Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10 comments

Doll Sleeping Bags

 Every girl needs a sleeping bag, don't they? I remember having several sleeping bags in my younger years, and it was always important to me that they were a reflection of my personality. My last sleeping bag was pink with kitty faces on it. I still have it and have actually passed it along to my daughter who adores it. She doesn't have much opportunity to use it, but we have camped out in our living room in the teepee tents on occasion, just for the experience. :)

So ... I know of three little girls (not including my own) who have 18" dolls and would like sleeping bags for them. I just so happened to want to make some dolly sleeping bags, so I picked up McCalls M5019 during Hobby Lobby's last $1/pattern sale.

There are free tutorials online, but sometimes it's just easier for me to have pattern pieces to lay on top the fabric, rather than trying to draw rectangles on the back ... or waste fabric trying to use a rotary cutter instead.

I'm not a huge fan of storebought patterns because they sometimes have you do ridiculous things like sewing up the side seam of a doll's sleeve before attaching it to the bodice (or hemming it, for that matter). Those things are important on real people clothing, but absolutely maddening and unnecessary on tiny doll clothes.

BUT I found this sleeping bag pattern to be very easy and straightforward. I'm very pleased and would still pay $1 all over again just for this sleeping bag pattern. I plan to make at least the doll tote and arm pillow yet, so my verdict is still out on those.

One of the really neat things about these is the attached pillow. You can't lose it because it's not going anywhere.

The pattern calls for a 28" zipper. I have tons of zippers in my stash, but none of them are that long. I looked them up online, and at about $5 each, I figured my shorter zippers would work just fine.

As a result, these sleeping bags  don't unzip the whole way to the middle like the pattern calls for. But they really only need to unzip on the side, so it doesn't matter.

I had so much fun picking out these fabrics! I chose them according to the girls' favorite colors. The fabrics are all from Hobby Lobby, a company and store that I am proud to support.

This fabric combination was my absolute favorite. It's for the youngest girl, who doesn't have a color preference yet. Whenever she makes up her mind, her favorite color will probably be here. :)

One quick note about my zipper modification: If you use a shorter zipper like I did, there is no need to cut the lining of the bag in two pieces. You simply cut another piece identical to the outside (but with the pattern piece flipped for mirror-image). The bottom of the sleeping bag will be "open", so you turn it right-side-out that way, and then turn it inside out to finish the seam. (It sounds confusing, but it made perfect sense when I had the fabric in my hands.) I used my serger to make the finished edge neat.
Thursday, November 21, 2013 1 comments

Styrofoam Doll "Cupcakes"

My kids and I have been enjoying making doll crafts for our homeschool craft classes this year. Our most recent project involved making these faux cupcakes from mini cupcake liners (I think they were really for chocolates), the smallest Styrofoam balls I could find (I chose the smooth-coated ones), some dimensional fabric paint, and some sprinkles/glitter.

As you can see, we went heavy on the sprinkles! :)

If you want to make some, too, I'll tell you how we did ours.

First of all, you want to add hot glue to a Styrofoam ball at the bottom and up the sides, doing just one at a time. Press them into a mini cupcake liner, making sure that they're attached at the side edges. Try to keep your cupcake liner flat on your work surface while you do this, or you may find that your liner has curved around the ball at the bottom and won't stay flat on the table.

Next, you'll want to paint the tops as carefully as possible. We used fabric (dimensional) paint, but we still had to use paintbrushes. If you just try to glob it onto the top, it will run down the sides of the cupcake liner and make a mess. You just want a thin, even coat.

While that was still wet, we added our sprinkles. We used some confetti and dollar store nail art sprinkles for ours. You could wait until after the next step to add sprinkles, if you prefer. I figured that two coats of paint working to keep the sprinkles on were better than just one. :)

Once that was completely dry, we added the drizzle of faux glaze (i.e. dimensional fabric paint). If you didn't add sprinkles before, this would be the time to do it.

Let it dry, and you're done!

In case you're wondering about the colors/flavors, the red is strawberry, blue is blueberry, and yellow is lemon.
Monday, November 18, 2013 1 comments

More New Doll Sweaters in the Shop!

I've added two more doll sweaters to the shop. This first one features a houndstooth pattern knit into the yoke and is very classy-looking. It's very reasonably priced at $10. If it's still available, you can find it in the shop here.

The second sweater is a red version of the apricot cabled sweater that has already sold. I dearly love cables, and they look terrific on the dolls.

Once again, this features a cable design down the front of the sweater and the middle of each arm. The back is left plain.

This is also priced at $10. If it's still available, you can find it in the shop here.
Saturday, November 16, 2013 1 comments

DIY Kaya's Bedroll

A friend of mine called me recently and asked for some help. Her granddaughters are getting Kaya and Josefina (American Girls) for Christmas, and she wanted to give them some accessories. Of course, looking at the American Girl website can nearly give a person a heart attack if you're not used to their prices, so I was more than happy to help her replicate a few of the really great accessories.

The first item was Kaya's bedroll. It retails for $32 and includes a shield decoration to put outside the teepee. I didn't bother with the shield, since I had limited time to work with and it didn't seem that important in the grand scheme of things. But the doll needs a "bed" to sleep on. :)

I found this great tutorial (from the Arts and Crafts for your American Girl Doll blog) for the faux animal skin parts, and I was able to make the bedroll (including the mat underneath) for $10. I have enough "bearskin" fur left to make at least one more, maybe two more, bearskin blankets, but I factored the price of the whole piece of fabric into that figure.

The bottom layer is a placemat from Dollar Tree. They have other similar placemats, but this one was about 1-2" longer, so it was a better fit for the doll. I considered pulling off the fabric binding, but my husband thought the color looked "Indian" and would add a nice touch. I'm also not sure if it might have fallen apart if I took that edging off, so I took his word for it!

The next layer is a faux sheepskin fabric that I picked up at Hobby Lobby as a remnant. Unlike the tutorial I linked to, American Girl's version does not use sheepskin for this part. I didn't notice that until after I had bought the fabric, but I think it still looks like something an American Indian girl would have slept on.

I especially loved that this fabric has a suede-like backing, so it looks more realistic.

Lastly came the bearskin blanket. I got this at Hancocks. Let me warn you to take along a lint brush when you go shopping for this stuff. I was wearing a denim skirt the day I picked this out, and I looked like a bear had shed all over me after I took the bolt to the cutting table. I've never had this particular skirt do that, so I'm sure it's the fur fabric.

I hope this helps someone else! Are you making any knock-off doll accessories for Christmas this year? I'd love to hear about them! I have a few more of these items to feature in the next few days, so you'll want to watch for them if this interests you.
Thursday, November 7, 2013 3 comments

Doll Undies from Dollar Store T-Shirts

I feel a little funny showing off doll underwear on my blog, but I really wanted to share this great idea with you.

I've been experimenting with Diane Morello's briefs and tank top patterns. (E-mail her for the free patterns. I highly recommend her videos. She has some great ideas.)

I'm still not entirely thrilled with how the camisoles came out, but they're at least workable. The panties, on the other hand, are a great fit!

The American Girls are pretty big in the back, and sometimes underwear patterns can look like they're falling off them in the back. These don't. They fit great! I used the briefs pattern, not the bikini pattern.

If you'll notice, I used an existing t-shirt hem at the waist. Since t-shirts knits have stretch, I didn't even need elastic at the waistband of these. I did use elastic at the legholes, though, since it was an easy way to turn under the seam allowances. I didn't use the clear elastic that Diane recommends because I can't find any locally. I just used regular white 1/8" elastic, and it worked great.

The camisole has velcro at the back so it's easier to get on and off. I had a really hard time with the top edge of the camisole stretching out of shape. I even used a stabilizing elastic, but it still stretched out every time I tried it.

I used double-fold elastic (unfolded) for the straps, and I really like how they turned out. It was a lot easier to sew them on than to try to get a 1/16"-wide strip securely fastened.

I would like to try another kind of doll undershirt, so if you have a favorite pattern or tutorial for one, please let me know. I would prefer to make it out of a knit fabric and not have the fabric stretching out of shape.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 1 comments

Thrifted Doll Furniture Finds - October 2013 Edition

 I just had to share our most recent thrift store finds with you. Check out this fantastic shelving unit that I picked up for just $3. It's perfect to house our kitchen items at the moment. (We don't have a dedicated kitchen area for the dolls yet, but we do have several kitchen items, as well as a table and chairs.)

As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the perfect height. The bottom part opens up and you can store things inside the two partitioned sides.

On that very same shopping trip I found this great wooden piece. My daughter had just set up a "Bitty Twin Store" the day before, and I realized how perfect this piece would be as shelving and hanging space. Here is her own store creation. (I plan to expand on the idea in the future as a playset.) This was also just $3.

 You really have to use your imagination to see the potential in this one. Whoever designed it must have had a very rustic idea in mind. It really does look like someone allowed their 3-year-old to scribble all over it with a wide magic marker.

No worries, though. I'm going to put padding on it and cover up all that horrid "paint job". It's going to be a couch for the dolls. We can fit two of them on it perfectly, and this saves me having to build the wooden part of the couch myself.

I paid $4 for this one, but it's still cheaper than buying wood and making one from scratch.
Friday, November 1, 2013 2 comments

Maxi Skirts for 18" Dolls

Look who has joined our family - Kit Kitteridge!! Yes, she's my doll. I consider her an investment in quality time with my children (and hopefully my future grandchildren). For some reason, Kit has always been the embodiment of the American Girl brand to me, and I wanted her in the worst kind of way. I got a fantastic deal on her from Ebay because I was willing to reattach her leg.

So she's my model for these great maxi skirts that are the easiest doll sewing project I've ever done. Seriously, these might take 15 minutes to make - from cutting to sewing the last seam. They're that easy.

I love the waistband. It's made of the same t-shirt knit fabric, so it stretches just enough without needing to create a casing and use elastic.

Instead of hemming these, I took advantage of the existing hem on the dollar store t-shirts that I cut them from. You wouldn't need to hem them anyway, since t-shirt knits don't ravel.

If you'd like to make a few of your own, you can find the free tutorial here on PA Country Crafts. If you read through the tutorial, you will want to note that I used the half-sized waistband so it doesn't fold over.

I was able to get two of these easily from one dollar store t-shirt, with some fabric leftover. I'd love to hear what you think if you try them.

I'm linking up to