Rosie’s Bluebell Gown

I’m not wild about the execution of the story in Outlander, but I gotta say, that wardrobe. I’ve watched the show just for that, and read every interview and blogpost I can by the costumers. Just amazing. And one of my absolute favorites is Claire’s plaid and floral gown.


That one. hubba hubba. So I’ve long wanted to make Rosie a similar gown but have hunted for just the right plaid and floral combo for a while. And you know what? I love the result so much I will probably make another combination like this with a red plaid and a pretty black and gold floral print I have. Anyway, let’s talk pictures.

I used Thimbles & Acorns Sacque Back Gown and Caraco Jacket pattern because it’s one of my favorite patterns of all time. Claire’s is a fitted gown, not sacque back and it actually looks to me like the stomacher is sewn in. When I do my next iteration of plaid-floral combo maybe I’ll go closer to that, but I also wanted to use the sacque back pattern so I could make two gowns to go with the petticoat because I just loved the bluebell fabric I found SO much.


ROSIE YOUR HAIR. I love and hate the #61 wig. So beautiful but not far off from Rebecca’s in the difficult curl management department. It very much fits Rosie’s character though. She’s a lady but… a bit wild. Sometimes it’s fun to think of how she compares to other dolls I have. She’s quite more composed and ladylike than Tinu, and sort of hoity-toity like Evelyn or Mishka, but more defiant and active and playful.


Sort of tough to see in a photo because of so much plaid, but the sleeves are cut on the diagonal for pattern variety. Both this gown and the Caraco jacket have the cuffs as well.


When that wig behaves though, it really does look lovely. Above you can see the fichu band doing its thing. Rosie’s father is Scottish and her mother is French. Her French grandmother isn’t pleased about those freckles but her mother thinks they’re charming and very Scotish.


The matching fabrics make a bit difficult to really see the details of the jacket. It’s got the sacque back as well. You can see the cuffs better in the photo below though! IMG_2442

Quite pleased with this, even though it took foreverrrr with so much hand-sewing to finish it. I’m remembering why I don’t make these gowns everyday, ha. But it came out just like I’d hoped and I will definitely be making more plaid-floral combos!


Final Doll Group Photos

I don’t mean final ever but good god I am not doing this again until I have a house with a doll room and can make some proper risers and set up my lighting kit and do the whole thing in stages. Also because, to be honest, looking at my collection as a whole makes me both happy and guilty. I have SO MANY dolls, and it feels selfish when we’re saving for a house and have a kid and all that. Doll collecting is such a luxury and I’m grateful for the time and money I’ve been able to put into mine. I try not to let myself feel too guilty.

Ok, more than guilty, I feel tired and lazy. Taking aaaall the dolls out of the dollhouse and getting them aaaaall set up at varying heights and checking aaaaall their hair and skirts and then making sure they’re aaaaaall facing the camera and then putting them aaaaaaall away… it takes forever!  have so little time for this.


So anyway, here they are:

IMG_1478Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is the most POORLY laid out photo of a doll collection that has ever existed. They are at all sorts of different, weird heights. The photo can’t be cropped so you can see my kid’s toys and dog toys to the side. There’s a shadow cast by me and a shadow cast by the window shade so the girls in the back are 7 miles away and blocked out by the light?

You know what? Too bad. 🙂 This is all I had time for and I’m not redoing it. Do you know what a time-consuming thing it was to even construct this awful photo? My photo teachers from college are turning over in their beds (not their graves! I’m not that old!)

So I was unhappy with the photo but not about to set them all up again to redo it. Instead, I decided a more manageable way to photograph my collection for now was in clusters. Ok, also I’m just a big nerd and I like categorizing things a LOT and I’ve made enough lists just writing out my dolls’ names in the past few weeks to look crazy, so this was an excuse to do something dorky.

Now, don’t be prepared to be amazed just because I decided to do smaller group photos. These photos are still TERRIBLE. But you try photographing a collection of like 34 dolls with a toddler who’s cutting his molars. It is not easy!

First, the fantasy girls: Kestrel, Evelyn, Delaney, Tinuviel, and Eirlys.


Then the 18th century girls: Kaya, Felicity, Vivienne, and Rosie.IMG_1480

Now the photos get even worse than standing on a blue towel. The 19th century girls: Josefina, Jemima, Caroline, Kirsten, Addy, and Gracie. (First, did you know I was almost named Jemima? I’m disappointed. It’s cute. Second of all: YES, I am trying YET ANOTHER doll for former-Ellen-then-Deirdre-now-Grace.)IMG_1505

What’s that? You miss shadowy pictures? Ok here you go! 20th century girls: Samantha, Nellie, Rebecca, Odette, Kit (whose eyebrows get totally lost), Bea, Emily, Molly (who needs her bangs cut), Maryellen, Nina, Meldy, and Ivy (who refuses to look at the camera). Also my dog Watson’s face because he refused to move away.IMG_1527

And finally, the modern girls. I don’t think i was even trying at this point. It looks like someone sneaking a cell phone picture on a closed movie set. Uh well. Here’s ???, Parisa, Margo, Flora, Leyla, Lenore, Sorah, and Kanani. Top left girl needs a name. Kanani has dark hair since this picture was taken mere days ago. And Margo and Flora have both been contemplating some time travel lately, so we’ll see what happens with them. IMG_1531

Ok, whew. We can all agree those are terrible pictures but there’s the fam and let’s not do this ever again*.

*Ever being until we get our house like I’m dreaming of and I have a dedicated doll room because I’m an overgrown child who refuses to buy a house that doesn’t have enough space for a dedicated doll room. 

Rosie’s Roller Print Jacket

My original intention with this fabric was a jacket for Rosie, and Felicity’s frock was just a happy accident. In looking at the fabric, I didn’t really feel inspired for Rosie, but in the spirit of sewing through these TWO 20 GALLON TUBS+ of fabric, I decided to plow ahead, returning to a pattern by Evoking History/Past Crafts.


It’s such a quick sew once you’ve made a couple of these things. I made it in an evening in between putting my fussy baby to bed. Now that I knew how the end result would be constructed, I did a much better job on the seams for the skirt and the basque back –though once again, the point is lost due to the bum roll. I ought to research how women wore the pointed bodice with a bum roll…


Anyway, I threw it together quickly, knowing I wouldn’t have a skirt for it yet, since I used up all the navy fabric when I made Felicity’s apron. But lo and behold, when I went to pull out her chemise, I discovered that one of the gowns I already made has a light green skirt that actually matches this jacket perfectly. While the navy is pretty for Felicity’s apron, pairing the light green skirt with this differentiates their looks a bit more, and also give Rosie’s dress such a nice spring feel to it.


I also had been lamenting Rosie’s appearance lately, and for a hot second thought she might be going back to the rewigging table. But after futzing with it a bit, I actually got the curls just so and I think she looks lovely. I need to track down some straw brimmed hats so I can give her one that matches more of her wardrobe –love Felicity’s blue ones, but I think Rosie needs green.


Moral of the story: sometimes fabric is much prettier sewn than on the bolt.


Happy Birthday, Rosie!

Wow, an on-time birthday post! Wonders will never cease.


(Sidenote: I never reviewed Felicity’s new dress but wow am I unimpressed. I guess I’m glad I used Rewards and got it all for embarrassingly cheap. The blue fabric is gorgeous but the petticoat shouldn’t be attached. Mine has loose threads hanging off everywhere. And having to buy her undergarments AND the hat & fichu separately? Just awful. But I like the brown shoes and again, the blue fabric really is gorgeous, and the hat is sweet.)


Sadly for Rosie, she is one of my newer dolls and so there isn’t a lengthy history here exceptfor the fact that she’s a completely restored MG. Ok, maybe there’s more of a history here. I bought Rosie at least two years ago, though it took a while for me to get around to ripping her wig off and cleaning her up. She wasn’t in great shape.


After a clean up and some freckles and a new wig though, she was ready to take on the role of Miss Rosie MacKenzie, my Scottish-French colonial girl. OK, I’m making it sound simpler than it was. Actually she was my first eye swap and it’s a miracle I didn’t break my thumbs. I also redid her freckles one million times. Now I don’t remember if I ever went over them with acrylic paint or left them as washable marker, and I’m too afraid of smearing them to check.


She also had some wig woes. The first wig I got for her was a Monique Roxanne wig. Beautiful. But it frizzed like you wouldn’t believe! I still have it and 5 minutes ago pulled it out to see if I could use it on another doll. I just don’t know. It got so dry and frizzy just form being looked at. I’m so disappointed in the quality. So later I used a 20% off coupon to get #61 so I could steal her wig (with the intention of selling the doll and then I didn’t OOPS). #61’s wig is much better for Rosie, though sometimes I do still contemplate trying other wigs for her. I can’t stop with the wigs!

img_6004Is she a touch inspired by Outlander? Sure, which is amusing because I’m not even crazy about the series. I won’t get into my thoughts here, but boy do I have them! However the costumes in the Starz show are A+ and I’m a sucker both for Scottish (my grandparents have always been super into our Scottish heritage) and colonial garb so what’s not to like?

Ugh, why wig, why did yo uhave to go awry? You can already see it starting to go haywire here. But those ringlets!

Rosie is my excuse to explore clothing that Felicity shouldn’t have. Ok, look, I know we aren’t sticking to hardcore reality with American Girl dolls. But some of Felicity’ clothes (I’m looking at you, new meet gown) are just really elaborate for a merchant’s daughter. I know he’s a merchant so there’s some access but they’re a large family during a war. Anyway, I digress.


I’ve played around with writing some snippets for Rosie. Nothing has really stuck, despite the fact that she’s a pretty solid character in my head. Dainty and clever but with a streak of impropriety. A bit entitled, a bit too clever, a strange mix of prissy and tough. She knows her role in the world and she accepts it but she’ll push it when she thinks the world can be better. She’s not above using her connections for the right reasons. She doesn’t mind hard work but she really loves fancy dresses. She has a hard time accepting injustice, though the world is full of it.


I have so many more plans for Rosie’s wardrobe. For a while I was churning out dresses pretty regularly for her! She’s got a solid stock of fall and winter frocks now but in exchange is sadly lacking in spring and summer clothing. Uh well, she’ll get there. 🙂


Anyway, Happy Birthday, Rosie!


Pajama Party

I forgot to post this in January, but that’s the month each year I put my dolls in their PJs. For me, it’s because January is the worst month –the holidays are over, it’s cold and dark and snowy, and I’m always in a slump. This year wasn’t so bad, since my kid kept me hopping, but it still made me warm and snuggly to see everyone looking cozy in their jammies.



Rosie’s Green Quilted Gown

It just has been so long since I made a dress for Rosie that the poor girl was starting to feel completely neglected. 😉 Ok, so it’s been like three weeks. But it’s been a lot of fun to sew for her lately… sort of until now? I’m exaggerating a bit, but this project was almost abandoned! I’m glad I didn’t, because despite the hardships, I’m decently happy with how it turned out. It was quite a path to get there though, a path during which I learned I am really a lazy seamstress.  Maybe that should be the name of my blog!

This is the very last of the patterns I bought from etsy seller PastCrafts; this one is the Fitted back gown quilted petticoat in white and blue (which is not how I would have described these; more like blue and green).


The bodice construction is super familiar and quick by now. As always, I loved pleating rather than gathering the sleeves. This time though, a surprise! When I sewed the velcro on, it just isn’t tight enough to actually hold the dress closed. It’s worked on the other gowns, but this velcro feels like it has a less tight grip. So I ripped it off and decided just to use the more accurate but not child-friendly straight pins.


Then came… the petticoat. I had never quilted anything before. To be honest, I guess I thought the petticoat fabric already came looking like that. When it arrived, I asked my mom how exactly I was supposed to transfer the pattern, and she got me carbon paper and a quilting tool for Christmas so I could get started. However, the tool is a little rotary tool, which works fine for long straight seams, or even long curved seams, but not the intricate pattern of this design. Plus, the carbon paper with the tool only makes really faint marks, so I wound up using a pen and drawing over the lines to try and get clearer ones. It helped a little but still not great, so then I traced the faint lines with a block of carbon.

The lines were clear now, until I’d be sewing, at which point it was difficult to see them under the presser foot. And making all those little tight curves is really difficult with a machine as well. It meant the design wound up being largely free-handed. It required the utmost patience, which really drove how how impatient I am. After finishing the first panel, the second lay clogging up my sewing table for over a week before I could bring myself to tackle it.


I will say, I got faster and a bit better as I went. Now that the dress is finished, I will actually take back too all the times I said “I will never ever do this again!” because it turned out ok. I’ll just always know to expect it to be a big and slightly frustrating project.

Then, to cap the dress off, the hem is handbound. Which wasn’t difficult, just time-consuming. I love the result but without a movie on to distract me, it again reminded me that I am a very impatient seamstress.


In a nice turn of events though, snow was still on the ground in time for me to sneak outside while my son was napping and take pictures of Rosie wearing an appropriate gown in the appropriate weather! Of course she’s not wearing a cloak or a shift or even a fichu here, but I never know how long the baby will stay asleep so I had to act quickly.


Then my dog Watson somehow managed to throw a snowball at her (how??) and when I yelled went over to inspect the damage. The dogs love the snow! So did Rosie, until she fell back into it and I decided it was time to shake the snow off, go inside, and let her dry off.

I still have more dresses to make for Miss Rosamund, but I think I may do some sewing for the other girls for a bit.

Rosie’s Carpatina Gown

A few months ago I found myself in possession of an Amazon giftcard and decided to see what dolly things I could find on eBay. I’d long been eyeing some Carpatina dresses, mostly because they seem to make a lot of outfits that fall right within my interest (lots of Medieval stuff!) Unfortunately, some of the ones I’d wanted had already been sold out, so I hurried to buy a few more I thought looked nice

The first one I put on a doll was Margo’s kimono and then the pink dress on Evelyn, so I should have known that I would love everything else. Now, with Rosie finally rewigged, I put her in the Marie Antionette dress. I can’t believe I hadn’t expected to like this. It’s so much prettier than I thought!


My hesitation had sprung from the fact that it’s all one fabric. You may have noticed from my sewing roster, I like multi-fabric dresses, especially elaborate ones like this one.  And I do still think it would have been improved by constrasting fabric, at least for the bows. And you can also see that the sleeves aren’t quite laying correctly over the lace cuffs yet, so really need to go after it with an iron.


Despite these things, I love it! Rosie has a bum pad in for these pictures and isn’t wearing the slippers that came with it (I’d forgotten all about them until right this minute). But it’s just perfect for her.


You notice she’s also sporting the green necklace she got for Christmas. I just love it, and it wasn’t even that expensive! SO yes, the answer is that I will indeed be buying more things from Carpatina, as I’ve loved all three things I got from them! I think they also sell the pattern for this dress, which I may hunt down to make some other versions of it because it’s just so flattering for Rosie!

Also, the new wig means Rosie is officially a finished doll! She’s looking quite a bit better from the beat up girl I purchased on eBay last Christmas!