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American Girl Doll Maryellen Larkin Is A Sock-Hop Back Into the 1950s

American Girl Dolls are almost as appealing to adults as they are to children. I am almost the same age as Maryellen Larkin, who was about 10-years-old in 1954. In 1954, I was 4-years-old, and through Maryellen Larkin, I can reclaim parts of my own past.

Like Maryellen Larkin, I had a Poodle Skirt and I wore my hair in a ponytail. When I was a girl, I was a cheerleader, and our earliest cheerleading uniforms had big, round skirts. When we turned around, our skirts twirled in big circles. Our school dances were held in the gymnasium, and to protect the shiny floor, everyone would remove their shoes to dance. We called our dances sock hops. When I was a girl, we were allowed to leave the school grounds for lunch and my friends and I would walk a few blocks to our neighborhood diner. We would put coins into jukeboxes and play our favorite songs while we ate.

When I was a girl, I had outfits that look like Maryellen’s Play Outfit. We called the pants petal pushers. They were designed to be short enough that the hems of the pants would not get caught in our bicycle chains. In 1954, the petal pusher were a short step beyond Samantha’s bicycle bloomers that she wore in 1904.

Almost every night, I rolled my hair in curlers and regardless of how uncomfortable that the whole affair was, I slept in curlers all night long. Maryellen’s curlers are Spoolies. They were made of a soft vinyl. After I twisted my wet hair around spoolies, I snapped the spoolies shut, and you slept like that all night long.

American Girl Dolls are almost as appealing to adults as they are to children. I am almost the same age as Maryellen Larkin, who was about 10-years-old in 1954. In 1954, I was 4-years-old, and through Maryellen Larkin, I can reclaim parts of my own past.

Over and again, I praise the American Girl Doll Company for the way that it makes history real for children of today. I have said this many times before, but I believe that everyone should have a doll of her own. I have a Maryellen Larkin doll and for many reasons, I love her, but I know that my primary reason for loving Maryellen Larkin is that she takes me back to my own childhood. She helps me recover a piece of my past.

Like Maryellen Larkin, I had a Poodle Skirt and I wore my hair in a ponytail. When I was a girl, I was a cheerleader, and our earliest cheerleading uniforms had big, round skirts. When we turned around, our skirts twirled in big circles. Our school dances were held in the gymnasium, and to protect the shiny floor, everyone would remove their shoes to dance. We called our dances sock hops. When I was a girl, we were allowed to leave the school grounds for lunch and my friends and I would walk a few blocks to our neighborhood diner. We would put coins into jukeboxes and play our favorite songs while we ate.

When I was a girl, I had outfits that look like Maryellen’s Play Outfit. We called the pants petal pushers. They were designed to be short enough that the hems of the pants would not get caught in our bicycle chains. In 1954, the petal pusher were a short step beyond Samantha’s bicycle bloomers that she wore in 1904.

©Jacki Kellum March 26, 2017

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American Girl: The Story of America – Review and Summary of the DK Book – Part I Kaya

The thing that separates the American Girl Dolls from the rest of the toy herd is that the American Girl Dolls’ collective stories have been carefully woven together to tell the history of America.

I have recently received my copy of the newer DK Book American Girl: The Story of America, but even before this new American Girl history book was released, I made a short YouTube video that traces the American Girl Dolls through history:

I’d like to take a few minutes now to extend my thoughts on how the American Girl Dolls teach us the history of America, as I share some highlights from the book American Girl: The Story of America.

American Girl: The Story of America was released February 4, 2017, and it primarily features the newer Beforever versions of the historical American Girl Dolls.

Note: Felicity Merriman was re-released as a new and upgraded Beforever Doll on February 9, 2017, and therefore, the section about Felicity does not show her in her wonderful new turquoise and yellow outfit, but most of the images in the book American Girl: The Story of America show the dolls in their newer Beforever outfits.

Here is what Amazon has to say about the new book American Girl: The Story of America:

“Discover history with American Girl®.

“Step into key moments from America’s history with the American Girl BeForever™ characters in American Girl: The Story of America. Travel back in time-from the 1750s to the groovy ’70s. Find out how the Nez Perce tribe lived, what it was like to grow up on the wild frontier, how girls helped the war effort during WWII, and much more.

“Fascinating facts are paired with historically accurate items from the American Girl Doll collections to illustrate important eras in American history. Young readers will engage with history as they meet each character and discover her incredible story.

© 2016 American Girl. All rights reserved. American Girl and associated trademarks are owned by and used under license from American Girl.

Introduction

The introduction to the book begins as follows:

“Travel back in time with the BeForever characters. This exciting guide will show you what life was like for American girls in times past. You will be alongside your favorite characters for the key moments in the inspirational story of the Univ=ted States and discover that girls have always shared hopes, challenges, and dreams–just like you.” American Girl: The Story of America, p. 4.

Meet Kaya

The book American Girl: The Story of America is laid out chronologically; therefore, Kaya, who is from 1764, is the first doll that we meet.

“Kaya is a courageous Native American girl, growing up in the Nez Perce tribe before America became a country.

“The Nez Perce are hunter-gatherers, which means that during the warmer months, they travel through the forests and grassy plains of their Pacific Northwest homeland. They set up camp wherever they find a good source of food, and gather as much as they can to store for winter. Then, they move on when supplies run low.” American Girl: The Story of America, p. 6.

“Did you know?

“In Kaya’s ime, the Nez Perce’s homeland covered about 27,000 square miles of modern-day Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.” American Girl: The Story of America, p. 8

“With no paved roads, Kaya’s people rely on horses to travel long distances. The Nez Perce, like many other tribes, train their own horses to help them travel and hunt.” American Girl: The Story of America, p. 8

You might enjoy my short YouTube video:

“Kaya’s people believe that the land does not belong to humans alone, but rather to all the creatures that live on it. It is ever person’s duty to respect nature, care for the animals, and share the land with them.”  American Girl: The Story of America, p. 9

Not much is said about any single doll, but because all of the historical dolls that had been made at the time are included chronologically in the book, it does offer a historical overview. Another nice thing is that a timeline runs along the bottom of the book, and it becomes possible to see what else was happening in the world at the time that each doll is placed.

 Here is what happened on the timeline during Kaya’s lifetime or not long before then:

1492 – Voyage to America

“Christopher Columbus sets out from Spain and lands in America. More explorers visit the ‘New World.’

1500s New animals

“Spanish explorers bring horses to North America. The animals allow Native Americans to travel faster.” American Girl: The Story of America, p. 8.

1621 – First Thanksgiving

“In Plymouth, Massachusetts, settlers from England share a meal with the Native Americans who have helped them learn to fish, hunt, and grow corn.”

1770 – Population grows

“Two million settlers live in America. [In 2014, the population of the United States was 318.9 million people.] Philadelphia is the largest city.” American Girl: The Story of America, p. 9.

In Part 2, I’ll talk about Felicity Merriman, an American Girl Doll from the American Revolution era of history.

©Jacki Kellum March 5, 2017

 

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The American Girl Doll Company Brings Back Felicity Merriman

She’s Back! Felicity Merriman is Back!  2017 is an exciting year for those of us who love American Girl Dolls. The American Girl Doll Company has released a new American Girl Boy Doll whose name is Logan Everett, and on the same day, it has also pulled Felicity from the archives and has allowed her to re-emerge, wearing her all-new and colorful turquoise and yellow dress.

It occurred to me that some of you may not know who Felicity is, and I thought that I’d give you a short, quick review. Felicity Merriman is from the year 1774, which is the Revolutionary War period of America’s History. Historically speaking, Felicity is the second doll in American History.

Historically speaking, Kaya is the first American Girl Doll, and she represents the pre-European era of America’s history. Kaya is a Native American from the Nez Perce tribe in 1764. Felicity represents the children of the early European immigrants who came to America and who fought for the nation’s independence from England.

Those of us who remember Felicity recall her beautiful yellow Teatime outfit and tea set.

“Like many colonial girls, Felicity has lessons on the proper way to serve tea to guests. Even though she would rather wear breeches and ride horses, Felicity must wear a pretty dress for her lessons.

Growing up just before the start of the American Revolution, girls are expected to act like young ladies. But free-spirited Felicity would much rather spend time outdoors in her father’s shop. The war that breaks out between the United States and Great Britain teaches Felicity about courage, and what it means to be truly independent.” American Girl: The Ultimate Visual Guide, p. 38.

“Felicity sleeps in a canopy bed that has four tall posts. On cold nights, Felicity draws her elegant bed hangings closed. The curtains shut out the chilly air.”American Girl: The Ultimate Visual Guide, p. 38.

Felicity sleeps in her night shift and lappet cap. When the American Girl Company was still called the Pleasant Company, it released a set of free patterns for Felicity and for some of the other early dolls. The pattern for the night shift and lappet cap are included in that set of patterns. I’ll be selling a kit to make your own night shift and lappet cap and to make other of Felicity’s outfits in my shop at thumbelinathreads.com. I’ll also be adding a kit to make Felicity’s Red Cape this week.

Many of Us Remember Felicity’s Doll, Her Holiday Gown, and Her Red Cape

“Felicity is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dance lesson at the Governor’s Palace. She has never been to a ball before, and Felicity knows she must behave like a lady for the occasions. Felicity sees this doll in a shop, and the dress catches her eye. Mother makes one just like it for Felicity to wear to her dance lesson.

Did you know? Fashion dolls, like the one Felicity spots in the shop, showed colonial women what the stylish ladies in England were wearing. Then colonists could copy the latest fashions.” American Girl: The Ultimate Visual Guide, p. 39.

The new Felicity doll is part of a campaign to release several new American Girl Dolls in 2017. You can buy Felicity at americangirl.com. You can also buy only her new turquoise and yellow outfit for your old Felicity doll, as well as her fetching new hat and accessories.

 

 

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Logan Everett the American Girl Boy Doll Is Here and Ready to Buy

It’s true! The American Girl Doll Company has released a boy doll and his name is Logan Everett.

Logan is the band mate of the new doll Tenney Grant, who is a country singer from Nashville.

Image result for logan american girl boy drum set

 Logan is a drummer, and you can buy his drum set separately.

 

Meet Logan Everett the American Boy Doll

Meet Logan, Tenney’s bandmate and drummer! The 18″ Logan doll has gray eyes that open and close, and short brown hair.

The American Girl Logan Doll will travel home in a plaid button-down shirt, a T-shirt, jeans, underwear, and shoes.

Logan’s unique hand positioning helps him hold instruments!

 Notice that Logan doesn’t have the signature teeth-showing smile that most American Girl Dolls have. Kaya, the Native American Girl Doll had a smile similar to Logan’s.

Both Logan and Tenney are part of a wave of new dolls that will be added to the American Girl Doll Family in 2017. I am also thrilled that Felicity Merriman has also returned, and I love her new turquoise and yellow look.

See Logan Everett and americangirl.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Sew A Gathered Skirt for An American Girl Doll or Other 18″ Doll

Today I’ll show you how to sew a gathered skirt for your American Girl Doll and other 18″ dolls, and I’ll show you how that striped fabric can make your sewing projects easier and more manageable.

In another video and tutorial post, I Named the Supplies That I Believe that Every Seamstress Should Have. At the end of this tutorial, I will tell you how to find all of my YouTube Video Tutorials.

Other Materials Needed to Sew the Striped, Gathered Skirt

  • To sew the gathered skirt, you will also need a piece of striped fabric that is cut 36″ wide by 6″ tall. The stripes should run horizontally.
  • You need a piece of matching fleece that is 1.5″ by 12″
  • You need a set of snaps for the waistband
  • You need a decorative flourish and a button to decorate the waistband.

I sell all of the materials needed for this project and other projects in my online store at Thumbelina Threads. Got to thumbelinathreads.com, and click on the menu tab that says “Shop.”

If you buy any of my kits, the fabric is pre-cut and ready to sew, but if you are using your own fabric, be sure to remove the selvage before you measure and cut your fabric, remove the selvage.

What Is A Selvage on Fabric?

The selvage is the tightly woven edges of fabric that run along the length on the sides. Selvages are often white, and they often have advertising or a color sample printed on them. You should not measure the selvage as part of your garment, and you should not sew with it. You do not want the selvage to show in your finished piece.

Before you begin to sew, press all of the wrinkles out of the fabric.

While your iron is hot, go ahead and prepare your hem by ironing under 1/4″ at the bottom. This will face your hem.

Unlike the fleece that we used to sew the very easy vest, cotton ravels and frays. It must be hemmed. That will control the raveling, and it will hide the frayed edges. To assure that we have good craftsmanship and to control the fraying even more, we’ll face the hem or turn the very bottom edge under about 1/4″ and iron that in place. Then, we’ll iron under about 1″ more and iron that spot again.

How Do You Gather Fabric in Sewing?

You gather your skirt by sewing a long, continuous line of running stitches about 1/4″ from the top of the fabric. Then, you pull your needle and thread, causing the fabric to pucker along the stitches. You want to pull the thread until you have a piece of gathered fabric that is 12″ long.

Because fleece does not need to be faced or lined, we will cut our waistband from fleece. Using fleece for this project’s waistband will make the project slightly easier. Cut a waistband that is 1.5″ x 12″

With right sides together and right sides inside, pin the 12″ wide waistband to the wrong side of the 12″ piece of gathered, striped fabric, and stitch the fleece waistband to the striped cotton. Stitch back across the band area. I sew all of my doll clothes by hand, but I use small stitches, and I stitch every seam twice. When you gather, you only stitch once across the fabric.

To find all of the Jacki Kellum YouTube Videos, go to youtube.com.

  • Search for Jacki Kellum [Be sure that you spell my name correctly. There is no “e” on Jacki. 
  • Select one of my videos and allow it to begin to play.
  • Beneath the title of the video, you will see my name.
  • To find other of my videos, click on my name: Jacki Kellum

Once you have clicked on my name Jacki Kellum, you will see a row of Individual Videos and a row of Playlists. 

If you click on a Playlist, you will find other similar videos, according to the topic. For instance, I have a Playlist for American Girl Dolls and a Playlist for How to Sew, etc.

While you are on this page in YouTube, you can click on the Subscribe button. If you subscribe, you will be notified when I add a new video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in yet another video, I showed you the sewing supplies that I consider to be invaluable for every seamstress: