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American Girl Doll Costume: Midieval Lady's Wardrobe

This doll ensemble was made with the pattern "Medieval Lady's Wardrobe" by Lee and Pearl that I bought off of Etsy. The pattern included instructions for a shift, dress, and cloak, all of which I made. It turned out....okay. It was a lot more work than I expected (fully lined so you basically make two entire dresses), and I definitely had a few problems! I thought about not lining it and just using a petticoat from another project to puff out the skirt, but because the dress is so tight, the lines from the petticoat would have stood out and made the waist look bulky. The lining gives it a much nicer silhouette.

The dress itself is made from an old cotton/sateen bedsheet and very fitted. I went for the smooth-front variant, with laces up the back and it is a struggle to get the doll in and out of this dress! I know it's historically accurate for the dress to be so fitted, but this is not an easy on/easy off dress! The other big problem I had was the velcro on the sleeves. They are so tight that it was impossible to get the velcro in the right position and still be able to close them all the way--they were too bulky. Instead I used hook and eyes, but that left some gaping in the sleeve that I was unhappy with. I also played with making bound eyelets per the instructions but I could not figure them out. I need to practice, I guess! I think if I make this pattern again I'll cheat and use a knit fabric so that it will be easier to get on and off. 

The cloak was fun and pretty simple. I used some leftover wool I found in my stash for an authentic feel and lined it with some polyester satin I found in my stash. I didn't follow the directions exactly since I didn't have a large enough piece of fabric to cut it all out as one piece, but cloaks are simple enough that I really didn't need a pattern for it. The closure was a pain in the butt (uses two buttons poked through the fabric, with a ribbon threaded through the backs) but I like the way it looks--very Game of Thrones. I looped the ribbon under her arms and tied it behind her.  I also wish I had hemmed it differently, since as it is the shape is very stiff and not very drapey. I want to make more cloaks! 

And for my final fail on this project: the lacings. Ugh. I tried to do bound eyelet holes on the cloak and it was a disaster, so on the back lacing I used an eyelet punch and setter...which just looks okay. The eyelets are under a lot of strain and are stretching out where they were punched. I also obviously messed up my measurements on the spiral lacing.  :( It looks really bad, I know, but it makes me doubly glad that I put the lacing in the back and not the front!

So what do you think? How much of a fail was my attempt?