There's not a lot of information about Patsyette on the Tonner sales page. She is introduced as "brand new" and credited to the Effanbee doll company (now owned by Tonner). In fact, the Patsyette character has a rich history. She was first produced in 1931 as the little sister of Effanbee's popular Patsy doll. Patsyette was re-introduced in 2004 with a face sculpted by the original Patsy artist, Bernard Lipfert. After another short retirement, the newest version of Patsyette debuted in 2014 with a brand-new face and the articulated Betsy McCall body. While I have enjoyed all of the incarnations of Patsyette, it is the newest version of her face that I could not resist:
|"Basic Patsyette" by Tonner Doll, $69.99.|
This doll's inner box is light pink, with a very simple "effanbee" written across the front:
Even after agreeing to hang around with Patsyette, Penelope drew the line at actually playing an imaginary game with her...
The doll is held securely inside the box with two white satin ribbons, the lower of which is padded with a rectangle of foam. The packaging is very plain and the de-boxing could not have been any easier.
Little Patsyette is stable on her feet and can balance by herself:
This basic doll comes in a very simple white stretch-knit jumpsuit with tights and vinyl shoes. The tights look weird with the short jumpsuit, but it's nice to have them on hand as an accessory for other outfits.
I wanted this particular doll because of her hair and eye color, but it would have been a better financial decision to buy a non-basic doll. My basic doll cost $70. The non-basic, fully-dressed Patsyette dolls cost $90. The outfit sets (dress, tights, shoes) on their own cost a whopping $80. So, for me to have the doll I wanted with a full outfit would have cost $150. That is too much.
Also...if the full outfits alone are worth $80, and the dolls with full outfits are worth $90, it suggests that the Patsyette doll herself is only worth about $10. This would mean that my basic doll's simple outfit is responsible for $60 of her price...which is completely ridiculous.
I tried hard to figure out a better rationalization for these unintuitive prices. I noticed that the outfit-only sets have smaller edition sizes than the dressed dolls (250 as opposed to 500). Also, the fabrics and designs on the outfit sets might be higher-quality than those on the dressed dolls. My favorite outfits are, in fact, the ones that are sold separately.
Still, an expensive doll with affordable clothing makes much more sense to me than outfits with substantially higher price tags than their intended doll.
I definitely didn't buy this particular doll for her outfit, though. I bought her because of this face:
Patsyette has short bobbed auburn red hair with wispy bangs. Her bangs looked pretty ragged and uneven right out of the box (see above). The rest of her hair is nicely smoothed down with some judiciously-applied hair styling product. The hair is pulled away from her face with two small ponytails, one of which is decorated with a black ribbon bow:
I trimmed the bangs a little and arranged them more evenly across Patsyette's forehead:
This doll has very large, hand-painted green eyes that are glancing slightly upwards. Her eyebrows match her hair color nicely and have some brushstroke detail. She has serious, slightly pouty rosebud lips:
Patsyette's jumpsuit is well-made, but it reminds me more of underwear or pajamas than of a full outfit for a child in this age range:
|She looks three or four-years-old to me.|
The edges of the neck, sleeves and shorts of the jumpsuit are decorated with delicate lace. The slightly dropped waistline has a black ribbon sash that matches the hair bow. The whole outfit is one piece and closes in the back with three metal snaps:
Under the jumpsuit, Patsyette is wearing white patterned fishnet tights and black dress shoes:
The tights have an elastic waistband and are easy to get on and off.
The molded shoes are made out of flexible vinyl and have a peg-and-hole strap than can be unfastened:
These shoes look fine from a distance, but closer inspection reveals rough edges and many molding imperfections:
These are pretty unremarkable shoes compared to a lot of the doll shoes that I have seen. The comparison that immediately leapt to my mind was with the older American Girl mini doll shoes, like Kit's sandals:
|American Girl Kit's sandal.|
These are so carefully made and detailed...and they came on a $25 doll.
Patsyette has the same body as Tonner's 8" Betsy McCall doll, a body which is has also been shared by the discontinued "Kickit" dolls, Santa's Little Elves, Luna's Little Martians, and probably some others that I am forgetting.
This body has seven points of articulation (neck, shoulders, hips and knees):
This body has a curvy waistline that doesn't fit with what I would picture for a three or four-year-old child. Also, the knee joints look top-heavy and ungraceful from the front, and the arms are too short. The body is made out of hard plastic. The color of the plastic is nice (Tonner's "bisque" skin tone) but the body is pretty lightweight, so Patsyette doesn't really feel like a $70 doll in my hands.
Patsyette has great head mobility. Her neck joint was stiff at first, but with a bit of manipulation it can now look up, down, and even tilt to the side in an endearing way:
Her shoulders are rotating hinges with a ball-shaped joint:
She has quite a bit of detail molded into her hands on both sides:
Patsyette can move her legs forward at the hip really well, but the range of motion is not as good to the back. For this reason, she cannot do full front-back splits:
She has no sideways movement in her hip joints whatsoever, and can't do side-to-side splits.
Her knees do not rotate, but they can bend to about 90 degrees, allowing her to kneel on one or both knees (if she leans backwards a little for balance):
Patsyette can sit nicely on the ground with her legs out in front of her:
And she can also sit well in a chair:
The insides of her knee joints have some whitened signs of wear:
The sculpting in her feet is not as detailed as it is in her hands, but she has little toenails:
This doll's balance is good. She can stand, sit and kneel without assistance, and she can hold a nice walking pose without toppling over:
I don't own any Betsy McCall dolls anymore, but I do still have this Kickit girl, "Little Mischievy:"
|Patsyette (left) and Kickit "Little Mischievy" (right).|
Little Mischievy retailed for $74.99 back in 2008. You can see that she and Patsyette have the same body--Patsyette just has a different plastic and vinyl color. I much prefer Patsyette's expression and eye shape:
I have had several Tonner child dolls through the years and I have never been completely happy with any of their faces. Little Mischievy, above, is a great example of this. She has nice hair and I love the color and style of her eyes, but her pinched expression has never won me over. Patsyette's face, on the other hand, is pretty much exactly what I have been hoping for all of these years.
Patsyette fits perfectly into the Kickit clothing, and I love her in Mischievy's black and white sailor dress:
|Patsyette wearing a Tonner Kickit dress.|
Patsyette is also similar in size to Helen Kish's Riley-sized dolls. Here she is next to Jada (from Mary and Her Little Lamb, 2007) and Raggedy Riley (2006):
|From left to right: Kish Jada, Tonner Patsyette, Kish Riley.|
The Patsyette body looks strikingly hourglass-shaped and short-armed next to the more realistic child bodies of the Kish dolls.
The Kish girls have little tummies, and so Patsyette's knit jumpsuit stretches pretty tightly on them. Riley-sized clothing is loose on Patsyette, especially in the waist and arms. Dresses work ok, but Riley's pants are too tight on Patsyette.
|Kish Jada and Tonner Patsyette trading clothes.|
My Raggedy Riley tends to wear this little blue embroidered Boneka dress (made for 7" dolls), which fits Patsyette nicely:
|Patsyette in a Boneka dress.|
|American Girl Rebecca, BeForever Kit, Patsyette, Our Generation Sienna.|
Patsyette is slimmer in the waist and taller than these girls. She can fit into their clothes, although the dresses are too short and the pants and skirts are loose.
|Patsyette in American Girl BeForever Kit's dress.|
|Patsyette in Our Generation Sienna's outfit.|
The American Girl and Our Generation mini dolls can wear Patsyette's jumpsuit, too:
|AG Kit in Patsyette's jumpsuit.|
Patsyette is also similar in height to the Paradise riding dolls I recently reviewed. Unfortunately, the Paradise clothing is too tight for Patsyette.
|Yep. I got the redheaded Paradise rider, too.|
|Left to right: Licca-chan, Patsyette, Lottie.|
For some reason I have completely lost all of my Lottie clothes at the moment (I tried out a new storage system, and you know how that can go!), but I don't think those clothes would be big enough for Patsyette, anyway.
Surprisingly, my Licca-chan's dress looks pretty nice on Patsyette, although I don't think clothes-sharing between these two dolls would be at all reliable.
|Patsyette in Kindergarten Licca-chan's outfit.|
I first became interested in 8 inch dolls like Kish's Reilly and the Tonner Kickits about ten years ago. At this time, my collecting was focused mostly on 16 inch Tonner fashion dolls, and I loved the idea of having child dolls in the same scale--so that I could create little families. None of the 8 inch dolls I had back then ever quite fit the bill, though. Reilly and her friends came the closest, but they still didn't blend with my Tonners quite the way I wanted.
I was very anxious to see how this new Patsyette would look with some of my beloved 16 inch Tonner girls. Here she is with the redheaded Christine Daae, Tonner's Phantom of the Opera character with the Cinderella face mold:
Patsyette's facial features are pretty big compared to Christine's, but the painting style, body type and hair are a great match:
|Tonner's Christine Daae with Basic Patsyette.|
I just love Christine Daae, so here are a few more shots of her:
I paired Patsyette with a few more of my Cinderella dolls, and all of them look good with her, but the character who ended up spending the most time with little Patsyette was (surprisingly) Deja Vu's Penelope Brewster.
Penelope was reluctant to engage with this little tyke at first...
But Patsyette has an endearing persistence that is apparently quite hard to resist:
|Is this how you hold one of these things?|
|Whoa. You're actually pretty cute.|
|No, no, that's fine--you play, I'll watch.|
However, once again, Patsyette's persistence eventually broke down Penelope's lofty resistance, and the two were soon engrossed in an epic stuffed animal adventure with Patsyette's two favorite toys.
|So, wait. Does the Tiger Prince know that Snowflake likes him?|
After that, there was simply no separating these two.
I really like Patsyette in the Our Generation dolls' modern clothing. Even though some of the pieces are a bit loose, the styles and soft fabrics on these clothes are nice--especially given that they're taken from $10 dolls.
|Patsyette in OG Kendra's outfit.|
Update: thanks to Smaller Places' excellent observation about their facial similarities, here's a comparison between Patsyette and the Moxie Girlz mini doll, Tally.
These two both have upward-glancing, oversized green eyes:
|What a difference the hand-painting makes, though!|
Here's Patsyette back in her original outfit for a few more pictures:
I think my favorite outfit for Patsyette is the Kickit sailor dress. It's especially neat that the black ribbon trim on the dress perfectly matches Patsyette's hair ribbon, and Patsyette's white tights and black shoes happen to coordinate perfectly with the dress:
Bottom line? I really love this doll. I think she's adorable--mostly because of her endearing face. She has a soulful expression and lovely hand-painted eyes with great color and depth. I also like the color and cut of her saran hair, and only take small issue with the uneven and unruly shape of her wispy bangs. It is hard to keep this part of her hair looking good, making me think that she didn't really need bangs at all.
Patsyette has pretty good articulation, but given the superb movement of some of the larger Tonner dolls, I wish there had been a few upgrades to the old Betsy McCall body. For example, the lack of sideways hip movement and the absence of elbow articulation are particularly noticeable. Adding these two joints would have made a timely improvement to a well-balanced body. Given that the body is fairly lightweight and plastic, I also think that better articulation would help justify Patsyette's price. The doll looks great dressed, but when she's undressed there are a few minor body proportion problems. The arms are short and the torso shape is more slim and curvy than I would expect for a three or four-year old child (which is how I imagine this character).
The clothes on this doll are nicely made, but they're plain enough that my first thought was to find her something prettier to wear. I am fortunate to have a Kickit sailor dress that fits her perfectly, but I suspect that many collectors who buy this doll will immediately seek outfits that flatter her better than the simple, stretch-knit jumpsuit she comes with. I found the molded black shoes in her ensemble especially disappointing--they're no better than the shoes on most $20 play dolls. Because Patsyette comes in such a plain outfit, I find this doll's $70 price difficult to justify. Furthermore, the outfit sets that are sold for Patsyette are even more expensive than the basic doll ($80), making them something I will not consider--no matter how lovely they look. I would be much happier with $70 dressed dolls and a selection of $30-40 outfits.
For me, one of the best things about this doll is that her size and facial features make her a wonderful child for the 16 inch Tonner dolls. After years of settling for dolls like Kish's Riley or Tonner's Betsy that don't quite match in style or scale, it's really fun to have found such a good fit for my Tonner families. What would make Patsyette even more compatible with the larger Tonner dolls is if she had better articulation. As I posed Patsyette with Penelope Brewster, there was a clear inequality in what these two dolls could do.
As much as I like Tonner dolls in general, the child dolls from this company have never completely won me over--until now. Patsyette's wide eyes and expectant little face had me hooked at first glance. I don't think the pricing or the articulation on this doll are ideal just yet, but a few small changes would make a big difference. For the moment, Patsyette's captivating face is enough to make me see past her flaws and keep a hopeful eye on this line's future.