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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Dolly Dress Discussion: Madame Alexander clothes

Part two of the quest for American Girl clothes.  I've tried the hats, and they worked out quite well.  Now, here's a new outfit.
It's all in disarray right now, but trust me:  it's a full little outfit and it looks promising.  According to the tag this is the My Life hiking outfit; in other words, it's from the same line that made the hats and the bag.  I chose this particular outfit because it was the most complete-looking, and because it was the sole outfit available that didn't feature pink as a dominant color.  It cost ten bucks, which isn't bad considering that you get a full outfit, footwear included.  The outfit has this blouse:
A jacket that goes over the blouse:

A pair of denim-looking shorts:
Some boots and socks:
And this little bandana-thingy:
Before I put these on either of my girls, let me say that these are very nicely crafted little pieces of clothing, just like the hats and the hobo bag.  All the edges are hemmed or tucked under so they'll be hard to get at.  Everything closes with patches of Velcro; the buttons on the jacket are non-functional but a cute touch.  The shorts have little pockets, though these don't open.

Alright, let's start trying these on my girls.  Denise is the doll I want to learn about, so she goes first.  This is off-subject, but when I took her dress off I discovered that those black sleeves caused a lot of staining.
Yikes!  I had no idea that this could be a problem with American Girl dolls.  Now I REALLY want this new outfit to work!!!  And...
It doesn't work, obviously.  The shorts went on Denise's legs fairly easily, but they are WAY too tight for her lower body.
I can't get them to pull up AT ALL.  Not without jeopardizing the seams, anyway.

The blouse looks like it will fit at first...
...but check this out.
The Velcro doesn't close completely.  Furthermore, there's this to be seen.
American Girls have torsos made completely from cloth, including her neck and shoulders.  This probably wouldn't be a huge problem for a child, but I hate the way it looks in a strappy outfit like this (and I know I'm not the only one who feels that way).  That would've been unsightly even if the blouse fit properly.

The jacket does fit and covers the ill fit of the blouse to some extent...
...and the bandanna looks adorable.
The bandanna has no snaps or elastic, just some tails that you tie together.  Normally I have a lot of problems putting these on dolls, but it went on without any fuss.  It looks great over Denise's bobbed hair, but the rest of this outfit does not fit so why bother?  Heck, the shoes don't even fit!
Okay, the shoes MIGHT have fit without the socks, but I'm not in much of a mood to push and shove on some bulky plastic shoes to verify this.  Besides, this type of shoe should definitely be worn with socks, lest blisters be rubbed (LOL).  Sorry Denise, but this outfit is not going to work in any way, shape, or form.  That really is a spirit-breaker for me, because the pieces that do fit look adorable.

Now, let's look at Gracie.  This may seem unnecessary since Gracie is a confirmed Madame Alexander doll and the outfit is a Madame Alexander outfit, but I've put it on her anyway, just for laughs.  The verdict?  Well...the shorts are just a bit tight.
They don't look it, but they're just tight enough that I wouldn't try too hard to make Gracie sit in these.  They DO go on, however.  Remember that poor Denise couldn't even pull those up!

The blouse closes in back like it should.
And it looks cute from the front.
The jacket fits nicely over the blouse, though getting her into it was a bit of an experience.  If you have kids and they're putting this outfit on a doll, you may need to help them get it all turned around the right way.
The shoes and socks fit.  In fact, the shoes are a hair loose.
Unsurprisingly, the bandanna also fits.
Here's the final result.

Not bad at all!  Much more suitable for this blazing hot weather we've been having here in Missouri.  Here it is in early September, and our average daily highs are in the ninties!  Gracie definitely looks more comfortable in this outfit than she did in that long-sleeved dress.

Now, the reason why one doll could wear this outfit, and the other one couldn't!
Denise's torso is made completely of stuffed fabric.  She's very round and densely stuffed, which I understand is a feature common to the older, Pleasant Company-era American Girls.  Remember back to first of these two blogs when I said that I'm trying to help a girlfriend find clothes for a doll that I gave her?  The doll that I gave to my friend has the same body structure as Denise.  Gracie has a two-part torso.  The upper part is made of vinyl and thus looks much better in that strappy blouse.  The lower part is stuffed like Denise's, but it's slimmer and softer.  Overall, Gracie has a smaller, slimmer torso than Denise.

I'm probably going to have to examine a couple more outfits before I can give you a final verdict on these Wal-Mart bought doll clothes.  Based on this experience alone I can safely say that the My Life hiking outfit is a no-go for the older American Girls.  Mattel bought out Pleasant Company in 1998, and I've been told that dolls made after then have slimmer bodies (Barbie must've put them on a diet, LOL).  Evidence for this can be found in this blog post by Beastsbelle; her Mattel-era American Girl looks quite a bit slimmer than Denise, though she's still bigger than Madame Alexander dolls.  For now I'll have to tell my friend that the clothes and shoes available at Wal-Mart are not a feasible buy, but the hats and bags are.  There may be a possible Part Three in the future, so stay tuned.

Happy September!

1 comment:

  1. Hello from Spain: I like jeans. The boots are very nice. They look real. Great comparison .. Keep in touch