Making the World in Miniature
My niece, Madison, got an American Girl doll for Christmas. For those of you who were never little girls and do not have little girls, you may not be familiar with the American Girl dolls. The American Girl dolls are believed by many to be the epitome of what a doll should be. They are 18” tall and pricier than most dolls (about $90). You can buy just about any accessory for them imaginable; you can even buy matching outfits for your little girl and her doll. There are also several shrines to American Girls located randomly throughout the country. The closest one is in California.
It seems all little girls love American Girl dolls and easily get sucked into their cute miniature world. Madison has definitely been obsessed with American Girls since she got her doll, Felicity. She has now added Josephina to her collection as well.
Since the little outfits for these dolls run about $30 apiece, I decided to offer my sewing services to Madison. Thus far I have sewed 4 outfits for her dolls. For those of you who are thinking that sewing little doll clothes would be a cheap and simple task, let me bring you back to reality. Although the outfits I have made have virtually cost me nothing since I used scraps of fabric from other sewing projects, the time involved in making these miniature clothes is much more than you would expect.
I have been sewing for many years and have undertaken numerous complicated and time intensive sewing projects, such as a civil war period dress reproduction. So I was expecting sewing these doll clothes to take very little time, a common error amongst sewing enthusiasts. However, when you are used to working with a 5/8” seam, a ¼” seam can be quite frustrating. I have learned that you have to be much more exact with doll clothes and that that precision takes time. So if you are tempted by the cheap price tag to try sewing clothes for an American Girl doll just remember to give yourself plenty of time, and don’t expect it to be an easy task.
With that said, my niece loves the outfits I have made and I have promised to make a couple more before I retire from tailoring these tiny clothes.
I have also learned from Madison that while clothes are nice, dolls need more than just outfits, they need somewhere to rest their heads. Last Saturday my friend Robyn, who is an expert seamstress, invited me and Madison over to her house for an American Girl party and sewing extravaganza. Madison was all over this. Robyn’s girls, Rebecca and Nicole, have all sorts of American Girl clothes, furniture, and accessories; Madison was in heaven. Another friend of mine, David, brought his two little girls and so, while Robyn and I sewed, the girls went crazy with their dolls, 8 dolls in total. The dolls even had a picnic with American Girl sized grilled cheese sandwiches and cupcakes while their larger counterparts ate their lunch.
Robyn and I were able to make mattresses, bedspreads, and pillows for each of their dolls while the girls played.
Those little ladies are already plotting to have another American Girl party sometime in the near future.