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Friday, September 6, 2013

Dolly Dress Discussion: Madame Alexander hats

If you're active in the world of toy dolls, then you know that eighteen inches is a popular size.  American Girl, Carpatina, Springfield Collection, Our Generation, Euro Girls, Magic Attic, B.F.C. Ink dolls, and several Madame Alexander lines are all in the eighteen-inch play doll category.  And that isn't even a full list!  The dolls differ in price and quality, but most are similar enough in body size that they can share clothes.  However, not all of them fall into this category; Carpetina dolls are referred to as "slim," and some parents were upset that B.F.C. Ink clothing is too small for American Girl dolls (check out some of the comments on Amazon).  It turns out that not all eighteen-inch play dolls are created equal, and that will be the point of this blog post.  But first...it's time for a tangent!!!

I recently gave one of my American Girls to one of my mother's students.  Her family can't swing the one-hundred-or-so bucks for one, and I rarely play with mine, so I picked one that I wasn't too attached to and gave it to her.  The child absolutely LOVES the doll and I'm thrilled that I was able to make her happy, but finding clothes for the doll has since become a problem.  American Girl clothing is like everything else bearing the American Girl name:  nice but pricey.  I knew that Wal-Mart offers playline Madame Alexander dolls that are of a similar size to American Girls, and with those dolls come a decent-sized, reasonably-priced selection of clothes.  I told the girl that I'd buy one of the outfits and try it on one of my American Girls to see how well it would work.  And it just so happens that I have both an American Girl doll and an appropriately-sized Madame Alexander doll, so we'll have a looksie.  Part two will be devoted to an entire outfit, but for now we're going to focus on some cute accessories that I found today.

First, let's say hello to the dolls.  My girls are Denise (left) and Gracie.
I thought that Denise wass a well-loved Pleasant Company-era American Girl of Today (the "American Girl of Today" line is now the "My American Girl" line), but a friend on Flickr noted that she looked a lot like Samantha.  I then remembered that "Denise" had been wearing Samantha's meet outfit when I found her.  That was so long ago that I completely forgot!  I also remembered why I named her "Denise;" I already have a Samantha and didn't want to get the two confused.  Thus, Denise!  Notice that Denise's hair is cut.  I have no idea why because I obtained her secondhand, but she has a bob haircut (quite cute).  Gracie is much newer.  She is an Avon-exclusive Madame Alexander doll, and I received her for Christmas in 2010.  The two dolls are of a similar size and height.  Their clothes are also the same, but that's a coincidence.

Now, let's see the accessories.  I've got two hats and a purse.
These items are from the Madame Alexander "My Life" line and are relatively inexpensive; I paid three bucks for each piece.  One of the hats is a panda.  It's made of soft fleece.
The other is an owl.  It is made of faux fur.
A Siberian husky and a cougar were also available.  Both of those were cute as well, so I'll probably be making a return trip for those pieces.  If they're as nice as these hats are then that probably will turn into a definitely.  Both hats are fully lined inside, which I think is a quality touch.
Both hats also have embroidered features.
Okay, the owl's features are really patches, but they're sewn on nicely.

The purse is labelled as a "hobo bag."  It's made of a felty sort of material and has beautiful colors.
Like the hats, it's lined inside.
It has purple braided cords on it that end in huge tassels.  I love this part!

I'm not concerned about the fit of the bag, since bags are always one-size-fits-all.  It'll look great with any of my eighteen-inch girls (no, Gracie and Denise aren't my only two).  The hats are another story.  According to Beastsbelle, some Madame Alexander dolls (particularly the "Friends 4 Life" line) have bigger heads than your average eighteen-inch doll.  These hats are sized for the "My Life" line, but I don't own a My Life doll so I don't know if they've got the bigger heads or not.  Only one way to find out, I guess.  To be completely, totally fair I'll try both hats on both dolls.

First fitting.  Here's how it went.
The owl hat is very tight on Denise.  I had to tug on that sucker to get it on her, but...it does fit.  And it looks quite cute on her too!  The panda hat fits Gracie like a glove, which doesn't surprise me much.  After all, both the doll and the hat are Madame Alexander products.  Now, switch 'em!
The panda hat fits Denise better than the owl hat does, but it was still a tiny bit of a squeeze.  The owl hat is tight on Gracie, but it sits lower on her than it did on Denise.  Based on that, I'd say that these hats are safe accessories for American Girls.  The owl hat was tight squeeze on Denise, but she CAN wear it.  In her defense, the owl hat is snug on Gracie too.  For dolls with big hairstyles, both of these hats would be a practical impossibility.  But for dolls with flat hairstyles or straight hair these are a win.  If you have an American Girl doll and like hats, go ahead and get these.  They're adorable, they're high quality, and they fit.

Stay tuned for part two!

Happy Rosh Hashanah,


  1. I really need to search for some of these adorable hats. I hope they won't be too big for 1/3 sized BJDs.

    1. I hope so too, because that would be cute! Let me know how the search goes...and how well they fit.