Sunday, April 17, 2011

Who's a Poser Now?

Within a week of her arrival I noticed that my first LittleFee, Peanut, was loosening up a lot. She was a perfect poser when she arrived, standing rock solid. Over time though she loosened up to the extent that I would only leave her in sitting positions, except for quick photographs. She was loose enough that the special mechanism in her hips was not holding her legs in raised positions and her ankles were so loose she could gradually lean forward to the point that she would fall over. Sad state of affairs but I could not figure out how to tighten her up. Last night while drifting off to sleep I suddenly thought of the solution. I nearly jumped out of bed to go fix her right that minute, but was sane enough to wait until morning.

So early this morning, before I even had coffee, I was running around gathering the supplies I knew I would need. I decided I'd photograph the whole procedure and write up a tutorial for LittleFee owners. I'm hoping other non-doll-owner blog readers might find it interesting to see some of the inner workings of these amazingly posable dolls.

LittleFee Leg Tightening Tutorial

Start by removing the doll's wig and faceplate so that they are not damaged while you wrestle with the elastic. The feet will also have to be removed, and while you're at it why not take off the hands too so that they aren't lost or in the way? Have on hand a crochet hook or other strong narrow object, and a long piece of narrow ribbon. The ribbon should be at least twice the length from one ankle, up the leg, through the pelvis, and down to the other knee.

prepare for surgery 

The leg elastic is a loop that goes from one ankle, through the pelvis to the ankle of the other leg. Find the knot. My doll's knot was in the right calf. Even though the doll was loosey goosey the elastic was still tight enough that I could not pull it out far enough to tie a new knot. So here is where I had the sudden brain flash last night.

find the knot

Go to the OTHER leg, the one without the knot, and pull the elastic out far enough that you can get the crochet hook (or other strong object) in through the elastic loop and across the calf opening.

the OTHER leg

Thread the long ribbon through the elastic loop leaving both ends hanging (you can knot them loosely if you like). Remove the ankle ball and then the crochet hook. As soon as you pull out the crochet hook the elastic will contract, zooming up inside the leg. That's what the ribbon is for, to keep everything together and to keep track of the end of the elastic.

thread a long ribbon

With the tension from the elastic released everything will loosen right up. Take a good look at how all these pieces fit back together. Note that the slot in the ball of the upper thigh faces inward, toward the crotch, and it in turn fits into the leg locking mechanism.

loosening up

Now you can pull the knotted end of the elastic further out of the right leg. Just don't lose the ends of your ribbon as it hangs out of the left leg!

pull knot end of elastic out further

Tie a new knot a LITTLE higher than the last. I probably went a little too far. Even though Peanut was very loose and was losing her ability to stand, the difference in the position of these two knots was MORE than enough. When I was done Peanut's legs were so tight I needed a second set of strong hands to pull hard on the elastic (using the ribbon) so I could get the hook back in the other side.

tie a new knot

Rotate the elastic so the knot is not at the very end, and then rehook the right ankle ball into place. Pull on the ribbon hanging from the left leg so that it eases the elastic back through all the leg parts. As it tightens up and the leg pieces begin nesting together be sure that you have them all facing in the right direction and that the hip locking mechanism fits nicely into the thigh ball and the grooves in the pelvis.

Now have someone pull really hard on that ribbon so that the end loop of the elastic peeks out from the left ankle. Rehook the left ankle ball, pull the ribbon out, and put the feet back on. Walla! You have your great poser back!

Poser Now


cailyn said...

i'm going to be bookmarking this page for sure. do you think this would work to restring without completely taking the doll apart? tie the new string to the ribbon and just pull it through? (one of mine has elastic that is to thin and needs to be swapped out.)

Marlene said...

You know, it just might cailyn. It would certainly work for restringing the legs and the arms, which, in LittleFees are separate pieces of elastic. You don't mention what make your doll is, but LittleFees have a third elastic that tensions the body and the head. That one is a little harder to access. Both of my LittleFees have a resin loop in the hips, rather than a hook. That makes the restringing a little more difficult I think.