Monday, November 4, 2013

Felicity's Colonial Dress (with bumroll!)

Several years ago, my cat Felicity sent a little American Girl doll  to Maggie and Lily because the doll shared her name.  (Fergus sent them his namesake Tank Engine too.)  The Felicity doll’s story is set in the American colonial period, so she seemed especially appropriate to send as a gift from Philadelphia where there is so much rich history of the American colonies and the Revolutionary War. 

Sadly, American Girl has retired Felicity. I decided that Lily and Maggie needed some Colonial dress-up clothes for their American Girl-sized dolls. (Or possibly their Raggedies) .   I love the process of making doll clothes.  I first learned to sew making outfits from commercial patterns for my Velvet and Mia dolls. 

I think you can really learn to appreciate history when you look at the clothing and learn about the lives of women and girls of the past.  When I was in grade school, I made Pilgrim and Native American clothes for Velvet and Mia for a school project. I don’t remember much else from 5th grade, but I do remember researching and making those costumes.

Mop cap, bodice, skirt, bumroll, shawl, pantaloons and apron

I used McCall’s pattern3627  and dug into my stash to find a suitable tiny print for the skirt and bodice.  I think I bought this pink beribboned fabric in the 1980s when I was working at So-Fro.  I had some tiny lace in my collection and even found a pink one to use on the edge of the sleeve.

Historically accurate bumroll, apron & shawl. Not pantaloons. 

I love this pattern because it includes under- garments. When we were kids, it seemed like there was never enough underwear for all the dollies.  Not only did this have not-exactly-historically-accurate pantaloons, but the pattern included a bum roll which really gives the skirt an historic shape.  (The pantaloons would have been crotchless to be historically accurate.  I am not sure Lily and Maggie would be all that impressed by that kind of authenticity)
Detail of bumroll shaping

Princess-seamed bodice with pink lace and waist point.

Here is a close-up of the bodice which has princess seaming and comes to this tiny point at the waist. The skirt is actually attached to an under-bodice which, while not historically accurate, makes the outfit work better for the doll.  And let’s face it, there is not going to be a lot of historically accurate play here.  So that skirt can also be worn as a modern-day jumper if one were so inclined.

The outfit is topped off with an apron, shawl and mop cap.  I made the cap reversible from plain white with a pink bow to pink with a blue bow.  Apparently I am still channeling Sleeping Beauty.

The girls were delighted to have new outfits for their dolls.  You can really never have enough doll clothes.   I am so grateful to my sisters who had daughters I could sew doll clothes for.

Here is one of Lily’s dolls modeling the finished product along with the back view of the outfit (including the reverse of the mop cap.)   
It wasn't long before a Raggedy was wearing this outfit.

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