A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Stocking the dolls' closets

The girls asked for American Girl dolls for Christmas this year.  I decided to walk in my Babushka's shoes and make some clothes for them.  I found a number of free patterns online and set to work. These clothes were made over a period of about six weeks.

The dresses were sewn using an original American Girl doll pattern - the one for Molly's jumper.  As it happens, Molly is the doll I owned as a kid.  I still have her hanging around, which was handy when I needed to try things on her.  

I raised the neckline on the bodice pattern and then played around with the skirt pieces for each dress.  This one was sewn using a scrap of brocade from my Babushka's seamstress days.  I remember my mom telling me that the brocade was left over from a wealthy client's custom gown.  The scrap has been sitting in my stash since I began sewing, and this seemed like the perfect use.

I did some hand-beading on the bodice.  It is a really relaxing way to spend an evening in front of the TV.

Here's another dress using the same gold brocade.  I used a scrap of white silk dupioni for the bodice. It is adorned with a pre made flower.  The headband is cream-colored fold over elastic and has the same flower trim on it.  I made the necklace too.

Sunlight has been hard to come by around here lately, sorry for the picture quality.  This one is some synthetic dupioni in a muted green color with a tulle overlay.  Store-bought fabric and bead flowers for the trim and the headband.

Slightly better photo of the green dress.

I also made a few casual looks.  The jeggings were made using this pattern. I made one pair for each girl, but I reversed the fabric for the second pair so they wouldn't be the same.  The short sleeved tees were made using the Liberty Jane trendy tee pattern.  I modified it to make it a kimono sleeve pattern a la my beloved Kirsten Kimono shirt, to make it a faster sew.

This cute peplum skirt (using scraps from the Arielle skirt I made my sister this summer) was made using this pattern.

I also made this adorable bubble skirt (pattern here) and another kimono tee.

I made the long-sleeved shirts using this tutorial.

This skirt was just a rectangle of fabric gathered into an FOE waistband. I also made two pairs of white tights from women's knee socks, using this tutorial.

I was really surprised at how much fun I had sewing these clothes.  The idea of sewing doll things was never appealing to me - I always thought I'd rather spend that time sewing for myself.  But sewing for my postpartum shape has been frustrating, and dolls are pretty easy to fit, so there's that.  I'm sure there are more doll clothes in my future (and hopefully more selfish sewing, too).


  1. All of these are so adorable, Masha!!! What a wonderful and special gift for your girls! I loved dolls as a kid, but was a little bit older than the target demographic for the first American Girl Dolls. Nonetheless, even though I was too embarrassed to admit it at the time, I still thought they were so great, with all of the history, etc. I can't wait until Maggie is old enough to get into them! I have a feeling I will be sewing up some clothes!

    1. Thanks Inder! They were really fun to sew.

  2. Wow, quite a lot of work!! And all the outfits look adorable! I was going to make some outfits for my girls' dolls but then life took over... (as usual).

    1. But you knit them all those cute sweaters and tunics ... I need to do some of that too.

  3. I'm so impressed, Masha! These are so great! My favorite doll was Samantha! I still have mine, too! Tia is into Bitty Baby. You really did an amazing job! What great gifts- and this is one case where sewing would save you loads of money!

    1. It really is nuts how expensive those clothes can be. But now I've started setting aside scraps I would otherwise toss, and putting them into a "future doll clothes" pile. Thanks for the compliment!


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