Guide to Restringing Neck Strings
If your doll already has a neck string that is long enough to be untied (like the one shown below), use the first section of this guide for dolls with good neck strings. If your doll does not have a neck string, or the neck string is too short or tangled to untie, use the second section for dolls with no or bad neck strings.
Dolls with Good Neck Strings
If your doll already has a neck string that is long enough to comfortably untie, you have the easy route.
First, untie the current neck string. Then, sew one of of your new replacement neck string on to the end of your current neck string.
Next, gently pull on the un-sewn end of your current neck string until it moves through the neck seam, pulling your new neck string along behind it into the seam.
Once the new neck string has been pulled through the neck seam to show on both ends, cut off the old neck string. Center the new neck string and double tie it.
No or Bad Neck String
You will need: one old-fashioned shoelace, the kind with a plastic tip on the ends.
Many dolls produced today have no neck strings, but instead use zip ties. First, we may need to open up the neck seam and then cut out the zip tie.
We do this by carefully using small scissors or a seam ripper to cut the threads holding the neck seam closed at the center of the back. We do NOT cut the material – only pick apart the threads along the neck seam. Do not go past the horizontal line of stitches showing the end of the neck seam, or you will have to re-sew your doll.
In the image below you can see the bump where the end of the zip tie is hiding. To get to it, we need to cut the threads holding together the seam (with the arrow pointing to it) from the red line to red line.
Once you get the seam opened up, use scissors to cut the zip tie in half and pull it out of the neck seam to make room for the new neck strings.
If you have too short or tangled neck strings, cut them in half and remove them to make room for the new one. Then, remove the doll’s head to make restringing easier.
Now, we need to thread in our shoelace. The replacement neck string is too floppy to be threaded through the neck seam by itself, so that is why we have the shoelace. The plastic tip will make it easier to navigate through the neck seam.
If you aren’t going to use the shoelace again, cut off a section about a foot in, it will make it a little easier. If you need to keep the shoelace intact, that is fine.
Sew the end of your new neck string on to the end of the shoelace. If you cut off the shoelace, the sewing will be on the end without the plastic tip.
Now, work the plastic tip through the neck seam. Be patient, this might take a few minutes of incremental progress.
Once the plastic tip of the neck string emerges from the other end of the neck steam, gently pull on it the emerged end. Do this until the whole shoelace moves through the neck seam, pulling your new neck string along behind it into the seam.
Once the new neck string has been pulled through the neck seam to show on both ends, cut off the old neck string. Put back in the head, center the new neck string and double tie it.