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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Historical Clothes Reviews: Addy's Sunday Best and 30th Anniversary Mini Doll

Addy with Mini Addy is the cutest thing you've ever seen and you know it.
Let's get the news out of the way first. Yes, I have seen Melody Ellison. I stayed up well past 6 am Monday morning1 to watch the CBS This Morning video off their YouTube site. I read the article with the pictures. I saved the pictures to my hard drive. I squealed so fucking loud I was worried for a hot second that I might wake up the Bae.

I have seen Melody Ellison, our 1960s BeForever Girl, and she is absolutely goddamn fucking gorgeous and no one can tell me otherwise. She has the flipped pressed textured hair, she has the cutie-patootie Sonali Mold--which I adore just as much as the Addy mold--she has an awesome plaid dress and yes I will be inspecting my DeeDees for the best dress with matching plaids, and she has big brown eyes that I could get lost in. She has a March in '63 pin2  and a kickass hat and bright blue pajamas and a recording studio. Between her and the HamilTome that's coming out this summer, I just will have to remain on the broke side of money outside of my bills. The funeral for my wallet was held Monday night. In lieu of flowers which die too fast, send funds to the Melody Ellison Day One Fund. Thank you.

I keep waving at her and calling her pretty girl, and the gang here is super excited to have her. Addy can't wait to have another member of the Black Historical Club. Ellie is excite to meet her and share science and stuff. Otters thinks she's going to have awesome clothes, Shanna wants to know as much about the music as she can.3 Dorothy is eager to meet more black kids. And Edith? Edith just realized she is like Felicity and Melody is her Elizabeth.4 Their relationship will be so Radical. I didn't expect a new face mold--AG tried that with Marie-Grace and while there is nothing wrong with the MG mold, the circumstances of the situation has likely made AG gun shy on pulling for another mold. Her without dimples is fine. Her hair is straight because in the 60s girls didn't wear naturals--they pressed their hair all the live long day. If you had read the book you'd know that her mom sorta has a mini-shock when her oldest daughter wears her hair in a fro. It wasn't the style--Black and Proud was still working its way into the system.

And if you're whining mewling and puking that Melody looks too much like Cécile because they have the same face mold, you can get smacked by the same picture I put up on my IG: #AGIG Racist Logic. The first three girls all has the same face--first four when you include Felicity--and the Classic Mold has more dolls than any other mold released. There's more blond haired blue eyed Classic Mold Dolls about in the moddie line than there are black historical characters ever released. If you have more than two Classic Mold white dolls in your collection but you think Melody looks too much like Cécile to have around, then you need to enema the racism out of your brain and go cleanse your soul and wash your ass. Same if you're whining about her textured hair as being too fuzzy or frizzy. I will harbor no quarter. No County for Old and Young Racists.

So that's the Melody news, and it's got me bouncing off the walls. I'm itching for her so much. The last time I wanted something this badly I french kissed a girl. (We both liked it.)

To today's review because I can't review any Melody stuff til she's out.5 Today we're covering one of my most liked outfits for Addy FirstArrival Walker. Back in the far-flung era of 2008, I had been kicked from two, count em two boards and been stabbed in the back by the person that had been my best friend. So I wasn't in the best of contentment in the AG fandom. I still had AG > 18 though, and so when some new shit hit that September, I still got news on it. Among the plethora of things were Kit's New School set, Ruthie's Super Fug Holiday Dress, Felicity's even more Fug Fuckawful Gala Dress, Sam's Velvet Dress that would only last a few months before AG flipped the script and put her in the vault, the Moddie Meet Outfit change to the Star Hoodie set...

...and a set for Addy which I geeked about because Addy hadn't had new clothes since that damned African Dance Outfit. Addy's Sunday Best had a black felt decorated hat and purple print dress and I got it as part of a fall order a couple months later after getting what I wanted from Sam's then-retiring collection. The set was $24 when I ordered it but had eked up to $28 by the time it was coded into the Wiki in 2009, where it has stayed. This year, it even got a mini form in representation in AG's 30 year anniversary mini dolls--sans hat, and with the new shoes Addy wears nowadays. Advertisements originally had this as made by Ruth Walker for her daughter to look cute on Sundays, and I can dig it because Ruth Walker is that kinda momma. The outfit originally had no story ties at all, but with the BeForever recovers, the outfit is seen on the cover of Volume Two of Addy's central stores/Classic Volumes, A Heart Full of Hope. Which is tons better than having the cover of her birthday book have her Stilting Outfit in the revamp, an LE set that was hard as burnt buns to get. Seriously AG, what were you thinking?

Outfit, then mini. Addy's wearing her Classic Meet shoes and stockings because that is how we started and that is where we're staying.
The fancy Church Hat.
Hat: Starting from the top, Addy tops her outfit with a black felt hat trimmed with ribbon and flowers.

Let me tell you a brief history of the Black Lady church hat. I haven't gone to a Christian-focused church in service proper since my age started with a 2--and even then I was breaking away from that faith and embracing paganism--but if there is one thing I remember, it was the glory of the Black Lady Church hat. The elaborate hats black women have and continue to wear to church have been photographed, memorialized, a highlight of the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, and even teased in mainstream comics. Clothes may make the man, but the hat makes the black woman shine.

Historically, black women have--as long as they could--worn elaborate hats and headwear to church.6 In part, because of a verse of the Bible that stated that women were to cover their heads in worship. So black women adorned them with all the feathers, ribbons, bows, and flippery they so desired, and each one used her hat to call attention to herself and her style--and in some gentle fun, catching the eye of God with your hat. Each hat was an individual work of art, and a lady made a hat her own. In past eras where it was socially proper to wear a hat in public ladies did so, and while white women might have small, simple headgear, black women wore em as big and bold as they dared. Aven after hat wearing mostly became a thing for special occasions and church--especially Easter Sundays--black women continued the lush hats. As black people got more freedoms, their hats became more and more elaborate, and they stay that way, turning heads and catching eyes. Red Hat Society might be big on wearing purple as old ladies, but old black women haven't given a fuck with their loud and lovely hats since back in the day. Hats remain big, bold, and beautiful, and one of the things I remember greatly about my grandma Pearl was the lovely church hats she wore to church every Sunday, looking like the poised woman she was. I also remember every Easter getting a cute bonnet to match my dresses, because that is what even the little girls did. And I now own several hats, including one of my dad's stetsons. So in other words, precedence. In my head, Ruth and Addy together took a plain black felt hat and dolled it up to match her new dress, so that she could look her best on Sundays.

From above.
The hat base is round with a decent crown depth and made of stiff black felt material. Felt is a pretty strong fabric and can be steamed and shaped--or blocked--into a stiff, solid form that holds its shape well. While the more likely situation in a factory is that of the hat being pressed out in machines and steamed into the form, back in the day a milliner would have pressed and shaped these hats herself, and trimmed them according to the purchaser's desires. The hat is one solid shape, with no seams to attach the brim to the crown.

Inside the hat.
The hat has two long--eleven inches--purple grosgrain ribbons attached inside the brim for tying the hat on. A young child like Addy likely would be a touch wary of a hatpin, so a pair of ribbons would do nicely. Wow, that's a dark pic. Eh.

Tie it on the chin.
The ribbons can either tie right under her chin or under her hair, depending on how you've styled it. I originally didn't like tying the bow under her chin and thought it looked dwoppy, so I tied it behind her hair. I now do both--but when I tie it under her chin I do it to the side, because I like it better that way. 

A touch of flowers.
Around the crown is the same grosgrain ribbon tacked around. Near the front left of the crown are a gathering of small purple roses--one open in the center, two buds to the side--and leaves. Addy wouldn't have the most elaborate decorations on her hat, but she likes this touch of flowers. The flowers go in the front, people. Don't put her hat on backwards.

Edged out.
Around the edge of the brim is the same purple ribbon, which overlaps in the back. That's how you know which side of the hat is the back end. Try to get it right.

A-. It's a lovely hat, don't get me wrong. But, unlike either one of Addy's Meet hats or her adorable winter derby, I don't think it will go with much else. It's hella tied to this dress alone.

Interlude: I went to try and buy purple grosgrain ribbon at the craft store to tie Addy's hair back. There was a sale, and so they were sold the entire fuck out. So her hair is tied back with plain purple for now. It'll do.

Dressy Sundays!
Dress: The main part of the outfit is a calico cotton purple and lavender print calf length dress. It's both upscale and simple; Addy could put an apron over it during the week, wear it to school, and then clean it up for Sundays for church.While nowadays people can easily obtain fine clothes and so segregate clothing by level of fancy, Addy would have worn the dress for more than just Sundays, such as to fine meetings or even school.

The dress has the standard dropped shoulders of the era and a square-cut neckline that has a short facing on the other side rather than being pressed over. It makes for a sharp, clean neckline.

Bodice all up in your face.
The bodice is in two pieces on the front; a  high yoke seam with topstitching and then the rest of the bodice. This is not done on the back, which is acceptable; the front of the dress is where you get your fancy. If you'll notice, the pattern on the yoke is pointed the opposite way as on the rest of the bodice. Variation, in a subtle way.

Enjoy her cowrie shell necklace. Like my pentacle, rare are the times Addy takes her cowrie shell off.

The short puffy sleeves are hemmed at the edge and gathered with elastic. Historically they would have just been gathered and then sewn into shape but we've got to get these over doll hands, so accept your elastic.

The waistband is a basic one between the skirt and the bodice, and goes all the way around. I like that it's made of fabric and not overlaid with any sort of ribbon. I can personally give this a different look by tying some ribbon around it7 but I'm glad it's not there already as a permanent fixture. 

Print on the skirt.
The skirt is a gathered rectangle with no side seams. I personally adore side seams when I can get them and try to draft them into my outfits, because it makes it that much easier to make points to evenly gather to the waistband. 

The print is of lighter lavender purple circles with dot and curve highlights. A nice subtle overall print that doesn't distract or overpower the construction. You never want your print to overpower your construction if you can help it, or no one will see your work.

Grosgrain, my old friend.
The bottom hem of the skirt has the same grosgrain ribbon as the hat, sewn above the bottom hem. This is the only trim on the outfit, and it's all it needs. Trim less, construct more.8 

The hemline is just a basic press and seam.

The back bodice does not have the yoke, but has the waistband. And the whole thing velcros up the back with matching purple velcro, for minimal contrast. A+. it's a very versatile dress that can stand on its own without the hat.

In her boxy confines.
30th Year Anniversary Mini Doll: To celebrate AG being around as long as the Legend of Zelda, my brother in law, the Challenger Space Disaster, and that movie I've never seen about Bueller or something, AG has released minis of all the current BeForever historicals in new outfits9 and fancy walking stands for $28--the same as the full sized outfit, if you're keeping numbers lined up. Addy got her Sunday Best dress, and I got this when I picked up Melody's first book.

This is the best picture in box I got, yo. I ate the box. Well I actually just chucked it. It's a box.
I'm not a Star Wars figure collector, I don't really get much into boxes.

Inner goodies.
Inside we've got Mini Addy, a small and abridged copy of her Journey Book, and a unique mini stand that can pose your mini so she looks like she's on the old style covers of the Historical Meet books. Good times. Notice what's missing? The hat. Everyone else got their complete sets but Addy's does not come with her hat.Yes they would have been extraneous but screw you, Mini Sam has her bow and Addy does not have her hat. That's it, you're not getting an A.

Putting the Walk in Walker.
The stand goes around the legs. I didn't take decent shots of the stand. You'll just have to wait til the Micro Sam review.

Out of the box. Value dropped a million.
Out of her boxy confines, we can get a good look at her. There's no change in body style from the updated mini doll shape that I reviewed with Addy's BeForever meet set--full vinyl bodies, painted eyes, rooted hair. Just all dressed up.

Bodice and sleeves.
The dress has almost all the same construction as the full sized dress--down to the facing on the neckline and elastic sleeves--but there is no separate waistband. The print is also of the same fabric as the full dress, so it looks a little large on Mini Addy.

 But it does have the grosgrain ribbon, and it goes all the way to the back, so that's a plus.

Shoes and underthings.
While Addy is wearing black stockings and lace up boots and her Classic underwear, Micro Addy is wearing her new style shoes and white socks.

The dress closes in the back with white velcro. Ain't no one buying purple fine velcro for LE minis.

No hat. No A.
Instead of a hat, Addy has two grosgrain bows tying her hair up. Cute, and I will later do Addy's hair like this, but it's not a hat. B+.  I wanted a hat.


Overall Feel: This is probably one of my favorite Addy outfits, and in part it's because it's purple. The hat is kind of hard to match up to other outfits, but that's all right. It's for Sunday fancy, not day to day wear like her derby or meet hat. The dress is a simple cut with simple trims, and that's perfect for its needs. It doesn't have ruffles or fuss, but it doesn't need either in Addy's style--the fancy in the simple. We don't need nor want Samantha's levels of frills. Addy's a working class girl with working class needs.

Cost Value: $24 then and $28 now with the cost of production is acceptable. It's not the thirty of regular sets, but it also is just the dress and the hat, so it doesn't really need to go up higher than that unless it gets repackaged with shoes or something. Whatever they're selling it for on Ebay, tell the sellers to go fuck themselves. I didn't even look. Get it from the source. Should it retire, don't pay more than $35 for it. More than that is a terrible idea. Get your things smarter.

Authenticity: To the books? Nah. This was Addy's first set outside of that damned Dance Outfit of Today that was not tied to a book--except the stilt walking set, which was LE. It's never mentioned in text and in covers it came about with the redone volumes. However, the ties to elaborate church hats and the simple design of the dress in carrying it through day to day wear make it great for the Civil War era--especially black women.

Appropriateness to Character: That church hat is just the start of the kinds of elaborate, luscious hats a grown Addy would wear all her days. It's her set and it looks so good on her I can't stand it. How many times must I say Addy clothes for Addy only? I will say it every time. Stop putting the set on your classic blue eyed blondes or I'll come up with creative curses that are just enough to sting. And the same goes for side parted boring moddies in Felicity's wear or putting Melody's clothes on Wonderbread. I'm watching you.  

Final Grade: A. A nice expansion to Addy's wardrobe, and good for what ails ya.

Trot on!

1 Time zones mean that when things broadcast first on the East Coast, I can in theory get them early. Hell yeah.
2 I'm waiting eagerly for the bitching about Melody having a political pin in her stuff. With a flamethrower. Test me.
3 Deaf people can enjoy music.
4 Fun fact: Before Edith debuted, she and Elizabeth--who was also waiting on her debut--met each other and became best friends, and have remained so. So Edith has always had an open mind towards queerness.
5 When will she come? *stands on widow's walk staring out over Lake Michigan.*
6 In places where black women were banned from wearing hats--such as Louisiana--they perfected the art of the tignon.
7 Once I can BUY IT.
8 Don't let them make your craft a grand eyesore. You want to get ahead? Fools who overtrim wind up on Go Fug Yourself Friday. [/Aaron Burr]
9 Unless you're Kaya, in which case they've stuck you in the adorned dress yet again.


  1. This outfit...! I've never said "adorbs", but I'll say it now, because happy carefree Addy in her pretty purple are indeed adorbs. I always extra appreciate your reviews of the minis, particularly the new ones! Dammit, I wonder if any of my 1:6 scale dolls have hats that are snatchable enough for me to conjure up a version of Addy's hat? Probably not, but oh well.

  2. Happy Addy makes me happy. :D
    I absolutely LOVE this dress- don't have Addy (or the dress), but someday. Someday.
    Also, I went on AG's Facebook and saw like 103947839074 comments about "why isn't Melody from the music era instead of the civil rights era?" and I was ready to FIGHT. Because that would be erasing a big part of America's history, that's why. Educate your kids unless you want history to repeat itself- and believe me, this is one part of history that does NOT need repeating.

  3. I've always admired the Church hats of African American Women. I wonder, how do you think British Ladies hats stack up to these Church hats? (Want Hat Off).

  4. Regarding your footnote about people enjoying music regardless of their degree of hearing--I went to a friend's concert, and there were ASL interpreters! I thought it was fantastic. If there were words to the songs, the interpreters signed them while swaying to the music, and for the instrumental pieces they sort of danced and gestured with the tune. Hard to describe, but it was beautiful. And a bonus for me, as I know ASL: a couple songs were sung in Latin, but the interpreters still used ASL so I could understand the lyrics.

  5. I love Addy's Sunday Best outfit, and am disappointed that mini Addy didn't come with the hat. Regarding Edith and Melody, I totally ship that.

  6. I'm just wondering if you found or made a hat for the mini Addy.


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