|Crafting done right with the right girl for crafting.|
Time to retreat back into doll blogging and restabilize myself.
To show you I'm keeping up with the AG News: There's been a small release for Grace--well small for dolls, largeish for stuff overall--and I'll cover that when the summer release comes out so that I'm not blogging about just three things and people clothes. There's also the Pintrest sneak peeks for the new BeForever and Truly Me stuff 2--and Addy stays winning and blowing away the competition. Goddamn, is blue her color. I can't help myself when it comes to Addy--I want practically everything she has AG offers, and if that means she owns two beds and two nightgowns then damn it she's going to own two beds and two nightgowns.3 My girl will stay spoiled rotten and there's shit all anyone can say to me about it.
I tend not to delay on getting my happy brown hands on Addy stuff, even if it means I don't pay the sale price when prices drop a few months later on one of the frequent AG sales that they seem to be doing nowadays. So when Addy's Dress and Sewing Set was released as part of the Spring BeForever release, I went straight to the store as soon as I could and snapped it right up. Not only was it Addy, it was sewing, and that's one of the most perfect combinations for me, like combining ducks, ballet, fairy tales, and magical girls.4 For $48 dollars--or $38 if you got it on sale--the set comes with a plaid dress, white ribbon trimmed pinafore, stockings, inner laced boots, scissors, tape measure, and pincushion, and the story with the set is that Addy is helping her mother and Mrs. Ford out in the dress shop in her cute new duds. And y'all were whining that outfits weren't going to be tied to the stories anymore. Wah wah wah. I may have payed Early Adoption Taxes5 but it's Addy, so I take my lumps. That and when the set was on sale, it was hella backordered. As it is Kit's Chicken Keeping Set only came off back order long enough for me to get my mitts on it before it decided not to show back up again until August. The set is part of AG's new deal with Historicals where they release Limited Edition outfits that are only here til December 31st in their current incarnation, so this one has an end date before you're looking at eBay for a complete set. So don't delay or you'll find yourself shortchanged on the pretty. There's also a matching girl's set--historic cosplay in modern styles, and that would be the Periwinkle Plaid Top and Classic Crops--it'll go away as well, when this set does.
Once again I find myself blogging about Addy on Juneteenth. It's only fitting, I guess. To the review--where I've decided stuff comes before clothes cause that is how I took my pictures.
|Snippy snip. Well, make believe.|
If you've ever sewn, embroidered, knit, crocheted, scrapbooked, opened packages, mommy crafted, cut hair, cut someone else's hair, had the older kind of paper dolls, sat down with kindergarteners, macramed, bound books, done art, or sat in school for any length of time, you've handled a pair of scissors. Scissors are one of the backbones of crafting and creating, and a good pair of sewing scissors can mean the difference between crap and craft. Mrs. Ford likely gave Addy a set to use for her own, when she was in the shop--and good scissors weren't cheap, back then, so in the shop they stayed.
Now, I would normally dump this in a Crafting Creatively--and I likely will later6--but since Addy has a pair and this set is about sewing, it won't hurt to give the details here. When you start to sew, and you get a pair of sewing scissors, they are only to be used for sewing. Don't use them to cut open boxes, don't use them to cut patterns apart, don't use them to do construction paper puppets, don't use them when your child needs to do cut and paste homework, don't use them to cut wires on a bomb, don't use then for anything else but sewing. Dedicated fabric scissors are to be used for thread and cloth only. If you have to only use gold bladed scissors to tell yourself this, do it. If you have to write "FABRIC ONLY" on them in thick black Sharpie so your life partners won't use them to clip open a bag of Doritos, do it. If you have to lock them up in a box between crafts so the kids don't use them to cut out Doc McStuffins pictures from their coloring book, do it.
I cannot be more fierce in this assessment. A good pair of sewing scissors, well kept, will cut through even the toughest fabrics like butter and slide smooth as lubricated puppies down a slide. Invest in your scissors and treat them like gold and do not use them for mundane tasks, or you will end up with dulled edges and ragged cuts and more work than you need or want. The one time as a kid I picked up my mother's $60 Gingher dressmaker sheers and asked to use them to cut cardboard for a book I was making, she reacted with the kind of horror reserved for pissing on the floor over the age of three, as if I was going to go shove them in the mud and then run them over a set of rocks. Then she explained why, and I ain't do it again. If you are sewing you keep one pair of scissors for fabric and thread only and you don't buck the system. Ruth Walker and Mrs. Ford would have taught her that from the moment she picked them up, and these scissors would have only been used for that and Addy wouldn't have questioned it for a moment.
Scissors history! Scissors have always been heavy associated with domestic craft work, and so associated in parts with women and the home sphere. Women often wore scissors on a chain or chatelaine at their waists, and when skirts became less full, they wore them on necklace chains. (Those can still be bought today.) Little girls handled scissors from young ages, what with being expected to become domestic craftswomen. During the nineteenth century--Addy's time--scissors could even be like little works of art. They were hand-forged, had been separated into various forms for tasks such as embroidery and pinking edges for about three decades, and often given elaborately decorated handles with dips and loops in the designs. Some were even shaped like birds with the "beak" where the scissor blades came together. So while Addy's scissors don't cut, they do look real in their molding.
The blades are completely dull and unshaped, without even a hint of a blade. These things won't cut anything. Probably to prevent litigation. Thanks, parents giving AG stuff to your damn toddlers, you're why we can't have nice things.
A- because while they don't cut, they look cute and authentic enough.
|Birb. Sewing birb? Sewing birb.|
When I first saw the set, I thought that this was a sewing bird. Sewing birds are pretty damn cool. The clamp was put on the edge of a table, and the bird's beak opened for fabric to be gripped and held tight, allowing a hand seamstress to sew and keep cloth taut while doing so. Sewing birds were often gifts to young women who were of marrying age, as it was encouragement for them to work on their trousseau or later wedding dresses, and prepare them for the many years of hand sewing they would be up to. After sewing machines became super popular and widespread they fell out of favor, but you can probably find one if you seek it. I learned about sewing birds from the Mary Francis Sewing Book9 and thought they were neat as hell. Don't ask me why birds were associated with sewing. Maybe a domestic thing? Either way, a sewing bird would have been awesome, but instead I got a pincushion. It's likely they were going to use a sewing bird, but then assumed that children wouldn't understand what one was. In fact, that is now my new truth. This is a misformed sewing bird. Because when hand sewing, you really didn't pick up pincushions and take up a whole hand for that.
The pin-bird is made of plastic and pretty hefty, so you may need to rubber band it in your Addy's hand. Here, she held on well enough for me to take the shot.
|All by itself.|
|Bird off center. My bad.|
|These pins are not made for pinning.|
|The so-called cushion.|
The bottom handle--where the clamp would be on a sewing bird--is unflocked, so the molding seams are visible. B. I am not a fan of the glued in pins--those could have been skipped--or the fact that this is not a sewing bird like it should have been. They should have given us a sewing bird.
|Tape measures--hella important.|
|All laid out.|
|Markings! Accurate ones!|
|Blank flank back.|
So what use would a pinafore had during sewing? Not only would it catch threads that dropped and likely have pockets for storing items for quick grabbing, but seamstresses often just stuck straight pins in their clothes while sewing for easy access. Rather than pinning her nice dress, she could just stick pins in the pinafore and, if she needed to be quickly street presentable, she could take the pinafore off without having to check her clothes for too many pins and threads.
Also Addy looks the bomb diggity in pinafores.
|Waist not, want not.|
|Trim to the back, cause we like it like that.|
|Pockets for pocketing.|
ETA: And having read MCooper's review, the pockets on the back are reinforced at the top. I will have to snap a picture later.
|Hem and trim.|
|The apron part stops here.|
|Dress, blue, plaid, for Addy. Hit all my buttons, why dontcha.|
|These look awfully familiar, Addy dear.|
These have been tweaked for Mattel style which means things have been changed and cut. And if you hate them and don't have the originals, you can just haul your ass to eBay and get the originals and stick them with the dress and be happy that way. I prefer the older ones but these are good enough if you don't want to hunt down older ones.
|Fine, history, make me make an exception.|
In prior reviews, I tend to snap that people with no sense will snap shoes inside, and this is stupid and dumb and no one should ever do it because fasteners on shoes go outside. And this is still true, especially with modern clothes. But this set of shoes--and the ones like them before--are the exception to the rule. For a span, the hotness was to have your boots lace inside. I assume to have smooth looking outsides. I dunno. Probably for the same reason people wore and wear Uggs, Crocs, and Heelies. Fashion has done some weird ass shit. So in this case, laces go inside your ankle. This is the only exception I've seen so don't go doing it with your dolly mules.
C. I normally don't bitch and mewl about how AG cuts corners on Mattel verses PC, but in this case--like the inner lacing--I'll make an exception.
Some extra data before closing, cause I'm a fan.
Remember how I said scissors could often be molded to look like birds? I happen to own a small set of bird-shaped embroidery scissors that are part of my Addy's collection. The pivot is the bird's eye. and the beak makes up the blades. They don't cut well, but they're for show, much like the molded ones. I have tons of working embroidery scissors.
They even fit semi in the pocket.
Actual inside laced boots. I swiped this off Pintrest12 because then you don't have to sign up if you don't have one since they make you do that now. These were made for ladies's feet and are blue where Addy's are white. So yes, they were actually a thing. Fashion, it's weird.
Y'all know how utterly adamant I am about Addy stuff being for Addy alone. You've been here a touch. Well, like the lace in boots this is the only exception. My momma has Cecile, and my mom is a seamstress, and so I got her Addy's sewing outfit for her Cecile. This is the only exception I have or ever will make. The outfit is rumpled, but that's because I changed her clothes and snapped the pics before leaving to go to con and didn't have time to clean them up.
Overall Feel: This outfit is too perfect for me and Addy and the collection. It's like AG wondered what outfit would get me to throw money at them and they succeeded. It's sewing! It's blue themed! It's Addy! It's Addy sewing! It's cute as shit. I don't care for the shoes--that could have been fixed with black heels since AG doesn't do tying shoes nowadays--and about the sewing "pincushion" that should have been a sewing bird. The scissors are not for anything but show, as well. But those are the only major negatives.
Cost Value: $48 is steep, but that's how AG prices have been rising, so I'll take it. I would have probably been a touch happier to get it on sale like I did with the other LE sets I have, but more to save the ten dollars than the lack of cost value because I wanted the set and I got it ASAP. Early acceptance fees, I take my hits. When it retires--and it could do like other sets before it and just lose the accessories--then get it with at least the dress and pinafore, since the socks are nothing special, and the shoes if you don't have a set like them already. If it's just those two items and you're on eBay, pay about $30-40. If it's with the accessories, then take it up to maybe $50. Or, you know, get it while the getting's good and save yourself some time and stress while you can.
Authenticity: The style and cut of the dress are accurate, especially with a simple if trimmed pinafore. Girls wore stuff like this during the Civil War, including loud large plaids and cheeky cute pinafores. The boots missing their black heels are probably the second biggest knock, second to the sewing bird I didn't get in proper form. But it is accurate to the era and to Addy's character, so good job AG.
Appropriateness to Character: First of all, stop complaining that Addy never wore anything like this in the books. That's not how things are designed for the girls anymore. So suck it up and deal. That being said, the outfit is hella fitting. She was often noted as helping out in the dress shop, and while she wouldn't have worn a whole specific set for one job designing a set for it for collections is fitting. The set is designed for Addy, and so it's for her and her alone--and my mom's Cecile, because my mom has been sewing her whole life and she's the reason I can. That is my exception, and I made it for my mother, and other dolls don't get that exception in my sphere. Whatcha gonna do? Cry? Make sure to bottle your tears.
Final Grade: A-. The accessories and the shoes could be improved, but that's why I'm an adult who can add all the tweaks I need.
1 And minus one leaf knife I carry for soothing needs which I then had to buy a new one of, because my stupid ass left it in my carry on. Le Sigh. At least it was easily replaced.
2 And Bitty stuff but lol Bitty stuff.
3 Three beds, actually. Story to come.
4 Yes, I most certainly do mean Princess Tutu. (Warning: TV Tropes Link, you may get hella lost.)
5 I did with my 3DS too. Well, not so high because I was working for Nintendo at the time, but not as low as it later dropped to.
6 "Tools of the Crafty Trade."
7 This and the previous caption brought to you by Sesame Street. And a monster beating up a box.
8 Fun fact. I don't use leftie scissors. I can, but I don't.
9 There's a 100 anniversary edition, with the patterns now made for AGs. Looks like I'm going to end up getting copy #3 so I don't have to scale up my own.
10 Call the constable and the fire man.
11 But don't assume you can mess up scale from get go. You learn the rules before you break them.
12 And they swiped it from eBay, so.