1963 Sindy Outfits and Separates

Sindy in the UK

Sindy was launched in the UK in September 1963 in readiness for the Christmas toy market. Sindy’s new outfits were described as “the kind of clothes every grown-up girl longs for”. As well as her eight intricate complete outfits, eight mix and match separates were also available for Sindy. In the first Sindy Bazaar style leaflet they were described as “Sindy has these other lovely ‘separates’ so that she can go anywhere in any weather”.

The first set of UK outfits for Sindy were “Made in England” (commonly called MIE versions by collectors). They have printed on white cotton fabric labels which say “Genuine Sindy Made in England”.  Sometimes there will be a number at the end, but we don’t know what that signifies, because the same number can be found with different outfits. Place of production or production line maybe?

MIE outfits have flat metal Newey poppers, normally painted to match or to co-ordinate with the outfit. The Newey metal snap fasteners (aka poppers) originally used by Pedigree and used on many MIE and Mam’selle garments, were made in Birmingham, and are stamped “NEWEY PAT 201430-22”. So, they are easy to recognise but we have seen a few very early outfits with a really big flat metal popper (both painted and unpainted) or open backed metal (again both painted and unpainted) poppers. Possibly as Pedigree tried out different poppers or needed a substitute at short notice in that early manufacturing.

Pedigree initially produced the outfits at their Merton factory, but as Sindy’s popularity grew, in 1964 Merton switched some production into cutting fabric and preparing garment packs to be sewed by a number of homeworkers who were then employed to meet the increasing demand for Sindy outfits. David Fear, Pedigree’s Product Manager in the 1960s told 12S magazine that a company in Norfolk was also contracted to produce garments (Edition Number 6, page 7).

Also noticeable is that as Pedigree tried to keep up with demand, some of these first MIE versions were simplified, which is why there are sometimes two MIE versions. Perhaps they were trying to increase production through simplification, or because they were outsourcing production and using homeworkers who didn’t have access to specialist equipment. It would also have been easier for subcontractors too.

It was these second MIE versions that were used as the templates for Hong Kong production. Transferring to Hong Kong saw the use of different fabrics bought from the local fabric market and whilst there were many good matches, they did not always match the quality of the fabric suppliers in the United Kingdom. By late 1964 some existing Sindy’s outfits were sub-contracted to Hong Kong to meet the continued high demand both at home and abroad. Initally these garments were sewn with “Empire Made” and then with “Made in Hong Kong” (MIHK) labels for the U.K. market.

When production transferred to Hong Kong the Newey poppers were replaced with locally sourced generic poppers which have a more rounded dome shape.

Later on, probably in about 1965 some garments, usually the Separates, were switched to manufacturing in the Republic of Ireland.

 

Sindy in France

According Kathy Moreau in “Poupées Mannequins Années 60″ Sindy was launched in France in 1964, although we understand that some English Sindys dolls were made available for the 1963 Christmas market. When Lines Brothers acquired Meccano in February 1964, a French Sindy was launched with a full marketing campaign. She was produced and distributed in France by Meccano-Triang (France) and her French leaflet used their headquarters address. The first French Sindy is a very interesting doll, although the doll herself was Made in England, at least some of the very first issue Sindy outfits were made in France and were adapted and styled from the UK outfits. They appear to use the same accessories, but the garments are slightly different and the outfit boxes clearly state that they were Made in France. This was probably to meet local market protection laws, and to ease the UK clothing production burden. Hence, they took the English designs and made French versions using French contractors. They come with a very distinctive leaflet called “Les Toilettes de Sindy”.

Instead of using Newey snap fasteners, the French outfits used ARaymond of Grenoble fasteners. An example of one is shown with the French Dream Date (Ref 12S03) below.

We only have two of these outfits to show you and we don’t know if other outfits in this series were also redesigned. We do know that France at some point also imported outfits from Hong Kong and used stickers to cover up the English name with the French name. We don’t know if they also imported British made outfits. Unfortunately, this timeline is unclear; we don’t know if the redesigned French outfits and the use of Hong Kong imports were contemporary; or if the Hong Kong versions came later, just as they did here in the UK.

Sindy in Australia

When Sindy and her outfits were introduced in Australia in 1964, the Hong Kong versions were the ones they saw first. It made little commercial sense to import from the UK (over 9,400 miles), when Hong Kong was much closer and where the production of Sindy and her outfits and separates had now begun. These clothes often have Made in Hong Kong labels, but a few Empire made labels have also been spotted.

Sindy in New Zealand

When introduced in New Zealand in 1965, Sindy herself was made in New Zealand with parts made in Lines Brothers factories in NZ and parts made in Hong Kong. We believe her outfits and separates were either labelled Made in Hong Kong (although an Empire Made label has been found), or they had no labels at all. This has been confirmed by one NZ collector and we would be keen to know what other NZ collectors have seen.

The release of new Sindy Outfits and Separates in the UK in the 1960s

Providing definitive years of the release of outfits and separates for the early years of Sindy is not straightforward. We knew this when writing the first version of the Sindy Museum, pointing out that some outfits were released earlier than the year they were shown. The catalogues, brochures and style leaflets normally caught up on the next reprint, sometimes labelling these as ‘New’. This is why you find some differences in the literature on Sindy clothes.

For now we are going to keep with our existing timeline where the new outfits were formally shown in a printed catalogue, because we can prove this. But we will try to pin down first release dates with actual proof where we can. If you can help with this, please get in touch. In time, we may change our years to match a revised timeline, but only when it’s all proven.

As many of Sindy’s 1960s outfits were made for a number of years, we will introduce them in the year they were shown in Sindy’s style leaflets and/or trade catalogues, but we will also note any subsequent changes to the outfit as production was simplified and subsequently moved to Hong Kong. In the detail photos below, the MIE version or versions is always shown on the left and the Hong Kong versions is shown on the right. The term “Far East” will be used sometimes as a general term to cover “Empire Made” and “Made in Hong Kong” (MIHK) labels.

Weekenders (Ref 12GSS) (Boxed doll outfit)

The original Sindy was sold (boxed with stand & style leaflet called “Sindy’s bazaar”) in her trendy “bell-bottom blue jeans” with yellow stitching and a jersey cotton red, white and blue matelot top. She had a red elastic Alice band in her hair and wore white lace-up sneakers.

The matelot tops were made from just two cut pieces of fabric sewn together. And, there were two types of fabric. The first type is made from a fine linen/cotton with the pattern printed directly onto the fabric. The second type is made of much thicker stretchy cotton jersey which has been ‘knitted’ with red, white and blue threads.

Sometimes you can find the stripes of these tops have been transposed with blue on the top of the red or vice versa. There is a simple explanation for this, it was simply how the fabric was cut and sewn. This transposition can be found on both fabric types, and makes for an interesting variation.

The bottom hem of both MIE versions can be found finished with a red over-locking stitch. Later versions of the knitted matelot top were folded and hemmed. The matelot top fastened behind the neck with a single white painted flat metal popper. Both types of fabric have MIE labels.

Weekender-jeans-with-real-stitching
Weekender-jeans-with-printed-stitching

Her jeans had a front-fly opening fastened also with a single
white painted metal popper. They did not have a waistband and were shaped at the back with two darts sewn from the waist. Both the waist and the hem of each leg was overstitched with yellow stitching.

There are two versions of the jeans. The very first version had real yellow stitching to create a faux back yoke and side pockets. The second version used yellow printing to create the same effect. This version also had printed jeans pockets.

Stitching is time-consuming, and as Pedigree ramped up production, they needed to find a more efficient production method. Time is money in production, and so printing is likely therefore to have also been more cost-efficient. However, they are both interesting versions; whilst the stitched version is very nice, the back pocket detail of the printed version does finish the back of these jeans very well.

Sindy’s Alice band was a strip of red braided elastic machine stitched together at the back.

Two types of Sindy’s white plastic sneakers can be found with MIE outfits. Far left are a harder moulded version and left the softer vinyl-like version. General thinking is the harder versions came first. Take care with the vinyl-like version, they are prone to splitting.

The Hong Kong dolls came with a Hong Kong made outfit. The very first matelot tops on Hong Kong dolls made for the U.K. (and possibly NZ) market had Empire Made labels, but these are quite hard to find, more usually it has a Made in Hong Kong label, and both top and and jeans had raised dome-shaped white painted poppers. Both the top and jeans are cut slightly smaller on the Far East versions. The top is the knitted fabric version, cut quite tightly and often with a slight waist. The hem is folded and stitched. The jeans are similar to the printed MIE version, cut a little smaller with the fabric being slighly darker and the weave slightly coarser. Photos below MIE underneath left and Hong Kong on top right.

A really good Hong Kong version of Weekenders can be quite hard to find. Whilst all the red garments from the 1960s have a tendency to run when washed, this top is particularly prone to dye runs, only wash it if you really need to.

Her leaflet makes no reference as to her manufacturer and clearly states that the doll is imported from England, but that she is dressed in France.

French Sindy (Ref 12GSS)

French Sindy’s outfit was not called ‘Weekenders’, the French booklet simply called the Weekenders illustration “Sindy”. It suggested that this outfit was “Pour les week-ends et les pique-niques” (weekends and picnics).

Her matelot top is a knitted version stitched with white thread at the hem and her jeans have the printed detailing.

Sleepy-Time (Ref 12S01)

A sweet baby doll sleeveless nightie in pink and white checked cotton trimmed with white nylon lace around the neck and armholes, accompanied by matching knickers with the same lace trim around each leg. The nightie fastened at the back with a single white painted metal popper. She carried a pastel blue drawstring sponge bag containing a white flannel made of fine cotton towelling with overstitched edges, 3 blue curling pins, toothpaste, soap, brush, comb and mirror. She also had a Penguin ‘paperback’ (a piece of printed card) called “Sindy by Pedigree”. The brush, comb and mirror set has been found in pale blue, pink and white coloured plastic (the style book is silent on their colour). In addition, whilst some sources refer to a toothbrush, the style leaflet does not refer to a toothbrush nor is one contained in the boxed versions that we have or have seen. She wore white daisy sandals on her feet.

There is very little difference between the MIE and later Far East garments. They are a good match. The main difference are the labels, poppers and the lace trim. The MIE version has the usual flat popper, but there are also some MIE versions which can be found with a big flat chrome or white metal popper or an open backed white metal popper. The Hong Kong made version has a dome-shaped popper and all these poppers are painted white.

However, there are some little differences with accessories. In this regard, the MIE versions have the edge when it comes to the quality.

The MIE curlers are a little chunkier. The earlier MIE brush and mirror are moulded with the “ADDIS” logo (Addis were, and still are, a British houseware company who specialise in plastic moulded products) but the Hong Kong versions are blank. The MIE soap has slighty rounded edges and is faintly engraved with the word “SOAP”. The Hong Kong version is not marked, and it has squarer edges. The toothpaste tube is nicely moulded with a red painted cap, although the MIE version is slightly longer than the Hong Kong version. Both the Hong Kong soap and toothpaste tube still have remnants of the moulding process flashing (the little tips of plastic).

The MIE sponge bag is made of a softer, silker plastic and it ties with a blue silky cord. Whereas the Hong Kong version is made from a stiffer, slightly more grained plastic and it ties with a white silky cord. This version can harden over time. However, there are variations to this sponge bag, one of which is shown right. We have another version which is made of lighter blue plastic with a white cord. It is grained, but it is softer than the Hong Kong version. We think it’s possibly an MIE substitution, but we don’t know for certain.

Finally, at least some of the early MIE ‘books’ were orange and not red as shown right. Additionally, the orange ‘book’ is much thicker. Orange Penguin books were novels, so now we know Sindy’s favoured bedtime reading.

Undie-World (Ref 12S02)

A sheer dark blue nylon petticoat edged at the top and around the hem with white lace, it had two shoulder straps and it was decorated with a silky pink and blue-green thread bundle embroidery flower on the left thigh.  The matching strapless bandeau bra had a lace trim on top of the cups and it was attached to black elastic at the back. The panties had an elasticated waist with the same lace trim on each leg hole. There was a deep navy blue elasticated roll-on girdle with same flower, and for her hair there was a white lace elasticated hairband. A baby blue brush, comb and mirror complete this outfit. This outfit is extremely fragile and frays very easily.

We believe there are a number of lace trim variations for this set.

The MIE and Far East versions are easy to spot, even without looking at the labels, as there are a number of little differences.The MIE version is made of a more substantial fabric which feels like a good quality petrol-navy blue chiffon, and the Hong Kong version is a more transparent rich navy blue nylon.

Another good indicator are the shoulder straps on the petticoat; the MIE version has navy blue, gosgrain ribbon straps and the Hong Kong version has silky black double-cord straps. They have different lace and the embroidery flower is more finely crafted on the MIE versions with just a very slight difference in colour, the leaf thread is more blue than green on the MIE version.

Like Sleepy-Time above the earlier MIE brush and mirror are moulded with the “ADDIS” logo. Other differences are noted below.

The headband in the main photo is quite hard to find. The more usual MIE ‘cobweb’ version of the hairband is shown on the left and the pretty Hong Kong version is shown right. Although the HK version is wider, they are the same length.

Another difference is the roll-on girdle. Both are made of woven navy blue elastic. The MIE version has a tighter honeycomb weave and a small ruffle trim at the bottom. The Hong Kong version feels softer and silkier with a distinct cornrow weave and a wider ruffle trim.

The bras are very simple, a folded semi circle of blue fabric trimmed with lace and attached to black elastic. The bra is shaped into cups with a loop of black fabric (MIE) or black cord (Hong Kong). Here are two MIE variations. The black elastic is slightly wider on MIE versions.

Dream Date (Ref 12S03)

Sindy’s sugar pink party dress had cap sleeves, a drop waist, knee height frill and it fastened at the back with two white painted metal poppers. Trimmed with white lace at the neck and on bottom hem it was just the dress in which dance the ‘twist’. There was a pink grosgrain ribbon belt and a matching one for her hair. The style leaflet noted that the outfit came with “fabulous golden accessories”. Her shoes were black & gold, kitten heel two-strap backless sandals, and she carried a matching clutch bag with a sewn on pearl fastening, and for her wrist she wore a gold chain bracelet made up of tiny ‘S’ links. Included, was the very latest in portable record players and a Sindy disc to get the party really swinging.

There are a number of differences between the MIE and Far East version. The MIE party dress is a lighter pink than the later version, and the texture and weave is finer. The style leaflet said “Sindy sparkles in her new pink, party dress” and this fabric does have a sparkle-shimmer to it. The lace trim on this dress is more delicate and intricate. It has two white flat poppers. By comparison, the Hong Kong made version is a slightly darker, ‘flatter’ looking dress. It has the usual white dome-shaped poppers. The ribbon belts on the dresses are placed differently, on the MIE at waist height matching the style booklet, and on the Hong Kong version around her waist. The MIE hair ribbon is slightly longer, and along with the belt, overall the MIE outfit has greater generosity with the ribbons.

We can see little material difference with most of the accessories; perhaps the MIE record player is a slightly lighter in colour but that could just be the dye batch. There is however a difference in the gold clutch bags. The MIE version has a ribbed edge along the bonded bottom seam and the Hong Kong version is smooth.

Surprise Party (12S03) - French version of Dream Date

Lastly, here is the beautiful French version of Dream Date. The French style leaflet called it “Surprise Party” but the name on the box is “Surprise Partie”. The reference is the same i.e. 12S03.

This version has taffeta ribbon rather than grosgrain. But the most striking difference is the lace trim around the neck and particularly around the hem.

Surprise Party lace ruffle

The French version uses the lace trim as an additional ruffle, we think it looks really pretty styled like this.

Just as the UK used English Newey snap fasteners, in France a French snap fastener was used. These were ARaymond of Grenoble fasteners with their destinctive “RG” trademark which was submitted by Raymond & Guttin in 1868 and which was retained by ARaymond when Alexander Guttin sold his stake in the company in 1890. It is still used on ARaymond™ products today.

Lunch Date (Ref 12S04)

A classic 60s outfit very much in the style of Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy. A wool all-in-one long-sleeved dress, with a black turtle-neck top and a royal blue, green & black tartan hipster skirt. It had a sewn-on black belt. The dress fastened at the back with two black painted metal poppers.  A matching tartan triangular headscarf, black kitten heel court shoes, black shoulder bag with a gold chain handle, and her diary with a printed loose folded insert, complete the ensemble.

This outfit was shown in the Pedigree style leaflets up to and including 1968. After that year it appears to have been dropped. Perhaps by the late sixties it was beginning to look too dated and old-fashioned for a fashion follower like Sindy to wear.

Shown in the main photo above is the 2nd MIE version. Originally this outfit came with a black vinyl fabric-backed tie-bow belt which was subsequently replaced on MIE versions with just black plastic belt without a bow. This change was probably to speed up production.

A number of subtle variations appear to have been made over its five years of production. These variations are mainly due to the slight changes in fabric that were sourced and used over this period. As can be seen in the photo above right showing the vinyl bow versions, they also had slightly different tartans.

The Hong Kong version of Lunch Date is a pretty good match to the MIE version with a few changes. Shown below are the two MIE versions (left) and the Hong Kong version (right). The most obvious difference is the poppers, which on the Far East version are black painted dome-shaped poppers. Another difference is the fabric. With the Hong Kong version, the black wool “top” is made of a much softer and finer material, which feels more like brushed-flannel rather than the woven wool fabric used on the earlier versions, and the tartan fabric for the skirt is cut shorter. The Hong Kong tartan scarf is also cut a little smaller. MIE kitten heel court shoes are harder.  Finally, the handbags are different and are shown below.

The Lunch Date bag is very interesting. Made of black plastic with a gold chain, it is an elegant teardrop (or egg shape) design.

As shown left the bonded seam on the MIE version has a finer, thicker ribbed finish and is made of a much softer plastic. The Hong Kong version plastic is much harder.

We have seen this bag shown with folded down flap (including the one shown the V&A collection which has a band holding it down). However, Sindy’s Bazaar style leaflet clearly shows the handbag was a teardrop design.

Champs-Élysées (Ref 12S04) - French version of Lunch Date

Lastly, here is the lovely French version of ‘Lunch Date’ which includes Sindy’s dog Ringo. How chic and so very French to take your little doggie with you when you go out to lunch. Again the fabric of this outfit is different and although the style leaflet is in French, Sindy’s diary is in English and is the same as the one sold in the UK. This outfit appears to have dropped Sindy’s shoes and replaced them with Ringo, and we do wonder whether this one is actually a substitution to meet production demands? We would again be keen to hear from anyone else who also has a French boxed version of this outfit to check what they have.

Skating Girl (Ref 12S05)

A lovely outfit comprising a circular felt skating skirt which fastened at the back of the waist with a white painted metal popper. Her cotton knit sweater had a red, white and black stripe design, with white ribbed cuffs, neckband and waistband. It fastened at the back of the neck with a white painted metal popper. She wore a matching hat with a black elastic strap, which can be found with a red or a white pompom. Her scarf was a complimentary pattern, predominantly red with a white and black design with a pompom at each end, and again they can be found in both red or white. It had matching red cotton jersey tights and she wore white felt mittens with red over-stitching and white skating boots with silver blades.

Although the MIE and Hong Kong versions follow the same pattern, it is very easy to tell the origin of this outfit, even without checking the popper on the sweater and skirt. The MIE version of the sweater and hat has a wider striped pattern. The scarf is also very different. The MIE version is made from a predominantly red knitted fabric with black and white stripes. The Hong Kong scarf is made from the same fabric as the sweater and hat. The pompoms are chenille on the MIE version and wool on the Hong Kong outfit. The MIE felt skating skirt is much finer in quality than its Hong Kong counterpart. The MIE tights are a thicker cotton knit and the Hong Kong version is thinner. The gloves and boots are a good match.

The Hong Kong version of this outfit was re-issued on a 1968 boxed Sindy doll called ‘Ice Skater’ (see 1968 Sindy).

Shopping-in-the-Rain (Ref 12S06)

A sexy, contemporary outfit comprising a black, shiny trench coat style rain mac with patch pockets and a separate tie belt. It had an attached collar and turned back revers. There was a matching triangular rain scarf which fastened with one black painted metal popper under the chin. Sindy wore red plastic knee high boots and carried a fashionable red PVC tote-style shopping bag with an integral handle and front pocket. A faux umbrella, newspaper (The Daily Globe) and three oranges in a clear plastic bag complete the look.

There are two MIE versions of this rain mac and rain scarf. The first version is made of a shiny black ‘patent’ plastic with moulded detailing along every edge. It has a double row of moulding down the front of the coat and at the end of the seams. The patch pockets are bonded to the front of the coat and the stitch line detailing is also moulded. The seams are bonded. The head scarf is also moulded along each edge. The second MIE version is a heavier, duller fabric-backed black vinyl and is actually stitched with black thread. The head scarf is plain cut fabric-backed vinyl. The seams of this version are stitched. The first patent look mac is a little longer than the second version. Both versions have a flat black painted popper on the headscarf.

We believe this was another product change to meet the high demand for this lovely outfit, the first version would have required specialist equipment to make, whilst the second version could be simply cut and stitched.

The Hong Kong version is very similar to MIE second version, except that the vinyl used was not fabric-back (see photo right) and is slightly duller. The head scarf has a dome shaped black painted popper.

The first MIE belt was made of the same plastic as the mac and is longer and remains very flexible. Of the later plastic belts, the Far East version can often become quite hard and inflexible.

There are some differences in the accessories.The shopping bag and boots are discussed below but there are other slight differences.

The faux MIE umbrella’s red plastic covering has a straight cut edge along the top, whereas the Far East version can be found with a serated edge, it is made with a duller, darker slightly textured plastic and it’s not quite as well made. The MIE oranges are just a bit nicer, the Far East versions often have little flashing remnants and sometimes holes rather than the moulding where the fruit was picked from the tree. Our MIE Daily Globe newspaper is whiter than the Far East version, but we don’t know if that is due to different paper used, or just how these outfits were stored with the paper degrading over time. Certainly, the printing on the original version is much finer.

The first tote-style shopping bag is different to later versions. It is softer and more flexible. It is a deeper red plastic and the pocket is lower. It has a thicker ribbed finishing to the edges of the bag.

The Far East version is lighter in colour and thicker, and it feels spongy like there is a padded layer between the front and back plastic. The front pocket is placed higher up. The ribbed finishing is tighter.

There are a lot more of the Far East bags, and we have speculated that this was an early subsitution to meet demand.

The boots are also noticeably different.

The MIE version is a slightly different red and they are softer and have a longer, oval shape at the top. They fit MIE Sindys much better, but they are prone to splitting.

The Far East versions are a slightly darker red. They are harder with a rounder shape at the top. These boots aren’t finished quite so well.

 

Pony Club (12S07)

A smart and beautifully detailed outfit which was very popular and which was made for a number of years. In fact, this outfit has five different labelled riding jackets.

A dark brown tailored riding jacket with straight long sleeves and a sewn-on black felt collar with turned-back revers. The jacket front had a long vertical dart on each side to provide shape, and black felt, faux pocket flaps. The jacket fastened at the front with two small brown buttons which buttoned through machine-sewn button holes. For added detail, there was a small vent at the back of the jacket. The outfit came with a pair of beige drill cotton jodhpurs with turn-ups which fastened at the side of her waist with a metal popper. Under the jacket Sindy wore a patterned cotton check shirt with a sewn-on collar and straight sleeves. The shirt fastened at the front with three white metal poppers.

Included was Sindy’s hard plastic, black riding hat which was a green moulded hat felted on top with black felting, silver spurs, riding crop and two blue brushes to groom her pony. On her feet she wore brown flat lace-up shoes.

 

This outfit has some of the most recognisable differences between the MIE and the version made in the Far East.

Like some of the other original Made in England (MIE) outfits, there are two MIE versions.

The first version had a jacket made of brown felt. Felt is not a great fabric for intricate dolls’ clothes and perhaps to ease the sewing process, the felt was then replaced with a dark coffee brown jacket made of a good quality, fine cotton twill. Changing the felt enabled the bulkier front jacket lining, which was made by folding the felt over and stitching it, to be replaced. Separate pieces of the lighter weight twill fabric could be sewn together to make the lining, creating hidden, internal seams. This avoided the need for such precise stitching on the front of such a fiddly garment! Apart from this the two jackets were the same. The MIE drill cotton jodphurs were camel coloured and fastened with one white painted flat metal popper. The MIE shirt was made from red, black and white 4-pointed star check printed cotton, and fastened with three white painted flat metal poppers.

Turning to the Far Eastern made outfit, it was the second version of the outfit with the drill cotton jacket which was used as the template for the Hong Kong made outfit.

The Far East jacket is made of a darker chocolate brown cotton twill, and compared to the English version, it feels much softer and isn’t such good quality. The buttons are lighter in colour on the Hong Kong version, and the thread used for the buttonholes, stitching and overlocking the fabric is more green in colour (see photo top right – MIE on the left and HK on the right). The V-vent used at the back of the English versions was replaced by a flap on the Hong Kong versions (see middle photo right). The Hong Kong jodphurs were a lighter, sand colour and an unpainted chrome coloured dome-shaped popper replaced the white painted flat popper at the waist. The shirts are also very different. The three MIE white flat painted poppers were replaced by three white dome shaped poppers. Also the fabric was changed, with the red, black and white 4-pointed star check cotton replaced by a small red and white, line and check cotton fabric.

We can see no real differences in the riding helmet apart from the MIE version perhaps using a finer felting and being more nicely finished underneath. The silver spurs, riding crop and two blue grooming brushes appear to be the same (although some grooming brushes say “HONG KONG” on the paddle). MIE brown lace-ups are hard plastic and the Far East version softer vinyl plastic.

Shown above are all the Pony Club Jackets that we know of

  • Top row MIE 1 (Felt fabric) and MIE 2 (Twill cotton)
  • Middle Hong Kong jacket labelled “Genuine Sindy”
  • Bottom Row “Empire Made” and “Made in Hong Kong”
We have read that the “Genuine Sindy” labelled jacket was ‘Made in England’, but as you can see above, it clearly has all the characteristics of a Hong Kong made garment. But, what we do think is that this jacket was an early substitution or supplemented the stock for the MIE 2 jacket. It reminds us of the 1965 Winter Holiday anorak, where there are a number of Hong Kong sheepskin trimmed anoraks which have no label. We have speculated that these unlabelled jackets were used to complete outfits assembled in England. Both the riding jacket and the ski jacket are complicated garments. It would have made more commercial sense to produce these time-consuming products in Hong Kong where manufacturing was cheaper.
 
Shown below is the first Made in England version compared with the later Hong Kong version which highlights the different shirts and jodphurs.

 

Country Walk (Ref 12S08)

A fantastically authentic British 60s outfit. A tan suedette jacket fully lined with taffeta, fastened with two black painted metal poppers at the front. Under the jacket was a forest green, long-sleeved polo-neck sweater. It had a sewn-on polo-neck and waistband made of the same material. It opened down the back where it fastened with four black painted metal poppers. It came with a classic wool tweed skirt in a cream, brown and caramel striped check, with a centre pleat front and back. It had a sewn-on waistband, and it fastened at the back with one black painted metal popper. The outfit was worn with brown lace up walking shoes and Sindy was accompanied by her little dog Ringo. He had his own collar and lead, bowl and bone.

This outfit is not listed in any style leaflet after 1965. However, this outfit was available until early 1969.

This was another outfit with two MIE versions and a subsequent Far East version. The first version is quite distinctive. The suedette jacket has a peach taffeta lining. This version of the polo neck sweater has the best finishing to the sleeves; a very neat, small overlock stitching with a matching thread. The pattern of this skirt matches the style leaflet most closely, and it is just slightly longer than the later versions because it has a wider waistband. This is a really good quality tweed. The second MIE version has a few differences. The suedette jacket has a yellow taffeta lining. The sweater has a lighter green, more prominent overlocking stitching at the end of the sleeves. The skirt has a narrower waistband and the fabric is different with a less prominent cream stripe. Both MIE versions have the usual flat poppers, normally black painted but unpainted brass (jacket) and white painted (sweater) poppers have been found. The Hong Kong version has a few changes apart from the black domed shaped popper. The jacket is darker in colour, more brown than tan and it has a yellow cotton lining. The sweater’s sleeves have a better matching overlock stitching. But, the most obvious difference is the skirt, whilst still cream, brown and caramel, this has a houndstooth pattern rather than the striped check. The fabric is not as good quality as the MIE versions. MIE brown lace-ups are hard plastic and the Far East version softer vinyl plastic.

We cannot see any real differences with Ringo, his lead, bone and bowl.

The Country Walks jacket does not fare well over time and often stiffens. The second MIE version is the same size as the first version and the Hong Kong version above, but stretching it would cause the suedette to crack so is shown as is. In this regard, the Hong Kong versions last much better and tend to be more flexible.

Leather Looker (Ref 12S51)

An A-line hipster skirt with sewn on braces in an orange-red mock leather made of cotton-backed vinyl. The braces were attached with two white painted metal poppers at the front and the skirt fastened at the back with one white painted popper. Very groovy and a very up-to-date fashion of the time.

Here shown with the shirt from “Out and About’ (Ref 12S56).

This skirt was originally Made in England and then in the Irish Republic. Those “Made in the Irish Republic” can be found with unpainted, chrome coloured poppers, still supplied by Newey. Production finally shifted to Hong Kong and these versions have white painted, dome shaped poppers.

It is noticeable that whilst the English and Irish versions of this skirt remain very flexible, the Hong Kong version has hardened over time and can be quite stiff and inflexible today.

Shown above left to right, Made in England, Made in the Irish Republic and Made in Hong Kong.

Nylons (Ref 12S52)

Two pairs of sheer nylon stockings, one pair in black and one pair in tan. They were held up with a thin piece elastic sewn to the top of each leg.

There are MIE and Hong Kong stockings and it can be very difficult to tell them apart if they are not Mint in Packet (MIP). Shown right, MIE on the left and Hong Kong on right.

This is our very non-scientific way of telling them apart, so we accept this might not work all the time.

The MIE version is made from a slightly better, finer nylon. The elastic at the top of each leg is sewn on with a zig zag stitch. With these stockings there is a stitched seam on the outside made of little straight horizontal stitches which gives a lovely straight, flat seam at the back of Sindy’s leg. The end of the threads are finished on the inside. These stockings were packaged ‘worn’ on cut out cardboard legs, the top of the cardboard was folded over and attached to the backing board.

The Hong Kong versions are a good match, but the nylon isn’t quite so fine and they are not so well made. These stockings have an overlocking stitch holding the elastic in place. The leg seams are also stitched with an overlock stich and are on the inside of the stocking. If these stockings were worn inside-out, the seam will stick out and won’t lie flat against the back of Sindy’s legs. The Hong Kong versions can also vary in size and some will not fit on MIE dolls, whilst others will. If the fit is tight, take care because you can end up splitting the top of the stockings or laddering them. We have read that these stockings were simply attached to the backing board, but we don’t know for sure and we would pleased to know what others have found with their MIP Hong Kong stockings.

Sloppy Joe (Ref 12S53)

A red pullover sweater made from knitted ribbed cotton with a rounded, ribbed V-neck and cuffs. It fastened at the back of the neck with one white popper. Accompanied by a pair of matching knee length socks. Ideal for that casual, lounging about look.

Shown here on Sindy with Weekender jeans (Ref 12GSS).

Apart from the popper, the main difference between the MIE and Hong Kong Sloppy Joes is the neckline. The MIE version has a round neckline whereas the Hong Kong version is more V-shaped. The MIE version is also a richer red and the Hong Kong version is a tighter weave and is a dark red.

Sloppy Joe socks are very simple. They are made from a tube of red cotton jersey knit. They are cut and sewn at one end with an overlocking stich. The open leg end is left unsewn and folded over.

The weave of the Hong Kong version is slightly coarser and if you rub a sock between your thumb and forefinger, the MIE version feels soft and Hong Kong version feels rougher. Shown right, MIE on the left and Hong Kong on right.

Sloppy Joe was made for a number of years and we believe the final version was made with one of the large plastic poppers indicating that it was probably made circa 1969.

Windy Day (Ref 12S54)

An elasticated “tamashanta” beret with a pom pom, matching scarf with a short, simple fringe, and a muff all made from a fine deep blue woven wool.

Similar to Skating Girl (Ref 12S05), they are usually found with a red pompom but there is also a version of the “tamashanta” beret with a white pompom.

We have received the following information from a Scottish Sindy collector which you might find interesting.

“I note that in Sindy 1963, you refer to a “Tamashanta beret”. While this might be Pedigree’s interpretation, the hat is actually called a “Tam o’ Shanter”. It is named after the famous Robert Burns poem, and was the sort of bonnet (as it would have been known), worn by Ayrshire peasants such as Tam and his cronies. Not a very glamorous association, so Pedigree may well have wanted to jazz it up a bit!”

The country of manufacture for this outfit can be difficult to identify because it doesn’t always have labels (unless it is still Mint in Packet). However, it is worth turning the beret inside out and looking behind the elastic band where it is sewn to the blue fabric. Sometimes there is a label tucked away here. The scarf and muff on their own would be much harder to identify.

The MIE version is made of deep blue woven wool and it has a red chenille pompom.These sometimes don’t have labels in the beret, but the chenille pompom and the quality of the woven wool is quite easy to spot. We have also found this set with a white chenille pompom and it does have a “Made in the Irish Republic” label. We also have a red pompom version with a “Made in the Irish Republic” label too. We don’t know if there was a MIE version with a white pompom. The quality of the blue woven wool is the same across the English and Irish versions.

The Hong Kong version uses a red wool pompom and the material feels more like a flannel than a woven wool. We have even seen one which felt suspiciously like brushed nylon. This version is much softer to the touch. If your Sindy can’t bear real wool wrapped around her neck, then this would be the version for her as it is still very cosy. Shown right for comparison, MIE scarf on the left and Hong Kong scarf on the right.

Shown above MIE version on the left, Irish Republic beret centre, and Made in Hong Kong version on the right.

Summery Days (Ref 12S55)

A short sleeved, shift dress with an upright collar, in orange hued multi-check and olive and burgundy striped cotton. It was trimmed at the neck with an olive green/caramel brown woven ribbon bow. It fastened at the back with two poppers . A variation of this dress was issued in 1968 with ‘Wardrobe Trunk’ (see 1968 Scenesetters or 1968 Sindy).

The MIE version of this dress nearly always has a label, but it can also be identified by its poppers. This dress can be found with the usual flat poppers in both white painted or chrome metal. It can also be found with white painted or chrome open-backed poppers, and lastly it can be found with white painted or chrome metal large poppers. It was made in large quantities and a good example is quite easy to find.

Surprisingly, it can be harder to find a good example of the later Hong Kong version here in the UK. The Far East dress has white dome shaped poppers. The bow is often more caramel in colour, and is grosgrain rather than woven. The fabric is different, the MIE version is a crisp, good quality cotton and the pattern is different. The MIE pattern has a solid olive green vertical stripe, and the Hong Kong versions have a solid burgundy vertical stripe. The Hong Kong fabric is thinner, and it is also just a little bit shorter.

Lastly, the bows on this dress vary. They are often found with just the ribbon streamers attached at the neck.

The construction of the bow was very simple and was made of two pieces of ribbon. A length of ribbon was folded and placed vertically at the neckline with the fold at the top, then another piece of ribbon was folded and placed in the fold of the first ribbon to make the horizontal bow, and this construction was sewn straight onto to the neck of the dress. It can be very easy to pull out the bow leaving just the ribbon streamers.

In the photo left are three examples. They are left to right, intact bow, streamers only, and a vintage repair to fasten a fallen out bow.

This set was available for a number of years although it was not always shown in the Sindy style leaflets or trade catalogues. The last time it was shown was in the 1970 trade catalogue. In 1969, its description was slightly altered in an attempt to present this six year old outfit as still being the height of fashion. The V-neck jerkin was now described as a “snazzy red waistcoat” and that this outfit was “the gear for action, so Sindy’s ready for “all systems go!””

Out-and-about (Ref 12S56) (aka Out & About)

This was a two piece ensemble consisting of a cotton red & white check shirt and a scarlet red V-neck jerkin made of felt.

The shirt had long sleeves with two rows of stitching at the wrist to simulate cuffs. It had a sewn-on collar and turned-back lapels to form a V-shape neckline. The shirt fastened at the front with two painted metal poppers. The sleeveless V-neck jerkin echoed the shape of the front of the shirt and was cut quite deeply enabling the shirt and the poppers to be displayed underneath. The jerkin fastened at the back with three painted metal poppers.

There is also a rather nice MIE variation which had a white felt jerkin instead of the usual red version.

The MIE versions had flat poppers and these were painted either red or white. All combinations appear – white shirt poppers and red jerkin poppers, red shirt poppers and white jerkin poppers, and so on. In addition, this shirt had a very bold red & white gingham check pattern with a white square. The shirts normally have labels sewn in at the collar at the back of the neck or sewn into a side seam showing the place of manufacture, but as yet we have never found a jerkin with a label. Even without the labels, this MIE outfit is easy to recognise from its poppers and the pattern of the shirt. There are two versions of the MIE set. The first version is the nicest, it has a wider seam on which the poppers are placed at the back of the jerkin and it has generously cut lapels on the shirt. This version is a little bigger than subsequent versions. The later MIE version is very nice also, but there is a little variability in this version, perhaps these garments were sent out to be sewn by homeworkers. The jerkin is a little shorter and it does not have the wider popper seam on the back.

There is also a Made in Irish Republic version which we believe was produced later on, and you don’t see so many of these, but it’s still very well made and it is very similar to the second MIE version.

Lastly, the later Far East version is a little different. The dome-shaped metal poppers were normally always painted white. The jerkin is cut narrower and the felt used isn’t as fine as the MIE/Irish versions. In addition, the red & white gingham check shirt pattern is reversed with a red square.

Shown below are two MIE versions to show the red and white coloured poppers (left) and the Hong Kong version on the right. Jerkins are face down to show the poppers.

Here are all four versions that we know of together, shown with Weekender Jeans

Clockwise from top right: MIE, MIE second version, Made in Irish Republic and top left Made In Hong Kong.

Cape (Ref 12S57)

A black and white houndstooth check wool cape. It was collarless and had a black vertical trim down the front panel seams. A gap was left in the stitching of the front panels to provide armholes for Sindy. The cloak opened down the front and fastened with three black poppers.

As well as the black and white check variation, there is also a black and cream check variation shown right. Shown below is the white MIE label against the black and cream variation showing that this garment has not been dyed.

Perhaps the Cape was a very popular separate, and Pedigree had to source a couple of substitute fabrics?

There is a MIE variation of the Cape shown left. This uses a black and white check, thick woven cotton instead of the wool houndstooth. It is longer in length and it also has the distinctive flat black-painted Newey poppers.

There are some interesting quirks to this garment.

There are capes with different numbers of poppers, or no poppers at all.

But our favourite are the capes made of two patterns, where the fabric has been sewn together with one piece inside out.

The Hong Kong version of Cape matches the original houndstooth cape with subtle differences. The flat black-painted Newey poppers were replaced with  dome shaped black-painted poppers and the material is different. The MIE version is made of a finely woven, smoother wool fabric; the Hong Kong version is made of a thinner, coarser woven wool fabric.

We have an unusual MIE coat shown right with stitching very close to the edge of the sleeve, but there is no evidence of any toggles ever having been sewn onto the cuffs. In addition, we can find no evidence of any cord fastenings. Instead on this version the four toggles are sewn on with brown thread and the coat has slits for button holes instead of wool loops. We don’t know if this is an early version or an adaptation.

Duffle Coat (Ref 12S58)

A beautifully stylish tan felt duffle coat with a hood and two patch pockets. It has six little plastic toggles made to look like wood, four on the front and one at the end of each sleeve. Two front toggles fasten the coat by being threaded through wool loops.

If your duffle coat does not have a label, the easiest way to identify the MIE version from the Hong Kong version is by the toggles. On the earlier MIE version they are torpedo shaped whereas Hong Kong toggles have flat ends. The other differences are the colour of the coat – the Hong Kong version is brown rather than tan, and MIE toggle cords are made of brown wool and Hong Kong are made from mushroom brown embroidery thread. The Hong Kong felt isn’t quite as nice as the MIE felt and the coat is a little smaller.