Kasey reviews … Caroline’s Collection!

Hey everyone,

So as the post above said, I’m going to be reviewing a good portion of Caroline’s collection from American Girl today. I don’t actually own Caroline, the doll, but I’ve been using Felicity as my stand in. I wasn’t really connecting my Felicity doll to her original stories so I think she’s going to end up being a sort of custom Caroline-esque character, but I haven’t completely settled on all the details yet.

Anyways, I’m going to be taking a look today at Caroline’s Work Dress, Her Accessories, Travel Outfit, Spencer & Hat, Holiday Gown, Travel Basket, Bed & Bedding, and her calf Garnet. I also own her skating set but I am not going to be reviewing that in this post.

When I first came back to AG in the spring, Caroline wasn’t really anything that interested me mostly because I was more focused at the time on the dolls that I remembered from my childhood. But after hearing that she was going to be archived, and hearing good things about her collection and her stories, I decided to take a closer look, and I fell in love with her collection.

After buying Felicity on eBay and realizing that I was having trouble connecting with her, I realized that the fact that all of her collection was only available secondhand was probably a big reason why. Since I didn’t really want to buy a Caroline doll, I decided that giving her Caroline’s collection would solve two problems at once — not having anything for Felicity to call her own, and wanting Caro’s stuff without actually owning the doll.

Let’s start by looking at the Work Dress outfit. This was the first outfit I bought from Caro’s collection and it is one of the more popular ones, judging from the fact that it was one of the first to sell out after her archival was announced.

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This set comes with the cap, the dress, and a pair of boots that you can’t see here. I love the dress colors, with the green and the pink. Here’s a closer look at the dress:

Untitled As you can see, there are chains of a floral pattern running down the dress, with the pink flowers forming a nice contrast to the green and tying together the pink on the upper part of the dress and the bottom border. The cap also has a pink ribbon, which is a nice touch.  Since I forgot to take a close up of these boots, here is a picture from the AG website so you can get a look:

Caroline's work boots

The boots are a tan color and slip on and then you have to tie the laces, so no velcro, which I really appreciate. These boots slip on really well, and are actually very soft. They look good with the dress and sort of match the tan that you see around the floral chains, and complement the buttons and the ribbon on the dress very well.

Since this was the first dress I bought Felicity, she wore it for a long time. I didn’t purchase many more of Caro’s things until the big sale that was going recently (and is still going now for the items that aren’t sold out), which is where I picked up Caro’s Spencer & Hat set at a discounted price before it sold out.

I think technically the Spencer & Hat were supposed to go with the Travel Dress but since I didn’t yet own that dress when this set arrived, I decided to put it on over the work dress and found that I really loved the combination.

Untitled Since the spencer & hat are a deep shade of reddish pink, it actually works well with the pink in the work dress. I almost like it better than with the travel dress, just because the addition of the green, white, and brown also means that you aren’t totally overwhelmed by pinks and reds.  Here’s a closer look at the spencer & hat:

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Untitled The strange pieces on the shoulders sort of make Felicity look a bit like a football player, but they have grown on me. I like that they are lined with the darker red that you see on the sleeve, and they match the darker red stripe running through the ribbon on the hat.  I also adore this hat. The last picture shows you a bit of the texture of the hat, and it is really well made and a very elegant addition to this outfit or to the travel outfit, which you will see a bit later. I wasn’t sure when I purchased this set if I would end up liking it much, but I figured with the sale price it was a good bet. Especially since most of Caro’s outfits are skyrocketing on eBay right now.  Currently the work dress, which retailed for $32 is going on eBay for mostly between $80-$90. The Spencer & Hat, which originally retailed for $24, and which I got for only $14, is going on eBay for around $40 when it is sold separately from the Travel Dress. For $14 this was a total steal and I’m so glad I own it.

Before we look at Caroline’s travel outfit, let’s take a look at her accessories, because I paired those with her work outfit as well. Caro’s Accessories originally retailed for $24 or $19 if you bought them with a Caroline doll. I got them on sale for $14 and they are now selling for only $12. The set comes with a faux-straw bonnet, a colorful drawstring purse with her name embroidered onto it, and a little wooden top that actually spins and fits inside the purse. Compared to some meet accessory sets, I actually quite like this one. The bonnet is obviously the highlight, as the hats usually are, but I think the purse is nice too and the top is actually quite fun to play with as it is nicely balanced and spins for a rather long time. Let’s take a closer look at the bonnet paired with the work dress:

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This bonnet matches Caro’s work dress perfectly! the ribbon underneath has stripes of white, pink, and green just like the dress, and this color scheme runs through the rest of the bonnet as well, from the pink trim around the front to the dark pink flowers on the side.

I know that since AG has recently moved to the BeForever rebranding of the historical dolls, each doll has had a sort of theme color. Caroline’s might be pink, but I see green as being one of her colors too thanks to these two pieces. I imagine that this bonnet would also work well with the pink travel dress, and I know from pictures on the AG website that it works well with her pink meet dress. I think everything about this bonnet is perfect and it really makes her outfits pop. The biggest struggle I had with the bonnet was trying to tie a good bow underneath but I think I finally got it.

Let’s take a look at the other two parts of the accessories set.

Untitled The drawstring pouch has a fun and bright pattern of different colored diamonds on it, including the pink and green that I see has being theme colors in Caro’s collection. I think the name embroidery is a nice touch, although makes it more difficult to use this purse with a different or renamed character. That doesn’t bother me much though as I think it is a nice little accessory. Here’s a look at the purse next to the wooden top:

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The top is wooden with a dark blue stripe running through it that matches the dark blue diamonds on the drawstring purse. The wood has been coated in something so it is nice and shiny and feels nice to hold and spin. I actually had a lot of fun playing on my own with this top and was impressed by how long it would spin before it toppled over. This one gets bonus points for its actual play value. The fact that it really fits in the purse and can therefore be carried around by my Felicity is great as well.

For $14, and actually cheaper because I had a $10 off $100 coupon + it was a sales tax free weekend in MA when I purchased this, this was a great value and I’m glad I bought it. When I eventually get Caro’s meet set and pantalettes off eBay it will be able to work well with more than one dress, which will be nice.

Next I want to take a look at Caro’s travel dress, which is just beautiful.

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The set which retails for $28 and is still available on the AG website comes with the pink (or as AG calls it, coral) dress and a pair of red boots, which I have close up pics of this time.

I love the floral pattern on this dress and the different shades of coral and darker red throughout the dress. This is the dress that Caroline wears when she goes to visit her father in the books, which is why it is called her Travel Outfit. This set is also intended to work very well with her Spencer & Hat, which is made obvious by the way the different shades of pink and red go through both the dress and the spencer and hat. Here’s a look at the dress with the spencer as well:

Untitled I was actually surprised by how well this outfit looks on Felicity. Obviously Caroline has long blonde curls which I think would contrast the pink more, but Felicity has red hair so I was worried when I bought this that it would clash too much, but I think that she looks quite nice in this outfit.  You can also see the travel basked in this picture too, which I will get to shortly. Let’s take a look first at the shoes that come with this set:

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Untitled These boots are probably my least favorite part of everything I’ve reviewed thus far. They don’t fit particularly well and they velcro in the back, which makes the back and front of the shoe pucker in a funny way. I would have greatly preferred if these had been made like the work shoes that slip on and tie in the front. The color works well with the dress but I find the construction to be lacking. At least Felicity can stand while wearing these. Since you saw it briefly in the picture earlier, let’s take a look at Caro’s travel basket:

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Untitled This set comes with the basket, 2 fake apples, 5 fake ginger cookies, the little cloth / blanket thing at the bottom of the basket, and this embroidered map that Caroline gives to her father in her story and plays a major role in the plot.  First the basket. This basket is very well made and isn’t likely to fall apart from shoddy construction or weak materials, which I like. I think a lighter basket would probably do that over time, even if you are a collector who only uses it for display purposes. The apples and cookies are made of a thick rubbery material, which I actually prefer to wood or another option because I think they will hold up well for years and because they look much nicer than the material would indicate. I was actually surprised to feel them for the first time after just looking at them because they were so much different than I would have expected. The basket and food has good play value too because it can be used for a modern picnic scene or the food could be put on a plate in a party scene or the like.

The map is a fun part of the set because of the real (machine obviously) embroidery, which gives the map some nice texture. The map does look so great in the basket though because you would have to fold it, and the doll can’t really hold it, so I think if you had a house scene set up it would look good displayed on a wall or something like a picture.  I bought the basket at the Boston AG store for full retail of $32, but it went on sale and then sold out very quickly at $19 just recently. I didn’t mind paying full price though because it is such a nice piece and I would have missed it on sale anyways, since it sold out so fast. That’s what happened to me and Caro’s winter coat which I missed during the sale and will now have to get on eBay at a marked up price even above original retail.

The last outfit I’m going to review before I get to Garnet and Caro’s bed, is her holiday outfit. This outfit, which comes with a dress, purple shoes, white gloves, and a hair band that unfortunately comes with blonde braided hair attached, retails for $36. I’m not sure this has ever gone on sale so I bought it full price (well + 10 off 100 and no sales tax so actually discounted) before it could sell out completely. This dress and shoes in particular have a lot of gorgeous detail so I took lots of pictures and lots of close ups of the outfit so let’s take a look!

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With the gloves ^

And without …

Untitled I think I probably prefer this outfit without the gloves, in part because they are such a pain to get on, especially onto that dreadful right hand (Lissie’s right hand, not right in this picture), which has a bigger gap between the thumb and pointer finger and makes getting gloves on nearly impossible. Here’s a look at the shoes that you can’t see in this pic.

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Untitled As you can see, the flower and the gold pattern are embroidered onto these shoes, which I think looks great and adds some nice texture to the shoes. The design also matches the design on the dress, and was very well designed by AG.  Here are some more close up pics of the dress and the different parts, which are all very well constructed.

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This does not in anyway feel like a cheap dress (except maybe for those stupid gloves), and I think that this set is absolutely gorgeous. Felicity will be wearing this a lot more closer to Christmas when my other girls wear their holiday dresses (once I buy said dresses…)

I love the purple color of the dress, which is different from the pink we’ve been seeing so much of, but not too much different. The floral chain pattern that has been working well on other outfits has also carried through to this outfit, and somehow works well both on a work dress and on a very fancy holiday gown.

I think Caroline’s collection, small though it was is one that AG did really, really well and I hope that someday they pull her from the archives and give her some new outfits. For now, there are still three more of Caro’s outfits that I really want to own — her meet dress and the pantalettes my Felicity is so sorely missing right now, her birthday dress, and her winter coat and hat that I’m particularly sad to have missed before it sold out.

Even though that’s the end of the outfits, I still have two things to review so let’s keep going!

Here’s a picture of Caro’s calf Garnet:

Untitled I wasn’t going to buy Garnet until he went on sale at $17, compared to his regular $28. I’m so glad to own him though. He’s a gorgeous red color and very soft. I like that the attached rope can be held by Lissie, which combined with putting her other hand on his back, helps him keep his balance. On his own Garnet doesn’t stand very well, but he is an adorable little guy and I love seeing him posed with Lissie. I’m very happy that I bought him on sale though because I think $28 is too much.

The last piece I’m going to review is Caro’s bed. I wasn’t going to buy this bed at first because it’s big and it was expensive and I already owned Kit’s last bed. But then the bed went on sale and I was picking up so much of Caro’s collection anyways that I figured I would rather own it now for $75 than have to buy it secondhand for more than the original retail. When I first ordered the bed and started to put it together everything was going great until I went to put on the last post and I was having a hard time screwing it in. I realized that the screw had pulled out the internal metal coil that the screw turns into and just yanked it right out of the wood, rendering it completely unusable. I called the AG line right away and normally they would just send you a replacement, but the system said that they were sold out of the bed, so they had to manually check if there were any more in stock and I was told I would hear back when they had. After a few days I still had no news so I called up and was told that they still weren’t sure if there were any more left or if I would need to send it back for a refund. Except then 2 days later I received a new bed in the mail unexpectedly.

Setting it up I realized that the post issue was probably not limited to my first bed because a couple posts seemed like they would have the same problem. Luckily the first three posts from the first bed were in great condition so I used those and one good one from the new set and put my bed together. That part went well and then I went to attach the wooden canopy and after screwing in the first three corners realized that the fourth didn’t line up so well so I unattached it and tried the canopy from the old set and had the same problem. In order to get the screw and the hole to line up I had to push the wooden post in some, but eventually I made it work and everything else went together well.  The bed is quite nice once it is put together but I would be hesitant to buy this on eBay New In Box without seeing set up pics because I think the quality of the posts can really vary and you are going to be SOL if you don’t get 4 good ones.  Let’s take a look at some pictures shall we?

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Untitled The bed has nice dark wooden posts and a frame, and uses ropes to support the mattress, just like Caroline would have. The blanket has more floral embroidery, another theme of her collection it seems, and a lace canopy that actually stays on much better than I was expecting. The bed is very tall though and I had to move my LE Disney Fairy display to accommodate this which is why you can see part of Pixie Hollow on the wall behind the bed. Because the bed is so big it comes in a big brown box and not the AG specific bed box that Kit’s bed comes in:

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And here’s a look at all the pieces laid out of the floor before set up:

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I’m glad to have this set and I’m glad I was able to get a replacement, but it is unfortunate that there were clearly such quality control issues with this set. I wonder how many other people also had to call for a replacement. If you are going to buy this on eBay, either get one that has been set up already or make sure that there is a good return policy on the seller if you go for NIB.

Okay, so after a whopping 3300 word+ post, that is my review of Caroline’s collection. Do you own any of her pieces? If so, what are your favorites? Let me know!

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8 thoughts on “Kasey reviews … Caroline’s Collection!

  1. Great review with lots of info. I love the idea of using Caroline’s collection for Felicity! I don’t own any of Caroline’s collection, but I have been thinking about picking up her accessories set since it’s on clearance.

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      • I did it, I ordered them! I had a $10 off $100 coupon, my sister and I went together and ordered a few things, so I figured “why not”. Truth is I have some ideas for some Regency type costumes (ala’ Pride and Prejudice) and I thought the hat and bag would be perfect!

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  2. I loved the review, Kasey! I also picked up Caroline due to the sheer fact that she was being retired and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t grab her now. She’s not my favorite historical, but now that I have her I love her. She’s so pretty and I really like most of her collection. The only things I grabbed though, were her traveling outfit (no accessories), her nightgown and her mini doll (the pre-Beforever one). I really liked her work dress/calf as well as her bed and ice-skating outfit, but just didn’t have it in my budget at the time. Maybe used on Ebay someday!
    I really appreciate your review on her bed as that is my other favorite piece of hers…I think it’s just beautiful, but I am shocked by the quality issues…that is a great tip about looking for photos of assembly prior to buying it second hand.

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    • Thanks for the comment! I was a bit shocked by the bed too. I thought it was just a fluke with my first bed but then when the second bed I was shipped as a replacement seemed to have similar issues I thought it was probably more widespread than I thought. If you can get a good bed though, it is definitely a nice piece to have.

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  3. The accessories set arrived and that hat is just lovely–glad you “twisted” my arm to get it! Now I just need to get some other projects out of the way so I can work on the dress to go with it.

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    • I’m so glad you like it! And you got it at a great price too. I went out to take some pictures with my dolls today and took the top, which I think is a fun accessory. And of course the hat is lovely. My Lissie is wearing it now with the work dress. Can’t wait to see what you make to go with it!

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