2021 in review and plans for 2022

Although my handcrafting year was curtailed by RSI I still managed an impressive ten historical doll outfits (listed here in historical order rather than crafted order):

Viking dress and overdress modelled by Julie 1000 Viking Dress and overdress

Caroline in 1790 round gown 1790 Round gown in gauze
Caroline in petticoat for 1790 round gown Petticoat for 1790 round gown

Marie-Grace 1 (American Girl) in 1790 Regency Dress 1790 Regency Dress

1800 Bib-Front gown modelled by #23 (American Girl) 1800 Bib-Front Gown

Marie-Grace 4 (American Girl) in 1810 bib-front dress 1810 Bib-Front Dress

1810 Regency Dress 1810 Regency Dress

1820 Regency Dress modelled by Samantha 1820 Regency Gown

1824 Christmas Dress 1824 Christmas Dress

#47 (American Girl) in 1920 dress 1920s dress in gold

1940s Panel Dress

As for 2022, I’m planning more of the same.

1. Doll clothes. I have three outfits that are close to being finished (including the one that killed my wrist) and several more in the planning stages. I need to experiment with clothing for non-AG dolls, even if it means drafting new pattern pieces.

3. Human clothes. I’d like to make a couple of casual items for myself — nothing fancy, just tops and shorts for summer. Because summer clothes are laundered frequently they don’t last as long and with Covid still affecting us I’d like to avoid clothes shopping if possible. I have plenty of quilting cottons and also a small stash of dressmaking fabrics so I won’t lack for materials.

2. Patchwork and quilting. I’d like to complete at least two tops out of the numerous WIPs I have stacked in boxes. My hand quilting days are over but I might be able to quilt one on the machine.

4. Doll acquisition. Makena from American Girl for sure, and probably Corinne (2022 GOTY) as well. I was looking at the images on the website last night and I’m pretty sure this is a new mould. At first glance she resembles Nanea but Corrine’s eye sockets are narrower vertically and wider horizontally and I think the jaw is slightly different. That makes three new moulds in two years which is fairly impressive. It also means that Maritza and #86 drop in priority, which is a shame, but new moulds are more important.

Sage (OG) and Tenney (AG)

These are my last two doll purchases for 2021.

Sage dressed
Sage undressed
Our Generation introduced a new mould for their dolls last year and I really like it so I wanted to get one. I scrolled through the Australian website and decided that Sage had the best combination of hair, eyes and skintone. Unfortunately everyone else did too and she was sold out. It was months and months before I got the notification that she was back in stock and I almost gave up, but she’s here now and I love how she looks in person. Her hair is amazingly soft and has a gentle wave.

The clothes are fairly nice for mass-produced doll clothes, especially since they are meant to be for gardening, not partying. The dress is synthetic but it’s softer than umbrella nylon, and the cardigan is machine knitted fabric with an interesting textured stitch. The cardigan is lined on the sleeves only, which seems a little counter-intuitive, but it might be to prevent the hands from catching on the hem. I have a little difficulty with the concept of ribbons on gumboots but they do look pretty, and the boots were very easy to get off.

I’m nopt sure what sort of costume I’ll be making for her. She reminds me of Sora of the Genii from Stargate: Atlantis (played by Erin Chambers) so I think I might try making a Genii uniform for her. (She won’t be getting a haircut, though.)

Tenney dressed
Tenney undressed
I found Tenney on ebay about six weeks ago — there were several of her available but this one seemed to have the best compromise between cost and condition, since I didn’t want to buy her new and I definitely didn’t want any of the accessories. Her hair is very dry but apart from that she’s in very good condition. She came in most of her original outfit (she’s missing the denim vest but since I’m not much interested in AG clothes that doesn’t bother me).

Her body tag reads 2014 but she was released in 2017. I’ve noted the same thing with a couple of Melodys I’ve seen listed, and I suspect that AG made a massive order for bodies in 2014 and took a few years to run down the stock. I know that they retired several dolls in 2014-15 so overstock is the most likely explanation.

The forefinger in the right hand is, I think, bent enough for her to be able to hold a wand or staff, so witches and warriors are in her future.

That brings me to a staggering 78 American Girl dolls. If I do get Makena and Maritza next year that will be 80. I know I should be starting to sell some but I keep finding new ideas for the ones I previously didn’t care for very much. For example, I don’t feel a strong connection to McKenna or Kailey … but if I want to customise a doll for 17th century and/or Edwardian outfits (which I do), then they are the best options I have to modify the hairstyle because no one produces any appropriate wigs. I suspect that I may eventually start making my own wigs but that’s a long way off.

Typical. Just typical.

Is there a name for the law that dictates that you only find what you’ve lost after you’ve bought a replacement?

I’ve been looking for the container that houses my buttons, eyelets, and hooks & eyes for weeks. Last week I gave up and bought another punch, some eyelets and some hooks and eyes from Lincraft (I’ve been buying small doll-size buttons as I need them anyway).

Guess what I found today? Yes, indeed, it was that very container. It was hiding behind the recliner — the one I haven’t sat in for weeks because the front support is broken and although I have the brackets and screws to fix it I can’t find my drill …

Two New Arrivals!

Even though I can’t sew much yet I can still browse ebay, and I have two new (to me) dolls to share with you.

AG #08
The first is a #08 American Girl doll, with red hair and green eyes. She’s the only one of this type I’ve seen in two years of browsing so I was very pleased to get her for a reasonable price. She has the short “Made in China” label and her neck stamp is PLEASANT COMPANY in an arch, so she probably dates from 2000-2006. She’s clean and her hair is in good condition.

Early edition Felicity with red lashes
The second is an early edition Felicity with red lashes. These are pretty rare so I was astonished to see not one but two listed in the same week a couple of months back. I missed out on the first one but I got the second.

Felicity lashes close-up
I’m not sure I’d call her lashes red, exactly — they are more of a brown — but they are definitely not black and they are much softer than the later Chinese lashes.

Felicity label
She has a “Made in Germany” label and for a thirty year old doll she is remarkably clean and tidy. Her hair is a little dry but in very good condition for her age. I didn’t take a picture of her neck but she has the arched PLEASANT COMPANY stamp, too.

#08 and Felicity compared
In comparing the two dolls, the moulds appear to be identical, but the vinyl is different — the original version from Germany is softer, lighter in complexion and more matte, while the vinyl used in China is harder, a little darker in value and much more shiny. The wig materials are different, too — Felicity’s hair is slightly lighter in colour and is finer and softer than #08’s. You can see the difference in the lashes as well.

As for cosplay, #08 will be young Anne Shirley and Felicity will be adult Anne Shirley (I plan on using Samantha and #25 for Diana Barry). Of course there will be other historical gowns as well.

I still have plans to do a formal comparison of moulds, paint and vinyl sometime in the new year — I have bought a Vernier calliper to help with the measurements, and I’ll do standardised photos to compare colours. Unfortunately the weather has been grey and very rainy the last month or so and we are in for La Niña which means more rain and a cool summer, so it’s anyone’s guess when I’ll be able to do an outdoor shoot (the best photography weather is light and even cloud cover but that’s as rare as hens’ teeth here).

World By US dolls from American Girl
I missed the announcement of the three new “World by Us” dolls in September but I do like them — well, I’m a bit lukewarm about Evette but I love Makena and Maritza. The Makena mould makes me think of Michelle Obama. Given that her hair is styled so elaborately, I might treat myself to a direct purchase from the AG website rather than waiting for her to appear as a used doll — I suspect that the hair would be almost impossible to restore once tangled. And since there is no economic sense in buying one doll at a time (the shipping charge for one is more than 50% doll price) I might as well buy Maritza too.

I’m also considering #86 — I was hoping to win an auction for an #86 a few days ago but was overbid in the last few seconds, which was kind of disappointing but also a bit of a relief as this is not the month to go wild on the credit card. I won’t be trying to buy anything else until the new year so I’ll have time to save up. Fair warning though, I do have two more dolls already bought that are in transit so, fate and the postal service willing, there will be another new doll post before Christmas.