Monday, February 3, 2014

Carpatina's Tudor Dress

WOW I can't believe it's already February! Well I didn't get much accomplished in January, but hopefully February will be a lot more active. Let's start off today by talking about Carpatina's catalog.

If you remember from my last post I ordered two outfits from Carpatina with a gift card I got for Christmas. Included in my package was their catalog and I have to say it's really nice!

I'm trying bigger pictures for this post. If you like them let me know!
The cover features Rowena. I love the dress she comes in.

Each of their dolls has a beautiful two page spread.
Awww hi Kohanna!
I have to show you Kohanna's of course!

I also think that Erin and Zoe's is adorable! I love that dress form.
But does anyone else find it strange that Erin and Zoe only come in their underwear?

Ana Ming is my other favorite Carpatina doll.
See that blue dress in the corner?

That is going the be my next Carpatina purchase!
Along with some of their new steampunk clothing, this dress for Amelia:
And this Robin Hood costume!
Such a manly boy!
Kohanna doesn't think the boys should get to have all the fun with that!

And finally here is the real subject of today's post!
The Tudor Dress! For some reason it's called Anne Boleyn online, but not in the catalog.

Here it is in it's bag:
This is a three piece set that includes the gown, a French hood and a stiff mesh underskirt. Already we've hit my biggest complaint about this outfit! It doesn't come with shoes, but we'll talk about that at the end. Let's keep going!

According to Carpatina's website the gown is made of red jacquard satin in a floral print with brown over sleeves. I'm not sure what kind of fabric they are.
The gown is all one piece though it is made to look like it has an underskirt.
The underskirt is made of yellow brocade in a geometric print. I've been looking at a lot of  Greek art recently and this pattern really reminds me of the squared waves! It provides a very nice contrast to the floral print.

The back is held closed with three snaps.

And the gown is fully lined!

In fact the lining continues past the edge of the sleeves and makes a ruffled cuff. Let's take a closer look at the sleeves.
The over sleeves are made of a very soft, brown fabric. In the promotional pictures I wasn't too sure I'd like them. They were jarringly plain next to the gorgeous red satin of the rest of the dress but in person I think they are perfect! They provide just the right contrast. I think with out these the under-sleeves wouldn't pop like they do!

The under-sleeves are made of the same material as the rest of the gown.
Typically in a Tudor court dress the under-sleeves would be detachable and match the underskirt. Women would have many different sets of under-sleeves and skirts and would therefore have a much more versatile wardrobe.

As I said earlier the lining continues past the end of the sleeve to form a ruffled cuff.
The sleeve is held closed with a hook. I love this. It makes dressing the doll so much easier!

The cuffs are one of my favorite parts of this dress! Look how beautifully they frame Matilda's delicate little hands!

The gown is trimmed with a pearl and white cord belt around the waist.

And with more cord and "purple rhinestones" around the neckline.

It also has a silver and pearl pendant hanging from the neckline.
Mine hangs a touch crooked! Do you see that circle on the front of it? Well at first I thought that a rhinestone or something was supposed to go there and it just fell off, but after looking closely at pictures online and in the catalog I found that it's just supposed to be like that! Unfortunately it makes the pendant look like a bit of an afterthought and kind of cheap! I'm also not a fan of the purple rhinestones but I'll talk about that more in a second.

I am very impressed with the gown as a whole. The fabrics used, including the lining, feel absolutely sumptuous and, as you will see in a few moments, the gown drapes like a dream. But before we get to that let's talk about the rest of the pieces in this outfit.

This is the mesh underskirt.
It has a soft mesh waist band that's a little too big for Matilda but it stays up well enough. The rest of the skirt is stiff and gives the gown a very nice shape.

And finally here is the hood.

It's trimmed around the outside with the same cord and purple rhinestones as the dress' neck line and pearls on the inside.  It ties around doll's head with a red ribbon.

The hood is made out of a stiff material and is fairly thick. I'm not sure what it's made out of. It kind of looks and feels like velvet but I'm not sure!

Close up!
I don't like this hood.  My first issue with it is fairly minor and is also the issue that I have with the neckline of the gown. I really hate those purple rhinestones!! I think they look cheap and I don't think that purple, or at least that shade of purple, was the right choice! Something about it just doesn't sit right with me. I really wish they had just used pearls throughout and kept these purple things for some other dress. That would have been lovely and a lot more elegant. 

The thing that bothers me the most about this hood though, is it's shape. Go back up and look at the picture of this hood in the catalog. I'll wait right here!
Back?  Now look at the hood that Matilda came with:
That is what a proper French hood should look like, at least to me! It should be taller at the crown than it is wide at the sides. Also the sides should hug the head not stick out like a pair of wings attached to her head! I feel like that thing is about to fly right off! Plus the edges of the hood are already starting to fray!

I did manage to salvage it somewhat. Instead of tucking all of Matilda's hair under the hood, I kept two sections out and then wrapped those around, pulling the sides of the hood back. As you can see in the pictures below it gives it a much nicer shape:
Even though it's made for Carpatina dolls the gown fits Matilda fairly well! It's a bit loose in the bodice and around the waist but I don't think it looks bad at all. Though for some reason the left sleeve is a lot tighter around Matilda's shoulder than the right sleeve, but I think this is probably just and issue with my dress. It fits well enough that I'm definitely going to get Amelia their Victorian dress!

Didn't I tell you it drapes like a dream?
Here you can see how I pulled the hood back
Look at that beautiful train! And check out the front:
Don't worry! The dress stayed clean!
Gorgeous! Here you can also see how the belt dangles down the skirt. I think it's beautiful!

Matilda is very pleased!

I love the red next to her skin. It makes her vinyl look creamy and it really brings out the lovely blush at her throat.
I tried to tell her this is too nice of a dress to climb in but my girls love their reading tree!

Okay now we're back to my big gripe. This set cost me $44 and it didn't come with shoes. Now one might say, "Oh but the fabric is so nice and it's so detailed with the trim and everything that the lack of shoes is understandable. It's not like you can even see them anyway!" I call bull on all of that!

Go look at this! I just linked you to Caroline's Holiday Gown by American Girl. It too is has a jacquard print and it feels just as nice as this gown! It comes with the gown, elbow length gloves, an adorable hairpiece AND SHOES and it is $8 cheaper! I don't think there is any reason that this outfit shouldn't include shoes! All I can say is WTF!? So do I think this gown was worth the money? Yes and no.

This set has some obvious issues but still I really like it and I would buy it again! I am planning future purchases from Carpatina despite the fact that I really haven't been fully satisfied with a clothing purchase from them yet. I find it so strange because the actual clothing is incredible! It's so wonderfully made and it has such lovely detail and yet they seem to skimp on weirdest things! Let's make this gorgeous gown and fully line it but let's add a cheap looking pendant to the front and even cheaper looking stones! What? Also socks and shoes are very basic things! They should never be left out! I'm actually planning on trying to make this a little better. I'm going to try and remove the stones and replace them with pearls. I'm also going to add a pearl to the front of the pendant or possibly remove it completely. But honestly I shouldn't have to modify a $44 doll dress to be fully satisfied with it! In conclusion I really like this gown and the positives outweigh the negatives enough for me to keep buying from Carpatina but I just feel kind of confused. Come on!

I was going to jump straight into the next doll related thing I got in December next time, but there is something I have to do first. I've been keeping a secret from you guys and I have to come clean. And now with that lovely cliff hanger in place, see you next time!


  1. Matilda looks beautiful, as always, in this dress. I'm glad to see that she can wear Carpathian clothes since I've been tempted to get her their steam punk outfit with brown boots. I like the purple rhinestones in this Tudor dress; they bring out the purple in the red brocade, and purple is my favorite color. :) I wish that the fabric in the hood was the same as the dress. Like you, I also wish the pendant had a stone in it and that the outfit came with shoes. Please, please go ahead and tell us your news. I can't take the suspense any longer!

    1. It's not a perfect fit but it's close enough and I love their new streampunk stuff!! I think I would like the rhinestones better if they were a darker purple or if the were on the belt too, but I'm glad someone likes them :) LOL my news isn't anything crazy! I've just been buying something that I said I wouldn't and haven't told you guys yet! That post will be up as soon as the sun comes out long enough for me to get good pictures :)

  2. That is definitely a shame about the cheaper parts. It's a beautiful dress otherwise! I wonder if AG can get away with charging less and adding in some extras because they know they'll be able to move the product, whereas Carpatina needs to charge more because they're not as well known. :|a It still looks beautiful on Matilda, though!

    I recently got to see the GFAT dolls in person and while I was expecting to come away desperately wanting Clementine, I have to admit Matilda impressed me more in person. Posts like this are definitely increasing the chances that one of them will be coming to live with me at some point, ahaha.

    1. That's a good point and it could very well be! I think I wouldn't be so HULK SMASH about everything else if there were just some simple dancing slippers. I might try and make her some!

      I haven't seen Clementine up close yet but she will be my next full price doll purchase! I think Matilda will always be my favorite you should totally get her!

  3. Thanks for posting such a thorough review! I've been eyeing the Carpatina catalogue and wondered about the quality of their outfits, so this (and the kimono review) are fantastic to read!

    Personally, I'm not too bothered by the lack of shoes (primarily because that's the one thing that tends not to fit when sharing outfits across different lines of dolls) but it's a shame to read about the quality of the stones. Still, I'm even more tempted to buy it (and others!) after seeing your photos of the details of the cuffs and of the train from behind! :)

    1. Thank you! So far I'm really impressed with the quality of the actual clothing. They use amazing fabrics and the construction is near perfect. It's just random details they fall short on for me! I don't like the stones but you might in person!

      I don't think I would be so irritated about the shoes if this hadn't been so expensive. I spent more on this than I do on my jeans Lmao! I'm just kind of like throw me a cloth dancing slipper here!

  4. It's a gorgeous dress and it looks great on Matilda!

    I'm sorry you're kind of disappointed so far!

    1. I'm not really disappointed I'm just waited for that one set that has it all! LMAO! In general I'm pleased!

  5. I enjoyed reading your review and opinions of various parts of the dress. I have to say that this is my favourite of the colourful Carpatina dresses and I love the opulence of purple stones, pearls, red brocade, lace and more altogether; to me it looks opulent. I also am quite pleased that it doesn't come with shoes as it is one of the Carpatina outfits that will fit my German Schildkrot dolls and Sasha dolls and the shoes wouldn't. The Carpatina outfits are expensive I agree but there's something very special about the overall look of them that makes it worth it I think and keeps me wanting more!

    1. Thank you! I personally love Carpatina's clothing. The fabrics they use and the construction of the clothing is superb!