Buy the doll, Make the clothes.

Ellery asked for an American Girl doll this past Christmas, and I was happy to make that happen.  My kid doesn’t like to play with Barbies, but I had a feeling a big doll like this was right up her alley.  She really enjoys changing her doll Saige’s outfits and doing her hair.  She gets her ready for bed at night and sleeps right next to her.  It’s sweet.

I remember as a kid a lot of my friends had these beautiful dolls with amazing hair and eyes that opened and closed. I specifically remember sleeping over my friend Gillian’s house when I was 9. We got into sleeping bags on her bedroom floor. She snuggled up with beautiful brown-haired, Samantha, and gave me some ratty old stuffed animal to sleep with. Not cool.  Anyway, I don’t think I ever begged my mother for one of those dolls but I think I deep down always wanted one. I suppose I caught wind of them a little too late in my youth.

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O + S popover sundress: sewn by me

Here are my thoughts on AG dolls:  They are quite pricey (though there are free shipping codes everywhere- that’ll save you $15 in the end).  However, they are really well-made dolls. They have adorable faces with bright eyes that open and close, and perfect hair. They are not gussied up in tacky tween clothing that you see on dolls in toy stores everywhere now. They arrive in tasteful outfits with cute shoes and a book (Ellery and I currently are on chapter 4 of Saige’s book). They are sturdy, their bodies are stuffed nice and tight, and their legs and arms move around 360 degrees. Your child will likely have this doll forever. And even if the face gets ruined with a permanent marker, or it gets an unexpected haircut by a little sibling, a nice new head can be purchased and put on for something like $28.  I totally justified my purchase of Ellery’s doll by the fact that I sew and would be (or my mom would be as it turns out) whipping up an entire wardrobe with my fabric scraps instead of buying any or many doll clothes or accessories.

If you are considering purchasing a doll and you happen to sew, my advice is to buy the doll, and make the clothes.

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reversible wrap skirt: sewn by my Mom

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leggings made from adult sock: sewn by my mom

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more leggings made from adult sock: sewn by my mom

Ellery loved Saige immediately, but my little girl Corinne became OBSESSED. As soon as Ellery would go to school in the morning, Coco would run back to her room, search for the doll (Ellery often hides her so her little bro and sis can’t leave their greasy prints on her perfect face, or smear peanut butter into her loose side-braid). She’d find her under a pile laundry or pillows, and just clutch her for the next hour as she roamed through the house.  At bedtime every night, when Ellery would change Saige into her pj’s, Corinne would sit on her own bed, looking over at Ellery’s doll, and just sob the biggest tears. “I want Saige! I want big doll!” . Really, it’s pitiful, but so adorable.  I’d leave their room and my husband would be like, “BUY THE KID A DOLL ALREADY.” And while it might seem totally ridiculous, we did.  Coco had a birthday this past weekend and we surprised her with her own.

Oh, that smile she had when she saw that silky-haired beauty.

(Note: there is a set of AG “bitty twins“- two 15″ dolls that are geared towards toddlers- it was an option that I ultimately decided against for two reasons: I don’t like their expressions as much, and I was not going to start making separate clothes for a different sized doll.  I’m not suggesting you get any 2 year old an AG doll.  But, hey…she’s my 3rd kid, and I can do whatever the heck I want!)

Here is Corinne’s new pal:

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Winter Pyjamas: sewn by my mom (these ones are my fave.  so cute.)

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O + S tea party sundress: sewn by me

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O + S popover sundress: sewn by me

My mom sews all kinds of things. Kid’s clothes, quilts, head wraps, totes, pouches, and now, 18” doll clothes. When Ellery got Saige, my mom started making the cutest things. Most of the clothes you see here were made by her.  Thanks Momma! She is so good at pumping stuff out. So good, that she recently decided to open a little etsy shop!

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Little Abbee Doll pj’s: sewn by my mom

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Winter Pyjamas: sewn by my mom

There are a ton of patterns and tutorials out there for doll clothes.  It’s fun, but I’ll admit that I needed a break from all that 1/4″ bias tape!  My real-life friend and fellow sewing blogger Allie of Crozette, made the cutest Sunday brunch jacket for her daughter’s doll.  And Sanae has a great post full of amazing clothes that her mother made her daughter.

I would love to know if any of you out there have made doll clothes, and which patterns you like.  I need quick sews at this point, and I’d love to find a little moccasin pattern too.

Hope Spring has found you!

-Erin

p.s. doll photoshoots are totally creepy after a while.

We have mice!

My Mom made one these for each of her 6 grandkids.  Isn’t it the cutest?

I’m imagining a nice little stash of these with all different little critters inside.

Perfect to keep in your bag for those what-was-i-thinking-taking-my-kids-to-a-restaurant moments.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering…. my Mom has curiously strong minty breath these days. :)

-Erin

Balancing Act

While Erin is discovering how to balance life as a mother of three (take your time girl!), the Chang kids are discovering balance in a more literal sense.  Balance Boards!

I think this is the first “pin” from my Pinterest page that I have actually followed up on.  The pin came from elsie marley and includes a great little tutorial that she did for last year’s Celebrate the Boy series.  I love Meg’s find-whatever-you’ve-got-around-the-house approach.  Later,  I came upon a neato version with bumpers made from pool noodles, from Family Fun Magazine (February issue).  I pretty much followed their project instructions step-by-step.  I played with two different board sizes.  Basic white board from Lowes, and pvc piping there too. Got the Duck Tape and noodle from Target.  That was all I needed.

 In the process, I became a born-again worshiper of Duck Tape!  So fun, so easy, and now, so decorative!

Avery was all over the balance boards, such a natural that I wonder if we have a future snowboarder or surfer on our hands.  Maybe my tweenage dreams will live on through Avery…

 

Jet got in on the action too.  Though he shall remain faceless.

We gave a couple boards to our friend Olivia, for her 5th birthday (of course I didn’t snap her photo while she tested them out, errr.).  Still, they were a hit with children of all ages at the party.

All in all a great project, and a cool rainy day activity for the kiddos.  Or, just do it for the Duck Tape.

~Caroline