My most treasured holiday memory involves a doll and what I thought was an impossible dream. During the 1950's many families were just starting out. Men had returned from the war and were attending school, and getting their first jobs. My family was no exception. We were living in an apartment in Houston, Texas where my father was interning at a local hospital so that within a year he could take his exams and begin practicing medicine. At that time we were surviving on a very small amount of money. In early November, my mother and I went downtown to shop. In those days there were no shopping malls as such so we visited the downtown shops and department stores. We passed a small toy store and in the window was the most beautiful doll I had ever seen. I know now it was the Madame Alexander Godey Queen Elizabeth doll. I stared and stared at the doll, and finally my mother led me away saying, "Yes, it is beautiful, but it is too expensive."
As Christmas approached I wondered if there was any way I would receive that doll for Christmas, and dreamed about her constantly. Finally, Christmas morning arrived and I was almost afraid to go out to the tree. I didn't want to show my disappointment and upset my parents. But, as you may have guessed, when I stepped into the living room, there, under the twinkling lights of the tree, was the doll. Words cannot describe how I felt that morning. It was a miracle and to this day I have no idea how they did it (there were no such things as credit cards in those days). I suspect helpful relatives.
The reason I share this experience with all of you is so I can shed some light on why I love sewing holiday dresses for the American Girl Dolls. I know that many young girls today want activewear and modern clothes for their dolls. But I have never forgotten how beautiful my doll looked under the tree and I imagine a young girl opening the box with a beautiful, sparkling dress for her doll and loving the magic of the moment.
Here are the first dresses I have sewn for the holidays. I love them all, especially the velvet dress for Samantha. Hopefully there will be more.