Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kirsten's or 1850's Costume and AG Doll Dress

Burda 9529 and Thimbles and Acorn Civil War Day Dress

This month we are reading about American Girl Doll, Kirsten.  The costume opportunities were wonderful for the doll, not so much for the girl until I found Burda 9529.   Kirsten had some wonderful patterns for her.  With the addition of Marie-Grace to the AG line-up, new patterns for the 1850's are popping up everywhere.  So, I was torn between authentic Kirsten and something new for Marie-Grace, which was added to our house at Christmas.  I was also just looking for an opportunity to sew up another Thimbles and Acorn pattern.  I noticed that most dresses from the 1850's had wide shoulder seams.  I don't know if this fashion has a name or if it was just characteristic of the era. So I had to find a girl's pattern with this wide shoulder and there were not many.  I only found the Burda pattern.  The plum fabric is a Moda print that I picked up at the Quilt Festival.

Smiling, happy 1850's era girl!

Let me start with the girl's dress:

Burda 9529 may not appear to look like my dress, but it was the base pattern I used to make the plum dress.  I took out the front button section by just cutting the center front on the fold.  I used the peter pan collar from the pattern to trace the neckline and then adjusted it to match the doll dress.  Instead of the gathered skirt, I hand pleated it to match the doll dress again.  This skirt was too short, so I added a quick panel at the bottom.  I wanted the doll and girl's dress to match in the sleeve areas also, so I used the long sleeve pattern piece from the Burda pattern as the ivory under sleeve. The plum top sleeve was cut exactly alike, but angled just like the doll over sleeve.  I used 1/4" gold ribbon for the details on the bodice, sleeves, and hemline.  One inch black ribbon for the belt. The belt buckle was from Joann's and the cameo button was a treasured find at Universal Fabric in Rice Village (Houston).

After making the doll's crinoline skirt, my daughter begged for one.  So, I cut out the skirt from Burda 9529 in a lawn and added boning from Joann's.  
(Not my best move.  The doll's boning was from Thimble's and Acorn.  It was a much better quality.  This cheap boning twist and turns whenever it desires.)  My daughter was in fantasy land when both the slip and dress were complete and she quickly put it on one cool evening.  Her little eyes popped open and she exclaimed, "I see why they wore pantaloons, it is BREEZY under here!"

I cut a size 8 in the Burda pattern and it fits WONDERFULLY!  The dress I made for Felicity was a fitting nightmare, but this pattern is sized well.

Back view.

Close up of girl's dress.

Doll Dress Details:
I used Thimbles and Acorn's Civil War Era Day Dress.  Once again it is a great fitting and well written pattern.  There is a lot of work in this little doll dress.  I have seen them sell on Etsy for $85 and there is a good reason for that, it is a time investment.  I purchased the belt buckle and gold Soutache braid from Thimbles and Acorn.  The cameo pin was found on eBay.  I love all the details in this pattern!

I also purchase the Victorian Unmentionables from Thimbles and Acorn with 1/4" boning.  I only used the crinoline slip pattern to save me a little time. 

Burda 9529 and Thimbles and Acorn Civil War Day Dress

Burda 9529 and Thimbles and Acorn Civil War Day Dress

Close up of both bodices.

Sleeve detail on the girl dress.

I am very happy with the girl and doll dress.  
(If you couldn't tell by the amount of pictures included in this post.)

Next month is Addy.  Already started on the dress and can't wait to finish it!


  1. Bravo! That is absolutely beautiful... model too!

  2. so beautiful & so are the dresses :)- you did a great job matching the dresses - if your young beauty has any interest in more historic type dresses to match her dollies - check out - Elizabeth is awesome & even has free patterns to get you started (oh the dropped shoulder Is a period thing, you were right about that lol)
    have fun - am most impressed with how pretty these turned out