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Does your American Girl have every dress in her collection? If so, you may think you have a complete collection of outfits, but this possibly isn't so. pChecking the American Girl books will prove that the dolls were only given select wardrobes, and that countless of their outfits are not even offered for sale--anywhere. If you like sewing, you can use 18" doll patterns and adapt them to make the other outfits for your dolls. Basic patterns can be purchased and combined, swapping the pieces. Don't get discouraged--start off with something easy like a shirt, and build your way up to the more complicated pieces. You'll have a lot of fun making historically accurate outfits for your dolls that can't be found anywhere else!
I probably won't make my dolls all of these outfits, but I've put the ones I hope to make this summer in blue font. If I can, I'll share photos here as they are made. If I can't take photos, I'll take scans at the very least (we don't have a digital camera). I'm not sure I'll get to do this much sewing, but if so I'll share the results. If you try these, I'd like to see what you come up with, too! :)

Here were the guidelines I used in searching for extra outfits. Each one had to be:

  • Never offered by American Girl
  • Pictured well enough to use as a guide for sewing/crafting
  • From one of the main six book series, since they are very readily available in libraries and bookstores for use as point of reference when crafting

  • Please note that it's very possible that I've missed outfits from the books. I don't "collect" the various versions of each book, and also am not as familiar with the collections as I used to be since AG has moved their catalog to being largely on the Internet.

    Kaya

    Unfortunately, Kaya does not have any extra outfits shown in her books' illustrations.

    Felicity

    Felicity's mother disliked how sick she got while sewing Felicity's Christmas gown. She vowed to make Felicity as few dresses as possible. ;)
    * Felicity has a "shadow stripe" dress (light blue and dark blue vertical stripes), best seen on the cover of Changes for Felicity. The dress appears in several books but can be seen best here. It's shaped somewhat like her "Meet" dress. Also, look at pages 5, 35, and 47. Sometimes she wears a white apron with the dress.

    Josefina

    Unfortunately, Josefina does not have any extra outfits shown in her books' illustrations.
    Extra Idea
  • Look in Josefina's books for skirts her sisters Ana, Francisca, and Clara wore. These could be things she would have received as hand-me-downs, just like her doll. Making a skirt is easy and takes only about half an hour with no pattern needed. It's a great project for a beginner.
  • Kirsten

    Check Kirsten's family's trunk--more clothes are inside!
    * Kirsten wears a sage green dress with vertical red stripes and a white collar in Happy Birthday, Kirsten! See pages 11, 23 (shown with a "new" shawl as well), 31 and 38. She wears a different apron with this dress, which can be seen somewhat in the illustrations. P. 38 shows it the best. It appears to be perhaps white with brown plaid. A similar dress, but with white cuffs rather than striped, can be seen on p. 3, 9, 13, and 51 of Kirsten's Surprise. Most likely it's meant to be the same dress and this is an oversight.
    * Kirsten wears a white (rather than a white with red striped) apron on p. 54 of Kirsten Saves the Day. The apron is similar to her red and white striped apron and is not the one featured in her birthday book.
    Extra Ideas
  • My favorite item of Kirsten's when I was growing up was her bonnet. Why not use scraps from dresses to make a few more?
  • Kirsten's Meet Dress was a "hand me down." Check out her cousin Lisbeth's dresses and see if Kirsten might like some of them. The book notes mention that Kirsten's mother might have used her dress' fabrics to make clothing for Kirsten, so Mama's dresses may also serve as inspiration.
  • Addy

    Addy's mother is busy sewing--but it's for Mrs. Ford, not Addy!
    * Addy has very few extra outfits, but there are two in Meet Addy. A couple of outfits that Addy fans may or may not find appropriate are the clothes that she wore during slavery. Her simple light plum dress with white checking can be found on pages 12, 16, 21, and 27. The boy's outfit that helped her escape to freedom can be seen on pages 35, 51, and 55. The pants are mostly obscured, but the rest of the outfit appears to be a blue hat, green jacket, and white shirt.
    * In Addy's Surprise Addy wears an interesting coat of yellow, black, and brown. It can be seen on pages 9, 14, 31, and 34. Happy Birthday, Addy! also features the jacket on page 6.
    * Addy Saves the Day contains a cute light blue cardigan and white apron. She wears a purple skirt (or dress?) with white and red plaid. Check pages 3 and 12.

    Samantha

    Stay as busy as Jessie, sewing Samantha all of these dresses!
    * Samantha wears a periwinkle dress on p. 25 of Meet Samantha. It has lace at the neckline and complicated sleeves.
    * For a more simple dress project, you might like to try Samantha's white dress on p. 30 of Meet Samantha. The front is not seen, so the dress on p. 3 of Samantha Saves the Day might be helpful for ideas (though it is lace-finished and complicated). She also has another white dress--this one with blue trim--on p. 5 of Samantha Learns a Lesson.
    * Samantha seems to like blue in Meet Samantha! She also wears another blue dress on p. 50. It has brass buttons going down one side of the front.
    * A sage green dress with white trim and a fancy collar with white trim can be discovered on p. 10 of Samantha Learns a Lesson.
    * Another "pinafore dress" appears on p. 41 of Samantha Learns a Lesson. This dress is purple with lighter purple floral print. It looks very pretty!
    * Samantha wore a purple dress during her speech in Samantha Learns a Lesson. The dress has a very detailed and difficult collar with white trim on the collar, waist, and skirt.
    * Blue again! Apparently Samantha liked blue as much as Molly did! She has a blue dress on in Samantha's Surprise. You can see it on p. 25 and 28.
    * Samantha wears a really cute Christmas coat and hat with fur trim. See pages 4 and 39 in Samantha's Surprise.
    * A white dress with black trim on the sleeves and collar can be seen on p. 10 of Happy Birthday, Samantha!.
    * Samantha wears a more traditional dress--a pink sailor--in Happy Birthday, Samantha! Look on pages 41, 50, and 54 for help. A dress similar to this in coloration appears in Samantha Saves the Day, though it is not the same dress. See page 26.
    * A gorgeous green dress appears on p. 55 of Changes for Samantha. Though only the back is shown, it likely looks the same in the front, since it's a square-collar dress. The square-collar is lace. There is a somewhat similar dress in red (though it's lace insert on a self red collar) on p. 59 of the same book.
    Extra Ideas
  • Samantha doesn't need any extra ideas! ;)
  • Kit

    Gather your feed sacks and sew Kit some clothes!

    * In Meet Kit, Kit wears a sleeveless orange dress with white trim and decorative buttons at the top. See pages 26 and 33.
    * Another cute and sunny dress in Meet Kit can be seen on p. 41. It is orangish yellow with flower applique. Check out p. 22 of Kit Saves the Day for a view of the back of the dress.
    * Kit also has a blue dress with wide blue checking and a decorative bow, as seen on p. 55 of Meet Kit. If you purchase a yard of this material you can also make Kit's dress from Kit's Surprise on p. 61. It has a simpler construction and long sleeves instead of short, but appears to be made of the same or similar material.
    * Kit's dreaded red rickrack dress (with striped blouse) that she hates in Kit's Surprise is actually pretty cute! Check it out on pages 17 and 47.
    * A very different-looking dress compared to the rest of her collection can be found on p. 34 of Kit's Surprise. It is a mustardy yellow color with brown markings and little multi-colored dots, perhaps a small design or flower. This dress is also featured on p. 52 of Happy Birthday, Kit!.
    * Kit sports a darling outfit on p. 10 of Happy Birthday, Kit!. It's difficult to tell whether this is a dark mustard-orange dress with a flowered pinafore over it, or a flowered jumper dress with a dark mustard-orange shirt under it. I think, however, that this is probably an orange dress (not shirt) with an apron over it, because in a vignette on a following page, Kit is seen in a very plain orange dress without an apron over it. Mildred/Aunt Millie wears a similar outfit in this book as well, and in the illustration of her you can tell it's a dress with a pinafore/apron on top.
    * A dark blue button-up shirt with light blue and red vertical stripes. Sleeves should be left rough (they are ripped off). This shirt can be seen on p. 19 of Happy Birthday, Kit! and p. 11 of Kit Saves the Day.
    * A darling short dress, light yellow with mint diamond dots can be seen on p. 40 of Happy Birthday, Kit!.
    * Kit wears a red cardigan similar to her pink one in Changes for Kit.
    * Kit wears a plaid shirt in Changes for Kit. It is mostly purple, with red and blue stripes. See p. 23.
    * She also has a sage green cardigan and plaid skirt (shades of pink, black, and a yellow-green). Check out p. 36 in Changes for Kit.

    Molly

    Molly does have more clothing than just red, white, and blue!
    * Molly wears a purple dress with lace trim and buttons on bodice, white collar and short sleeves with white cuffs. Meet Molly, p. 7. Molly has this on when her mother is reading the family a letter from Dad, and Molly's special locket can be seen clearly in the illustration in the book. Because of that I called it "Molly's Locket Dress." At right is the version that I made. I was happy with everything, except the sleeves. Using pattern pieces I already had, I forgot to figure in the fact that the cuff I was using was made for a shirt with sleeves that went to the wrist, meaning the cuffs up high on the arm didn't end up "meeting" when sewn together.
    * Striped T-shirt with red, yellow, green, and light blue stripes on white (perhaps jersey knit). Red cuffs and collar. Worn with red overalls, perhaps corduroy. Meet Molly, p. 47 and 51.
    * A plaid shirt (yellow, green, and red). Worn with blue jeans. Molly's Surprise, p. 3 (this is from the old version of the book).
    * Blue pea-coat and blue beret. Her coat has a hood with fur trim. Molly's Surprise, p. 25, 33, 38 and 43 (this is from the old version of the book).
    * Another shirt worn with her blue jeans can be found in Happy Birthday, Molly! This shirt is mostly yellow, with green and red checking. It is similar but not identical to the one in Molly's Surprise. It can be seen on pages 7, 9, and 24.
    * Happy Birthday, Molly! also has an outfit in it very important to the story-line--the outfit she and her new English friend Emily shared. This is a white button-up shirt, blue cardigan, and blue skirt. Check out pages 30, 37, and 41.
    * Molly's camp pajamas in Molly Saves the Day are very similar to the ones she wears at home. Just use that pattern, and make it in off-white. Check p. 14 for ideas.
    Extra Idea
  • What outfit do you think Molly normally wore during tap lessons?
  • Index of Illustrators

    Once you've found an outfit that sounds interesting, check below to see which version of the American Girls books I used. The illustrations have changed and the outfits may vary by illustrator.
    Changes for Felicity - Dan Andreasen
    Kirsten's Surprise - Renee Graef
    Happy Birthday, Kirsten! - Renee Graef
    Kirsten Saves the Day - Renee Graef
    Meet Addy - Melodye Rosales
    Addy's Surprise - Melodye Rosales
    Happy Birthday, Addy! - Bradford Brown
    Addy Saves the Day - Bradford Brown
    Meet Samantha - Nancy Niles
    Samantha Learns a Lesson - Nancy Niles, R. Grace
    Samantha's Surprise - Nancy Niles, R. Grace
    Happy Birthday, Samantha! - Robert Grace, N. Niles
    Samantha Saves the Day - Robert Grace, N. Niles
    Changes for Samantha - Luann Roberts
    Meet Kit - Walter Rane
    Kit's Surprise - Walter Rane
    Happy Birthday, Kit! - Walter Rane
    Kit Saves the Day - Walter Rane
    Changes for Kit - Walter Rane
    Meet Molly - Nick Backes
    Molly's Surprise - C. F. Payne
    Happy Birthday, Molly! - Nick Backes
    Molly Saves the Day - Nick Backes

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