Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Little did we realize when we set out that sunny June day what a treasure awaited us at, of all places, the Other Savers! I work at the Savers in Sparks, Nevada, and the Other Savers is the one in Reno. Of course my coworkers and I consider our store to be vastly superior to theirs (well, it is bigger). But with thrift stores, it's all a matter of being in the right place at the right time. We had some donations to make, since Auntie Berman was getting ready to move away (and sadly, she has done so) and since many of the items were things I never wanted to see again, we took them to the Other Savers. (Here I might add that sometimes we donate things to my store and then accidentally buy them again, but that just shows that our taste is consistent.)

Anyway, as we checked out the Toy Wall, I noticed that their toy bags were much bigger than ours (and more expensive). I think it was Auntie Berman who spotted the larger-than-Barbie size doll in a bag and closer inspection revealed it to be a Tonner doll!

"What are the odds of finding me in a thrift store!"
There was a Barbie and some other small toys in the bag with her and the price was $5.99. Because she had just been put out that day, I couldn't buy her with my employee discount so Auntie Berman bought her at full price. And here I must say that when we made the donation, the guy asked us if we wanted a 20% off coupon and I carelessly said "Oh no, I'm an employee so we don't need it." Auntie Berman has not let me forget that. We later stopped at a Salvation Army store and bought a sock for her to wear, although it didn't fit as nicely as Casilda's.

When we got home I began to search for her identity. On the back of her head it says Effanbee Doll Company Inc. ©2004. On the small of her back it says ©2003 Tonner Doll Company Inc. I started with the Effanbee Company website and thought she looked a little bit, but not totally, like Brenda Starr. Then I went to the Tonner website and thought I searched thoroughly through their archived catalogs but still couldn't find her. So I emailed the Tonner Company and a very nice lady named Michelle helped me figure out that she (the doll) was Betty Ann, Brenda Starr's friend. They only had her for a couple of years, around 2006. Michelle said "Still working and now that we solved this wonderful mystery, it’s 2006 Mainline Collection, scroll to Effanbee and you will see her, it’s the Basic Betty Ann!! YAY!  Mystery solved, you’ll see her in full view…so fun! Glad we could help, those dates are basically meaningless as we use them for many years and also we used the Tonner updated bodies on Effanbee too so they had the bendy wrists!"

Here is what she looked like in the catalog.
Brenda Starr, Daphne Dimples, Betty Ann
I wonder why Betty Ann didn't have a last name? I named her Starla. I have a Wayfarers Inn doll named Starla but they don't mind sharing the same name. 

Of course I made her a swimsuit.

Possibly there's a bit too much cleavage.
I found a pair of Barbie shorts that just fit her, along with a Barbie shirt that was too big.

"Well, it's better than a sock."
And then I attempted to make her a dress using a Barbie pattern that I biggified, with not very good results.

"This dress makes me look dowdy!"
I have photographed her with Trouty Boy, one of our two trout shaped pillows that are excellent neck pillows. They are both named Trouty Boy but mine only has one eye. I keep meaning to give him another one, because I have a whole package of googly eyes, but somehow I never remember to do it.

Next I will try this Gene dress  because I really like bias-cut dresses. Gene is the same size as Betty Ann, although made by a different company.

Because they were both designed by Robert Tonner, I thought Starla and Lorraine might get along well.

"Surely we're not really related!"

They were polite to each other, but that's all.

Now if I can just walk into a thrift store and find Havana St. John with or without his eye patch!


  1. Another great buy! You have such luck finding these dolls. The little sailor suit in the picture you showed is just too cute! I wonder if I could make one for my Best Friends Club doll. I followed the link and saw the boy doll, the outfits both those dolls are wearing are gorgeous aren't they. The dress looks very retro.

    1. I have always loved sailor suits and have been meaning to try to make at least one. I know you would be able to make a darling one for any or all of your girls.

  2. Starla is beautiful and has a vintage look about her. I still haven't found out which model my Tonner doll is, I might do some investigations this weekend and do a post about it so we can compare. Mine has a modern haughty look about her and does not look as friendly and approachable as Starla does. How tall is Starla? I love the swimsuit that you made her. Her dress from the Barbie pattern might just need nipping in at the waist and a little off the hem. It is very pretty otherwise. Sorry to hear of Auntie Berman, your partner in crime's. departure

    1. Starla is 16 inches tall, which is standard for Robert Tonner's fashion dolls (the male dolls are 17"). They also have a 22" size called American Models. You can e-mail with pictures if you can't find her in one of their catalogs and they will be happy to help you!

    2. Mrs. Smith just stopped by and she and I decided to go thrifting on Tuesday. It won't be the same as with Auntie Berman, but it will be much more fun than going alone.

  3. Starla is interesting. She has such a mature face. You made another nice bathing suit. I love the fabric you used for her dress & I agree with Lizzie that a few slight adjustments should solve any problems she has with it. She looks like a fun size to sew for and I love the Gene pattern you referred to. Very nice find.