How (not) to re-stuff a vintage Lonely Lisa doll….


Here she is, holding that stuffing with unwarranted optimism.

So today I decided to finish up the Lonely Lisa doll I started fixing this week.  I am cringing a little as I think about the following pictures coming your way.  Don’t judge me!  She’s still a pretty thing, she’s just far from perfect…..Remember, I rescued her from the landfill…..

So I started out by straightening out her original armature.


Lisa’s skeleton

I wrapped a little stuffing around her legs before inserting them into her cloth body.


Wrapping some fiberfill around each leg wire (only showing one leg here) This will compact pretty quickly inside the leg.

Now the legs go in the body.  So far, so good.


Legs in all the way.

Now it’s time to add a little more stuffing and slide the arms into place…..


This is where it all went down.

Okay.  The armature should have gone in completely before any stuffing happened.  But that’s not what I did.  I kept stuffing until there was the sound of ripping fabric.


It isn’t supposed to be like that!

Lisa is a vintage girl.  She’ll be 50 next year.  And that fabric is not so strong anymore.  So now I get the bright idea that I’ll just do a reverse patch.  I’ll have a piece of fabric on the inside, hidden from view, and I’ll stitch through the new fabric as I stitch through the old.  The new material will keep the old fabric from tearing more….Image

Feeling clever now…..But this is where I should have stepped away from the project.

ImageNow a new wire is run through the thin casing around the neck.  That neck opening looks pretty ratty.  Hmmmm.


Head going on…

On went the head.

ImageNotice that there is a bit of a gap there in her shoulder seam?


Tightening up the wire.


Nope, this is not going to work.  More patch working here.  And a little patch on the outside as well, just to keep things really secure.  So this is what happened.

ImageShe now has a patch at her neck.  It’s neat.  And you’ll never see it under her clothes.  But it’s a patch.  Yuck.


So here is how she sits now:

ImageOkay….New outfit time!!!!!


5 thoughts on “How (not) to re-stuff a vintage Lonely Lisa doll….

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself! The patch isn’t that bad. I know all too well how tiring it can be to work on a doll and want her finished, and then something goes wrong. I would have done the same thing. You can always make her a new body later. In any case, she is in much better condition than she was. Fresh & clean and lovable!

  2. Hi, I was lucky enough to purchase, for a very minimal price, one of these Lonesome Lisa dolls. I feel very fortunate that she had her original dress, in excellent condition, and also that when I re-stuffed her, I left as much of her in-tact as possible. I only opened the back stitching, which runs horizontally across the rear end. I was able to gently empty out the disintegrated, foam stuffing and then cautiously washed her in a cold bath of sudsy laundry soap. After rinsing all soap out and hanging to dry by her shoulders on the clothes line, I was ready to re-stuff her. This I did while leaving her armature in place, and only re-fitted it into her head, etc. Then she was stuffed with poly-cotton blend quilt batting cut into rectangular pieces, and gently pushed in firmly with a wooden dowel. I re-stitched the one seam, and wha-la! She was done! This worked beautifully, thank goodness!

  3. HELP. Need help for my Lisa. Live in Chicago area. First I saw the end result for Lisa. Then saw how you did it. What can I do about her hair. I over loved her…

    • You can try rerooting Lisa, and there are loads of tutorials out there, or you could try your best to tame her tired locks. If all that fails, you could always purchase a doll wig for her (I’ve done that a few times myself for some of my sadder looking vintage dolls). Good luck!

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