Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sewing for Dolly

American Girl doll sleeping bag and pillow

When I was a little girl, I used to pore over the American Girl catalogs that my grandmother mailed to our house -- she has always been a doll collector and believes in starting them young. The cost of all the items were light years out of our family's price range, but I would spend hours happily turning the pages and making lists of things I wanted to buy. It's given me quite a laugh to watch Bunny do exactly the same thing this past year with those catalogs (which my grandmother is still sending), proving that she is indeed my daughter in every way. Today is Bunny's sixth birthday, but we had her party on Saturday so that the family could all come. And the special package from my husband's parents this year held an actual American Girl doll inside -- the first one that anyone in our family has ever owned, giving Miss Bunny an honored rank similar to the first person in a family to go to college. Since Bunny tells me that Ruthie the doll is in desperate need of bedding and clothing, and since we don't have the Swiss bank accounts that one would need to purchase these items from the people at American Girl, today was the first of what will be a standing weekly mother-daughter sewing date to create Ruthie's wardrobe and accessories.


Today's item was a sleeping bag and pillow set. I had planned to make Ruthie a doll quilt and buy an inexpensive doll bed online, but apparently they don't exist (the cheapest one I could find was $40 -- obviously I'm in the wrong business). My design was based on a tutorial which you can find here.


Bunny begged me to buy a charm pack of Aneela Hoey's new Posy collection last month, so I let her use that for this project. She got to choose the layout for the charm squares and help me guide the fabric through the machine for some of the sewing.  Most of the interior is one of the Posy prints along with a strip of Waffle Pink from Monaluna's Havana collection. I bound the sleeping bag in a grey and white crossword puzzle print by Tim & Beck.


I love the simplicity of this design. There are no zippers to bother with and the buttons are purely decorative. You can make the bag with a single piece of fabric, but doing the charm squares makes a sweet patchwork version that fits Ruthie's 1930's time period quite well. Some of the Posy prints -- especially those bunnies in the picture below -- even have a bit of a vintage vibe, I think. This collection just couldn't be more perfect for little girls.


Since I didn't want Bear to feel left out, I let her pick two charm squares from the pack, and she helped me sew a simple coaster to put under her water cup in her room. We had so much fun making this together, and Bear was absolutely thrilled to pieces with the result. She's been carrying this coaster around with her all day long.


I definitely want to sew with my girls more often. It's great to see the pride they feel in being a part of making something that they're really going to use. Bunny was watching me as I ironed out a few of the seams we had just sewn together, and she suddenly flashed me a blinding smile. "I like sewing, Mommy! I think I'm really getting the hang of this!" Then she reached over and hugged my arm. "You're the best Mommy in the whole entire world."

Need I say more?

24 comments:

  1. Fabulous! I made a similar set for my niece when she got an American Girl. Mine was all one fabric had a zipper- I think yours is much cuter. I also made her a nightgown and a matching one for her doll.

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  2. That is awesome! I was lucky enough to have a Samantha doll--still have her, of course! I think my mom wanted Kirsten (mom is half Swedish) but I had long dark hair and so did Samantha, so that's who I wanted. :) I remember checking all of the books out from the library and just blowing through them. One Christmas, I got the doll hair care kit, and I just loved putting rollers in Samantha's hair. My mom made lots of clothes for Samantha (though never the pink taffeta one, which I really wanted!) One year, she made us matching Christmas dresses--super dorky in retrospect, but I was thrilled at the time! Samantha, I'm sad to say, was retired a couple of years ago. Too bad, because I think she was the best. :) Also, I find it funny--her time period was 1904, and what do I study today? The U.S. in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Go figure. :)

    Congrats to Bunny on her new Ruthie! I'm sure she will be well-loved and the two of you will have lots of fun making accessories for her!

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    1. I had Molly, who was so boring to me. Samantha and Kirsten were the ones I pined after. They seemed so much more exotic.

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  3. Super cute!

    My soon to be 7 year old (!) has Kaya, who's bed is a roll of fur. But her teepee? Hoooooo boy that is pricey!

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  4. Oh this is just so adorable! And it's so sweet that your girls helped too! What very lucky girls they are to have such a talented mummy, and it looks like they are starting to get the sewing bug too :-)

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  5. There are instructions for making a dolls bunk bed set in an old Burda Magazine, if you would be interested? This is a wooden project, but all instructions are there. Just a thought, if her Daddy might like to help? Or Mom, I do not know why I am being sexist on this!

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  6. Really cute project, my little one likes giving me projects to make for her, and i can't wait until she's a little older and I can get her onto the machine to join in! : )

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  7. How adorable, especially Bunnys comment!

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  8. I have two charm packs of Posy waiting to be made up, great to see how it looks in a quilt!

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  9. Do you have an Ikea near you? Ikea used to sell (I'm sure they still do) a sweet pine unfinished doll bed the perfect size for American girl dolls (or our generation dolls as is the case in our house, because we too are not taking out a second mortgage to purchase dolls from American Girl).
    the bed is cheap and because it's unfinished it can be customized :)

    also love this idea here from Make it and Love it:
    http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2012/01/turn-a-shelf-into-a-doll-bed-with-clothing-storage-for-18-inch-dolls.html

    congratulations to your daughter for adopting a fun friend to sew for!

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  10. Waaaaaw. I want little girls to play with! Cherrish each blessed moment.

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  11. Awwww, that's so cute! The doll quilt came out beautiful :) (and the coaster!)

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  12. Oh, what a sweet project! My girls both wanted American Girl dolls but they are SO expensive. I made a deal that if they saved half the money, I would pay the other half. I thought they'd give up long before they had each saved $60, but they persisted and after almost 8 months, they both reached their goal and chose their doll. I'm happy to say that well over a year later, they continue to love and play with them.

    They both love to "help" me sew and have their own basic machine (to share). I think this would make a great project for them to make for their dolls!

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  13. Ahhh that is so adorable. My girls are getting those dolls for Christmas next year. I think it will probably be the last year that I can buy both girls a doll at the same time. So I want them to get some use out of them playing together. I will definitely have to check out that tutorial and maybe even let my oldest help me:) She would love that!

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  14. What a very special project. I can't wait to buy my granddaughter an American Girl doll. Maybe I should buy one now so I can "play" with it for awhile. You are raising precious little girls.

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  15. It is adorable! The buttons are so cute and you are right that Posy has a very vintage feel to it! I used to pore over those catalogs too. My heart skipped a beat when I found out we were getting an American Girl store down here :D. I always wanted a Samantha doll, since she looked the most like me. I'm totally jealous of Books_Bound right now LOL!

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  16. IKEA has doll beds - I think we got ours for $20? A steal!

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  17. That is so precious! And I agree with you that patchwork - especially with that fabric you used - is just perfect for the time period!

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  18. I've been sewing for my daughter's AG folk for the last 2.5 years. There are some great patterns out there. Let me know if you want links. We have the Kit doll, so I found some great 30s patterns.

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  19. My rich uncle bought all my sisters and me our American Girl dolls. They were probably the highlight of my childhood. :-) that's so exciting that your daughter got one!!!

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  20. I love this post for so many reasons! I worked hard as a girl to save money and buy an American Girl, but even when I started to be too old to play with her, I loved to sew new dresses for her. In fact, woke of my first projects were dresses for mine and my sister's dolls. What a great way to start sewing together! And your sleeping bag is super cute!

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  21. What a great sleeping bag. And Bunny is right; you are the Best Mom!
    Love,
    M

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  22. I'm hoping for a granddaughter some day to make doll quilts for and I'm sure I will be wanting to buy an American Girl Doll for her too.

    This sleeping bag is awesome! Great job.

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  23. where can I find the fabric the pillow is made out of? thanks :-)

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