Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Here we take a break from staycation stories to talk about the doll outfits made for granddaughter Emerson. If dolls aren’t your thing, the focus will change again soon. Don’t miss Staycating Days 3 & 4 below, and there’ll be another post tomorrow.

Dear Kelly,

Soon Emmy’s birthday present will arrive at your house via USPS. The box is full of doll clothes and accessories for two American Girl dolls. Please let Emmy open the box when it comes – or whenever practical. I hope she will enjoy exploring the contents.

The doll clothes were all made from pre-printed panels, a series titled “Let’s Play Dolls” by Firetrail Designs for Andover Fabrics. I purchased the first two panels through Keepsake Quilting and found more through fabrics.com. Pacific Fabrics, based in Seattle, also carries the panels. Each panel includes instructions for cutting and sewing one outfit, but more detailed instructions can be found through an online tutorial, which I used on my iPad. Great idea!
Each outfit was available in two color options, so it was a great chance to consider Emmy’s two dolls as a unit – as friends or sisters who might dress alike – or similarly. Anyway, it’s up to Emmy’s imagination to pull it together.

Each outfit includes an accessory, such as a purse or tote bag. The pajamas have matching slippers. Knowing how Emmy loves paper and pencils, I included little post-it pads and small pencils in most of the bags. The pencils were clipped from old high school dance cards. We get doll accessories wherever we can. . .

. . . even at Walmart. You may know that Walmart carries a line of 18-inch dolls called “My Life,” which I understand are manufactured for Walmart by Madame Alexander, and I discovered that the shoes and headbands will fit American Girls. Several are included in the box to coordinate with the outfits.

The two-doll tote bag is from a Simplicity pattern. I used a purple canvas for the exterior and lined the bag with a coordinating fabric from the “Let’s Play Dolls” line. I found it worked best to slip the entire doll into the pocket with arms at her sides. The tote is designed so that doll clothes, accessories, sleeping bags, etc., would be stuffed in the center of the bag. Without that, the dolls fall toward one another when the bag is lifted. Oh well.

I have a few other accessories in mind – which may or may not happen. I try to keep the seasons and Emmy’s activities in mind when making doll clothes for her. I think that’s really the philosophy behind the “friend” doll. The doll should do what the girl does.

You all enjoy Emmy’s special day on the sixth. We’ll be thinking of you.

With love,


Kelly Warnock said...

What a thoughtful gift and I know Emerson will love it. It is not just the clothes but you always thinkin about what she likes as well as what she is currently interested in. I really appreciate all you do for her and the time you have invested. I am without the words to express what this means. We love you!

Hallie said...

What a fun birthday gift! Nice fabrics--love the polka dots!

Chris said...

As a longtime lover of dolls and their clothes, I give this post two thumbs up!!! So much fun in a box.

Kathy said...

Thanks for your kind words, Kelly. If we lived closer, we could do more. However, if we lived closer we'd probably do something different. This is a good long-distance activity.

Hi Hallie! Yes, the fabrics were great -- good quality, deep colors.

Chris, you are my idol. I didn't want to be a copycat, but seeing your display of dolls made me realize that it's okay for an adult to love dolls.

Chris said...

Our of love dolls goes way back and brings back wonderful memories of many hours of playing together. Glad you realized the fun could continue. I think for me the most fun part has always been making the clothes and dressing them up, even when my skills were nonexistent. Let the fun continue! :-)

Kathy said...

I so agree, Chris. It's not little girls who sew for dolls. It's grannies who sew for dolls.

Hallie remarked that the girls on the cover of a "sew for your doll" instruction book seemed too old to play with dolls. Thinking quickly, I said that they *were* older because now it's time to learn to sew.