Announcement Looking for doll clothes? Check out my other shop, American Eras!
Looking for doll clothes? Check out my other shop, American Eras!
michla70 on Apr 18, 2015
This outfit is lovely. The color and print are flattering as well as historically accurate. Each tuck in the bodice is so perfect, the collar and cuffs are super adorable, and the red trim really makes the dress extra special. The slight puff in the sleeve is also unique and quite pretty. This is a really well done outfit. It even came with fun accessories. The shipping was speedy as well.
Elizabeth S. on Jul 22, 2014
I absolutely love what you created, the work quality and design are outstanding. The yellow fabric is soft and flowing and the lining/petticoat adds structure. The skirt is full and long. I think my favorite part of the dress is the neckline and the tiny white ribbon stripes. Thank you very much!
Virginia was twelve years old when she sewed her first doll dress. Growing out of playing with dolls, but unwilling to give them up, she searched for a way to interact with them. "I had an American Girl doll, but I could never afford the clothes," she remembers. "She had a very limited wardrobe! And in my household, if you couldn't buy something, you made it yourself." Thus the inspiration was born.
She searched on the internet for a free, printable doll dress pattern and set to work. "My mom had a machine, but it was broken," she says. "So I stitched the dress by hand, using whatever scrap fabric we had lying around. I didn't even follow the pattern's design for the dress, really--I made her outfit a whole different style."
Inspiration grew from that first outfit, even though "It looked horrible!" Virginia laughs. She turned to human-size clothing next. "I had always wanted a corset, and a historical dress, so I attempted those, again using information from the internet. I put the dress together with Steam-a-Seam!"
She was terrified of working with real patterns, though. "And they're so expensive!" So she checked out a pattern-drafting book from the library and was able to make slopers (basic patterns) as well as a princess-line dress pattern and others, all drafted from the doll's specific measurements. Even today, Virginia prefers to draft or drape patterns rather than use commercially printed ones. "It's just easier," she explains. "Except in the case of vintage patterns. I love those!"
Her love of history combined with her love of sewing, and by the time she was sixteen she had outfitted herself and her younger sister in complete (and historically accurate) Civil War and Revolutionary War garb. "I had gotten the sewing machine fixed by then, and learned how to use it pretty well, although a lot of the sewing for reenactments was done by hand." She was also making dresses almost daily for her little sister, who was just getting into American Girl. "She received the Kit doll for Christmas," says Virginia, "and they loved to wear matching outfits. So whatever Audrey was wearing, I would whip up for Kit too." Eventually she was churning out doll dresses in under two hours.
During this time, she was making cloche hats and doll outfits for Audrey's friends, too. "I never saw it as a real business. I thought maybe, someday, I could make enough dresses to set up a booth at a craft fair or something. But I never saw it turning into anything more than a fun thing to do."
Now, ten years after sewing her first doll dress, Virginia has opened her own Etsy shop. "There's a real market for these doll clothes. It's grown amazingly in the past several years; I've watched it expand and it's great. So I thought, why not strike out and try it for myself? I love to design and I love how quickly the doll clothes make up. I knew the market and the target audience very well. And besides, it's just fun!"
Her favorite orders are the ones where customers ask her to recreate a dress produced by American Girl or seen in a film or TV show. "I love the challenge of finding fabric and trims as close to the real thing as possible, and I enjoy making items that are either cheaper or of higher-quality than the original," she says. "I want to benefit my customers in that way." She also loves being able to make historically accurate doll clothes and strives to base these designs on original garments. "I think historical accuracy has kind of fallen by the wayside with these bigger companies, in favor of turning out a product that's more appealing to a wider age range. And while that's understandable, my heart still lies with the accurate, old-fashioned garments. I love history and am very passionate about spreading the right ideas about olden times to younger girls--and older ones, too. It's why I participate in living history and it's part of the reason why I make these clothes. I try to include a little blurb somewhere--in the listing or on my blog or with the dress that I ship out--about the history behind the dress style, and what was going on in our nation at that point. If you can make history personal, you can make it interesting."
Virginia's love of history extends to the vintage era--from the 1920s to the early 1960s. "In high school, I used to dress vintage," she remembers. "I absolutely adore it." One of her dreams included owning her own vintage shop. "I had all these ideas about how I would arrange it and decorate it, and just what kind of items I would stock. I wanted it to be really atmospheric, a total experience from the time you stepped into the store to the minute you walked out, purchase in hand. I hope to extend a little bit of that to my buyers here. Whether you're perusing doll clothes or vintage items, or have a request in mind, I want my customers to have a unique and lasting experience when they shop with me."
Around the web
Owner, Creator, Designer
the Shoppe's blog (view more about your favorite items, get automatic listing updates, etc): www.ladysresourceshoppe.blogspot.com
my personal sewing blog: www.retrospectsewing.blogspot.com
Help with research for your historic clothing: www.ladysresourcesite.blogspot.com
Accepted payment methods
- Accepts Etsy gift cards
Item ships out after payment has cleared.
Please message me if you are having any problems with payment.
I ship to the Etsy buyer address, not the address you give PayPal. If you wish me to ship to an address other than the Etsy address, please let me know.
Refunds and Exchanges
Additional policies and FAQs
*18" doll clothes
*matching girl-and-doll clothes
*historical clothing for children and ladies
*costumes for children and ladies
The time of completion upon receiving a request varies depending on my current workload. If you send me a specific request I can give you price and time estimates. I will post the item here on etsy as a reserved item. I reserve the right to refuse your request or custom order.