FWIW, Isabel's costume is not accurate. The cut is correct, but during the Elizabethan times sumptuary laws dictated what kinds of materials and trims you could use on your clothing. Isabel is the daughter of a merchant, a very wealthy one, but she is still only middle class, so she would not be allowed to wear velvet or gold trim (materials reserved for nobility and royalty). It's kind of disappointing AG overlooked this in her design, especially since the sumptuary laws were specifically mentioned in her book. If they had done a more silk-like dress, and maybe satin trim, she would have been accurate. As it is though her costume is beautiful but kind of a fail.
I knew I wanted to add Caroline's parlor to my collection, being a completionist, but at $300 it was going to be a while before that ever happened. Fortunately with the crazy 2014 daily deals I was able to get it for $150! I think that is the perfect price point, and there was no way I would hesitate to buy it for that deal!
As others have said, it is a huge, very heavy box when it arrives. It is packaged very nicely, though. All the pieces are incredibly sturdy and have great details. This is such an amazing piece of doll furniture, and it makes a lovely display. We've had it set up in the living room since Thursday and everyone in my family has been enjoying it. I love that you have the storage in the window seat and drawers. I've already put several things in there just in the course of playing with it. I actually like that the drawers are connected in the shelf unit because it makes a deeper area where you can store bigger items.
Please to ignore my disheveled reflection, lol:
My favorite section is the fireplace. If AG decided to retire the other two units and keep the fireplace, I think it would still have a great seller. It is so fun to decorate it! For now, I set mine up to have sort of a holiday flair. I love the reversible painting/mirror. The painting is very nice and detailed, but it has a sort of purple cast to it that I'm not crazy about with the blue of the walls, so I leave it on the mirror side. The mirror is good quality, not like those cheap reflective stickers on some toy mirrors. You can clean it with Windex (as I've already done, lol). The peg-hole setup is a little odd, and it seems like a kid could break the peg of the mirror off if they were too rough, but it is useful, I guess. You could probably put a little piece of dowel or a knob in the hole so you could hang other things there, too. The fireplace itself is nicely detailed. It has 3D brick texturing in the back and sides, and it's airbrushed to look like it's been stained with smoke (my mother pointed this out and thought that was a great touch).
The shelf unit is also a winner. You can easily fit Caroline's dishes, and I added a teaset to my shelf because I think I am going to use it as a hutch. You see a lot of these arched shelves in period housing, so I'm glad it was included here.
I like all the little accessories included. The ship is adorable, even though it is made of plastic. The candlestick is very heavy, easily PC quality, though the candle doesn't come out of the holder. I don't mind the blobby horse at all, in fact I think he's kind of cute!
Interestingly, the fabric on the window seat is the same design as Caroline's chair cushions. In the paper dolls it showed her table and chairs with yellow seats, so I bet they were all originally designed to share the same fabric.
Honestly though, I have to admit I might have been a little...IDK, let down, if I had purchased it for $300. I have a few criticisms of it that are nothing at $150 but might bother me more at the original price. First of all, the color is beautiful, but it is not the most accurate choice. There ARE some examples of historical houses that use this color, but it is much more common to see a more blue-green color on the walls, like the seafoam color AG has been so fond of in the last year or so. Or, you might see yellow walls with teal trim. I like this blue, it's very classy, but I think I would have preferred the greener shade.
There seem to be a few scale issues. Obviously, they couldn't make it perfect 1:3 scale because it would be way too huge to move or store! However, the scale of the items to each other is a little off. First of all, I can't imagine the fire screen doing very much to block the fire, it seems too small. The logs/grate piece itself actually seems a little small, like it could be maybe an inch wider and take up more space in the fireplace.
The curtain on the window seat was a nice addition, and while you don't notice this too much while it is hanging I think it would have been better to have the edges finished. I don't like the way the window looks in the window seat. I love the reversible scene, and IIRC there is even plastic in the "panes" of the window. But the actual design of the window is strange. The panes seem like they are set on their side, for one, and it also looks like the window doesn't fit in the seat, like it was cropped off at the edges. You can kind of see what I'm talking about in the photos. Maybe there is some historical inspiration for this, but in my opinion it kind of spoils the effect. It is also tough to get Caroline to sit in the seat, she sort of flips the cushion up and slides off, however, her balance may be disrupted right now because of the way I styled her hair.
Lastly, there are just a few anachronisms that I, being picky, rather dislike. On the firescreen, the embroidery doesn't look quite Regency, it looks a little more Victorian in design. Also, the sailor's valentine is not at ALL accurate for Caroline's time period. American sailors never actually made the valentines themselves - they were purchased as souvenirs from the West Indies (I believe made by Barbados women) and did not begin to be distributed until the mid-19th century. It would work really well for Cécile (or MG), or even Samantha, but not for Caroline. That said, it is a very cute piece, even though the shells are printed on paper there is a terrific trompe l'oeil illusion, and the box itself is well made. I think I will just leave it closed and pretend there is a compass or something inside.
Despite my criticisms, I still thrilled the parlor is part of my collection! If I were deciding for a kid, I'm not sure this really has the most play value, especially compared to, say, the Ice Cream Parlor, which has a lot more pieces and the "ice cream serving" aspect. Caroline can sort of only stand around or pose in her parlor, lol, but that suits my display purposes perfectly! At $300 I would probably give it a B, but at $150 it definitely gets an A!
Last Edit: Dec 14, 2014 12:06:27 GMT -5 by Wickfield
Ah, Caroline's party gown...the gown which has caused quite a lot of lamentation from Caroline collectors. When I first saw it on the Chinese Ebay seller's auction, I was surprised, but decided to remain optimistic about it. Having it in person, I definitely have some concerns and complaints, but there are a few good things about it too which makes me glad I asked for it in the Clandestine Coconuts, and glad I've got it in my collection.
Okay, first of all, everybody else is right - the satiny fabric was NOT the right choice for this character's collection. As others have said, it seemed AG was trying to capitalize on the Frozen-mania and create sort of a princessy dress. But the satin fabric, while it might have existed, is not accurate to Caroline's social status during the Regency period. I don't see why they couldn't have made it a crisp cottony material like her meet dress. The color is beautiful, but I think the overall look would have been much nicer, and less "cheapy" feeling, if they had used a more basic fabric, plus they still could have had the Elsa look they were apparently going for as long as they made it blue.
I like the trims on the dress. The wide lace hem looks like some of the fashion plates of party dresses I've seen from the time. It looks like it could use an underlay, though. In my pics, Caroline is wearing a petticoat, but if you put the dress on by itself you can see quite a lot of dolly-leg! I especially like the narrow ribbon used for the waistline. AG has a tendency to do these really wide ribbon belts which is actually not accurate (or at least not to scale) for 1812, where smaller ribbons were the norm.
In fact, this dress actually has a much better "Regency" cut than the holiday gown, believe it or not. The neckline is better, the ribboned sleeves are common in illustrations, and the waistline is at the right height (mostly, the waistlines in Caroline's collection look too low in 1:3 scale). However, there are also some problems with the construction. I think the waist might have been stitched a little lopsided, and the gathering at the front of the bodice is horrendous. I don't even know how they managed to do such a poor job with that area, I might take it apart and fix it one of these days. Fortunately the belt serves to hide some of the wonkiness.
There was also a quality control issue with her shoes. One of the backs is sewn a little bit lower than the other one. However, the shoes are so adorable I can ignore this. The shoes are PERFECTLY accurate to the time period. I love the satiny fabric, the bows, and the criss-crossed ties! They actually look a lot like the slippers to her nightgown set, just in fabric instead of pleather. The shoes are the best part of this set, IMO.
The headband is the worst. What were they thinking? Headbands were popular at the time, but they should have done something like a double-ribbon headband, like on some of the MyAG outfits. This looks like a Bitty Baby headband! Honestly, I'm surprised they picked this because, not only is it ridiculous, I can't imagine it appeals to the older girls in the BF target market.
Lastly, I haven't taken the gloves out of the package yet. THhy are identical to the ones with her holiday gown, so I'll save them as a backup in case the others get snagged or something.
All in all, this dress looks more like a 1950s Technicolor film imagining of a Regency outfit than a period-appropriate fashion. In fact, you could probably use it as a stage costume for Rebecca and it would look more accurate! Despite all my criticisms, though, I do like it. I think I will put Caroline in it on Halloween, and the more you stare at it, the more it grows on you, in its own way.
Post by Wickfield on Sept 19, 2014 15:19:31 GMT -5
More pics of the set on Caroline:
This is a very beautiful and accurate set. This actually wouldn't have been called a coat in 1812, it is a pelisse. I love the military styling, especially since the story takes place during war times!
The coat is very nice wool material, the color is delicious and vibrant. It isn't lined like on the book cover but it is still very thick and nicely made. I don't mind the velcro, it makes it easier to fasten. The buttons are brass-toned versions of the buttons on her spencer, oddly enough.
I don't like how the straps on her coat don't match the belt. The top two straps (and the one on her hat) are blue velvet ribbon, while the belt is blue velveteen that is a different shade, enough to be annoying. IDK why they did that (honestly, the belt isn't even really necessary). I don't like that the buttons are in a different position either.
The hat was odd to me out of the box because the brim is uneven, but it looks much better on Caroline's head. It fits perfectly and doesn't smush her hair.
I had no problem getting this over Caroline's holiday and travel dresses, though I haven't tried it over anything else. I have on her elbow-length gloves in this pic so I can't imagine it wouldn't fit over sleeves. I also agree with the other posters who don't think this set matches her mittens and boots, since this is such a bright blue and those are shades of brown/black that clash.
I definitely give this set an A, with the + deducted for the weird belt, and I certainly recommend it!
I thought I reviewed these already but shows what I know.
Anyway I got these a few months ago for an AMAZING deal from a fellow board member. These are very high quality items, I was really pleased with the construction. I do wish something else had been included, maybe an embroidered hankie since Caroline likes to embroider (and she gave handkerchiefs away as gifts in one of her books), but it isn't too big of a deal.
The bonnet is shaped like a poke bonnet from the time period, and usually this type of hat had a fabric covering over the crown (though not always), so it might have been nice for AG to have that detail. I do wish the ribbon covered the connection between the brim of the hat and the crown, but as it is it does not cover it. Even so it is still a very nice bonnet! It goes with several outfits - her meet, her work dress, and if you've made any version of the "Cool Cotton" dress from the paper dolls it goes with that too. I like the big pink flowers, they are really nice faux flowers, and the ties are long enough for a generous bow.
The bag is very cute, I love how it has her name on it! It is a thick woven material which is kind of unusual for modern AG. It holds her top or the comb from her hairstyling set, and would probably hold other small things (not necessarily all at once though, lol).
I kind of wish the top had had some green on it like described in the book for continuity sake, but Caroline's is blue and that looks good too. The top is surprisingly heavy and even my dad commented on how weighted it is, and how well it spins. It is fun to play with, and it's nice for Caroline to have a toy of her own since she doesn't have a doll.
I give this set an A, and take off the + just for a few nitpicks. You won't be disappointed with the set!
I was fortunately able to get Caroline's skiff with last month's free shipping, and it arrived about a week ago. I am really in love with it! It is very well made, much heavier than I expected
All the little details of the boat's inside construction are especially nice. The way Caroline's name is printed on the side is adorable!
The sail needed ironing when I took it out of the package but the heavy canvas ironed up nicely, plus you are able to take the rod out to iron it more easily (and probably for storage). You can pop it in and take it out pretty easily.
The oarlocks and flag leave a little to be desired - the flag is just a triangular piece of ribbon and the oarlocks are pegs instead of actual locks (the oars don't sit on them particularly well either - you can manage it, it just isn't very easy). Also, of course the scale is very off, but I don't mind, if it had been any bigger it would be impossible to store. I was kidding with my dad that it is a "single-serve skiff," haha.
It does fit two dolls nicely, though. I didn't sit mine in the boat face-to-face like the other reviewer, I posed mine the way the illustrations in Caroline's series show. With one doll there is room for my Caroline's non-AG creel but with two dolls there isn't room for much else.
Originally, I didn't plan on getting it and basically hated it's guts because I didn't feel it was accurate at ALL with the embroidery pattern and the ribbons on the front, but it grew on me a little and because I am a neurotic completionist I decided to get it with free shipping. And it is much, much cuter and sweeter in real life, dangit.
The basic design and the lace edging is actually accurate - the cut is like the shifts girls wore under their dresses and to sleep at night. The embroidery even makes sense for this particular character since she embroiders everything, and the design was more accurate than I thought - initially the daisies looked too "groovy", more like a Julie flower than a Regency one, but once I did some research that kind of flower does turn up in Regency embroidery. I had a picture (which, of course, I can't find now) closer to Caroline's time period, but here are some examples from the 1820s for now: www.ekduncan.com/2011/10/regency-era-needlework-patterns-from_13.html
What really messes up the accuracy is the lace and ribbons up the front of the nightgown, I wish they had just left those off and maybe put some bows on the sleeves or something. With those ribbons it takes it from being a "regency night shift" to being a "regency-inspired nightgown." Which I guess works for selling nightgowns in girl-size, but doesn't work for accuracy.
BUT it is still really really cute, and I have to admit I am more glad that I bought it than I thought. It is also not as creamy in real life, more like an "off" white than a cream.
The slippers are also really cute, they look like you could use them as regular shoes, too.
So for accuracy, it gets a C+, but for aesthetics (and cuteness) it gets an A!
Last Edit: Mar 7, 2014 15:29:17 GMT -5 by Wickfield
I got this yesterday as part of my free shipping order and I have to say, it is a really well made set!
I noticed, though, that the food is scaled a little too large - more like 1:2 scale than 1:3 scale. The apples are huge, and look odd compared to the apple cake which has little tiny apple slices garnishing the top. The cakes are similarly too big - I imagine, were they real, they should be the size of a Chips Ahoy cookie, but these would be as big as a cookie from Subway!
On the left are Kirsten's apple and one of Josefina's bizcochito cookies, on the right are Caroline's items. You can definitely see the size difference! (Although, in fairness, I think the older items are actually a little on the small side too.)
The detailing is very nice though, there is some texturing on top of the cookies and some nice shading on the apples. A+ for quality, B- for sizing issues!
The basket is also nice and heavy, and real wicker! I love the weave of it, it will be great for so many things. I've put Caroline's sewing items in it for now and that looks really nice. The napkin is sweet and will also be useful. A for both.
Of course the best part, though, is the map! It's the reason I paid full price for this set, I wanted to get it now in case AG starts printing or decaling the design in the future. The embroidery is beautiful and looks just like samplers from the time. Oddly enough, the illustrations in the book show a much simpler design, but I like this one better and feel it is more authentic. A+++!
I put mine in a little embroidery hoop so I can have Caroline working on it.
Pics of the sampler and the basket:
Last Edit: Jul 26, 2014 21:33:49 GMT -5 by Wickfield
Okay, I am going to start out by saying this set is WAY ridiculously overpriced. Even with AG's hiked prices this should still only be $12-14, tops, and I'm kind of embarrassed and a little ripped off that I bought it right away before waiting on a sale. The problem is that you just don't get much for that price, you get the one hairpiece, which is very small, and then the comb, which is similar to the sparkly hair pick. I think that at least one other piece needed to be included to justify the price, like a headband/hair scarf (the kind that Regency hairstyles used) or a hand mirror. Oh well, I guess I learned my lesson.
Anyway, now that I have it and shelled out the cash, it's kind of cute. The hairpiece is, as the others said, very small. I thought it would be more...abundant in curls. It is also tough to use, because the comb piece is made of really thick plastic (probably to be durable and prevent the teeth from breaking off), but that makes it difficult to actually catch hair in the comb. I initially tried doing a style similar to the one on the package, and I agree with Clover, you really need to use a ponytail holder in addition to help the comb grab. I actually prefer using it to make an updo, though. I just gathered Caroline's hair in a quick bun, then stuck the hairpiece down into the ponytail holder at the juncture between the bun and the head. It helped to smooth out and give a finishing touch to the overall look and it's actually really cute, it looks like the updos the older girls give Caroline in the book.
The hair on mine is also a little yellower than Caroline's hair but it isn't super noticeable, especially in the style I decided to do. I wish that the comb was white and not cream, because Caroline doesn't have any cream in her collection and has a lot of white.
You can see where the hairpiece ends and the bun begins:
The hair comb is basically just the sparkly hair pick with a different handle. You could really use it to comb Caroline's hair...but it's an awfully small pick for all that hair! As far as accuracy goes, it looks okay - I think they normally used tortoiseshell combs more often, but this looks like some kind of horn and fits the nautical theme well with the seashell design. It looks cute when the dolls are holding it.
I like that they made a hairstyling set since it was such a big deal in Caroline's books, but I think the whole thing could have been executed better, especially for the price. B-
Last Edit: May 4, 2014 15:57:07 GMT -5 by Wickfield
I recently splurged a little bit and bought Caroline's party set off of Ebay - I think it was one of those from the recent outlet sale because I got mine shipped for $17 cheaper than AG's price with shipping. Not too bad of a deal!
I have to say I think this is a REALLY nice set, definitely PC quality. Every single piece is heavy and nicely made, and I like the simplicity of the pewter dishes. I think this set would work for a lot of time periods.
The pitcher (or jug, according to Regency conversation) is based off of a real extant piece, it is supposed to be stoneware. The basic pitcher itself reminds me of the kind of things you can get in kids' teasets because it is a really simple design, but the ship gives it an extra touch of quality. The ship design looks period correct, like an etching, and I was surprised to find it is printed on both sides of the jug!
The cake isn't really all that bad in person, the bottom is weird but it doesn't really show when it is on the plate. I like the texturing on the inside, it looks like a heavy homemade cake. The apples didn't bother me as far as shape went but they seem out of scale compared to the apples AG sells for dolls. They are very tiny slices. I appreciate that you can take two slices out (although my mom made the point that they are each getting 1/4 of the whole cake...they must be hungry)!
I LOVE the cups! They are so amazingly heavy, it is really hard to believe. They look just like the mugs you see people drinking out of in period films. At first I thought they were a little on the small side but when I calculated how big they would be for a human (three times as large) the size actually seems about right.
The napkins look kind of coarsely woven in my picture but they are not, they actually have a sheen to them and are really nice quality. I'm not crazy about the way the lace edges were done - they just cut the lace off without any finish and the lace is stitched to the top instead of the underside.
The flowers are a nice bundle of fake flowers, I forgot to take pictures. I prefer them laying on the table instead of in the jug.
I like that there are three plates, they will look nicer sitting on a shelf that way. These are also quite heavy. In my pictures I added some clay food my sister made to create a "meal." The forks and knives are nice and seem like everyday utensils.
This is the little paper included in the box (these items were well packaged in styrofoam, I think I'm going to keep the box for storage).
I really think a lot of Caroline's items would mix well with Josefina's set, you see a lot of pewter dishes and cups in the living history sites in the Southwest. I took some pictures for size comparison - Josefina's items are on the right. The cups are about the same size, although Josefina's plate is a little larger and Caroline's jug is much larger! (Please excuse the errant hairpin.)
Initially I thought Caroline's silverware was too small, and compared to Josefina's it is on the small side, but Caroline's knives and forks are more like household utensils (I compared them to a fork and butter knife and they are in proper 1/3 scale to those) while Josefina's are more like steakhouse knives and forks.
Anyway, for today's current Mattel prices I think this set is a great bargain and would heartily recommend it to any historical collector. A+!
Last Edit: Feb 26, 2014 19:23:16 GMT -5 by Wickfield
I bought mine secondhand from another board member, and I think Garnet is really cute! I bought him to be my Lydia's pet, though, since she doesn't really belong to Caroline in the books.
I'll start off with a few criticisms. First of all, this is one red heifer! It's a pretty color, but in the books, Garnet is more of an auburn color instead of the almost burgundy of the toy one...and do cows even come in this color? Secondly, I feel like she is a little bit undersized compared to the dolls, more like a large dog than a calf (I could be wrong though, I've never seen a calf in person). Finally, I could have liked some eyelashes to give the sleepy cow effect.
But nitpicking aside, Garnet is still super cute! She is one of my favorite AG plushies - in fact, she feels like a real stuffed animal and is a good size for cuddling! My mom and sister really liked her too. She is a little difficult to balance but once you adjust her legs it gives a good effect. I noticed her legs are more firmly stuffed than her body and even have a knobby knee effect. Also, it appears to me that her rope halter could be removed by snipping some threads, and even put back on later if you wanted.
I give her a B+ just because she seems small and is a little overpriced, but she is still very cute and a sweet and unique AG pet!
Edited to change it to an A- because apparently young calves are this size compared to girls, and apparently they DO come in this color...Garnet looks very much like a Red Devon cow which would have been common to New England at the time. The book illustrations didn't show such a reddish cow but I think that was a discrepancy there and not in the stuffed animal.
Last Edit: Jan 7, 2014 17:45:44 GMT -5 by Wickfield
I am very slowly adding to my Caroline collection, and I just received her lovely birthday dress from another board member for the winter swap. I was glad to see that the dress is much prettier and more flattering in person than it is online!
As usual, I pulled the dress on over the undergarments (shift, petticoat, and pantalettes) I made for Caroline so it is a little "thicker" looking than it might otherwise be but, hey, it fits over a lot of undergarments so that means it's not too skimpy on the fabric. The lace in Caroline's hair is also from my own stash so please ignore that during the review, haha.
Anyway, I really like the material the dress is made out of. It feels like it was supposed to imitate a kind of silk without being taffeta as AG usually opts for. The color is beautiful - it doesn't match Caroline's eyes but it really flatters her coloring without washing her out. I like the detailing of the "fan-pleating" on the bodice which is accurate for the Regency era. I was concerned about the decals because others have mentioned it, although I actually like them in person - they provide some interest on what would otherwise have been a plain dress. My sister actually didn't notice they were decals, they look quite nice in person (and to be honest, in the books, it was never mentioned that Caroline embroidered the dress, so it could just as easily be a print). The only negatives are the waistline, I feel like it should be higher on Caroline, but as it is it's about at the level of Josefina's waistline (and Josefina's is lower than Regency waists). Also, I could have preferred that the "fichu" portion around the neck was a little more transparent - those scarves were usually made out of a filmier material, so it doesn't look completely accurate, although I have to admit I do like the contrast of the bright white.
I thought the shoes matched pretty well, the lighter color is just a more saturated version of the dress fabric. I had to wiggle them on over Caroline's stockings but it wasn't like a massive effort. Even though it makes it more difficult for her to stand I like the heels, they set these shoes apart from some of her others.
The icy blue and white combo is just beautiful, I almost feel like this would have made a better Christmas dress than her purple one. I give it an A-.
(Her sleeves look short in this pic, but that's just because I didn't adjust them properly, sorry!)
Last Edit: Dec 22, 2013 15:05:53 GMT -5 by Wickfield
I got this for my birthday this weekend and wanted to get up some pictures for all y'all at AGPT. First of all I wanted to post a picture of the dent my backdrop got during shipping. I think most of the other members bought theirs at a store, but mine came mailed in a big cardboard folder (which I am also going to keep for storage). Because the folder got folded and kind of dented, so did the backdrop inside. Fortunately it is not that big a problem for me, but I think I might email AG to let them know about the issue - it is something to be aware of.
As for the actual scene, I got mine for Caroline because this one in particular didn't really have any markers that indicated it was modern. It has a nice brick bridge, a small rabbit, some pine trees, mountains, and a snowman. I was surprised by the quality of the image, it was good, but a little blurrier than I expected - like it had been blown up. I don't mind the way that the scene looks "staged", but I'll admit it doesn't look exactly realistic behind the doll simply due to scale. Still though, it really adds a lot to a display scene.
And this bad boy is BIG! I knew the measurements but couldn't really put it in perspective until I had a doll in front of it. I think I could sit in front of it and you could snap a photo so I looked like I was in a winter wonderland, haha.
I got this along with the spencer/hat set for my birthday yesterday. It is already one of my favorite outfits for Caroline! The warm rose color is beautiful with her skin and eye color, which is kind of surprising to me. I find Caroline really does look better in vivid, saturated colors because pastels, believe it or not, tend to wash her out.
I'll admit the price is a little steep for what you get, but the two pieces are still very nice. The dress is simply cut to mimic the drawstring dresses from the time period and fits well, I was able to put it on over Caroline's shift and petticoat with no problem. I feel like the waistband is kind of low for a Regency dress and I'm not crazy about how it tries to sneak out under the edge of the spencer (not a huge deal of course, just something I wouldn't have done if I were making the dress). I love the print of the fabric, it looks almost "sketchy" if that makes sense, and the fabric has some little bits of green that look nice with Caroline's eyes.
(Sorry, I apparently didn't get a pic without the spencer!)
The red boots are seriously awesome. They are kind of pointy for AG boots and are a beautiful shade of dark red. I like how they lace up on the inside! At first they were kind of tough to get on over stockings but it can be done, it just might take a few seconds longer than other AG boots - again, not a problem for me but something I thought I would mention.
Overall I would give this set an A- (slightly deducted for the cut of the dress).
Last Edit: Aug 26, 2013 9:48:03 GMT -5 by Wickfield
I got this set along with the matching travel outfit for my bday yesterday. It is a beautiful combination, Caroline absolutely glows with warmth when she is wearing the entire combo!
The accuracy of the hat is a little suspect in my opinion - I haven't really seen any felt bonnets or hats during the Regency period, at least not in 1811/1812 like Caroline's period (there are some from later years, like late 1820s or early 1830s though). So the fact that it is felt is a little odd, although the shape is correct, so maybe it's supposed to imitate wool covered buckram or something instead of actual felt. But the color is very nice and it is made of a good quality felt material that seems pretty durable compared to, say, the felt hat from Kit's school suit. I appreciate the extra ties to keep it on Caroline's head.
Similarly, the cut of the spencer also seems a little fashion-forward for Caroline specifically (considering her battle dress and lavender dress shown in the illustrations, and her actual meet dress, are all slightly retro/outdated styles by 1812), although not impossible, I believe it might have been based off of a style similar to one worn by Lizzie Bennet in the 1995 P&P (http://www.jennylafleur.com/diary/em09/pnp2_446.jpg). I think I would have preferred a more basic cut myself - it's almost like Caroline should have swapped spencer's with Josefina. /history nerd observations
Anyway, the spencer as it exists is still really nice. The material is very high quality - what feels to me to be wool flannel trimmed with velveteen. It velcros up the front but I actually don't mind, it is much easier to maneuver than the tiny buttons on Josefina's spencer. I also prefer the slightly lighter weight of the jacket and it doesn't seem over-heavy compared to the dress. Even though there's a whole lot of action going on at the shoulders, it doesn't really look too bad in person.
So I would rate this maybe a B- for accuracy (for Caroline's character/lifestyle according to the books), but an A- for aesthetics!
Last Edit: Jan 11, 2014 21:14:19 GMT -5 by Wickfield
I don't have pics of this outfit yet, but I will post some as soon as I take some pics!
Anyway, I've liked this outfit since it came out a long time ago, and recently I bought just the dress and the shoes from another board member to serve as a birthday dress for my 1998 girl. To me, with the lettuce-edging and the tie-dying and the chunky shoes, it's perfect for a 90s girl.
Anyway, I didn't really have any problems with this dress. It is pretty short, but because it seems so summery it doesn't seem skimpy or inappropriate. I thought that for a synthetic fabric it's still a nice quality, not chintzy. I'm afraid it will snag though so I am going to keep it away from velcro. I am impressed by the embellishments on the outfit too - the sequins are really secure! Frankly I like the look of it better without the white jean jacket!
The shoes are nice, I like the seed bead detailing and the faux cork heels. I didn't know that they are slightly angled/high-heeled, but not enough that the doll looks funky when standing (although it is tough to get Amanda, who has loose legs, to stand correctly). Anyway, I will give the pieces I have an A!
Last Edit: May 26, 2013 16:04:23 GMT -5 by Wickfield
I am so glad they decided to make Caroline's work dress! She wears it a lot in her books and it suits the doll's coloration very well. It is just darling!
Even though the outfit is one piece, it is executed to look like two pieces and it does a good job of that. If you just look around the sleeves, for instance, the white sleeves aren't just attached to the patterned bodice, there is additional fabric to make it look like she is really wearing an undershirt. I don't mind that it's one piece even though realistically it should be two, because I really probably wouldn't be mixing and matching these two pieces with anything else anyway.
The fabric and detailing is very beautiful. I love the fabric pattern's design and it looks historically accurate and I like the incorporation of the pink inset, the lace, and the kind of gold/earth tone ribbon. The pink and green dress portion does seem a little dressy for work, but I'm wondering if it might be made to look like Caroline had outgrown the dress and couldn't wear it on nice occasions? The extra pink fabric at the base seems to look like it was added to let the dress down to a proper length, which may explain the otherwise slightly fancy dress being used for work. That's my headcanon, anyway.
The cap is also very cute and looks really sweet on, I actually like the additional ribbon ties because they differentiate the caps from some in Lissie's collection (this is also historically accurate). It doesn't smush her hair. As far as the boots go, they are kind of awkwardly shaped in the front - like they don't indent enough toward her ankle, if that makes sense. They are the same cut as her winter boots but were easier to get on, and they were shown in the book vignettes, which is another plus from me.
She reminds me of one of those old-fashioned china shepherdesses when she is wearing this gown and I think it is the sweetest thing. A+ for matching her coloration and for being featured in the books!
ETA: I finally got around to trying this on over the undergarments I made for my Caroline. The dress fits fine over pantalettes, a shift, and a petticoat all at once, so I wouldn't say AG skimped on fabric. Just fwiw.
Last Edit: Apr 25, 2013 16:20:04 GMT -5 by Wickfield
I got these skates as part of the winter swap at the end of last year (even before I got Caroline) and this is really a very superior set, albeit with a few minor issues. The skates are very heavy and quality - another reviewer mentioned that the skates in the book were new, but those were made for Rhonda, and Caroline had had hers for awhile so they would probably be a bit worn like these are. The shape is just like ice skates in period drawings with the little swirl at the tip, and a doll can stand in them easily while wearing them. I think the blades are kind of oddly thick though and don't actually look like they'd cut into the ice, and I wish that the faux buckles had been a little more realistic and less plasticky, but they are still nice.
The boots were really tiny and only fit on my Agnes Lydia over her thinnest stockings. I think they've stretched out a bit but they were tough to get on, even for me (and I usually don't have much problem with doll shoes). They are made of a nice material and I think Agnes Lydia is going to get them to go with her burgundy winter dress (Caroline isn't shown wearing these in her books).
The mittens seem a little bit fragile. They look really nice on the doll (and their earth tone coloring seems realistic) but there is not much stretch to the cuff and no elastic, so I'm a bit nervous stretching them over the doll's hand. Like the shoes, though, they look very nice when they are finally on.
I'd give this set an A and take off the plus simply because of the few tightness issues I noted. Still though, I would definitely buy it as it is a lovely piece for Caroline's collection!
My Caroline (who I purchased from a board member) just arrived yesterday, and she is such a sweetheart! She is the first blond doll in my collection and the first with decal eyes, so despite her similarity to other AGs that have been released she feels very unique to me. I actually really like her fair hair and don't think it makes her look unrealistic, ghostly, or even particularly princess-y. In fact, I think her hair makes her look youthful, and her disheveled curls give her a kind of flyaway look. Her eyes are also pretty and I think a good match for her skin and hair color. Oddly enough, Caroline has a very wide face and wideset eyes compared to my other dolls. Also worth noting, one of her eyebrows and the part in her hair were a little bit to the side, which may be an issue with some dolls although I'm starting to get used to it.
She doesn't quite photograph exactly the way she looks - I feel like my particular doll has a serious or thoughtful expression.
Wearing her meet (with her hair put up with the piece from her hairstyling set):
Closeup of her eye:
Last Edit: Jul 6, 2014 13:20:58 GMT -5 by Wickfield
I bought just Saige's ring from a fellow board member and beacuse I asked her to mail it in an envelope, it arrived bent and with the stone popped out. Fortunately I was able to coax the plastic back into shape without it snapping, and I just glued the "stone" back in, so it will work fine for me. But I wanted to mention that it CAN be a little delicate so to watch out for that.