Monday, April 19, 2021

My Way Raye, With Some Updates, Experiments, and a Poll

For those who were hoping to see another Tiana--sorry!  I have been working on her post and this one at the same time, and I just happened to finish this one first.

I haven't been great at answering all of the comments on the My Way Kid posts, but I truly appreciate all of the nice words and excellent suggestions!  Today I'll show you another My Way Kid that I've fixed up, and I'll also address a few of the suggestions that were made.

I tried two new things with these dolls that could use some feedback.  It would be wonderful if you would weigh in with what you think by using the poll in the right hand margin.  Thank you so much!

The most recent Kid that I've been working on is this dark-skinned cutie with the Mischievous face.  In keeping with my strict four-letter name rule for these dolls, I call this one Raye, which I think means "my friend" or "my companion."  She's definitely been a fun little companion these past few weeks:

My Way Kid doll with the Mischievous face.

Before I show you how Raye's makeover went, though, I want to talk about a few of the comments I got on the previous My Way Kids posts.

The neatest thing that happened is that a friend messaged me through Etsy and said that her brother used to work at one of the My Way Kid mall kiosks!  Ahh!!  I was so excited to hear this.  She offered to ask him a few questions, and of course I took her up on this generosity.

The assembly process that I guessed about was confirmed, including the fact that the head pates, with hair pre-attached, are not meant to be removed once they're in place.  In fact, they're specifically designed so that they cannot be removed.  Dolls sometimes had to be thrown away because the wrong hair was attached by accident!  This definitely makes me feel better about not being able to get the pates off easily.

I also asked about price, and the original price was comparable to American Girl prices at the time, which would have been about $85.  This included the default nightgown and slippers, but there were additional outfits that could be purchased on site, including a fancy dress, a casual leggings and tee shirt set, a roller skating ensemble, and perhaps others.

The eye options were light blue, dark blue, light brown, dark brown, green, and grey.  The hair options were blonde, light brown, dark brown, auburn, and textured black.  The hair could be short, medium, or long, and could be curly, wavy, or straight.  That's a pretty great menu of options!

I've seen most, but not all, of these options:

All of the My Way Kid eye color options except light blue.
All of the My Way Kid wig color options except black.
*Update: there's actually a fifth hair color!  I found a doll with strawberry blonde hair that is distinct from the red and blonde shades:

Blonde (left) and strawberry blonde (right).

My friend's brother also remembers seeing the face that I thought might be called Innocent.  He saw it in a catalog, but never saw it at the actual kiosk, so that remains a bit of a mystery.

Anyway, it sounds like it was a pretty fun job to work at a My Way Kid kiosk.  I am so incredibly grateful for these extra little bits of information!

In regards to clothing that might fit these dolls, I can confirm that most Just Pretend tops are too tight and the pants and dresses (while they fit through the waist) are very short:  

My Way Kid wearing Just Pretend clothes.

A sweatshirt that I bought fits quite nicely, though:

My Way Kid wearing Just Pretend clothes.

Raging Moon reports that American Girl clothing fits to some degree, too, although--once again--the tops are tight and the pants are too short.

Alison suggested that I take some measurements so that we could try to sleuth out more clothing options, or so that seamstresses could adapt patterns to fit.  Here's a chart that I made with every measurement I could think of (updated):

My Way Kid doll measurements.
You'll notice a measurement for the waist with the seams or darts let out.  That was Cink's excellent suggestion, which I'll talk more about in just a minute.

But let's look at some pictures for right now.  Here's another shot of Raye before her makeover:


She had light brown eyes that gave her a bit of a vague look, and long straight dark brown hair (with crooked bangs).

I spot-cleaned Raye's body, re-painted her face, and gave her new dark brown glass eyes and a curly black wig from ZaZou Custom Dolls.

Here she is:


My Way Kid makeover

I also put in some extra stitches to reinforce the weak cable tie area at the neck:


And I used vinyl glue to try and shore up the pulling stitches in the seams between fabric and vinyl:


This repair is ok, but I think I'm going to bite the bullet and take the bodies apart from now on.  It's really the only way to fix the aesthetics of these seams.


After I had taken all of Raye's pictures, I went back and followed Cink's suggestion to let out the darts in the torso of her body.  This was fairly easy to do, and I think it makes a big difference!

Here's how her body looks now:

My Way Kid doll with an expanded waist.
The darts left behind some creases that I had to iron out, but this simple procedure eliminates the skinny waist and creates a more naturally-shaped child's torso:


Do you like the expanded waist or do you prefer it the way it was?  Please let me know in the poll at the top of the page!

Because my dress pattern is very loose-fitting, the torso alteration does not change how the dress fits at all.  Still, all of these next pictures were taken before I changed the waist, just so you know.

I chose a purple fabric for Raye's dress, and paired it with some pink suede boots!

My Way Kid doll

Here she is from the back:


The simple faces of the My Way Kids make me think of rag dolls for some reason, and this wildly curly wig fits that image really well--almost like it's made from unraveled yarn or fluffy mohair:


Here's a before and after comparison of Raye:


Raye and Brie have the same face mold, and I was trying really hard to make Raye's lips much thicker than Brie's.  Judging by this GIF, though, I didn't change the lips very much from their original shape!

Raye's balance is not great, but she can stand on her own in some positions:


I tried DB's suggestion and used a cold water bath after heating Raye's ankles.  In fact, I used boiling water to soften the ankles, and then I set her in the cold water bath while the feet cooled in a flat position.  This seemed to make a big difference in the shapes of the feet, and it took way less time than the hair dryer method, so now we'll just have to see how long it lasts!  Thank you for the great timesaver, DB!

My Way Kid doll


The wig can't be brushed (that would ruin the curls!), but it looks nice when it's clipped back away from Raye's face:



My Way Kid doll


I like being able to see those shiny brown eyes!



Once all of the portrait pictures were taken, I let Raye play around for a while before I put her back on the shelf.




She is a little ray of sunshine!

My Way Kid doll


As you scrolled through those pictures of Raye, how many of you were bothered by the fact that her light torso fabric shows at the top of her neckline?  Did you even notice?

I specifically designed the flower dresses to hide as much of the fabric torso as possible, but it still peeks out from time to time...and it bothers me.

So, I tried another experiment.  I have a few extra bodies that I bought to use for experimentation, and I used one of them to see what would happen if I coated the entire torso in fabric paint.

This is after two coats of slightly diluted burnt umber paint:


This is also the body I used to test and see if the waist darts could be easily removed, so it has the expanded torso, too.


The color doesn't match the vinyl very well.  I have another color on order that might work better, and I could also play around with the dilution of the paint, but if the paint is too thin, the color looks really blotchy and mottled.


Even with two coats and a mild dilution, this torso is pretty patchy:


Here's the painted body with a head attached:



And Brie let me borrow her dress so that we could see what the painted neckline looks like under clothing:


I think this is an improvement, but it's still poorly matched.  I'd like to experiment a bit more with the color, but I only have two extra bodies, so I can't play around very much.  It might not get any better than this.

Here are the results from the little poll I ran, asking if you like the body better with the seams let out, and asking what you think of the fabric paint effect:


Given these results, I think I will let the body seams out on all dolls from now on, and I will paint the bodies of dolls at the request of individual buyers.  Thank you again for helping me with this!

That's everything I've been up to on the My Way Kid front for now.  If you have any more ideas or suggestions, please let me know!  My next project will be a custom order that I'm very excited about. 

Oh--one last thing that I forgot to add when I first published this!  One of the My Way Kids that I bought came with an adorable name bracelet that I think is great.  Because of this, I decided to make little bracelets for all of the Kids I work on. 

Here's Raye's bracelet:


And here's her bracelet again alongside the original:


I think the original was made by the My Way Kid factory because I've seen the same bracelet on two similar dolls.  If the bracelet is original, it wasn't customizable.  Both of the bracelets I've seen had the same name.  Furthermore, my informant on Etsy said that naming the dolls was not a part of the customization process at the mall--at least when he was working there.

The original is much nicer than mine (which is just a knotted, singed elastic with glass beads on it), but I think it's a fun accessory.

I'll end things today by showing you one last picture of little Raye:


Thank you again to everybody for all of the helpful comments and suggestions, and for voting in my poll.  I truly appreciate it, especially as I try to map out the best way to work with this new brand of doll.

Here's a summary of all the work that was done on Raye:
-the head was removed from the body and all vinyl parts were cleaned
-the cloth torso was spot-cleaned with a mild bleach solution
-all seams between vinyl and fabric were reinforced with a thin strip of vinyl glue
-the darts in the sides of the fabric torso were let out to expand the waistline
-the factory paint on the head was stripped
-the head was coated with Mr. Super Clear matte sealant
-the face was repainted, including eyebrows, lips, and blush
-the pate was removed and new glass eyes were placed
-the eyes and pate were glued with hot glue
-the head was glued back to the body and a new cable tied was placed
-the cable tie area was reinforced with extra stitches
-new eyelashes were placed (only on the top eyelid)
-a new premium wig was glued at the front and at the back
-the vinyl ankles were softened and bent to try and improve balance
-Raye is wearing a handmade dress paired with suede boots.  The boots have a lift in the back to help Raye stand on her own.

Because Raye cannot balance reliably on her own, she will do best with a doll stand.

Raye and Mila will go up for sale in my Etsy shop soon.  They will be discounted because of the experimental nature of their makeovers.

That's it for now!  See you again soon.

My Way Kid doll makeovers

29 comments:

  1. She turned out very cute she probably one of my favorites of these dolls you've done so far! The darts being let out made all the difference and makes these dolls more aesthetically pleasing, at least to me. Maybe for the body fabric, depending on the material, you could try dyeing it with fabric dye. I know American Girl Doll customizers have had success with that method so it may be worth looking into for these guys, and could possibly give you the ability to make My Twinn dolls in more varying tones that may be rarer

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    1. I think fabric dye would look better--you're right! I'm not sure how I would dye the body without staining the vinyl, though. I might try some experiments with this!
      I have a plan to fully-dye a My Twinn body (vinyl and fabric), but just haven't gotten around to it yet. It might be a good outdoor activity for the summer! ;)

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  2. Your makeovers on these little sprites are such amazing transformations! I just want to hug them.

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  3. I think she is so adorable. I really like the idea of letting out the waist. I imagine the dolls breathing a huge sigh of relief, like having a permanent corset removed. LOL I am so glad you caregiving these girls a new life. I love them.

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    1. Oh, my gosh, that's exactly what I was thinking! It's like now they can breathe! :)

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  4. I'd expect AG clothes to be loose on these dolls - Just Pretend is for a skinny doll, but AGs of that era were quite chonky. I know because mine is from like 1994 and modern AG clothes are tight on her.

    I would love to see a group photo of the My Way girls in their peasant dresses, but maybe it's too late and they've already been sold? It's such an interesting "new" brand. And so cool that you were able to find someone who could answer your questions about them!

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    1. I should have gotten a group shot with all three girls, that's a great idea, but sadly Mila and Raye are gone now and it's just me and Brie. :/

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  5. Lovely girl! I like the body shape a lot better this way, too. -Micah

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    1. Thank you, Micah! I really like the expanded waist, too--such a simple procedure with such a nice outcome! :)

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  6. Gosh, that's quite a difference! In the beginning she looked exactly like my Leah (except her wig was nicer) and now they're different! Regarding the body, my vote is for leaving it alone in terms of color, largely because I'm paranoid about that paint staining those cute dresses. But maybe that won't be an issue in the long run. LOL, I love what you're doing to these critters! Regarding clothes, the odd My Life piece will fit too, though the fit is very much like American Girl clothes: a little short in the pantsleg, a little tight around the torso.

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    1. I'm a bit worried about paint transfer, too, although I figured perhaps I could heat-set the paint with a hair dryer? It doesn't seem to rub off at all right now, but I suspect if it got wet, it would make a mess. I'm still on the fence about whether body painting would be a good habit for me to get into...

      Thank you for the information about My Life clothing!

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  7. Wow, what a difference letting out the seams made! I like this decision a lot, makes them look so much more natural and realistic. I personally am a huge fan of dyeing/coloring the fabric bodies, I hate dolls with bright white torsos or darker-skinned dolls with a peach torso, it's so jarring. Even though the color is a little uneven, that can improve with practice and I really love that you thought to try it out. I love all the experimenting you're doing!!

    While I'm here, I hope you don't mind if I ask a question. I'm working on my own doll right now, a Heidi Ott creation formerly known as Ben. I've renamed her Beth, and am making her a little tomboy with a short white-blonde wig (last of the Monique stock), sunburn, and light freckles. I want her to look like she spends all her time outside, swimming in the ocean or climbing trees. Only problem is, the sunburn usually ends up looking like someone got into mom's makeup... any advice?

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    1. Sorry it took me so long to get to your question! Ack! Busy week.
      I love the sound of Beth's makeover! I have some questions about your paint then maybe I can help? Maybe I'm too late? Can you message me through Etsy? If not, I'm curious about the type of paint that you use and the colors. I have trouble with blush when the color mix is wrong or the paint is too thick. :)

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  8. I'm glad the cold water worked out for you!

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    1. Yes--thank you so, so much! It took me about five minutes to do this procedure instead of 35 minutes! I think it works better, too! :D

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  9. She is so cute! I am really enjoying this series and seeing you experiment with how you fix the dolls up.

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  10. Looks like the poll isn't visible when using a phone browser? I think the waist seam alteration is good and the recoloured body is an improvement.

    The list of measurements is great but there are two more that would be really helpful - the shoulder to wrist length and inseam/inside leg length particularly as these are the dimensions which seem to diverge from other child doll proportions. The rise (front waist to back waist between the legs - essentially where the crotch seam is on a pair of trousers) might also be useful. Doing the comparison of measurements on a phone is tricky so I'll try to get on a computer for a proper look.

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    1. Thank you, Alison! I added these measurements to the chart. :)

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  11. She looks great! For some reason this face sculpt keeps reminding me of Maru and Friends, something about the mouth.

    It's good that you felt more comfortable experimenting with trigging the mouth after Tiana.

    I don't see the poll on mobile, but letting the darts out is a huge improvement. Not a fan of the painted body cloth. I've also seen people use RIT dye on dolls, but I don't know how that would work here without separating the vinyl limbs.

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    1. Sorry the poll doesn't show up on a phone! I'm not sure if there's anything I can do about that, but I'll look into it.

      This Mischievous face is a lot like Maru's Savannah. I totally agree!

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  12. Oh wow! I'm happy that letting the darts out worked, it really does look a whole lot better now that the proportions seem more natural and child-like. Glad I could be of some help!!
    Looking forward to more posts from you.
    -Cink

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    1. Your suggestion was AWESOME!! Thank you so much! I love these dolls even more with the normal waists! :D

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  13. She turned out absolutely beautiful and charming. I had to check your etsy right away but it looks like I‘m too late of course, haha. But I‘m sure other pretties will follow ❤️❤️❤️

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