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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Historical Clothes Reviews and Historical Accessories: Felicity's Christmas Gown and Stomacher, Invitation and Fashion Doll, and LE Mini Doll

Merry Holidays from Felicity Merriman~
"I'm going to post Felicity's set on the seventh, the day the dance is in her stories," I said with great exuberance on the sixth. My body said differently. Two days past an aggravating headache and a considerable amount of sleep later, we actually start this. Yay, chronic illnesses. Felicity accepts the things she can't change and changes the things she can do something about, and so do I.

Many people really don't care for the beginning of January. This is because we as a society nowadays tend to compress everything. You only have so long to go on vacation, enjoy childhood, mourn deaths or celebrate life changes, and celebrate any and all holidays. Move on to the next thing and stop sitting around in the past, or something. Also everyone's harping on you about your resolutions1 or something, the gray skies are still gray, the days are only marginally getting longer--say what you want, the sun's still set at five around these parts--and right now a huge part of the country is caught in a polar vortex of cold where blowing bubbles literally will freeze. I much prefer my personal trend of carrying the winter celebrations on as far as I possibly can. And if right now that means continuing the holiday reviews, then so be it. Plus I said I was going to try to cover everyone at least once, and I mean it, even with spacings out of other things such as crafting, customizing, and magazines.

Historically, Christmas and the entire holiday season started to get a bad rap in about the late 1600s, with some places in England and its colonies banning the celebration outright. Christmas was considered pagan, Papist2 and the drunken revelry and such was looked down as a vulgar holiday. You can blame the Puritans and hardcore Protestants for that. Like you can for most things. It really wasn't until Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol that the holidays started to reroot in society as a season of joy and celebration. Even then that wasn't about Jesus either, especially in the story. It was about compassion and goodwill towards fellow man, peace, and a time for family and friends. Christmas has always had a secular side since it became the sort of modern situation it is now. "Jesus Birthday" is a pretty modern turn on the holiday, to be honest. (And that's why I'm cool for calling it Giftmas.)

Christmas was and wasn't popular in the American Colonies--it really depended on where you went. Virginia and New York were pretty gung ho for the holiday season, and Felicity is from Williamsburg, VA, so she would have been for the holiday and the Christmastide season. In her story she gathers holly, makes Shrewsbury cakes, and spends time with family--and this culminates in her going to the Governor's Ball on January seventh and participating in a dancing lesson--which is a nice way to say "come and dance your butt off and enjoy things."3 Felicity had originally thought she'd  just wear her brown silk gown4 she wore to church every Sunday, but she sees a sample of the dress on a fashion doll and just lights up--and when her mother sees that for the first time she can think of that Felicity wants to have a pretty gown and actually be girly, she indulges her daughter's girliness and gets the stuff to make the dress. This is why I side eye the people who act like Felicity was some sort of 24/7 gung-ho, fuck all your feminine ways tomboy. Lesbians can like pretty dresses too. I like pretty dresses. But this is a outfit review, not a book review, and if I start babbling about the book I'll never ever get to the outfit.

Like Felicity herself, the Christmas Gown and Stomacher (also named Felicity's Holiday Dress) came out in time for holiday 1991. Felicity was the first historical to come out after Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly. Which is weird, because Saint Pleasant the Overly Revered initially got the idea--so the mythos goes--by going to Colonial Williamsburg. (Whatever, Ms. Rowland had and has issues and I'm not above bitching about them at a later time.) The outfit initially consisted of a gown, petticoat, two stomachers--one lace, one ribboned--a ribbon choker, and pinner cap when it was released. The hair ribbon was added in 1993, and white flat shoes with blue bows were added sometime after 2005 with Felicity's revamping because when I got the outfit as my Giftmas gift in 2006 it came with those shoes. Yes, Felicity was also a Giftmas gift like Addy--I got my husband the Wii since I'd just started working at Nintendo, and he got me Felicity and a good starting chunk of her collection, including this dress for the going cost of $28.

Felicity's holiday collection contained several things, much like the other girls before her: the Shrewsbury Cake food set (with Real Sugar!), her Invitation and Fashion Doll, and Noah's Ark--which was a special toy only for the holiday season for the children to play with. While I have the ark, it is not appearing right now because my house ate the little wooden ramp. If I don't find it by this weekend I may assume it got thrown out and make a new one. And I don't have the Shrewsbury cakes set. If I ever come across it for less than a hundred fucking dollars, I'll consider it--I really only want the basket, cloth, and cookie cutters. We can all live without actual sugar from 1991. The Invitation and doll were retired right before Felicity was in 2009 or so, the ark in 2007 (after a few revisions), the cooking set in--sometime, I don't fucking know--and the dress set with Felicity when they put her in the American Girl Vault in 2011, though it sold out before she did. Since Felicity's retirement prices have shot up on everything; her dress goes for upwards of $60 bucks, though with patience you can get it for around the $32 that it was before retirement.

I'm actually about as purist fussy about Felicity as I get about Addy--she doesn't share her clothes with the notable exception of Talk Like a Pirate Day and Elizabeth getting in her clothes in more than one way. Well, to be honest it's to a lesser degree when it comes to getting things for her collection. While I won't blink twice about paying through the nostrils for some of Addy's collection at times--though I do try for bargains--I will not pull the trigger as fast for Felicity. (The costs for that Travel Trunk can fuck off.) But she's one of my favorite girls and I fell in love with her easily--she was the second AG Historical to join my gang back in 2006. When they put her up for retirement I got almost everything for her I didn't already have, which was mostly furniture and accessories. (But not that gala gown, what even was that shit.) I even did a whole photostory series about her arrival that I scooted out over the course of weeks that December: Naomi's Giftmas Surprise.5 I also later got her her love, Elizabeth Cole. She's a custom with brown eyes and hair. That blond girl ain't Darling Elizabeth. I'm an original book purist.

I don't have the white shoes anymore. Well I do but they got reappropriated to someone else's holiday wear because I much prefer Felicity in her meet shoes for this set. Of course, this review has the mini-doll. And there will be lesbian innuendo all throughout. There always is with Felicity here, because I ship Felicity/Brunette!Elizabeth hard. Their love is so revolutionary.6

Bum rolls.
Before we get fully into the outfit, let's see one major part of Felicity's undergarments. While I have her undergarments and almost never take her out of her shift and pocket, I don't use her paniers very often at all. While many people do this for Lissie, they're a little short of accuracy. Wide paniers and the skirts that supported them were more of a European fashion, especially for French court and fancy wear. The fashion in the colonies was more towards the the bum roll, or a tied on crescent shaped and padded roll to make your ass bump up and out. It was a lot easier to navigate and flit around in than paniers, and a young shopkeeper's daughter would have worn this and not paniers. So several years ago a buddy of mine put together a bum roll for me and it's what my Felicity wears under her fancier dresses--especially this one.

Even colonials gotta shout, baby got back.
And here it is from the side. I much prefer this to any panier look for Lissie. One can't mount up on Penny or Elizabeth in paniers. Ahem. To the outfit.

Pinner cap, or the barely there headgear.
Pinner Cap: Because this is a fancy dress, Felicity is wearing a fancy cap with it. It was considered very poor breeding for a girl to go about bare headed for a long time historically, especially in the colonial era. While Felicity is a shopkeeper's daughter and a wild little thing, her mother intends her oldest to try here and there to at least act a little like a classy lady. And one does not wear your everyday mob caps or round-eared cap with fancy dress. So thus we have Felicity's hair "covered" with a pinner cap--a small white headdress with lace trim. I generally like pinner caps on a doll's head. Except for the part where every lazy fuck selling hand made Felicity outfits makes a pinner cap to go with a casual dress. It's jarring like wearing a church hat with a t-shirt and jeans. Learn to make a mob cap, it's easy as fuck. I'll even show y'all later. Anyways. The pinner cap is not exactly oval--it's a  horseshoe style shape with a flat back.

Lacey lace.
At the round edge is lightly gathered long decorative lace with a floral edge integrated. This is a must. If you make a pinner cap, put lace on it. Don't just make the shape and think you're done. Ugh, the things I've seen. The lace matches the dress perfectly, which I will show as I get to it. 

Ribbony trim.
At the back flat end is a tied and tacked blue ribbon with diagonal cut ends. This is probably why a hair ribbon wasn't originally included, but that changed later. It's tacked well in place. And please, put the ribbon at the back. Putting it in the front marks you as a total idiot who dresses your dolls funny and we won't like you.

The "pinner" part of the pinner cap.
On the underside are two loops to pin the cap to Felicity's hair--one in the front and one in the back. I put the pinner cap on using two small red bobby pins to keep it in place. Historically, Felicity would have used hat or hair pins--yes, with the sharp pokey bits. The bobby pin didn't come into creation until the 1890s and didn't get popular until the 1920s and bobbed hair. We make concessions, just like using snaps and velcro. Originally the set came with two bobby pins, but by the time I got mine they were phased out. Shrug it off and go to Sally's and buy a set of small ones. B+. It's simple and historically accurate for the level of dress, and matches the set perfectly.

Ribbon in the hair.
Hair Ribbon: Originally, Felicity's set did not come with a hair ribbon, likely because the pinner cap was supposed to be good enough and PC cut corners as much as Mattel does. Then two years later they folded and put a basic blue ribbon with the dress. Nothing really fancy about it, you tie it around Lissie's ponytail and she looks cute and her dress gets matching hair niceness. B. Moving on.

A pearl at the throat.
Necklace:  In the story, Felicity wears a blue silk cord around her neck as an accent and Mother gets one of her pearl earrings7 to add a decorative touch. This was reinterpreted as a blue ribbon choker necklace. The pearl drop earring consists of a pearl bead and drop on a earring pin, and a loop that is then tacked to the ribbon. The ribbon is a thin blue satin ribbon tied in a bow at front and tacked shut.

Clasp. A little looped.
At the back is a screw clasp clamped to the ribbon securely. My necklace is a touch long when left flat. It annoyed me, so I looped the neck strings around the twisted clasp after screwing it shut. It makes it nice and tight to Lissie's throat. It's about the only fault I can find with this accent necklace, so A-.  

Pretty blue "silk."
Gown: And we finally get to part of the meat of the outfit: a bright blue taffeta--silk in the story--open front gown with a long back skirt. Colonial dresses often came in multiple pieces instead of all one piece. This allowed for variations and mix and match looks, because when you only had a few dresses you made them go the distance. A dress like this would have been very fancy for even an adult to wear, and the fact that Mother was willing to make one out of silk, by hand, for a girl who would probably grow out of it quickly meant that she was really spoiling Felicity. The satin is a very bright, rich blue color. Felicity is the only historical so far that has had an out and out blue dress for the holidays, and it looks magnificent with her red hair and coloring in a way that another dress wouldn't have. Furthermore, blue at this time was a girl's color, so her wanting a very blue dress was a very feminine thing. Blue was considered the color of the Virgin Mary and thus more delicate and graceful than pink. Pink was a lighter shade of red, and red was associated with masculinity and war and not often ladylike. ETA: Plus blue was pretty expensive of a color, cause it wasn't easy to make. While no one dyed blue things from sugar papers--thank you, Death By Petticoat--blue was still hard as shit to do, and this was probably silk dyed with indigo. So this dress just screams "fancy."

Side trim.
Along the sides of the gown are pleated blue ribbon that run all along the opening and down the front. This is a very fine detail that I adore.

Sleeve, and sleeve runching.
The tight straight sleeves--which are okay to get on if you just take your time--are decorated with runched matching satin fabric at the elbow length cuff. Colonial clothing generally did not have sleeves go to the wrist. Sleeves stopped at the elbow, allowing for elaborate lace and ruffles.

Lace.
The lace at the cuffs is the same that is on the pinner cap, thus tying the two together.

Lace at the collar.
At the collar is small white lace trim, that comes down only partially to the front. You can also see that the pleated ribbonwork trim starts at the center back of the gown and runs down to the front.

More ribbon trim shots.
The ribbon runs down to the very front and stops at the bottom hem. There is no way I'd have wanted to sew this on by hand. 

Back tucks.
The back of the gown is knife pleated--again, very fashionable and historically accurate--and comes to a small V in the back.

Butt bump.
With the bum roll underneath, the back humps up a little. There are also knife pleats all along the sides.

Hem.
The edge is unadorned; no need to fancy up the edge. Since skirts went almost to the ground, you didn't do much trims down there, lest they get all muddied up and messy.

Pocket slit for pocket access.
At the side of the gown is something that I 100% appreciated in all of Felicity's clothing from her release, and which greatly disappointed me in later outfits: a side slit. Since Felicity wore a pocket under her clothes8 she would need access to it, and so her gowns, skirts, petticoats, and dresses would all have had slits in the side for access to the pocket. Women's colonial clothing: More willing to use pockets than modern jeans. (Men by the way, did not wear hip pockets. They stuffed money and sundries in their waistcoats.) A+.

Petticoating it.
 Petticoat: Instead of the skirt being a whole piece thing, the petticoat is a separate piece underneath. This was, again, the style of the day; a dress was not necessarily a closed front skirt and bodice like later eras, and most dresses were designed to have a separate petticoat. It is made of the same blue fabric as the dress. It's simply designed, with no fancy trims or decors.

Some people will stick the petticoat from Felicity's school set under her holiday dress on the Fourth of July. These people suck and like to pair the sheered off tops of expensive ball gowns with cheap Old Navy jeans. Don't do it.

Waistband.
 The petticoat is gathered with knife pleats to a plain waist band that closes at the sides with velcro. Authentically this would have been tied or pinned in place. Concessions.

Slit.
Because of this style of side closure, Felicity still has access to her pocket, and the edge is neatly hemmed. Good show.

Hem.
Like the dress above, it's plainly hemmed. A. You really can't do the dress without the petticoat--or the stomachers.

Lace Stomacher, or Stomacher A.
Lace Stomacher: The set comes with two stomachers. The first--which we'll be calling Stomacher A--is trimmed with lace and came attached to the main robe. Stomachers were removable front panels to dresses--especially the fancier ones--that made a way to change the look of a dress by changing them out, thus getting multiple looks out of one garment. The stomacher is v-pointed and straight at the top; over the top edge is the same lace that trims the dress, thus making a complete look when snapped in. The trim on the front is the same lace at the pinner cap and the sleeves, in rows across the front that are tacked at the top.

Snaps.
The stomacher snaps into the dress for ease with three silver snaps; the pointy bit is on the dress and the grooved on the stomacher. Like the pinner cap, this would have been done historically with straight pins to hold it in place--which generally didn't stick you if you knew how to pin them in place. Plus you were wearing a shift and stays underneath, so the pins didn't touch your bare skin.

Rumors say that later versions of the dress use velcro instead of snaps. Take that into account if you're purchasing one second hand, if you prefer snaps. I got my set in 2006, so it was probably near the end runs that it switched to velcro.

Snap closure when closed.
When snapped into place, the snaps are well hidden under the edge of the dress.

Stomacherless.
Without a stomacher, the gown isn't going to close. We can all see your stays, Lissie, fix that cause that's just for Elizabeth.

Stomacher flat.
The stomacher flat shows the snaps and the lace trim a little better. It overlaps in a way that makes a very nice pattern.

Back.
The back is smooth and unadorned. A. Like the petticoat, the dress can't be worn without it.

After Lace comes Ribbons, or Stomacher B.
Ribbon Stomacher: The ribbon stomacher - Stomacher B - is shaped the exact same way as Stomacher A, but decorated instead with three twists of gradient pink to dark pink ribbon that is twisted in the middle and accented at the twist with small pearl beads.

Snap match.
 The snaps, of course, match the same.

Stomacher B off.
Off it shows the same lace at top and overall shape.

Stomacher B with the dress.
And here it is with the whole look. In the books, Felicity never wears this stomacher because she only wears her nice dress to the governor's ball/dance lesson. Many people get all pissy about this being included and say it's ugly and garish and that it shouldn't have been part of the set. I am going to buck the trend like I always do and say that, while I prefer the lace version, this one is nice too. Should I put Felicity in it more often, I thin it would work well with a pink hairbow, no choker, and maybe a matching--but not too garish--contrasting petticoat that I'd need to make. Plus, it helps teach clothes history. B+.

Card for info.
Interlude: The card that came with the set, which serves to show off both stomachers. In a black and white illustration are the dress with the stomachers; on the left side is the dress with A, on the right is B.

Backside of the card.
The back of the card has the following text along with the American Girl Logo right above it:

 FELICITY'S STOMACHERS
------
Felicity's blue taffeta gown and matching
petticoat are worn with a removable stomacher.
The stomacher is the richly decorated bodice piece 
fastened to the front of the gown. Girls and ladies
could change the stomacher for a fresh look.

Replace the lace stomacher on Felicity's
blue ball gown and she will have another lovely
party dress trimmed with ribbons and pearls.

This is the Mattel version. The only difference between it and the PC text is that it has the Pleasant Company logo on the top. 

Around here we wear the Meet Shoes.
Shoes: Originally the set didn't come with shoes--like everyone else, Felicity wore her meet shoes with her holiday dress. Then, in about 2005, they paired the dress with a pair of cream-white flats much like the shoes that came with the extra Shoes, Socks and Garters, only without the removable bow part; the blue four way bows were attached to the toes and had little pearls at the center. I didn't really care for them, so Felicity just has on her meet shoes. The daughter of a shopkeep wouldn't just change her shoes out all the time. I think she only has one pair of shoes the entire series. Maybe two.

The shoes that came with the set, eBay image style.
I would take a picture of my own, but they got taken and the bows were popped off so they could become someone else's holiday shoes. So I found an image to show y'all. N/A.

*~*~*

The fashion doll with the overly long name.
Fashion Doll: Felicity first sees an example of the fancy dress on a fashion doll in the milliner's shop window, and it captures her attention so much that Mother offers to make the dress for her. Back then, dolls weren't just playthings--they also were mini mannequins. Since most clothes were only made as needed--ready-to-wear wasn't first a thing until the War of 18129 and that was mostly for uniforms and men--examples of new fashions for women would be made by seamstresses and tailors on small dolls to demonstrate the look. The doll itself is a New Year's gift from her father--and this would be a huge thing for Felicity, as back then Giftmas was not about giving gifts at all and not much for children. I got it for Felicity in Giftmas 2007 when I got the dolls for Josefina and Kaya as well for $18. Since retirement, the cost has skyrocketed.

This is a wooden peg-joint doll, and Felicity gives her the overly complex name Susannah Maria Augusta Eliza Lucy Louise in Changes for Felicity. Damn it, Lissie, here we just call her Jane. Her dress greatly resembles Felicity's, though it's done with the gown and stomacher as a single piece and there is no ribbon runching on the front.

Face and head. She looks surprised.
I got the updated second edition with the more human shaped head, as opposed to the lumpy spool shaped head. I'm kind of glad. The first one actually is a little less authentic in head shape. The one I have has a pale paint overlay over the wood face, hands, and legs; the face has a small triangular nose and painted on blue eyes and pink lips.

Back and pinner.
The back of the head has painted black hair, and glued to the top of the head is a circle of lace and blue ribbon to mimic a pinner cap.

"Hand." Relatively speaking.
The doll doesn't have hands so much as limbs. There's no hand, but there is pale cream paint. Wood-peg dolls would be gessoed over the visible limbs, but since clothing didn't show a torso or the like, there was no need to paint those parts.

Legs.
The legs are painted with white paint up to about mid thigh, with small feet and pink shoes. The arms and legs are on peg joints; the arm joints are under the dress, but the leg ones are clearly visible. The legs swing back and forth, but the arms have a bit more joint to them and rotate a little.

Bouquet.
Glued to the dolls right hand is a bouquet of  six pink flowers with white centers.

Separate petticoat.
While the dress bodice is all one piece, the skirt and petticoat are separate pieces sewn to the waist. There's no trims or pocket slits; the doll does have a bit of a waist that is able to be felt under the dress. A. It's such a nice, well formed authentic doll for Felicity, and story relevant.

You have been invited, Felicity.
Invitation: At the start of the story, Felicity--via her mom--receives an invite to the Governor's ball for a dance lesson--which is more so a ball, in a way. (It wasn't polite to write directly to children from adults, and especially not the governor's wife.) The tri-folded letter comes tied in a red ribbon to one side and on the front is addressed to Mrs. Merriman in script.

Bow bowing.
Because I like the perfection of the red bow, I don't untie it. Lucky for me, it can just be slid off wholepiece. I will likely tack it so it can't untie. 

Inner text.
Inside, the text reads as script:

"Lady Dunmore presents her compliments to Mrs. Merriman and requests the favors of her Daughter Felicity's Attendance at a Dance Lesson at the Palace on Saturday January 7 at four o'clock."

I love the swirly script, and it's even got the funky swirly long lowercase s things that people did. And in case you're curious, yes, 1775 was a common year starting on a Sunday, so the seventh was indeed a Saturday. Accuracy, motherfuckers. Normally I don't care for paper accoutrements, but this is story relevant and really kind of sweet. B+.

*~*~*
The small one doesn't work so well.
Mini Doll: The Mini Felicity--MicroLissie--was released February 2011 along with a mini-copy of Felicity's Surprise. Like all the others she was retired by that December, but she actually doesn't go for much above the $24 initial cost. And she is not nearly as lovely as the original. Which might be why. If Felicity wasn't one of my faves I don't know that I would have gotten her. The face is cute enough but..well, let's get into it.

Lace scale.
 The lace on the pinner cap is just a hair too big for the mini-doll. The ribbon is nice, though. It's sewn to her head, which, again, very small scale can't complain.

Hairbow.
The hairbow is fine--just tied in.

The lace is eating her neck.
The lace scale is even worse on the bodice--it's practically eating MicroLissie's neck. The stomacher is not separate--which I wasn't going to screech too much about on a small scale--but the fine ribbon pleats and elbow runching is replaced with slightly gathered grosgrain, and I'd have preferred satin.

Side--what now.
There's no side slits at the side. And that is partially because....

A one piece skirt? NOPE.
Instead of the nice skirt and petticoat combo, they did it all as a one piece skirt. Ugh. Extreme laziness and corners completely cut. It makes Lissie's beautiful dress look utterly hideous.

Back.
Because of this, the back is velcroed. *eyeroll*

White shoes and bare legs.
They gave her the white shoes--which can't complain, that was the last version--but she doesn't have any stockings on at all. Or a shift. What is this shit? They could have at least given her white tights to simulate the stockings or, you know, used the same ones that standard minis have. I know Felicity didn't wear panties under her shift--the better for Elizabeth to access her pocket10--but this was a very irritating oversight. I'm sorely tempted to get some blue taffeta and a Mini-Lissie and make a better version on a smaller scale. She's not worth more than about $30, same as any micro, but MicroFancy Lissie really isn't worth any scaled up costs with so many clipped corners.  C-.

*~*~*
To the book ties. First the cover. I have the second ed covers--which also have brunette!Elizabeth--and show Felicity not only in her holiday wear but in her standard shoes. The newer cover only shows her from about the knees up, so you can't see her shoes.


Felicity seeing the doll in the window, and having what I like to call a Girl!Moment and deciding she wants the hell out of that dress. The illustrations all show the spool headed doll, even in the newer ones with modified Elizabeth.


Felicity, looking startled while hugging her dress and Ben Davidson being a total dick and yelling at her for wanting it to be almost done. The girl for the first time in her entire life wants a pretty dress and to dance and be gay11 and you chew her out for it. Gods, Ben, she's nine.


Felicity's fancy dancing dress is in all three of her paper doll sets along with the extra stomacher, the doll and the invite.


The "Palace Blue Gown" was released as well for $98 until its retirement.


Felicity's Patterns have the dress, pinner cap, and extra stomacher. It is probably one of the most complicated outfits to make. Not for amateurs. Start smaller. Maybe just make a shift first. And stop using the pinner hat as your go-to Colonial hat, tailors. Make a damn mob cap or something. And no, don't make them in garish colors either or to "match" the outfit. Just do white or cream, for fuck's sake. 


The dress is very prominent in the film Felicity: an American Girl Adventure--though because the movie was shifted to a holiday setting, this is a Christmas Eve ball. The trim is black instead of white, and made with the back bump and very accurate long sleeves. Felicity has her hair down loose and in fashionable curls because movie.


This shot is just because lesbian giggly shenanigans. Even if Elizabeth is blonde and not in the dress I like better.

*~*~*

Felicity and her mini.
Overall Feel: Addy's dress is the most gorgeous holiday dress I have. And Felicity's comes in second. I love to get her into it, even though it's just once a year that I do so--though I could go more, I like to keep it special like her ark. The bright cheery blue combined with the delicate lace, the matching pinner cap, the delicate choker, the way it all comes together to make Lissie look like a little elegant lady: it's just so perfect. I especially love that there's a second stomacher to help show the variation of making a dress have two looks. Not to mention it was designed to fit very well over her laced up stays, shift, and paniers--or in my case the bum roll for a more authentic to Virginia look. The fashion doll captures the dress on a smaller, lovely scale and the invite is actually cute and relevant.  The LE didn't. It didn't do a good job at all at capturing the dress.

Cost Value:
With Felicity's retirement, prices jumped well above the $32 it was when it retired. Still, you can probably find a nice set for about $45-60 complete if you're meticulous. And get a full set. You have to have all of it for the full look to match: the dress, the stomacher--I'd try for both--the petticoat, and the pinner cap, because all the lace matches just right. I have never seen a velcro set, but you might want to try for the snaps one. You might be able to make a choker but try to get one, and the shoes don't have to be there at all, but the rest is crucial to match. The doll is very welcome if you want Felicity to have her doll, and then I'd suggest no more than $30-35. The invite is nice but in theory can be reproduced, and if it comes with the doll bump to $40. The Mini LE, if you don't have it and want it? Not more than $30. The dress is a mess.

Authenticity:
Oh man, is it ever. The stomacher? The low neckline? The separate petticoat under a robe? The fancy pinner cap? The little details make it. It's practically a robe anglaise. And the side slits add that last little touch of authenticity. Which is why I was so pissed at the crappy LE version.

Appropriateness to Character:
Damn straight. Felicity, the tomboy tribade, wanted this dress and when she saw the doll version it lit her up and getting the outfit practically made her entire holiday. It was the first pretty outfit she ever wanted, and her mother Martha put a lot of work into putting it together. (And someone else, but book blather later.) And no one else should be prancing about in it, thank you. It's her set. If you want a version for others make it and quit biting, biter.
 
Final Grade:
A for the dress, A for the doll and invite, C- for the LE Mini. Felicity's dress is one of the elegant ones for the ages.


And now, a little preview of my first Crafting Creatively: Holiday Edition: Felicity Merriman would like to present to you her dear lover through the ages, Miss Elizabeth Cole. We'll see that in my next post!

--Neth

 Update, 1/10/14: 

So while I was moving Lissie's Fashion Doll around while typing up the review:

DEAR GODS. ARM OFF.
That happened. And the clothes are non removable and the doll is retired. What do?

If you're me and you have spent most of your skill points in Craft,12 you decide you're going to fix it yourself. Roll for initiative! I could have tacky glued it but then the arm would have never moved again. So I decided to pop the seam and put it back in place. And my need is your gain, because this may be the only time anyone ever has a chance to see the joints in Felicity's fashion doll. So I took pictures.

Joint workings.
The joint is actually ingeniously simple--there's a hole in the top of the limb, and a tiny wooden peg that slides flush in. How I managed to twist it out under her clothes, I don't know. Must have rolled a four on that action.

Seam popped.
A seam ripper used carefully on the back seam and...ah! now we can see the body side of the joint.

Shoulder hole.
The shoulder joint has a hole the peg slides through so that, when the peg is slid in, the arm can swing up and down.

More shoulder.
The shoulder peg is set into a rotating hole, while allows circular rotation within the confines of the dress.

Peg put back, and my pj pants.
Here the whole joint is, put back together carefully. No glue needed at all. Just slide the peg in right and it will stay in place. It'd better.13

Thread nearly matches.
I then sewed the seam shut as neatly as possible, which was hard. My thread is a little more purple than the dress, but I couldn't find the perfect matching thread--and it's the back. We can all pretend that Felicity fixed it herself, and if I really give an ass I can pop the seam and resew it again.

Repair successful!
The operation was a success. Jane's arm is back in place.

Function over form.
And the back seam is shut nicely. Well, nice enough. Again, if I want the thread to match I will go out and buy more thread and redo the seam again.

Either way, success!

--Neth, again.

1 I half do resolutions. None involve weight loss, working out, or anything boring/stressing like that. I generally resolve not to stab people in the eyes, create more things, and love me, and it's working out well.
2 AKA "oh no those damn Catholics." Catholics got a shit rep for centuries. Still do, sometimes.
3 I'm not going into too much on the way of details. Read the books. Or wait for me to start reviewing them. I'm going in release order when I do, starting with Kirsten's books because she's the first chronologically.
4*adds to "list of projects*
5 I used to be hardcore photostory writer, but it tapered off greatly with a lack of boards. I kind of want to get back into it. Also, this is back in my first apartment and when Addy had a little baby Esther but I've since given her away because I plan to have an Esther more in age to Addy instead of a little baby doll.
6 And nope, not Ben/Lissie even a little bit. Felicity Merriman is a straight-up tribade.
7 Earrings and pierced ears were not considered as something flashy by most people. Again, blame the hardcore no-fun super dickish attitudes of the Protestants and Puritans. 
8 That's where the nursery rhyme "Lucy Locket" is referring to. Then you get into the fact that "pocket" was a slang term for the vagina and surrounding bobbles, and things become really hilarious. Who said that they didn't make smut jokes in the past?  
9 Hi, Caroline Abbott. 
10 Lesbian sex jokes.
11 Okay, she was gay before that.
12 I certainly didn't spend them in accelerated Heath. (I have never played D&D but I know the nerd humor. )
13 Also enjoy my Sesame Street PJ pants. I wasn't moving this and risking peg loss.

13 comments:

  1. This review was not only a nice detailed review of the product, but a lesson in history. You have answered one of my most burning questions since entering the world of AG: "What is a stomacher?" Thanks for that, and the rest of the facts too!

    I found this post especially interesting because I fangirl Felicity the character like whoa, even though I missed out on the doll. Oh well...there's always the books....and pictures taken by others like you....

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  2. Is that spiral lacing on her stays? My poor Lissie is laced into her stays like a shoe because I can't do spiral lacing to save my life. Excellent review, The short story with the "twisted pocket" is never going to be the same for me. lol

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    Replies
    1. It is! Her stays come with cross lacing, but I've since switched them to spiral because it's more accurate.

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  3. I always enjoy how personal your reviews are, and I seriously admire your Historical Fashion Knowings. The intermittent Lesbian Sex Single Entendres were also pretty entertaining here. A+ would read again. ;o)

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  4. I have so many things I want to say about this dress and review, but let me start with a trivial blurb: I have a Pleasant Company Felicity from '91(?) And she has never fit her dresses properly with just her shift on. I mention this because I like the undergarments, but I think she's always going to have to roll commando.

    Love the review... I'll be back.

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  5. I always love your posts about Felicity/ Elizabeth :) You've turned me into a shipper :)

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  6. I love the idea of creating dresses with versatility in mind. It's such a practical approach to fashion.

    And I love hearing about Felicity and her Elizabeth, so I'm looking forward to more posts about them.

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  7. I had so many things I wanted to say about this review (all positive-this is one of my favorite dresses as well), and have forgotten most of them or realized they were ridiculous. Dang adult responsibilities distracting me from meaningful comments.
    Would love to see photo stories from you about any of your dolls and would love to see posts from you about, if not all, the different "Meet" outfits there have been that you have opinions on. I mention this because the interesting blurb about the color blue on this dress made me start thinking about Felicity's second meet dress.

    Ugh, have to feed the kids...dang responsibilities...

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    1. I think once the holiday reviews are done, everyone is going to switch into their meet outfits. I have one for everyone!

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  8. The ribbons and shoes were originally not included with the dress because they were sold in the separate hair ribbon and shoe sets, as with all the PC girls. I got around this by just going to JoAnn's and getting half-yard ribbons off the spools in a range of colors because seriously screw paying $10 for four ribbons when I could get 20 for the same price.

    Also, screw that necklace six ways from Sunday. The older versions had the ribbon fed into the clasp-thing rather than clamped on and... well. It fell out. We called AG and they sent a replacement. That one broke, too. My dad fixed it with a different part and it broke AGAIN. Since then (2004!) the necklace has been sitting in my bathroom cabinet waiting for me to actually give a shit again. 0/10 would not recommend.

    Lately as I've started to pay more attention to historical accuracy, this dress has kind of made me mad. It doesn't really fit well into any of the fashionable styles of the time- it doesn't have the kerchief, rounded neckline or bodice styling typical of a robe l'anglaise, nor the saque back of a robe francaise, the outer skirts aren't hiked up like a robe polonaise and they are far too long to be a caraco, so what is it? As a kid watching her movie, it annoyed me that the dress looked very little like the one in the book but now I'm just like THANK YOU FOR MAKING IT SOMETHING REAL.

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  9. Excited about the Meet outfits !!!!!!

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  10. I hate blonde Elizabeth too. Ick!

    Love the custom-made Lizzie!

    I always felt Kit was more of the lesbian tomboy. I don't ever remember her wanting dresses, aside from the fact that she just didn't want to wear clothes that didn't fit.

    Oh wait, then again, Kit said she liked having boys around, they were always up to something...

    Brilliant review!

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  11. Awesome review! Thank-you.

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