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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Crafting Creatively: Things I've Made: Addy’s Cream Lace Dress and Pinafore

Addy remains clothed in the finest of clothings.
It's that time again! (To floss our tongues?) No, it's time to learn today's lesson, and for that we turn to the Wheel of Morality--wait this isn't Animaniacs--

It's time for the Third Annual American Girl Collectors Secret Snarker Gift Swap! Well, the wrapping up thereof.1 This year was quite successful, and I'll post about what I got later this week, because it's super cute and I wanna give it a full review--as well as the outfit I got last year.2 But first, let's talk about what I made, because a gift swap is an excuse to sew, and there's never a bad excuse to sew. This year I got The Edwardian Girl as my giftee, who not only is one of the members of AGC, but runs an Etsy shop you should so get in on because she makes some damn fine outfits. (Do you not have Addy's Cape Island Dress? Do you like reproductions? She makes em! Get on that.) Sewing for another good seamstress can always be a touch intimidating, because I undercut how good I am at everything because who needs self esteem? (I'm getting better at it). But as I flipped through her survey, she mentioned Addy. We all knew where this was going the moment I saw Addy's name. Make another outfit for Addy Walker? Don't mind if I do!

Addy’s Cream Lace Dress and Pinafore

Addy is ready for another year of school at the ICY with her new outfit: a cream and flower print dress that Ruth just finished for her. It has fine cream crochet lace at sleeves, bodice, and hem; off-white cuffs and collar; side sashes, and three fine pink buttons down the front. Underneath she has matching lace-trimmed pin-tucked pantaloons, and when she wants to keep her clothes clean during chores there’s a matching lace pinafore. Tie her pink ribbon in her hair and send her off to school! 

And like usual, I made two, kept the weaker set, and am ready to talk about what I did, how, and why.

But before I do, a little bit of American Girl collection personal squeal. I have lamented muchly about how, through a mix of crafting, cheap purchases, secondhand, the occasional splurge, and gift, I had a nearly complete Addy collection. Nearly. Because the one authentic thing I was missing was the whistle from Addy's Church Fair Fun Set, and the costs people ask for a whistle were ridic, and I was never sure I'd ever get one.

Well, Miss Tae of AGC got one and sent it to me. As a gift. To finish my collection.

it is sitting in her lap and it makes tweet noises and so did I~
I am sure that y'all heard the squealing and the tweeting on the whistle (yo it is loud) and the flappy hand screeches I made all the way on the other side of the globe when I opened this package. And then I went and cleaned up Addy's trunk3 and sorted her clothes, and set it with the rest of her church fair set and plan to put a little cord on it so it can hang around her neck too.

I, for all intents and purposes, have a complete Addy Walker collection.4 All her old stuff, all her new stuff, all her BeForever stuff. My first girl has everything I've ever wanted for her from AG. Thank you, Miss Tae, thank you, thank you.

Now let's cut and talk about her new dress set.

Dress for me and for TEG.5
Once again, I used a  KeepersDollyDuds Pattern to design the outfit. (Alas, I have posted this post her annual sale, which is always at the start of March for a week and half off her patterns. Make a note of it for next year.) This time I used one that she sold to/designed for Simplicity patterns, #1361. It focuses on the mid-18th century mid-Victorian aesthetic: three dress variations, a coat and hat, and an apron. And yes, it contains a dress and apron that look a lot like the Civil War Dress and Apron and the 1850s Girl's Jacket and Bonnet that I used for Cécile last year. Like all my Simplicity patterns, I wait for Joann Fabrics to do their semi-regular pattern sales and have had this one for a while. I opted to do a modified View C along with the apron and pantaloons, using the collar that View A and B had.

Originally I had considered doing vertical stripes for the dress, but apparently stripes are not the hotness in fabric nowadays at Joann's unless it's very 60s, and I don't mean 1860s. So instead I went up and down the aisles for a while fiddling with the colors and ideas until I found this lovely authentic looking cotton floral print that was a subtle mix of pink and purple flowers. I paired it with an off white broadcloth that--contrary to popular belief in the AG Chicken Head part of the fandom--is not cheap crap and is actually pretty sturdy and strong for working up some doll clothes and stuff, and got just enough broadcloth that there was room for making some pantaloons to match, which I added in at the last minute. I also grabbed trims and ribbon because hair ribbons rock.

Addy's wearing her BeForever Meet socks, her Classic Meet shoes, and the Classic cowry shell necklace she nearly never takes off.

Pinafores make the dress a lot.
Pinafore: We all know I have a weakness for a well done pinafore, and this is no different. Addy might be wearing this dress to school without it but when she's got to deliver packages, do the dishes, garden, play some jump rope, or sweep the floor she's got to keep her clothes neat and this is one way. Your 1860s pinafores generally covered the whole dress, with the waistline at the natural dress waist, and flared over the whole dress You can see this in Addy's Sewing Dress. At some point I should just, you know, do a whole post on the variations of pinafores, because AG's initial theme on birthday dresses was "based on a pinafore" until Josefina came along and went with ruffled camisas. I've gushed over pinafores before, let's not do it again or I'll never talk about the construction. After I was done with the construction I used just a touch of spray starch and ironing to get that crisp look. Make your things look good when you photograph them.

The top of the pinafore is a wide bodice, which, like onions on the belt for Grandpa Simpson, was the style at the time. I sewed the lace on the bodice before construction started6 then pressed it out and topstitched over it. Pinafores don't have to be plain, and the lace adds a nice touch. The lace I'll talk more about on the hem of the apron. The buttons--basic round ones, two holes--were sewn on after everything was done, because that is the way I put on buttons rather than risk missing the holes with a sewing machine. Also I can make sure they're on straight. There's a little "flare" on the edges of the arm holes as well.

The waistband around is two pieces; one the additional pieces are sewn to, and the piece that somewhat lines the whole thing. The dent under is the dress button, you'll see it in a sec.

Lacy edge.
At the edge is some cream scalloped lace that I carefully applied, like I did to the bodices. Years ago I bought a huge bundle of double layered gathered  lace at a secondhand shop for like, a dollar. We're talking there's at least 20-30 yards of this lace, and it was originally stored in like a cheese puffs barrel. I should get one of those lace wrap things to store it on, instead of a plastic bag like it's in now. Anyways, it's hella gathered and so hella anachronistic that way, so what I did was cut it off the gathering which made the lade lay flat, and then used it for trim. You will see this trim again on the pantaloons. You will probably see it again and again in various forms. There's just that much.I could probably use it for folkorico for my Latina girls or anything. There's a LOT.

The pinafore has two wide ties that are turned in, stitched, and applied to the sides with a little tuck to make them fit. You can't quite see the tuck since it's tied, but it's there.

curved  back.

The back of the pinafore swoops up in two curves to the back tie, all with lace. You can also see here that the ends of the ties are sewn and pressed into picots.

That handstitching.
The inside of the pinafore is hand sewn at the wasitband It could have been done on machine, maybe. But I do the handsewing even when I hate it, and so I put on an episode of Talking Simpsons7 and did my work.

Dress: The dresses are made of a cotton quilters fabric that simulates calico that works for a casual dress for a little girl of the 1860s, and the cuffs and collar are of the same broadcloth used for the apron and pantaloons. Addy for once is not wearing the petticoat I made her under it, because the petticoat is bright white and  it doesn't match. We'll let it slide for today, Addy. Or make you another petticoat later. Yes, we'll do that too next time we're at the fabric store.

The dress has simple trims, so that the dress fits with Addy's "working class but Momma keeps her girls dressed well" aesthetic. The pattern called for more lace than I wanted to use, so I super tweaked it. We'll talk more on the lace in a bit because oh man I have stories of this lace.


The collar is plain broadcloth. The pattern called for lace on it but that's too much lace all at once. Yes, it was laced for View A but I don't care, it's fine plain.

Bodice. And the Lace Fuck up.
The bodice is a flat front, and at the front I've applied three pearly pink buttons in a row. I like shank buttons for a lot of decorative buttons even if they're technically better for actual closures, because they are smooth on the front.

The pattern calls for the bodice lace and trims to be put on before the sleeves and collars, so you're working flat, which of course makes sense. Sense what is sense? Cause guess what I forgot to do! See, I don't exactly follow pattern guidesheets, because at this point I can put together a bodice without thinking about the steps, it's automatic.8 And I realized the lace wasn't there after the sleeves were finished. Mother fucker. So, rather than ripping the entire sleeve out and making my life hell, I somehow managed to work the lace on, on the machine, before putting the skirt on. This resulted in a crooked match up on the back of TEG's set once the closures were done, but hers had the better skirt match, so I gave her that set. Hopefully she will not shank me.

Dat Dropped Sleeve.

The bodice is a standard shape for the era, with the dropped sleeves look. One of the many things I love about Keepers Dolly Duds is that her patterns are authentically designed for their eraa; this means her Addy style patterns have the dropped sleeves that go over the shoulder, and I'm not obligated to add an inch on the pattern to get the proper look of the era. There's nothing that bothers me so much as seeing a dress on Etsy that claims to be mid-1800s but has the high armscythe. It's an easy edit, people, just do it like Nike.

Sleeve lace.
I did remember that the sleeves had lace, so I put that on before gathering anything. The original pattern called for double placement, but I wasn't about that life today so I did single rows. The sleeves are suitably puffy for the era.

The cuffs are standard cut gathered and turned in.

Snap it.
Since the sleeves are smaller than AG hands, and they're not conducive to small velcro there, I put in snaps. More hand sewing, but snaps are not the hell that button holes are.

Skirt and skirt lace.
The skirt has a plain hem with lace trim above. The original pattern called for double lace here too but nah. More lace data here! So as I was taking pics of Addy in her trunk and sorting her clothes out, I realized this is the exact same lace I used when I made a dress for Addy years ago. For another Snarker swap, back when it was AG over 18 related. So it's good lace.

The print is a mix of flowers and leaves on a creamish background. It's not too fall or too spring, and will look great year round.

The back closes with velcro, because I maintain that buttonholes are the quickest way to ruin a project at the last second when they misalign, and velcro behaves itself and adapts and goes on in one seam. So velcro is my best friend. We also have the side ties that add to the dress and help pull it in a touch, as well as some slightly visible back bodice darts.

Step 3: Make Underpants.
Pantaloons: Realizing that I had just enough leftover broadcloth to squeeze in a set of pantaloons for both sets was awesome. I cut these out last, but put them together first, because the best way to put together any outfit ensemble is in to out. So underwear, then dresses, then things over dresses. Then you know it all goes together right. The pantaloons come down a touch too long for Addy--they should be a little more knee length--but we'll let it go. It's not like they're to her ankles.

Pin tucks.
The ends have two rows of decorative pintucks and the lace that matches the apron. There is more than enough of this lace to go around.

 The waistband is your basic elastic casing.

So many bows.
Hairbow: Cut length of pink grosgrain ribbon. V cut ends. Tie in hair. Ta da! Addy.


Best part of making it: The apron was probably my favorite part; it went together easy, even with the hand sewing, and looks so nice over the dress. And oh MAN does the print of the dress match the apron so well. I think it worked better than the stripes would have, and TEG loves it.  I love it when the colors come together. And having extra for pantaloons, because yay pantaloons and matching! 

Worst part of making it: Next time I will pay attention to when the lace goes on the damn bodice and not do it after I've finished the bodice. Also my turning dowels are missing and I need a new one so it took me a while to turn the side ties with a chopstick.

Historical Accuracy: Oh, yeah. Dropped sleeves, accurate pattern that didn't force me to adjust the drop sleeves, and the goodness that is KDD. Feels good, man.

Does it look good on the doll?: *points* duh. Addy F. Walker looks good in like, everything and anything I make her, minus some early installment messups. And TEG's Addy is looking particularly lovely. 

Would I use the pattern again? Yep! I mean, technically I own parts of it and have used them before, so of course I would. I like the way KDD does her stuff. Highly recommend her patterns for those who like making the AG wardrobes. And after the last sale she ran, I own almost all her Etsy patterns for AG--well until she releases more, and I get them in the next sale.

Final Thoughts: Never a bad time to make a nice Addy dress set.


complete Addy collection eee~


1 Tracking only shows two packages in transit, and they're international, so I'm keeping my eyes open.
2 The first year I got two outfits from Amazon, and will give those a full review as well. Eventually.
3 Between everything I've made for Addy and everything I own for her, all her clothes and things won't fit in her trunk. I may have to buy her a second storage trunk--non AG--and use that for accessories and use her main trunk for clothes. The same thing is happening with Kit too. 
4 I mean, if people wanna get into semantics? My Patriot Dress is a reproduction I made; her needlework kit is a mix of old apron, new lantern, a pdf of the book, and repro embroidery threads and items; I don't have the second Ice Cream set (I have her first); I don't have her kite because I got her blue dress when it was all about flowers; and I don't have her African Dance Outfit or the first undies with the red petticoat, neither of which I want. But FUCK THE HATERS I HAVE THE WHISTLE. (And the scenes and settings.)
5 The poet that knows it.
6 As I should have, give me a moment before I bitch about my fuck ups.
7 Been listening to a lot of these, and there's a new one today that I'll put on once I'm done with this blog. Guess who learned that she can get housework and many other things done when she does a podcast, because all she has to do is listen and not look at the TV! Go me. I'm productive.
8 This has made designing my patterns hard. Not because I don't know how to draft or clean them up--I can do that easy enough. But my method of putting together a dress is "put together bodice, add skirt, dress done." I almost never think about the fiddle bit steps. I just do the thing. And I have to do that on a doll clothes pattern that I plan to put on Etsy because the steps can't be "Step one: cut out the things. Step two: fabric assemble." 


  1. What a charming dress and ensemble! TEG is lucky, and so are both your Addys!

  2. Love it!

    What reference books do you use for historical clothing accuracy? Do you have a favorite?


    1. I own multiple books on children's clothing, adult fashion, crafting, and paper dolls, which I cross reference in my design. One of my faves is Children's Fashion 1860-1912 for Addy.

  3. Addy's dress is so lovely. I agrees that Keepers Dolly Duds does some of the best historical patterns. I have made several of them also.

  4. Beautiful dress! I was so fortunate to have you as my secret snarker last year. Even though my Cecile keeps jumping through time, she'll always (and I'll always) adore the dress you made her (which she also lived in for like a year solid)


  5. Thank you for the lovely dress and the shout out. I've shared it on a forum I frequent and a lot of members have been complimenting your work. :)

  6. It's lovely! You did a fantastic job.

  7. What a nice job! I love KDD patterns (except I've been skipping the buttonholes, too)--so many cool little details in all of those outfits.


  8. Oh my god is that gorgeous! Addy, as always, looks fabulous

  9. Oooo. The dress & Addy look fabulous!

  10. I love this on her. Addy is gonna be quite the fashionista, huh?

  11. Love the dresses you've made (heck, is there anything you can't do?)... I once posted on "when bad outfits happen to good dolls" on my SewCraftyAzusa blog that I haven't posted on in quite awhile. Needless to say, there's bad outfits on there and ones if I was a doll, I'd learn to divest myself of.

    Had to join AGC after reading the brouhaha with that poster who shall not be named, lest they be summoned to respond. AGC is an ADULT message board. Where fucks can be thrown, fucks not given, and fuck, that's okay. Hopefully I'm approved pretty quickly, wink wink.

  12. This is a beautiful outfit. What luck to have all that lace!

    Yes, KDD's patterns are awesome. I too eschew buttonholes because I'm just scared that I'll mess up the whole outfit after all that work.

  13. Dear neth, I was drawn to your dress for her. Let me first say , at first I did not know you were black. Because I love a dry , Cecile and today I got melody and I am white. I am also buying a second melody as my granddaughters first a.g. and I also don't like tenny grant. But I admit I like logan. I don't have gabby . she looks too much like my Cecile . I also have given a dry dolls to my daughter's when they were small. I was married into a prejustice family and my daughter's dolls made quite a stir with grandpa . he called the dolls bad names to my children . but my children , who didn't have access to any black little girls to become friends with learned how black people were treated a long time ago through the a dry doll civil war stories and learned through play how to treat miss a dry nice . now they have friends from all races and don't act like grandpa. Mission accomplished .

  14. Wow, you did a beautiful job on this set! Addy looks gorgeous, as always!

  15. Blog more than once a month, woman!

    1. I suffer from severe depression which affects my executive function and ability to concentrate on multiple things, including blogging. Furthermore, a lot has been going on in my personal life that has, despite my best efforts, put blogging and organizing on the back burner. I plan to post soon. But don't take that attitude with me.

  16. I followed your Link to the Edwardian Girl Etsy shop and thought I'd pass on to others who read here she had a sale listed from August which may still be valid. Use the coupon code MOVING for 25% off ALL items because her landlords were trying to raise her rent again, plus she said layaway and payment plans are available for all items over $80.

  17. What an adorable outfit for sweet Addy!

    I am amazed that you are able to work through your illness and have the energy to fulfill your creative potential! You go, Miss Nethilia!

  18. Upon finding that the pantaloons were too long, would it have been possible to add another tuck? I have done just that many a time as I am a frugal collector who'd rather make than buy.

    1. I made them myself, so I just let them be a little over length.


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