Are you old enough to remember Crissy? Did you have one? Please leave a comment, whether you’re new to collecting Crissy dolls, a long-time Crissy collector, or if you just want to share your memories of Crissy play time.
But if the answer to those questions is “No–I don’t remember Crissy dolls” and “no–I’ve never had one,” then let me explain. Before there was the 18 inch American Girl doll, there was Ideal Crissy.
She was a popular 18 inch “little girl” doll, with a whole line of fashionable outfits, made by the Ideal Toy Corporation, from 1969 to 1974.
The coolest thing about Crissy was her retractable hair! It’s described on Wikipedia like this: “While having stationary foundation or base hair rooted to its head, the Crissy doll also had another thick strand or lock of hair that emerged from an opening in the top of the doll’s head, which could be lengthened or shortened with a knob in the doll’s back so a child could choose to make the hair short or long.”
Here’s a close-up of the knob they’re talking about:
I remember getting the traditional red-headed Crissy doll for Christmas one year, and she wore a pretty green and red long-sleeved, fashionable mini-skirted holiday dress. Crissy also came in an African American version, but, as a child, I didn’t know anybody who had that particular version of the doll. My best-buddy-playmate-cousin, Virginia, lucked out and got the Crissy doll, the Velvet doll, and the Tressy doll.
Velvet’s hair also retracted into her head, as did all of the dolls in the Crissy lineup. However, Velvet is a couple of inches shorter than Crissy, so long dresses worn by Velvet would fit Crissy as shorter skirt lengths. Their upper bodies were about the same proportions though.
Altogether, these dolls were fairly well-designed for clothes swapping, and a lot of their dresses were super short, which was in vogue during the late sixties and early seventies. So one of the first outfits I made for Crissy was this mini-skirt with an easy-to-sew felt top:
The doll pictured there isn’t my original Crissy, but one I bought on eBay, as my Crissy was probably sold in my dad’s auction years ago. Oh, how I regret selling my dolls — especially Crissy! She was so much fun to play with!
I had tea parties with her, she hung out with me in my playhouse, and I would take her for rides in my wagon or in the basket of my pink bicycle. Oh! The fun we had!
And of course playing with her hair was neat too. As stated earlier, you could wind up the knob at her back and retract her hair inside her head. So she could have super long hair or more of a bob — whatever you felt like for that day’s “look.”
The knob does lose its umph over time, of course, and so in the image below, where Crissy is wearing my sailor’s shirt with gingham capri pants, that length is as short as my current Crissy doll’s hair will go.
It surprises me, though, that the whole idea of the retractable hair isn’t being reproduced for kids these days, because my generation had a lot of fun with it!
Now before I end this blog post, I want to point out that Crissy can not only swap clothes with a lot of the other dolls from the Crissy family line of dolls, but she can also swap with the BFC Ink dolls. So that means the outfit I posted last Friday will fit Crissy too… with one caveat. Just be aware that the knob at her back can get in the way of your closures on shirts and dress bodices.
It will sometimes take a little doll clothes alteration to make regular shirt patterns fit this doll. And the American Girl doll clothes would require significant alterations to fit Crissy.
If you wish you knew more about pattern alterations, I actually have a class on that very subject, called, “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns.” Click here to learn more about the online classes I’m offering through the Creative Spark online learning platform.
You pay a one-time price for a class, and you get unlimited access to my Creative Spark class videos forever, which is a rare thing in online courses being offered elsewhere.
So you don’t have to finish the class in a set amount of time. You can just take your time and learn at the pace that suits you.
To read more about my free sewing patterns and tutorials, please visit the “Helpful Tips” page.
Disclaimer/Credit/Affiliate Marketing Link:
Vintage Crissy Dolls are products that were once offered by Ideal Toys, Inc., but according to DollReference.com, they were “acquired by the CBS Toy Company in 1982, which eventually merged with Mattel in 1992.”1 Today Mattel holds the registered trademark for them (™). As far as I know, though, these dolls have not been produced since the 1970’s. However, you can always visit the Mattel website to learn more about their company and its trademarked toys.
All the doll clothes I’ve designed on this website are marked with a Creative Commons Attribution mark. Any similarity to other companies’ or other crafters’ projects of a similar nature is unintended.
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