American Girl Wiki

The American Girls Dress Designer is an educational computer game developed and released by Mattel Interactive for Windows in 1999. This was essentially an interactive version of the paper doll sets American Girl sold featuring their Historical Characters roster. The set included six paper dolls as well. The retail cost was $29.99 and later lowered to $19.99.


The game allows players to create and edit period clothes for the Historical Characters. Users would select a character (only one character could be designed for at a time), then after a short voice clip, the game would load the character in one of her outfits and the background (from the Scenes and Settings, with unique ones designed for Josefina who did not receive a set). The bottom menu allowed users to cycle through characters, select the designer, the dance scenes, printing, and exiting the game.

The character and a narrator would discuss clothing of the era briefly. The game would intersperse voice clips, sounds, and information on the era when select background items were clicked on (some items only animated), and backgrounds could be cycled through with outfit changes for the character. Era appropriate music played in the background. The back scene could be panned side to side, and the character would move in small animations of the arms and face when she spoke.

When the designer was clicked on, the last outfit seen would be used as the starting template for an outfit and the background would change to the clothing designer. (Other outfits could be selected as well) The player can choose between different patterns or colors for the era which included patterns from the outfits, outfit styles, designs and trim for each character. Clicking on the hatboxes on the top shelf will change the character's hat or headwear. The basket changes the handheld item, which could be moved around. Clicking on the shoe boxes changes the footwear. (These last three selections could not be modified.) Clicking on a red book on the side table would highlight the outfit and explain the various items of clothing that might be unfamiliar to the player when they were selected.

The menu changed to save and load designs.

Each character also had one special themed activity (such as Samantha's birthday or Felicity's holiday ball) and a section to learn more about the character and era.

The player could also print out a fashion portfolio from their designs or print an outfit for use with the paper dolls. The set came with paper dolls for Felicity Merriman, Josefina Montoya, Kirsten Larson, Addy Walker, Samantha Parkington, and Molly McIntire. Printed outfits were designed to fit over the included underwear and to the doll's silhouette.


The American Girls Dress Designer installs and runs on modern operating systems, but a bug within the game's code causes it to crash on Windows NT 4.0 onwards (this includes consumer operating systems based upon NT, such as XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8.x, 10 and 11).[1][2] This can however be fixed with an unofficial patch.[3]