Sunday, December 29, 2013

American Girl: Caroline Abbott Doll and Accessories

I recently got back into collecting American Girl dolls and their things last July. It was a little strange to see new historical dolls that replaced my beloved childhood characters like Felicity and Kirsten. I quickly got over that though and started to love the new characters. Caroline was one of the new girls that caught my eye right away. I love her time period and the nautical theme to her collection. I read all of her available books that are out right now, and I fell in love with her character even more.

For Christmas this year, I had asked my mother to get me a gift card from American Girl so I could go pick out Caroline at the store. Instead my mom decided to buy her for me so I'd be more surprised. A couple of weeks ago my mom and brother had stopped at the store on the way home from a doctor's appointment in Boston so she could pick her out for me. Much to my brother's dismay, she had about five Carolines spread out on the floor so she could find one with the best face and wig for me. I think she did a pretty good job myself and I love my new doll!




I wonder what that could be?
When I saw this on Christmas morning I knew exactly what it was. How could you not recognize the shape of an AG box? I got Kit for Christmas in 2001 and Elizabeth in 2005.

Red doll coffin.
Caroline came in a red rectangular box wearing a pink gown and matching slippers. A paperback copy of Meet Caroline is also included with her. My mom had also bought her accessories with her which is her straw bonnet and the bag she's holding on her right arm in the picture. She retails for $110 without her accessories, or $129 with accessories.

Before I talk about Caroline the doll, I'll tell you a little about Caroline the character. Caroline Abbott lives in Sackets Harbor, New York in 1812. Sackets Harbor is on the shore Lake Ontario in upper New York right near Quebec. Caroline's first book takes place when the War of 1812 breaks out between the US and Britain. The book starts with Caroline sailing with her father and cousin on Lake Ontario after her father finished building a new ship at his shipyard. The British seize their ship and inform them that a war had just began between their two countries again. They take Caroline's father and cousin as prisoners and send Caroline home to her mother and grandmother.  The rest of the book and most of her series show how she struggles without her father and how the war effects her town and home life and make her grow as a person.


Here's Caroline without her accessories. Her long blonde curls are easier to see without her bonnet on.


Caroline has the standard light skin AG uses for their dolls and she also has the classic mold.


She has blonde feathered eyebrows and bright face paint.


She has a new eye color and is currently the only doll with it from AG.


They're a beautiful sea foam green and are decal/pinwheel eyes. They're very pretty in real life and pictures don't do them justice. They can look a little blue in some pictures but they are a very light green really.


Her eyes also close of course and she has hard black lashes on her lids.


 Naked Caroline. She has a cloth body and hard limbs.


 I was surprised to see how long her body tag is compared to my older dolls. It can wrap half way around her torso.


Her neck ties which keeps her head tied to her body.


Caroline sitting down. That's pretty much as pose able as she is.


Caroline has beautiful lone ringlet curls that reach her lower back.


The doll's hair is longer than the illustrations in the book. While the long curls are beautiful, I think I would of preferred them a little shorter and closer to the illustrations because they'd be easier to control and maintain.


Caroline's hair is a beautiful shade of light blonde. It reminds me of tow headed children, though I have met Norwegian women with this hair color naturally before.


Caroline's hair can get frizzy and fly away very easily and I can only imagine how it looks after a little girl has ripped a brush through it a few times. I've read the way to maintain it is to spritz it with water or braid spray before brushing to keep the hair moist and tame. You should brush each curl individually and then finger curl it to keep it's shape. I haven't tried this yet because my Caroline's hair really isn't messy yet, but next time I go to Sally's for hair color I'm going to pick up some braid spray for her.


Caroline comes dressed in a pink cotton empire waist gown which was the popular silhouette for her time. During the Regency era, classical Greek influences in fashion and decor were in vogue and women's fashion reflected that with simple and flowing dresses. I'd much rather wear gowns like these than the Georgian gowns of Felicity's time and the Victorian gowns and dresses that come after this period.


There's a silky ribbon band around the high waist. It has a pink flower pattern with green leaves.


There's a darker pink ruffle trim around the neck.


There's matching pink ruffles on the elbow length sleeves. There's also a thin ribbon that matches the ribbon around the waist.


The bottom of her dress has growth pleats that would be let out as she grows and more ribbon to tie in with the other ribbons on the dress.
 

They also extend all the way to the back of her dress.


Caroline has simple peachy pink flats that coordinate with her dress. I really like them and think they're quite cute and dainty looking even though they're simple.


Her shoes off of her feet.


They have a hard shiny black bottom.


She comes wearing knee high ribbed white stockings. They're quite simple and are virtually the same as Felicity's and Elizabeth's.


 Caroline's last piece of clothing are the white pantalettes or drawers she comes wearing. It was considered fashionable to have them peeking out below your dress for girls.


They have delicate lace trim at the bottom and are white of course so they could be bleached easily.


Her pantalettes off of her body.


A closer look at the lace trim.


 Caroline in the undies she came with.


And with Elizabeth's shift I kept for her when I sold her. I really wish they included a shift for her because she would of definitely worn one. They helped keep their clothes clean because they didn't bathe as often as today and also wore them because their gowns were so thin and clingy at this point in history. It would of also been what she would of slept in historically, but AG also has made her an adorable nightgown I'll have to get her at some point. If we want to get really technical she should also be wearing a corset or corded vest for good posture and at least one petticoat.


Caroline's dress off of her.


One of the first things I think of when I look at Caroline's meet dress is of Felicity's Summer Gown. They have a similar cut, embellishments, and both have ribbons around the waist. I'm honestly disappointed with Caroline's meet dress  because it feels like a rehash of Felicity's dress. I much prefer Felicity's and the color scheme of hers. The pink just doesn't do much for me especially with Caroline's hair color.


The ribbon is quite similar except that Caroline's is trimmed with a pink border and Felicity's is blue. I also prefer the white lace trim on Felicity's gown compared to the plainer ruffle on Caroline's.


Similar length sleeves both trimmed with matching ribbon and ruffles.


The bottoms are also similar. I know that growth pleats would help girls get more use out of their dresses, so I can excuse that though.



Caroline's accessories include a bonnet, reticule, and toy top. They retail for $24 by themselves or you can save $5 and get them with the doll for only $19.


 Caroline's poke bonnet is made from straw and it was fashionable for women to also wear a lacy cap underneath so you could only see the lace poking out underneath the brim.


There's a cluster of hot pink flowers on the right side of the bonnet where the ribbon is tied. I like that they included leaves since it makes it look a little more realistic. I don't however, like how bright they are. It just looks too modern to me. Now I know when we look at remaining clothing pieces like this they are faded and used but I just can't see them having something so bright back then. It makes me miss the Pleasant Company clothes that were colored a little more realistically.


The bonnet ties underneath Caroline's chin with a green, pink, and white striped ribbon. It circles all the way around her bonnet.


The top of the bonnet.


Inside.


A different veiw.


The brim is trimmed with hot pink ribbon that matches the flowers.


 The bonnet on Caroline's head. Luckily her curls aren't smushed by it.


Her reticule matches her dress and bonnet nicely. The material it's made out of feels silky but not flimsy or cheap. Reticules were important in this period for women because their dresses were worn so close to the body that pockets, like the one Felicity wore, would mess up the silhouette. So they needed to carry their things some where!


Her name and the year is embroidered in the navy ribbon at the top. I think this is a really cute touch and could see her doing it herself since she loves to embroider.


The reticule is a cone shape sack that is closed at the bottom in a gather.


The drawstrings are made of gold cord that fray at the bottom.


 The back of the bag.


What it looks like with the drawstrings closed without anything in it. I keep Caroline's top in there currently. 


And the inside!


Her top is made out of sturdy wood and feels very solid. It has a thick blue band around the base which gives it a nautical feel.


The bottom.


From the side. It's a cute accessory and she does play with one in the books but I wish they included a necklace for her in addition or instead of this. I love necklaces for my dolls and AG makes really nice ones usually. It will make a cute prop in a doll house or scene for photographing though.


Before Caroline arrived I bought her some things off of Etsy that AG should of made for her.


With her doll and embroidery hoop.


I bought this little clay doll from upallnightstudio for her even though it was never mentioned whether Caroline had one or not in the books. She's about six inches tall and the lady who makes them even made the clay parts by hand. I chose to give her blonde hair since Caroline's blonde and decided to give her a white dress because they were very fashionable during the Regency era.


The back of her. The artist's initials are on her neck.


 Her little hand painted face.


 Her torso is made of cloth.


I really like her and would highly recommend getting one if you are looking to get a doll for a character that AG hasn't made one for. She's perfect for Caroline's era though. I decided to name her Henrietta. 

C for Caroline.
 One of Caroline's favorite things to do is to embroider. She says keeping her hands busy calms her when she's upset or worried. She even embroidered a fire screen of the Great Lakes for her father. I bought this little set from regencyaustentation. It kind of boggles my mind that AG hasn't made an official embroidering set for her since it's one of her main hobbies and she does it often in the books.


 It came with a tiny doll sized needle.


And a thimble that fits perfectly on the doll's thumb and a little bundle of light blue embroidery thread.


The back of her sampler. Now I need to put together a sewing basket for her!


 Overall I'm very happy with Caroline and I think she's very beautiful and I love her time period and collection. I can't wait to change her into some other outfits once I get them. I love her unique eye color and her hair style and color. I also love that her accessories included a bonnet since up until very recent history, women wouldn't leave the house without their head covered. I wish AG would make more hats for all of their historical characters that are living during a period where this is important etiquette.

I'm very disappointed with Caroline's meet dress though. While pretty, it's not original as it could have been and I honestly think it should be since it's her signature dress and the one she comes in. Felicity's Summer Gown is one of my most favorite outfits from AG and I just feel like Caroline's wasn't done as well as Felicity's was. I also don't care for the pink color and it makes Caroline look a little like a Barbie with the long blonde hair and all. I'm sure it draws little girls in like a magnet though, and that's certainly what they wanted. After I get more outfits for Caroline though I doubt she's ever going back in this dress.

I would definitely recommend Caroline to older children and of course collectors. I would be worried giving her to a younger child or someone who isn't careful with their dolls though because of how high maintenance her hair can be and how easily it could be wrecked if not properly taken care of. If ratty hair doesn't bother the child or you though, she'll be fine! It can always be put in a braid.

I'll leave you with some outdoor photos of Miss Caroline Abbott. 



 


 
Thank you for reading!


~Heather

9 comments:

  1. Congratulations on getting Caroline! She is a lovely doll. If I ever feel I have the room to add another 18" doll, she is the one I will choose. :)

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    1. She's really lovely and I'm glad I got her! Maybe some day you can squeeze her in. ;)

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  2. Thanks for the review! I'm really torn on getting her or Josefina next, I wish I could just sneak both of them in around the same time, haha.

    And man, thanks for the Etsy links, I'm always on the hunt for things to help flesh out collections since Mattel seems to hate historical accessory sets for some reason. Her doll looks perfect and I'm very tempted to snap one up for myself.

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    1. I think I'd probably get Josefina before her. I think Caroline is really popular so will be around longer. Plus Josefina has cooler recipes. ;)

      No problem! I miss all of the little accessory sets they used to do. I don't know why they stopped all of the sudden. Julie even had some cool ones when she first came out.

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  3. Caroline is my favorite of the new historical dolls. I'm kind of hoping she'll be the one my daughter likes when she gets a little older.

    I finally got my first American Girl doll this Christmas. I am 30, but I was so sad when I found out that Molly was retiring I literally started crying. She was the doll I had wanted as a kid. So my Gramma got her for my for Christmas, saying it was 20 years late, but she was glad she finally got me one. I'll be blogging about it soon.

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    1. I'm so glad you got Molly! I can't wait to read about her!

      I bet picking out a doll with your daughter will be fun. I'm sure they'll have more new ones by then.

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  4. Caroline is really cool, and I love her outfits and time period, but I'm disappointed that AG made another girl be from NY. I think that instead she should have been from Baltimore, since that was where Fort McHenry was, and where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. She also looks too similar to Elizabeth for me to justify buying her- though your pictures are attempting to convince me otherwise!

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    1. AG chose upstate New York for her because Sackets Harbor was the Navy's headquarters during the War of 1812 which tied into her father being a shipbuilder. I also had Elizabeth but sold her because I wasn't fond of her and I honestly don't think they look similar at all besides both having long blonde hair. Elizabeth has the Josefina face mold while Caroline has the classic. Caroline also has new light green eyes and her hair is lighter. If you'd like her, I wouldn't let that stop you from getting her. :)

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