friend doll unclothed

She’s s little out of proportion, with very slender limbs compared to the head size, and quite skinny legs, though this is less obvious depending on the outfit. Some of the pants/tights therefore are a bit tight on other 18″ dolls, though in the main she can share clothes with them all. The doll is suprisingly well made for this price point and should stand up to a decent amount of play from a child, the outfits too are generally of good quality, attractive designs, well cut and securely sewn.

There are several Ebay sellers creating clothes specifically for the Design a Friend range (which will also fit Gotz, Kidz n Cats etc) which makes them a good choice for a child – new outfits won’t break the bank!

Lindy Posing

Here Lindy is wearing a dress from one of the Ebay designers, along with tights and shoes from Frilly Lily.  I love the hair on this doll, its full and luxuriant and just flows down so well, and looks good loose or pulled back by a head band (that’s actually a pearl necklace doing double duty). Its perhaps the hair that makes this specific doll look so good, the other Design a Friend dolls generally have straight hair, great for styling but not as eye-catching to my mind.

The Design a Friend outfits work well on the more expensive dolls – as shown in the photos below.

Lindy & Jessie in Design a Friend Outfits (with dog!)

Lindy’s blue spot dress, cardy and sparkly shoes set was in the original range of outfits from Design a Friend, while Jessie wears the jumper/leggings outfit I got along with Lindy. Flat cap by Nellie Rose.

Katy in a Design a Friend pink gown & wrap

I think Katy looks quite glamorous in this long pink satin dress with white wrap and silver sandals. There’s usually a ball gown type design in the Chad Valley range, in varying colours each year.

Helene modelling a Design a Friend red cocktail dress

This red cocktail dress with sparkly sandals and matching satin hairband didn’t look quite right on Lindy but suits Helene a treat. Her escort in back is Alex in a Nellie Rose suede jacket and his original outfit jeans and boots.

Lindy and the Girls

For me, she straddles the  line nicely between “doll” and “little person” and doesn’t seem too out of place with the other girls, especially when dressed nicely. That’s Katy (Gotz), Helene (Kidz n Cats) and Jessie (Zwergnase Junior) with Lindy above, all of them costing 3 or 4 times as much.

(Katy & Helene wear Nellie Rose, Jessie a dress from My Doll Best Friend and Lindy’s brown frock is from the Serendipity collection)
(The instrument is not a guitar but a tenor ukulele..)

Bree and Lindy

Lindy posing with Bree from The Dolls House.

I think the Design a Friend dolls and clothes are a triumph of budget design, and as they are still going strong after several years it seems other people agree with me. This year, Chad Valley introduced a boy doll, Josh, to the range, and also two little sister dolls – and both Josh and the youngsters already have avid Ebay designers sewing away to provide a wardrobe of clothes, there being as yet no offical outfits for same.

I’d not swap Lindy for Katy or Maru but she fits in nicely with the gang, and holds her own against them, despite the price difference. And I love this snap I took of Lindy with Alice (Gotz Happy Kidz) and Katy.

Trio

 

Images of pink boxes © original owners (found at random via google)

Piper – Sigikid Die Puppe

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I love the dolls in my “gang”, just the sight of them each day brings a smile to my face, all those cute little characters gazing up at me, so sweet. Not all the dolls I own have that effect, however, and I suppose given I have written such positive reviews about each doll up to now, its time to look at the ones that gain a rather less enamoured response.

Portrait of Piper

So, here is Piper, she is a Sigikid doll from their Die Puppe range, introduced in 2011. I’m familiar with Sigikid from their weird but wonderful Beasts range, and the stuffed horse I got for my Katy doll to ride a few years ago. Piper was a cheer-up present from my parents in Spring 2012 when I was ill in hospital and feeling very fed up with the world: the doll was on my wishlist and I picked her as a gift from my doll wishlist because she was cheaper than the Kidz n Cats etc dolls. At the time she was very welcome – picking her out, getting excited about her arrival, having her turn up in hospital re-dressed in the purple outfit they also treated me to, getting to hold her.. Yes, she was much adored.

Its rather a shame then that she’s spent much of the ensuing months tucked up in a box in the cupboard. I just don’t like her that much.

The Die Puppe range (the name means “the doll” in German) consists of 6 cloth bodied dolls with vinyl heads, arms and legs, rooted hair and painted eyes. They have a variety of hair and eye colours and all are dressed in extremely bright outfits – too bright for my tastes, hence the quick change into the purple clothes shown in the photos.  The one I chose had brown eyes and what looked on the image to be rich auburn hair, though in reality its more brown than red. Rather oddly, the dolls haven’t been given names, merely code numbers, so Piper here is officially Sigikid Die Puppe nr-26031. Her original outfit consisted of a red tunic with yellow swirl print over a red and yellow striped top, with red shorts and yellow slippers (with red dots).

Die Puppe 26031 original outfit

My first issue once I was home and thinking a bit more clearly, and the “ooh doll, let’s cuddle” stage had worn off (she is wonderfully cuddly, I do admit..) was that she doesn’t look that much like the product photo.  Her face is less rounded, and I’d love to know how they got the dolls to stand so straight and tall because she don’t stand up. She is a floppy doll.

Piper Posing

All the dolls thus far have been photographed standing against this background, but I only just managed to lean Piper up long enough for a couple of shots before she toppled over. The reason for this is clear when she is undressed – rather than the standard cloth body with full length vinyl arms and legs jointed at the shoulders that we see with American Girl, Design-a-Friend, Gali Girls etc her limbs begin past the expected joints, giving her very floppy flexible shoulders and hips, which are oddly flat:

Piper Unclothed

She has quite a chunky body also – although she is 18″ tall like the Gotz and Kidz dolls, she is much broader in the shoulders and cannot share clothes with them. She’s too big for even American Girl clothes, but not quite the right size to wear newborn baby clothes either. And her feet are too small to wear Gotz etc shoes, strangely enough. I had great fun today double checking all of this, as I’d hoped the loose AG dresses I have might work, but no.

Luckily, Trisha at KR Bears & Dolls was well aware of this and recommends on the Die Puppe page the outfits designed for another Sigikid doll, named Quendy – I’m beginning to see why they stuck to numbers with naming ideas like that! The purple outfit shown, which consists of beige corduroy trousers, a long-sleeved purple top, the beige and purple loose jacket and purple slippers is from that range and fits perfectly, and there are several more outfits along similar lines.  The clothes are of quite simple design, and very easy to put on and remove – Piper’s floppy limbs help with this also, suggesting the thinking behind this body shape.

Piper's Hair

She has a mass of long brown hair, coming down in waves, which looks great and feels soft to the touch, and is easily styled. It needs a lot of styling mind you, I ended up brushing her hair between almost every shot here, which isn’t something I normally need to do, but it was getting so messy and flyaway with just moving her around.

Piper Seated

The doll and clothing are very well made, good quality fabric and material, nicely sculpted arms and legs. She does sit down well, at least. And she is very cuddly indeed. The soft body, floppy limbs, easily changed clothes and bright colours in the original outfits are definitely all designed with a younger owner in mind, in fact I think she’d be a very good choice as a first doll for a youngster, bearing in  mind the clothes issue of course. She’s more substantial than the Design-a-Friend dolls which are about the closest comparable doll at a reasonable price, and having been made aware of some of the issues faced by children with limited hand/eye co-ordination in my post about the Dolls for Downs dolls, would be an excellent alternative for someone needing simpler fastenings and fabrics.

Its just the face I’m not keen on. And those eyes. I do tend to prefer glass (plastic) eyes but my Zwergnase doll Jessie has painted eyes which are lively and engaging. Piper’s are just dull.

Jessie's Eyes

Piper's Eyes

Jessie’s eyes and then Piper’s. The Zwergnase Junior dolls are more than twice the price so clearly that plays a part but its a disappointing result all the same.

Close-up of Piper's Face

Its rather a plain face and the eyes lack life, this is a doll rather than a little sculpted character – I’ve been spoilt by the other dolls in the “gang” thus far, and have higher expectations. She’s sweet, she’s just not as special as, well, name any of my dolls really!

I finally came up with a solution for the dull eyes, and Piper now wears purple shades, which obscure her eyes somewhat. I really don’t think its a good sign that a doll only looks attractive with its features hidden, mind, but they do at least add the character she was sorely lacking.

Portrait of Piper in Shades

She was ideal for me at the time, company and a cheering thing to distract me whilst in hospital, and gave good cuddles when I needed them but overall Piper is destined to go back in her box once more. She deserved this outing though, and hopefully the Die Puppe dolls are delighting a younger (and less picky) audience than myself.

Official doll product image ©Sigikid

Design a (boy)friend

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The new Argos catalogue this season revealed new dolls and outfits in the Design a Friend range, including for the first time a boy doll. Named Josh, the 49cm doll has short brown hair and brown eyes, and is dressed in jeans and a check shirt with boots. It looks like the various doll brands are beginning to realise there’s a market for boy dolls, and its great to see Chad Valley expanding their range like this.

Josh looks like he’d make a great boyfriend or big brother for any doll, and would make a good friend for any small boy wanting something other than Action Man or a baby doll to play with.

image

Design a Friend Josh doll at Argos

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