This photo shows one of the stained arms:
Alexander Little Women Rag Dolls
Four “Little Women” rag dolls were made by Madame Alexander, circa 1930-33. Any 85-year-old cloth dolls can be challenging to repair. Old fabric and thread is often soiled, suffering from dry rot, and very fragile. Sometimes these cloth doll bodies can’t be repaired with any success.
Three of the four dolls were in fairly good shape, but their arms were seriously stained and unsightly. This significantly detracted from their “display” appearance. I wanted to improve the look of the arms and wanted to do it in a way that would be reversible, and not detract from the actual condition of the dolls.
I made smooth, close-fitting covers from flesh-colored knit fabric that would slip over the original arms without having to sew or permanently attach them to the dolls. The resulting effect maintained their “original” look, while improving their display appearance.
The photo below shows all four dolls. The three at left are wearing the new arm covers. Jo, at far right in the blue dress, had cleaner arms, and did not need the cloth covers. Now, these 85-year-old girls look quite nice together on display!