American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pajama Jammy Jams: Slumber Shirt with Mini Bear (1995), Slumber Shirt (1996) and AG Bear Slumber Shirt

Four versions of the same outfit. The 90s was a highly creative time.
Where have you been for two weeks, my loyal readers said. The answer on the morning of the 13th was going to be "working on my Nanowrimo novel like I do every year, because I am a self publishing author."1 I was going to say how I won early but not as early as I did the year before, and since I hit the 50k barrier on the 12th from writing about 4k a day, I could ease back to only maybe 3.5k since writing is my dayjob, and get back to yelling about AG's bullshit.

But then my father died on the 13th as I was starting to work on this post and instead of getting this posted and snapping pictures of my magazines for Magazine Monthly, it's been a string of bourbon shots (shit you not, that was my modus operandi for five hours yesterday), writing out my grief in my novel, and last minute flight booking to Wisconsin. If you were just here for clothes reviews, advice and bitching, you might not be happy with me. So what? It's my damn space. Welcome to American Girl Outsider, the blog where I will talk about how Mike and the Mechanics just made me do an ugly hideous "I miss my Daddy" cry for five minutes before talking about doll clothes. Writing is how I cope with deep shit, be it about doll shit or in a novel.

Here, it's doll shit.

In 1995, as I said in previous posts, American Girl launched their modern line which has been highly successful for the company to the point that everyone with Nostalgia Goggles set to "Pre-Mattel" seems to think that it's dragging the entire line down the tubes. And since the line was designed at the start to parallel the historicals, they frequently sorted things into the same slots they had: a "school" setup, a "holiday" setup, and so on. This included a "sleep" setup. The first nightgown that your adorable little 18" American Girl of History could have was the Slumber Shirt and Mini Bear, a red nightshirt with a hair tie and a miniature version of the bear and outfit you could have for your Miss AG Bear for the low low cost of $16. The red version only lasted about a year in doll sizes--1995 to 1996--before it came out as the Slumber Shirt, now two dollars higher at $18, sans mini bear, plus a mini copy of the book Games and Giggles, and much more similar to the one Miss AG Bear had (which priced at $10 alone, $28 if you got the bear dressed). This set lasted as an option until 1998 when many more creative nightclothes started to emerge. That's right, there are four versions of the same outfit, two just for dolls. 90s AG was slick as shit for making dollar bills come to them.

The outfits show up here and there on eBay for a high of about 30 bucks. The red set almost always is found without the bear, or Bear Sold Separately. The hunt for a set for Miss AG bear might be harder, and might be listed as a set for a doll. Mini bears are sporadic, but often dressed. The green set I can't pin down when I got it; it was probably in a surge of AG purchases. I remember Mellie wore it to bed soon after her arrival.  I had the red shirt just kicking around from a swap box, and got the actual hair tie for it for 4 bucks off eBay. The bear's outfit was about $20 or so, and the Mini bear cost me 15 bucks with shipping, so it probably all balances out.

Naomi is sporting the 95-96 set, Marisol the 96-98.
Our gang member models today are Naomi Kirkland and Marisol Luna, who decided that this was a good time for an AG pajama jammy jam--and if you have no idea what that is from, you might be too white and too young for me to have a sleeping in the bed sexual relationship with. Google it.

We'll get more of the gang in other posts. The holidays are coming up, and nearly everyone here has an adorable outfit for the occasion.

Rocking Red.
Nightshirt: Let's get something slated from jump: I'm going to be talking about all four sets at once. There's really no reason not to. They've all got the same basic construction and components. I'll ID which is which, so consider this a mix of review and ID column. You got chocolate in my peanut butter2. Moving along.

The nightshirt in the '95 set is a berry red fleece nightshirt with a high collar and long sleeves to the wrists, and that comes down to the knees. I don't think it's too dated in and of itself. I'm pretty sure the standard nightshirt has been a thing for centuries. 

Slick teal.
The '96 set is the exact same except the outfit has color swapped into a cooler teal blue color. Close, but not quite the exact same as:

Bear-ly a different shade of blue. (See me cracking that joke.)
The one for Miss AG Bear, which was more towards the green side of teal that the doll's set. Turquoise is what the original description called it, but I have trouble spelling that word so we're calling it parrot green like Prismacolor does. The neckline is also a little less up to the neck, and--because Miss AG bear was wider than an AG doll--the outfit is noticeably wider.

The Mini Bear, who resembles the bigger one.
The mini AG Bear has the exact same shade and style of night shirt as the larger one.

Button Snapchat.
The front of the '95 night shirt on the doll's set has four round decorative black buttons that are on top of black snaps. There is no velcro in this set because the opening is enough to pull the nightshirt over doll's head. Below the neck opening is a sewn on American Girl of Today logo patch.

The same, but now in teal.
There is absolutely no difference in the '96 set but the color.

The patch, if you've never seen the AG logo they used for years, is a stylized pigtailed girl figure in a skirt or dress. Her head (with the pigtails) is red, with the left pigtail tip orange and the right yellow. The bodice/torso is orange, with the left arm blue and the right one green. Her skirt and legs, merged into one piece, are blue. She is framed with four lines in a rectangle, clockwise from the top: blue, yellow, red, green.

(I have learned that blind people read my blog, and so I will do my best to fill out my descriptions to reflect that so they can get a picture of it in their head.)

Bear's version.
The bear's version, instead of black buttons, has three shank buttons; dark red at the top, yellow in the middle, a brighter red at the bottom. There are only three silver snaps. The AG patch is still there, but it is larger than on the doll's sets.

As there was no assumption that the mini-bear was going to be stripped of her clothing, the three "buttons" are small beads in the same color order as the large bear. The AG patch is a small heat application instead of a sewn patch. But in the back there is a small black snap, so if you want a naked bear, you can strip her out her things. I might do that in a "Bears and Plush of AG" post.

 The sleeve on all four is a full length sleeve. 

Sleeve cuff.
The sleeves have a simple tucked hem at the cuff. The bears' sets aren't any different.

Bottom hem and slit.
The bottom hem on the doll's versions is a square cut hem with a side slit on both sides for ease of movement. In theory.

Second slit.
There was no difference on the style of slit on either doll's nightshirt.

Bear's slit. (And then the furries.)
The bear's hem, however, is rounded at the edge, which is probably the easiest way to tell the outfit apart from the doll's '96 set.This is the same on the mini bear's as well. I prefer this to the sharp square edge of the doll's sets.

I'm giving the nightshirts a collective B+. The doll's sets would have looked nicer with a rounded edge like the bear's, I think. And I like the red set a little better than the teal one because of the cheery color.

Head tie knot, as seen on top.
Head Tie: The head tie comes as a hemmed length of fleece that is ready to be tied around dolly's head thusly. Before I got an actual tie, I tried to find fleece to match at the fabric store so I could make a replacement. I was unsuccessful. There's nothing that matches it out there--or at least, I didn't find it so there. Most images show it tied on top of the head, because it was the 90s and we collectively had an obsession with head topknots.

Head tie, as seen with knot to back.
On Marisol, I have it tied so that the hair tie looks more like a headband, with the knot at the base under her hair. Marisol, your selfie game could use improvement. You can tie all the hair back, use em as head bands, who cares it's your headband! Just don't make your doll look stupid in the process.

The Bear's hair tie--well, head tie--is slightly longer to accommodate big old bear head and matches the night shirt she's got. This lack of picture is because I forgot to take one and my corner for pics is a little cluttered what with the packing for the flight thing.

Mini Bear hair tie. Head tie? It's a tie.
The mini bear has a head tie but, instead of being hemmed, it's just edged. Small scale.

Head/Hair ties get a B. They're head ties. What do you want.

Bonus pictures before conclusion!

Alas, poor Miss AG Bear. I knew her, Horatio.
Naomi is holding up the mini AG bear in her red outfit, so you get an idea of the scale. Close enough.

Marisol on a bearjacking.
 Marisol, having swiped the mini bear from Naomi,3 is showing how the bear's outfits are more green than her teal set.

I shall call her Ursa Minor.
The two bears together. The crafting on the mini bear is lovely. It really is like they shrunk down Miss AG Bear; the smaller one even has joints.

Then in girls sizes!
AG also released the girl's nightshirts about the same time as the girl's for $26 (This is a scan--cleaned up--from the Sept/Oct 95 magazine.) No hair ties, but you could get the night shirt in turquoise or "fire engine" red.  Fashion!


Overall Feel: The outfit is a nice little quick pajama style, good for when you want a girl to sleep but without all the fancy. And since I have all four options, I can say that I like the bright red of the '95 set but the hem of the AG Bear's. I am likely to draft up some patterns myself and make a couple sets for Etsy.

Cost Value:
The original cost of $16 with a bear and $10 for your AG Bear was very good for a simple pajama set. The $2 price hike without bear not as much, but a lot of AG pajamas cost about $18 for years so I'll let it slide. I wouldn't pay more than $25 for the red set with the bear included, or $20 without for either. Mini Bears shouldn't be more than $10 with everything.

Timeliness: Maybe a little bit. There can be a slightly dated element to it that puts it before the 2000s, but not really. Night clothes are pretty timeless in ways, unless they're capri and tunics. (So I might not like most of those.) There's also a timeless quality in night shirts in that men wore them for centuries.

Mix and Match Levels:
N/A. Nightclothes don't count for mix and match grades.

Final Grade:
B+. While not as fancy as sets that came after it, it did establish a pattern of not having your gang member go to bed naked.4

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a funeral to attend.

And I miss my daddy.


1 *cough* buy my current book, it's just a novella but still.
2 And now you have to throw the jar out, asshole.
3 They're best friends, so no fighting here.
Unless they're Kaya, who's fine with naked.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your father. My thoughts are with you.

    These nightgowns are very cute! Thank you for the review, it's nice to see some retired outfits!

  2. I'm so sorry about your father. My condolences.

  3. I´m so sorry about your father. Heartfelt condolences.

  4. I'm sorry about your father. I hope you feel better soon!

    Thank you for reviewing these nightshirts. It's amazing how different these look from the pajamas offered today for the modern line. I really like the simplicity of these and they look comfy.

  5. Thank you, Neth. I really appreciate your descriptions, as always. It's appreciated. And I'd wondered what that logo looked like!

    Also, here's a giant package of Gummi bears. If you're attending a funeral, you need the survival food since I'm sure they don't allow bourbon in the funeral home etc. And I still have the "I miss my daddy" cries, and it's been thirteen years.


    PS: THAT Minibear is CUTE!

  6. Sorry about your father. These things get hit hard and deep, I know. I still hurt.

  7. I'm so sorry for your loss, Neth. I hope things get better for you soon.

  8. Delurking to express my deepest sympathies for your loss. I'm excited for your book and for your writing in general. Thank you for this wonderful blog. Bright Blessings.


  9. I've never commented before but I read your blog every few weeks, I came across it while looking for doll hair care tips and stayed a reader because I resonate with the content of your posts. I wanted to give you a hug and say I am sorry for your loss.

  10. I'm so sorry for your loss, my sincere condolences. I read a few pages of your novella on Amazon, I like your writing!


Trolling, pointless bigotry, nonsense, and hating for the sake of hating will be removed, as will any post screaming "first" because no one cares. Cursing is fine, as I curse myself. I still expect you to act like you have home training. This is not a Free Speech Zone. I reserve the right to delete comments, kick you out of the convo, or tell you to piss off. You post, you stand by your words, and all the consequences of those words, even if that consequence is getting your ass handed back to you. Don't come in my space, spit on my floor, and expect me to call it a swimming pool. I can and will cuss your entire ass out. If I told you not to comment, and you comment, your comments will be deleted.

If you are under 13 your comments will be removed; you're too young to be on the internet unsupervised and you know it.