Samantha’s Wardrobe Collection

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:

Together:

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?

-Heather

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About jackylina

Hi, I'm Heather (the human) and Jacky (the doll) wanted us to start a blog together about all the dolls in my room. I collect 18"dolls such as American Girl, Carpatina, Magic Attic, and Kidz n Cats. I love dressing them up and creating photo stories for you to enjoy! I'm a Christian and you will see a Christian influence in this blog because I can't help glorifying the Lord!
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15 Responses to Samantha’s Wardrobe Collection

  1. I loved reading this post! It was so interesting. 🙂
    That’s so great that you have the catalogs that your neighbor gave you so long ago(I’d be interested in seeing your catalog collection, by the way). It’s kind of funny, because when I was younger and we didn’t get many catalogs, I was always so excited when we got a catalog. I read all the descriptions, too!
    I love the Samantha’s handmade dresses. They’re so pretty. 🙂
    ~Christian Homeschooler

    • jackylina says:

      Thanks! Nicki wants to post what she’s been up to and then I’ll do a post of my giant catalog collection. Are there any specific years (besides 1992 and 1995) that you’d like to see? I actually have one catalog for every single year beginning from 1995. Some of them are cut up when I made an American Girl scrapbook.

      • Great! No, I don’t have any specific years in mind, I’d just like to see your earliest catalogs up to 2008 or so. 🙂 I’d especially like to see spring catalogs, because we didn’t get so many of those.

      • Sunny says:

        I’d like to see ones from 1998 or 1999 to about 2003 if it’s not too much trouble. 😉
        *Sunny

      • jackylina says:

        Okay!! I’ve decided to show my catalogs from 1992 – 2010. It might take a while because I’m going to try to be as thorough as I can and I will also share more of my doll collecting story in that post. I didn’t really realize how many catalogs I have (I haven’t looked at them in a long time) and I’m learning more about the changes AG has gone through as I’m going through them. It’s really interesting.

  2. That post was a real tour de force! I appreciated the details about how you came to be interested in AG and your mom’s reticence to spend so much on a doll. I love that you slept with the photos of Molly!
    All of the outfits that your Aunt sewed are wonderful. I am particularly taken by the school dress, sailor dress, and quilt. She is a wonderful seamstress to handle all of that Victorian detailing.
    I was too old to take note of American Girl when it came out, but after my daughter bought a PC Josefina from my Sis in Law, THEN I understood why the dolls were so special. I already loved Addy’s stories and 7 months later, my mom bought me Addy. She is still my #1
    Have you always taken such good care of your things? I would love to know more about your collecting journey.
    I struggle a bit in my mind with my love for the American Girl items and the sheer volume of items, and also with a bit of dismay when I find random doll things not being taken care of by DD. It’s that balance between appreciating what you have and just mindlessly buying that sometimes feels out of whack in our house.

    • jackylina says:

      I bet that present of Addy from your mom was extra special! That’s so sweet of her to buy it for you. I’m sure it was special for her, since what I’ve read from your posts, she loves dolls as much as you! (Does she have a doll of her own?)
      Except for my very first Barbie doll, I have always taken very good care of my things. For American Girl dolls, I think I took extra special care of Sam and Molly because my mom made such a fuss over how much the dolls were and how there was NO way (at least at first) that she was going to spend that kind of money on a toy. And back then, $82 was a lot. Once I got those two dolls I decided I could not pester my family for any more dolls or things and for a very long time I was content with what I had and just being able to look at the catalogs I continued to get and not buy anything. I’ve gotten some comments from people who want to see my giant catalog collection. I will show you that collection and also continue my collecting story in that post. So stay tuned!

  3. Those clothes are so gorgeous and authentic! Your aunt must really know how to sew!

  4. Sunny says:

    I loved reading this post, Heather!! That was so sweet of your aunt to sew all those beautiful clothes for Samantha. 🙂 And your mom was so sneaky to wrap your Molly doll up that way, haha. 😉
    I was first introduced to AG when our library was holding a drawing for a basket of books. My mom entered me, and as luck would have it, I was the winner! I was really excited because since I was really little, I’d never won (or tried to win) anything before. At least one of the books inside was an American Girl book (I think it was one of the Molly books 😉 ), so I eventually read that, and probably about the same time that I won the drawing, we started getting American Girl catalogs in the mail. I remember not really understanding what American Girl was at first, so it wasn’t until a few years later that I became interested in it. I started reading some of the books when I was seven, including several of Kaya’s books. And then when I was eight, I got Kaya (who I unfortunately don’t have anymore, I sold her to make some money without really thinking first…. and I now regret that. 😦 ). Later I got Kit and Felicity, who I still have today, of course! 😀
    *Sunny

    • jackylina says:

      Cool! I love it when people like me get introduced to the books first. I believe the books are at the heart of American Girl. That was why Pleasant Rowland started it, so girls can have fun reading about history and realizing that girls of the past lived lives that were different but also the same as the lives girls live today. That’s to bad about Kaya. Do you think you might get another Kaya someday?

  5. Ali says:

    This was my favorite post so far, Heather! I loved hearing about your first American Girl dolls! Your aunt’s sewing skills are amazing, and the dresses she made are gorgeous! How special you still have them! And that quilt is stunning, and obviously so special. I’d love to see a closer picture of the design. I love how you eventually got both Samantha and Molly, and you obviously took such good care of them and loved them so much! I’m amazed you never took out Molly’s braids though… how could you resist? Her hair is so fun to play with!

    My introduction to Pleasant Company was through my grandmother, who discovered the company and bought Samantha for herself. I have her Samantha doll now (I named her Megan Josephine), and she’s well-loved but very special. My grandma encouraged my sister and I to decide which of the original five dolls (Felicity was out then, but not Addy yet) we liked best. I had a hard time choosing, but I wasn’t really into history, and since Molly felt the most modern to me and the most like myself, I chose her. My grandma gave her to me that Christmas. Unfortunately I didn’t keep my Molly doll after I grew up, which is something I still regret. 😦 I know how special she would be to me now. I’m so glad you still have your first dolls!

    • jackylina says:

      Yes! It was VERY hard not to take out Molly’s bangs especially since Samantha’s curls limited how I could brush her hair! I think I would have taken her braids out if it wasn’t for my friend who also loved American Girl dolls and had a very large collection herself. She would tell me to NEVER take out Molly’s braids because that would change who Molly was, and it would mess up her part. My friend took Kirsten’s braids out and she greatly regretted doing that. I decided to learn from her.
      That’s so cool that your grandma fell in love with PC enough to buy a doll of her own! And I bet it was really special to share such a special love with your grandma and sister.

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