Rebecca’s Camp Uniform

My latest project: Rebecca’s camp uniform, inspired by her mystery Secrets at Camp Nokomis, and created from the cover art and historical photos from the book! Before I take off on a gleeful monologue (I really am very excited), I first must say this: I love camp. Love. One time, in middle school, I went to Girl Scout camp three different times in the same summer. My best memories of high school are attending music camp every summer. In college I worked as a counselor at a fine arts camp. It was a uniformed camp and can you guess what my feelings are towards camp uniforms? From the enthusiasm that I have displayed thus far, you can probably correctly surmise that I love them. The the snappy aesthetic created by a sea of identical campers and counselors, the feeling of unity and camaraderie, not to mention the ease of getting dressed in the morning, are all vastly appealing to me. (Sidebar: how do I feel about Molly’s Camp Gowonagin uniform you ask? Well, I own three, if that answers the question.)

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When I read Rebecca’s mystery Secrets at Camp Nokomis, I knew right away that I was going to have to make her a historically accurate camp uniform from 1916. If you have never read any of the American Girl mysteries, I definitely recommend them. I really like all of them. Secrets of Camp Nokomis is really good, though calling it a mystery is maybe a bit of a stretch. The ending is fairly obvious from the beginning (not all of the AG mysteries are like that, some really are suspenseful) but it is a good story with really excellent historical insight. It deals with the polio epidemic, which is cool because the story sharply contrasts the Maryellen’s–in the 1950’s there was hope and celebration at the advent of a vaccine, whereas in the early 1900’s there were pretty much just quarantined apartment buildings and general despair. The whole reason Rebecca was going to summer camp was to get out of the city and be in the healthier country air. Camp was a relatively new concept in Rebecca’s time, but it’s really fun to read about it and realize that there are still a lot of similarities between camp now and camp a hundred years ago!

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Below is the cover of the book, on which you can get a bit of an idea of what Rebecca’s uniform would have looked like, but even better is the actual, authentic photograph in the back “Peek in Into the Past” section. The book mentions that girls wearing bloomers was somewhat scandalous at the time, but the campers loved it!

  

Campers also would have worn tennis shoes, another relatively new concept. The Keds company was founded in 1916, the same year this story takes place, so I chose canvas tennis shoes that resemble Keds to complete Rebecca’s uniform!
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Rebecca is ready for camp! I had an absolute blast creating this outfit!

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For one final anecdote, I will share with you a dialogue between my husband and myself today:

Him: “Oh, is this the new outfit you made?”

Me: “Yes, it’s Rebecca’s camp uniform!”

Him: “Oh, cool!” *studies it carefully* “…are you going to add a patch to it?”

Me: “What do you mean? What kind of patch?”

Him: “You know, one that says Camp Gowonagin.”

Me: “Oh! Well, that’s for a different doll and a different decade, but you have absolutely no idea how much I love that you know what Camp Gowonagin is!”

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23 Comments Add yours

  1. Gwen says:

    This is so cute!! I wish AG made some (… all…) of the outfits featured in the mysteries, and this one looks awesome. Again, if you ever go into business, let me know. My dolls are all jealous of yours for having a big person who knows how to make amazing clothes. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emily says:

      Haha, well tell your dolls it’s not all it’s cracked up to be…it involves a lot of laying next to the sewing machine naked! (Definitely can’t say I’ve ever used that sentence before, haha.)

      Like

  2. kaitlynrh1 says:

    That is a super cute outfit!

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Flo says:

    Love the outfit, it turned out perfectly! And I love your husband’s comment. Once in a while mine comes up with something and it’s a “whoa!” moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks Flo! Haha, it’s funny that they must be absorbing more than we think they are!

      Like

  4. Rutvi says:

    Rebecca, Rebecca…why are you so pretty?! The outfit is REALLY cute. Nice, Emily!

    Like

  5. Sharry says:

    Nice job on the uniform. I’m a summer camp lover too. Cracking up at your hubby’s comment. My family thinks I’m nuts!

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks Sharry! Well, I am not saying that he doesn’t think I’m nuts, he’s just sweet enough to play along! 🙂

      Like

  6. Emma (Wack-A-Doodle-Dolls) says:

    You did an amazing job on the outfit! It looks awesome! 🙂 Rebecca is so cute. Great post, I loved reading it! 🙂
    -Emma-

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you so much, Emma! It was really fun to sew and to photograph!

      Like

  7. jackylina says:

    Yep! I own 3 camp Gowonagin outfits too, plus 3 Pine Lake Camp sweatshirts for my modern girls ( and I just got a 4th at a rummage sale last week). Rebecca looks so excited to go camping.

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      Exactly, there’s no point of a uniform if you have only one of them! I sooo want the Pine Lake outfit for my modern girls…I think I might shop for that on eBay today…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jackylina says:

        If you’re patient you should be able to find the whole outfit for under $14. The first time I looked I saw a ton of buy it nows for a lot of money. I waited until I found one on auction for a starting bid of $10 and no one bid over me! And it was a complete set even with the book! Put it in your saved searches until you come across a good price.

        Like

      2. Emily says:

        Oh, ok, thank you so much for the tip! I was actually considering one of the buy-it-nows for $35!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. jackylina says:

        Yeah, that’s way too much.

        Like

  8. Rebekah says:

    Wow! Great outfit and gorgeous pictures.

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks Rebekah!

      Like

  9. bennettv says:

    I love this! I went to summer camp every summer and it was a blast! I love that your hubby is so cool with your doll stuff! Mine just rolls his eyes at me and heads for the garage.

    ginnie / http://www.fakingitmostly.com

    Like

  10. Wow, the outfit looks amazing!

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks so much! It was super fun to make!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. V. & Kit says:

    You put this up the day I went to camp! Her camp uniform is adorable she looks great in it. The camp I went to doesn’t have uniforms accept for t- shirts and you’re not required to wear them every day just when they take the camp picture.

    ~V & Kit

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      Oh cool, I hope you had fun at camp! Thanks so much.

      Like

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