Tuesday, February 25, 2014

First Steps to Second Childhood

A while back my granddaughters were given some used American Girl dolls. And when I say used, I mean very used, Somebody's brother must have gotten hold of these because one of them suffered from burned toes, another had been partially scalped, and a third had a very loose arm. Nevertheless, the girls loved them tenderly and their daddy hinted that these mostly naked dolls might appreciate some doll clothes if Grandma felt so inclined.

Which of course she did. Because 18 inch dolls, such as American Girl, are the perfect size to sew for. Her clothes are more interesting than a baby doll's. And they aren't impossibly tiny like Barbie's. And there are so many lovely patterns out for them. Not only can you dress them in clothes from many different time periods, but you can make Star Trek uniforms or Star Wars costumes or Steam Punk outfits or almost anything you can imagine.

Of course, I really needed a doll of my own to use as a dressmaker's dummy. Not an American Girl -- they are far too expensive. Though I had wanted one since the mid-1980s, I could never justify buying such an expensive toy for myself. So I bought Alejandra, an Our Generation doll from Target who is the same size as the American Girls. She had a cheerful, appealing face, the long dark braids I'd always wished for as a child, and she was Hispanic. (Something you never saw during my childhood.)

Soon "Allie" was helping me fit all kinds of outfits for her "cousins" in Ohio. And even for my niece's doll in California.

We started with the basics: underwear from Kwik Sew 2830.

Of course, everyone needed a nightgown.

This one, made from McCall's 6137, was kind of meh.

This is better. I used the same pattern, but changed the sleeves, lengthened the gown, and added a ruffle.

My favorite nightgown is also from Kwik Sew 2380. It's the easiest to sew and the best looking.

Here's a drop waist dress from a pattern I found online. (I couldn't seem to get the collar to lie flat.)

A classic little girl's dress from Kwik Sew 2921 which demonstrates that it is much easier to sew a fully lined bodice than to make facings for it.

And here's a lovely pintuck blouse designed by All Dolled Up Doll Clothes. (It's easier than it looks if you have a pintuck foot for your sewing machine. And the pattern includes instructions for those who don't have a special foot.)

And finally, here's a hospital gown in case dolly gets sick. Here's the front view.

And here's the back -- authentically chilly!

This week I'm joining Jennifer Fulweiler in writing seven posts in seven days. To check out other bloggers who are doing the same, see the list here.


Jean Belle said...

So enjoying the wardrobe you're sewing and reminiscing of the days I'd sew for my own daughter's dolls that same size. It was a fun challenge to design doll clothes from looking at the photos in the AG magazines. Now they have so many cute patterns to use! Love the quilt too. Even flannel linings get fairly stiff. Try just backing the quilt top with fleece and no batting. That has a nicer drape.

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Fleece? Hmm. I may try that if I can find one that seems thin enough.

Actually, I don't plan to put any batting in the tiny log cabin quilt. Since the blocks are foundation pieced on muslin, the seams may make it rather bumpy. I'm thinking I'll need to press the seams open.


Robin McCall said...

Wow, poor Nellie with the roasted foot! How wonderful that your granddaughters are giving these dolls a second shot at being loved. I know they must be loving Grandma's gifts of doll clothes! When I was a little girl, my grandma used to sew clothes for me all the time, but I always secretly wished she would sew for my dolls instead.

(robinhoo from AG Collectors)

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Yes, their daddy was going to send them to the doll hospital for repair, but the girls were so fond of them that they didn't want to let them go away.