Back in the ’80’s Pleasant Company offered pattern packages for their historical doll wardrobes. Of course, the first dolls were all historical~Civil War era Addy, colonial girl Felicity, Minnesota prairie girl Kirsten, Victorian era Samantha, WW II Molly and 1824 New Mexican Josephina. Each American Girl had a package with patterns specific to her period and culture.
At the time, the $18 cost for each set of patterns seemed pricey. But the detailed patterns made it possible to authentically duplicate the original costumes, accessories, and available extra outfits for each doll. So they were popular with mamas, nanas and aunties who were eager to please a child.
Now, they are out-of-print and new pattern sets for later dolls have never been offered. But YIPPEE!!!!, those original patterns are available for free from a fabulous web site I recently discovered!
I had done a google search for AG patterns, hoping to find one or two on eBay when I happened upon American Girls Playthings where these patterns are offered as free .pdf downloads! There is a wealth of AG information on this site, so check it out.
Knowing how web sites come and go, I downloaded all six pattern packages to my computer and printed out several of them. One of the big advantages of AG dolls is that they are all the same size, except, of course, the Bitty Babies. So the clothes and patterns are interchangeable from doll to doll. Now, I can use any of these patterns with their many different styles and garments to make clothes for Laurel’s second AG doll, Kit.
Molly’s slip pattern was used to make a jumper similar to the one Laurel made for the upcoming county fair. But after re-drafting it to add length (the slip has a ruffle), extending the shoulders to create a lap for buttons and readjusting one thing and another, the jumper was much too wide. After discovering this, I compared the original pattern to my redraft and realized that I inadvertently added almost an inch at the center front and back!
This was especially noticeable at the neckline, so I ran a gathering thread to draw it up. It’s neither a great fix nor a great garment, but Laurel is never critical and always appreciative. When she makes a matching jumper for Kit, I will have all kinks from my adaptations worked out and correct the redrafted pattern pieces.
Now, with all the patterns from American Girl Playthings, we have patterns for everything from under garments to sleepwear, rain gear, party dresses and more. If you have an American Girls fan to sew for, you might want to get these patterns downloaded soon.