Thursday, February 2, 2017

Patchwork Doll Slippers

Patchwork doll slippers for American Girl doll by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

When I was a little girl, my grandmother collected dolls. She had them on stands all over her living room, and my sister and I were fascinated by them. She bought them from shops or by mail order from the catalogs that came to her home every month. Then one day she showed me a catalog from a new business called Pleasant Company, the forerunner of what's known today as American Girl. I remember poring over those pages for hours, studying the details and stories about each of the dolls they offered (only Kirsten, Samantha & Molly in those early days). I made lists of which items I wanted and how much each would cost, reworking those figures over and over again. Sadly back then, a doll just wasn't in our family budget. It was disappointing, but I managed to wring plenty of enjoyment out of the catalogs alone, so it wasn't the end of the world.

Patchwork doll slippers for American Girl doll by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Over the past few years, my girls were each able to get their own American Girl doll from grandparents on both sides of our family for their birthdays. It's given me so much pleasure to see them enjoying a treat that I only dreamed of when I was young. We were surprised when a temporary AG shop came to San Antonio for the holidays last fall, and my daughters visited it any chance they could get before it closed at the end of January. On our very last trip to the store last Thursday, my husband insisted that I get a doll for myself as part of my Valentine present, so that I could finally have one of my own. I felt like a child again as I picked out Rebecca Rubin to take home with me. My mom purchased some clothes and even Rebecca's little kittens to go along with her. So here I am, feeling spoiled to pieces by my lovely family and having so much fun playing pretend with my daughters as they hold their weekly sister sleepovers and tea parties.

Patchwork doll slippers for American Girl doll by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

When my mom presented me yesterday with a sweet pair of pajamas that she bought for Rebecca on eBay, I suddenly thought how fun it would be to make her a pair of patchwork slippers to complete the outfit. I traced her shoes for a pattern and used a few of my smallest Liberty scraps along with some pale blue Essex linen. It was tricky working with such tiny pieces -- I've never bound anything so small! -- but I'm so thrilled with how they turned out.

It's true -- I love my new doll. But mostly I adore my precious family who surrounds me with love in such thoughtful, sentimental ways.


  1. What a sweet story and your slippers are perfect! My great grandmother was a doll collector. And my grandmother had a Samantha doll when I was a kid. I've always loved Molly, but never had an AG doll myself. Maybe someday. :-)

  2. I loved your story, Heidi - and how you finally got your doll. I grew up surrounded by dolls - but not special ones like this one. Each had a name and sat in its own spot in my room - 5 on my bed. Our two daughters received cabbage patch and other newer dolls, but my old dolls are still around and precious to me :)! Love, love those slippers you made your doll. Enjoy!

  3. What a lovely story to read, to start off my day of sewing. I expect you'll be making lots more dolls clothes now - happy sewing :)

  4. Heidi, I love your new doll, Rebecca.
    My daughters each received a doll on their birthdays. I have a photo of Christina opening the box and so happy to see Samantha. Right next to her was my younger daughter just sobbing in jealously hahaha so funny. It took a long time to console her and assure her that when she was bigger she would get a doll,
    Then, in later years, they saved their chores money, and baby sitting money and each bought another doll. Actually, Christina bought one for herself and one for her sister.
    I know, that was just so sweet.
    I hope you have lots of fun with your dolls.
    I made so many clothes for those dolls, I have boxes and boxes in the basement (carefully sealed) of clothes, I even made them wool coats.
    I never made slippers.
    I want to make these.
    Oh!!! we need to have a doll party, a huge sleep over

  5. Such a lovely story and you've got a great husband! Love those little slippers too.
    I bought an American Girl doll (the smaller one) for my granddaughter for Christmas but decided to hold on to the doll till my gd is a little older. I want to make her a little collection of doll clothes and accessories.
    Truth be told ~ I love stuffed animals and have a lot of them. Some are quite strange looking and I love having them all around my house. My birthday was last month and I bought a piglet, just for me! It's about the size of a new born piglet too!

  6. Adorable--those little prints are perfect!

  7. I love it when we can sometimes fulfill a childhood dream as an adult & reconnect with our inner child. And fun that you can share it with your girls. When I was in my twenties the Cabbage Patch dolls became popular. I just had to have one (or 2 lol) and my daughter wasn't even a thought yet. I still have them. I think those AG dolls are adorable. My daughter never really cared for dolls, but we had a plethora of stuffed animals.

  8. My Mom became a collector of dolls after she retired from teaching home economics. I had 2boys, so she told me the American Doll would be there for me. She has an original Molly with all the accessories. My adult self knows the monetary worth on the secondary market. My inner self is like, heck yeah, it's an AG doll of my own!! So I look at her and remember all the time I also spent going through the catalogs. They were great to dream about!!

  9. This made me tear up with joy for you! I absolutely love those little slippers! I am so happy for you that your husband saw the need for you to have the doll, and I am sure that your girls are loving that you can join in with them!
    What a wonderful family you have!

  10. Boy, did this bring back memories for me. I grew up with a great Mom but with an alcoholic/gambler father so money was always tight. I wanted a Barbie doll so badly, but it just wasn't meant to be. I'm so happy you finally got your AG doll, and the slippers are just perfect.

  11. Thanks for your post!
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    I hope you will continue to have such articles to share with everyone!

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