All of my dolls share clothes but they also have clothes that are just their own. Some have very few (just their meet outfit) and some have entire collections. Samantha has the biggest wardrobe. She is an extra special doll because she was my first American Girl doll.
I remember being introduced to American Girl in 1995 when I was a little girl very sick with strep throat. I was sitting and waiting for my throat culture when my mom pulled out Meet Molly that she had gotten out of the library and started reading it to me. I completely forgot about how miserable I was and fell in love with Molly and got lost in her world. At the end of the book there was a page with 4 dolls (including Molly) dressed in their meet outfits and you could send in the bottom half to get a free catalog. My mom wouldn’t let me do that since it was a library book. I started checking out all the American Girl books my library had and reading them.
My next door neighbors found out I liked the books and gave me 4 catalogs! Two from 1992 (Addy was the new release that year) and two from 1995 (I still have all 4 to this day!). My mom was shocked and disgusted that the prices were so high and a doll cost $82!! I poured over those catalogs and memorized every picture and read every description over and over. I loved Molly because I could relate to her stories the most (I’ve had more than one war on the home front between my little sister) and I loved it that she had glasses like me, but I was also smitten by Samantha’s beauty and kindness. She was what I wanted my life to be; to wear fancy dresses, have tea, and act like a proper young lady but also climb a tree here and there. I begged my mom for Samantha but she was still very against such high prices.
All I wanted for Christmas that year was an American girl doll and my mom finally realized how much I wanted one. So she took me aside one night and said that I would get Samantha for Christmas, but because she cost so much money that would be the ONLY thing I would get for Christmas from my entire family. My mom, grandma, aunt were going to pool their money and that would be my one and only gift. I agreed. I didn’t care if I didn’t get new Barbies or legos or puzzles. I knew I would be thrilled with Samantha for years and years to come.
It was a Christmas I’ll never forget, because I truly expected to only unwrap one present that year, but I ended up unwrapping more! My other aunt (my mom’s sister) found out that I was going to get Samantha and she sewed a whole collection of Victorian clothes for her! I remember opening the box and just looking at the clothes in awe. She did not use the American girl sewing patterns but she based the outfits on Samantha’s books and the outfits that were in the catalogs. I’ve been wanting to do a post on these very special clothes but just haven’t gotten around to it. But now, you are about to see Samantha’s beautiful clothes! For years, Samantha just had the clothes from my aunt, but now, as an adult collector, I’ve been slowly collecting Samantha’s original outfits too. You will see comparison pictures of Sam’s PC clothes and the handmade clothes:
Since I got Samantha brand new in her meet dress, my aunt did not sew a meet dress to match so we will start with Samantha’s school clothes:
Here is Nellie wearing the homemade school dress. The waist is cut low and the skirt is pleated to match the Victorian style.
Here’s a close up of the dress.
Here are Nellie and Samantha together. Samantha is wearing her original PC school dress.
Next is Sam’s Christmas dresses. I just love my aunt’s version of this dress. The lace is exquisite and the fabric has tiny hearts which means the dress can also be used for Valentine’s Day! Here is Becky wearing it:
A close up of the hearts:
Mary-Grace is wearing Samantha’s old cranberry dress.
Up next is Samantha’s sailor suit from Samantha Saves the Day. Jacky often borrows this dress when she becomes Midshipman in her Jacky Faber books:
A close up of the anchors:
Tess is wearing Samantha’s middy dress. No tam though, because I got it used.
Completing the outfits that go with Samantha’s books is her winter cloak. My aunt’s cloak is double sided. Samantha uses the black outside, but whenever Halloween rolls around, anyone who wants to be a witch turns this cloak inside out to show off the red. Here is Kirsten modelling it:
The PC cloak annoys me a little bit, because it’s difficult to get on and the “sleeves” are short so the only outfit that really goes well with it is Sam’s PC school outfit. Elianna is only wearing the plaid cloak, so you can see how funny it looks.
Besides the Christmas dress, my favorite dress my aunt sewed for me is Samantha’s play/birthday dress. Samantha wore this dress the most when she was younger, you can see how the sleeves have lost their elasticity and fall down instead of puff up. Jessica is sporting this dress:
Here is Ruthie in Sam’s original tree climbing gear:
I love how my aunt’s version can either be just the purple rick-rack dress by itself:
Whereas the PC one looks really silly without the pinafore. Do you see the weird collar and how bunchy the dress is above the waist? So annoying.
Here they are together.
And finally, although my aunt didn’t make a nightgown, she did make the most beautiful doll quilt I have ever and will ever own.
I hate to say this, but it’s a little faded from the sun. Here is Amy in Samantha’s PC nightgown showing off the quilt.
After I got Samantha, I badly wanted Molly to be her friend. Every night I would open up the catalog page to Molly and pretend to “sleep” with her. (Back then, the doll took up 2 catalog pages). My mom was not at all happy that I wanted yet another expensive doll. I felt a little guilty because of that and had a very small amount of hope that I would actually get her. I waited a year and on the Christmas of 1996 I ran down the stairs but there were no doll-shaped boxes under the tree. I opened up all my presents saving one huge present that I thought was a joke present for last. I couldn’t believe it but it was Molly!! My mom had disguised the box by putting newspaper all around it so I couldn’t tell it was a doll! I can’t tell you how excited I was! I still have my Molly and Sam to this day. Molly’s hair is in perfect condition because I never took out her braids. Both dolls limbs are very loose because I hugged them so much! That year that I got Molly, my sister received a Bitty Baby doll. My aunt sewed school dresses for both dolls:
Emily is in what I call the abc dress:
And Molly is in her original School jumper:
I just thought Bitty Baby needed something on her head so she borrowed Lissie’s mob cap.
Here is Samantha’s wardrobe collection minus her birthday and tea dress:
The background is Samantha’s wonderful Scenes and Settings book.
How did you get introduced to American Girl?