During the Halloween Parade we got a chance to meet some of the Springfield Girls dolls thanks to one of readers, Sharry. Springfield Girls are a line of very affordable (about $20 each), basic 18″ vinyl play dolls that you can purchase at craft stores like Michael’s, A.C. Moore and others. They are perfect starter dolls, they work great as models for your sewing projects and they make great friends for your other play dolls like American Girl, Maplelea, Journey Girls and the like.
Sharry has been kind enough to send us a write up about her Springfield Girl and some photos, too! And now to Sharry…
Hello Doll Diaries readers,
My name is Sharry A. and I’m a teacher and an adult toy collector. As it happens, I ran across these dolls completely by accident. One day I was at Michael’s to pick up some craft supplies when I ran across these dolls. I fell in love. I had been wanting a modern 18″ doll for some time, but was unwilling to pay the high price of American Girl dolls. I decided to take one home and turn it into a 70s doll. I picked the one known as “Sofia”, and renamed her “Julie Newman”. I chose that one because she had a middle part in her hair as opposed to bangs, and she’s more or less my skin tone. I was intrigued by the inexpensive clothing choices, and thought WOW this was great.
Upon bringing her home, I decided to research these dolls online, as I had never heard of them. Sadly, it seems that they are poorly reviewed and play second fiddle to American Girl. I consider this unjust and wanted to inform anyone who ever thought about getting one of these dolls not to have second thoughts. They are constructed very similarly to AG, except they have rooted hair, have slimmer bodies and limbs, and slightly larger feet. Their arms and legs are posable, though they have trouble sitting without the support of their hands behind them or leaning on something.
One of the main problems people face is the hair. It seems that it tends to “frizz up” when not handled properly. According to the Springfield Collection people, as long as you use a rubber tipped brush (like a blow dryer brush), the hair will not frizz. I can attest to this as I’ve had my doll since June of this year, and her hair is still as soft as the day I purchased her. But since I’m on the subject of hair, I do have a couple of concerns with the dolls known as “Madison” (African American) and “Niya” (Native American). While I appreciate the fact that the dolls are different ethnic origins, “Madison’s” hair is a complete MESS. The box states that you can brush her beautiful hair, but when you try, it comes out in clumps and gets very frizzy. As an African American woman, this bothers me. I want the same play value from this doll as the other dolls. “Niya’s” hair comes in braids, and is hard to style once the braids are taken down. It also has a permanent part down the middle. Both dolls don’t have as much hair as the other dolls. As you can see, from the pictures, I did something about this. (for more on this, check out my YouTube channel: HardyGirl66 under Springfield Collection Dolls). Now “Madison’s” hair looks textured rather than curly and “Niya’s” hair is straightened.
Overall, these dolls are a wonderful inexpensive alternative to American Girl and make great gifts to someone you know who wants an 18″ doll. By the way, “Madison and Niya” will be donated to a local toy drive this Christmas. I have a number of videos on YouTube with these dolls (“Madison and Niya” are known as “Tracie and Wendy”) if you want to check them out.
Until next time,