Second Childhood

The first item of clothing I ever made for myself was a pink “peasant blouse” when I was in eighth grade. But I’m guessing that for most of us who learned to sew as kids, our actual first projects were doll clothes.

outfitsWhen I was in elementary school I made “troll clothes” by cutting arm holes in small fabric rectangles to wrap around my troll dolls, securing them with a strip of fabric for a belt. We used to take our trolls to school and put them in the little hole on our desks that had previously been used for ink bottles (no, I’m not old enough to have used them for their original purpose!)  vintage deskFor those of you who are young enough to have no idea of what I am talking about, notice the hole in the top of this desk. I found this photo online at this website:

Okay, so enough about American history. Allow me to fill you in on my latest “project”. It’s called making doll clothes for some little girls from church. sewing room tableI thought to myself, “Here is fabric, what doth hinder me…?”curtain with laceAnd here are all kinds of other things one might need in order to make doll clothes (not the least of which is the ice coffee from Starbuck’s).helping seewPlus this sewing room comes complete with its own helper! What more could a person need in order to get started?

So here’s the deal:

I tried making a skirt for an 18-inch “American Girl” type doll for a little girl from church and it turned out too big. So I took the skirt back and made it smaller, and this time it was too small. That was when I decided I needed one of these dolls of my own so I could have an actual model to try the clothes on before giving them to the girls.original outfitHere she is! She’s not the actual “American Girl” brand but she wears the same size clothes. I got her at Walmart for around $22 just before Christmas. She came in the outfit you see here. Unfortunately I haven’t thought of a name for her, but if I do I’ll let you know.basic skirt and topI took the original blouse apart to make a pattern for the shirt you see here. This was the first “basic skirt and top” that I made. These 18-inch dolls are a good size to make clothes for because the pieces are big enough to work with, as opposed to what you would need if making clothes for a smaller doll, say Barbie for example.

yellow skirts The good thing about doll clothes is that you can finish them so much more quickly than regular clothes. And everything doesn’t have to be perfect. I mean they aren’t people, right? So they won’t be going out in public where everyone will see the imperfections in the seams or the velcro. And even if they do go out in public, they won’t know the difference. Most little girls won’t, either. So what could be more fun? Stress-free sewing!

Speaking of imperfections, I had to piece the fabric for the waistband of this dress and the zig-zag pattern didn’t match. The answer? Just sew a black button over the spot and it draws the eye away from the mistake.

And when it’s on, you really can’t tell. Oh yes, and you might notice the gray and white polka dot tights…

I learned on Pinterest that you can make tights for an 18-inch doll using a woman’s knee sock. Of course I had to try it. It was a little tricky, but it worked out okay.

Ah, the wonders of “mix and match!” It makes your wardrobe so much larger with just a few key pieces.

Foster and dollDid I mention my sewing room has a resident helper?

Here’s a good DIY tip: Sew two pieces of contrasting fabric together first, and then lay your pattern piece down and cut. (I printed the pattern piece you see here from Pinterest.) This eliminates having to cut out and sew small contrasting pieces together.

This outfit was made out of a tier from a Goodwill skirt that I wore for a few years and then took apart to use for fabric. I think it would have looked better with the blouse not tucked in, but then you wouldn’t be able to see the contrasting waistband on the skirt.

We did meet with a bit of misfortune when, while trying an outfit on her, I accidentally dropped her, face first, against the wall behind the ironing board. Who knew that falling against a wall would scratch the paint off her face? So now she had this “owie” and I was not happy about it at all. The only solution, until I figure out something else, is hair accessories!

It’ll have to do for now.

Another thing about having your own 18-inch doll is that she can be a model for puppet clothes. This is the shepherd outfit I made for one of the puppets we used in our Sunday school Christmas presentation, along with a beautiful (?) golden harp!with angelsHere you can see one set of the new and improved “Angels on a Stick” (more about that in a later post). Suffice it to say that my sewing room was a little crazy for a couple of weeks around Christmas!middle of project2(Truth in blogging: This isn’t even including the stuff I cropped out of the picture!)

And while we’re in the sewing room…

playing with bearIf you climb up on the very top shelf you might find a giant bear puppet in progress, and if you are really sneaky, you might be able to bite one of his eyes off…just saying.