Make Jeggings! Sewing Pattern for American Girl

Make Jeggings for your American Girl Doll

This pattern was developed for a modern Mattel manufactured American Girl doll.  Jeggings may also fit other brands of 18″ dolls that share the American Girl body style.  For best fit, make a test pair of jeggings first and adjust pattern as necessary for your doll before using your best fabric.

Materials

  • Jeggings Pattern Sheets
  • 1/3 yard fabric suitable for jeggings (see fabric note below)
  • Coordinating polyester thread
  • Velcro (or snap or button) for fly closure
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron for pressing hems and setting seams.

IMPORTANT – Be sure to download and save the patterns to your hard drive and print at “Actual Size” from a PDF reader like Adobe Reader.  If you print directly from your browser, the pattern may not print at the correct scale.

A Note about Fabrics – I tested several types of fabric for my jeggings.  The best fabric I found was in the denim section at my local Joann store.  It is a very stretchy, medium weight fabric that acts more like a knit then a tradition “jeans” denim.  I also tested the pattern with a stretch sateen (97% cotton, 3% spandex) that worked well.  However, because the sateen has less stretch and behaves more like a woven then a knit, the jeggings pull down over the doll’s cloth behind when she is in a seated position.  Looks great for standing, a little less great when sitting!  Another great source of fabric for doll jeggings are outgrown or thrift store people jeggings.

General Instructions

  • All seams have 1/4″ seam allowance unless otherwise noted.
  • Press seams as you sew for more polished and better fitting jeggings.
  • If your fabric frays, finish seam allowances with a serger or short zig zag stich.
  • Read completely through instructions before beginning. Let me know if you have questions! I’d be happy to help!

 

Assemble the Pattern

1.  Download the free jeggings pattern, print, and cut pattern pieces.   The pieces were a little too long to fit on one page, so you’ll find the bottom portion of each leg piece printed separately. To assemble your pattern pieces, tape the bottom portion of each leg piece to the corresponding top piece, overlapping as indicated by the dotted lines on the pattern.

Cut Jeggings Pieces

2. Using your paper patterns as a guide, cut your fabric.  You should have four pieces in total.

 

Free AG Jeggings Pants Pattern and Tutorial

Sewing

3.  Right sides together, sew the crotch seams for both the front and back pant pieces.  Clip curves as indicated.

 

AG Jeggings Pattern and Tutorial

AG Jeggings Pattern and Tutorial

4.  On front piece, fold and press 1/4″ of the “fly” to the wrong side. The fly is the area right above the crotch seam you sewed in the previous step.    Sew across to secure.

AG Jeggings Pattern and Tutorial

5. Right sides together, pin front piece and back piece together.  Sew outer side seams.

AG Jeggings Pattern and Tutorial

6. Press up and pin 1/4″ hem on bottom of each pant leg.  Sew across.

AG Jeggings Pattern and Tutorial

7.  Pin inseam and sew.

AG Jeggings Pattern and Tutorial

8.  Press down a 1/2″ waist band.  Pin in place then top stitch around waist band, 3/8″ from outer edge.  Top stitch around waist band again near top edge.

AG Jeggings Pattern and Tutorial

AG Jeggings Pattern and Tutorial

9. On one side of inner fly, sew a rectangle of velcro hook.  On the other side, sew a matching rectangle of velcro loop.  Alternatively, you could sew on snaps or fashion a button / buttonhole closure.

AG Jeggings Pattern and Tutorial

10. Fold one side of the fly back and secure to the waist band by sewing along top edge.

AG Jeggings Pattern and Tutorial

 

 

American Girl free jeggings pattern and tutorial

You’re finished!  Put the jeggings on your doll, congratulate yourself for your many skills and talents, and do the happy dolly sewing dance!

American Girl Jeggings Pattern

American Girl Jeggings - Free Sewing Pattern and Tutorial

Make the Cozy Hat and Urban Belted Coat to complete the outfit!

The Urban Belted Coat Pattern for American Girl

American Girl Doll Sewing Pattern Belted Coat PDF

It’s done! It’s done! It’s DONE! La Dee Dee, La Dah Dah.. It’s Finally DOOOOONE!

{that is what I’m singing, as I dance around the house,  flapping my arms wildly}

My children are familiar with this crazy dancy song, as it’s the same one I perform each year when I submit our household income taxes in January late March.

So, turns out this dolly pattern publishing business is time consuming work.  And scary, too!  I discovered that my pool of pattern testers included professional technical writers, pattern designers for real live human beings, and home seamstresses with.. uh.. fifty years of experience.  50 years, People!  And not everyone identified their line of work.  I bet there was at least one rocket scientist. I have a very high quality audience. ;)

To say I was intimidated as I sent out the pattern to my illustrious band of testers is an understatement.   But I soldiered on and faced my fears of inadequacy because I believed my little dolly pattern was worthy enough to bring into the world.  And I’m so glad I did because I got tons of tremendously helpful feedback from the testers. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you again, wonderful testers!

After a little tweak here, and slight clarification there, I’m confident that the Urban Belted Coat Pattern is finally ready to be unleashed upon the dolly world!

The Urban Belted Coat

Now that the Urban Belted Coat pattern is finished, I’m working on the next pattern, which will be free to download.  It’s is a fashionable dolly wardrobe essential that will pair very nicely with the coat.

I’ll give you a hint….

It’s Jeggings. :D

[I’m bad at hints.]

Hopefully I’ll have that ready for you and posted on the blog next week.

Would you like an email notification when each new blog post is published?

Thanks to the wise suggestion of MSF reader Tari, I have set up an RSS feed subscription thingy (why yes, that is a technical term) so that you can get each blog post delivered to you via email.  See, what did I tell you? High quality audience. Thanks again, Tari!

Subscribe here, if you’re interested!

[This notification is different then the MSF Newsletter, which is bonus not-published-on-the-blog content.  You should definitely subscribe to the newsletter, too!]

Now then.  I’m off to dance around a little more, sing my song of contented completion, and maybe even attempt to locate the vacuum or the bottom of my kitchen sink.  It’s been awhile since I’ve seen either!

The Urban Belted Coat

Easy DIY Doll Fireplace Tutorial

How to Make a Doll Fireplace for American Girl or 18 Inch Doll

Make a Fireplace for your Dolls – $20 or Less!

Last holiday season we built a fireplace for the dolls.  My goals for the project were to keep it inexpensive, easy to store, and simple to make.  I have a propensity for stabbing myself when cutting vegetables, so I stay far, far away from power tools.  The following tutorial requires no woodworking skills, but may require adult supervision as some some cutting is required.  The fireplace is sturdy enough for gentle play, but was designed primarily to be a decorative piece.

The scale is a little small for the 18 inch girls but it wouldn’t be hard to make the fireplace larger if the scale bothers you.

All supplies came from Hobby Lobby (except for the spray paint because it’s less expensive at Walmart) and I spent just a tad under $20.   If you don’t live near a Hobby Lobby, most of these supplies are available in other craft stores or online.  I already had glue, Mod Podge, and Model Magic on hand, so those supplies are not included in total project cost.

The “body” of the fireplace is a black photo storage box.  Cut a rectangle from the bottom of the box.  Mod Podge or glue brick printed scrapbook paper to the back (which is the inside of the lid).  This is an optional step, but it looks really cute when the “fire” lights up the inside of the box at night.

Build a fireplace for your 18 inch doll American Girl

The “hearth” is a thin sheet of birch (I purchased pre-cut in this size) that I Mod Podged with scrapbook paper.  The other side has the brick paper because I couldn’t decide what I liked better. :)  You can also use cardboard for the hearth or omit it altogether.

Make a pretend fireplace for your doll
The fire is made with sticks from our backyard.  To stick them together I used Model Magic (the Crayola modeling clay that dries) and a little squirt of Alene’s tacky glue.  I’m sure you could use any type of clay, I chose Model Magic since it will dry.  I was having a hard time getting the “logs” to stick together with just glue, but the clay/glue mix worked like a charm!  I have the logs resting aluminum foil at the moment but I’d like to find or make a better grate at some point. Or maybe I’ll just spray paint it black.

Behind the logs, I have placed a flickering LED light for fire.  It’s hard to see in the photo, but very cute at night when the room is darker.

The rest of the fire place frame is made from balsa wood with another birch sheet on top. The balsa wood came in one long sheet that I cut into four parts with a hand saw to construct a rectangle.  The two sides are the same size. the top piece is a little wider then the bottom piece.  I used the size of the photo box as a guide when deciding what lengths and widths to cut the balsa wood.  The frame rests over the photo box, so it’s just slightly wider and taller. I glued the frame sides together with Alene’s tacky glue.  I glued the pre-cut birch sheet on top to act as a mantle.

DIY American Girl Doll Fireplace tutorial 18 inch dolls

Balsa frame for the fireplace. Turned around so you can see!

I bought a package of pre-cut wood trims ($6.99 – used a 40% coupon on this as it was the most expensive item) and used bits and pieces to make the molding along the edge of the mantle and to decorate the front around the opening of the fire place.  I used a hand saw to trim the pieces to size and glue to attach the trims to the balsa wood frame.

After letting the glue dry overnight, I took the fireplace frame outside and spray painted it white. I spray painted a second coat after the first dried.  I did not permanently attach the wood frame to the photo box.  You could glue the frame to the box if you wish, but it’s easier for me to store as separate pieces.

Tutorial - How to make a fireplace for your American Girl Doll or other 18 inch doll

 

My Christmas decor is not included in the $20 total, but everything but the nutcracker is also from Hobby Lobby. The Elf on the Shelf was $6.50, the Holly pieces were $2 (for both), the “snow” is just fiberfill, the lights on the mantle light up and flicker. They are actually a necklace but were with the Christmas decor at Hobby Lobby.

You can make a simpler version of this fireplace with just the photo box (more carefully cut out in the front. I did a sloppy job knowing I was going to cover it). The photo box was $2 and the scrapbook paper was $0.59 a sheet, so if you have glue or Mod Podge and few sticks in your backyard, you can make a “quickie” fireplace in under an hour for less then $3!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and please let me know if you have any questions!

American Girl Christmas Scene Fireplace Tutorial

The Cozy Mittens and Hat Pattern for Small Dolls

h4h les cheries paola reina doll pattern hats mittens free pdf tutorialOnce again, the littlest of the small friends threatened dolly mutiny if they were left out of the new pattern.

So, thanks to vinyl coercion and a very nice email from Many Small Friends newsletter reader Lisa … {waves to Lisa :D}, I resized the Cozy Mittens and Hat Pattern to fit 13″ to 15″ dolls.

I tested the pattern on my Paola Reina, Corolle Les Cheries, and Hearts for Hearts dolls.  The Hearts for Hearts dolls have a larger head then the others, but all three dolls have similarly sized hands.  So there is a single Mitten size option that works well for all three dolls and two Hat size options, the smaller size fits Paola Reina and Corolle, and the larger size fits Hearts for Hearts.

I suggest choosing a  lightweight knit fabric for the smaller sized hats and mittens.  I developed this pattern using micro fleece, which is a lightweight version of polar fleece.  My local Joann fabric store usually has this in stock.  It’s also a common pajama fabric for young children, so check thrift stores for clothing to upcycle.

Bottom line, choose a fabric that won’t be too bulky and preferably a knit that doesn’t fray so you won’t have to fuss with finishing seam allowances.

The construction steps are similar to the 18″ doll hat and mitten tutorial but I made a few tweaks to better suit the smaller sized pattern pieces and to make this as un-fiddly as possible.

Materials

  • Cozy Hat and Mittens Pattern Sheet (for 13″-15″ dolls)
  • 1/4 yard knit fabric -OR- scraps, you don’t need much.  Polyester micro fleece is an ideal fabric to make this project fast, fun, and EASY!
  • Coordinating polyester thread
  • Sewing machine -or- hand sewing needle
  • [Optional] Embellishments for the hat – ribbon, buttons, felt flowers, etc.

IMPORTANT – Be sure to download and save the patterns to your hard drive and print at “Actual Size” from a PDF reader like Adobe Reader. If you print directly from your browser, the patterns will not print at the correct scale. Measure the 1 inch box printed on the pattern sheet to  be sure your pattern printed correctly.

Mittens

1.  Cut a rectangle of fabric, measuring 2″ x 5″ with the stretch going lengthwise.  For the wristband of the mitten, cut another rectangle of fabric measuring 1¼” x 5″, stretch also lengthwise.

Fold the wristband strip in half, wrong sides together, lengthwise.  Lay the wristband strip on top of the right side of the first rectangle you cut, aligning the raw edges.  Pin in place.small doll cozy winter mittens hat pattern

Sew the wristband strip to the fabric rectangle with a ¼” seam allowance as indicated by the black dashed line in the photo above.  Trim the seam allowance to a scant ⅛”.

2.  Fold the wristband down and then fold everything in half width-wise, right sides together.

mitten tutorial for hearts for hearts doll

3.  Pin the paper mitten template to the folded fabric, aligning the dots on the template with the seam between the fabric rectangle and the wristband.  Sew around the mitten shape, sewing as close to the template as you can, and back stitching at the beginning and end of your seam for added durability.

mitten tutorial free pattern corolle les cheris

4.  Remove the paper template and trim away the excess fabric, cutting close to your sewing line, and leaving only the inside-out mitten.  Clip a little notch in the seam allowance between the thumb and finger portion of the mitten, taking care not to cut into your stitching.  Turn right side out, and your finished!

Repeat the steps to make a second mitten.

 

Cozy Hat

1. Using the printed pattern as a guide, cut 5 panels of fabric for your hat plus one rectangle for your hat band. See pattern sheet for measurements for hand band.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

2.  Pin two of the hat panels together, right sides facing. Sew along one long side with a  ¼” seam allowance (as indicated by the white dotted line in the picture below). Trim seam allowance to a scant ⅛”.

Pin a third panel to two you just sewed together, right sides facing, and again sew along one long side.  Continue in this fashion until all five panels are sewn together.

(Note: Borrowing pictures from the 18″ doll Cozy Hat and Mitten tutorial.  Your pieces will be smaller).

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

3.  Fold your hat band in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.  Pin hat band to hat, right sides together, aligning raw edges.

Sew hat band to hat with ¼” seam allowance as indicated by dashed line in the photo below. Trim seam allowance to a scant ⅛”.

smalldollshatpdf4

4.  Fold the hat band down and then fold and pin the hat in half, right sides together.

(Note: Borrowing pic again from the 18″ tutorial.  Your hat will look like this except the hand band will already be attached.)

American Girl Doll Hat and Mitten Tutorial and free pattern

Sew the final side seam to join the hat panels and the short ends of the hat band with a ¼” seam allowance.  Trim your seam allowance, turn your hat right side out, and you’re finished!

I’d love to see your dolly hats and mittens!  Post pictures to our Facebook page or add link in the comments below.

Review of the New Hearts for Hearts Doll, Nyesha

Hearts for Hearts Doll Nyesha Review

Meet Nyesha, one of the two newest dolls from the Hearts for Hearts collection by Playmates Toys.  I have been stalking Target patiently waiting for this doll since her prototype photos began circulating after the 2014 Toy Fair in February.  You can read an excellent report about the H4H debuts at the Toy Fair, which included the unveiling of not only Nyesha but also Surjan from Nepal, by Char at Doll Diaries.

Hearts for Hearts has an unfortunate tendency of going silent on their Facebook page for long stretches of time, so collectors have been left hanging as to the general release date of the new dolls.  There were rumors that the release had been pushed back to 2015 so I’d pretty much given up hope of finding Nyesha anytime soon.

And then last Saturday happened.   My daughter attended a birthday party near a Target that I don’t usually frequent, so I decided to kill a little time in the toy aisle before picking her up.  I started in the Our Generation section, slim pickin’s.. Surprise! (not).  The Hearts for Hearts section is typically right next to OG and .. gasp.. there she was! Not only one Nyesha doll, but two.  And Surjan!  And quite a few of the other dolls as well.  I debated getting both Surjan and Nyesha, but then felt a bit guilty buying toys for myself so close to Christmas.  Heh.

I brought her home and stripped the box.  Would she be as gorgeous as her Toy Fair prototype?

Nyesha Doll Prototype H4H dolls

Well… almost.

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha

There are a couple of changes between the prototype and the actual production run dolls.  One easy to identify change is her hair.  Nyesha’s hair is not as gorgeous as the promo photos would lead you to believe, and it’s very, VERY prone to frizz.  My doll came out of the box with some frizz which only got worse as I gently worked with her.  If you purchase this doll for a child, be forewarned that the hair won’t look nice for long.

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha
That said, it’s not horrible, and this is a 25ish dollar doll, so given the manufacturing constraints at that price point, I’m not shaking any judgey fingers at Hearts for Hearts.  I just wish they wouldn’t bother teasing us with unrealistic, higher quality prototypes.

There’s also something different about the face mold that I can’t quite put my finger on.  My Nyesha doll’s face is still beautiful, but decidedly different then the Toy Fair prototype.

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha

Despite these little let downs, I’m not disappointed in my purchase.  Nyesha is a lovely addition to my collection, photographs beautifully, and I’m happy to have her. I’ll let you know how her hair holds up over time.  Her clothing is decent quality, especially for the price point, and I’m particularly impressed with her vinyl sneakers which are a step up from the usual molded plastic throw-away quality of most department store dolls.

Hearts for Hearts received criticism with their 2013 release (the Shola and Mosi dolls) for the prototype clothing being downgraded significantly for the production dolls.  It’s not that the downgrade was entirely unexpected, but they didn’t change the box art to reflect the changes, so customers found that the box contents were not accurately depicted by the photos on the box.  This time around, Nyesha’s clothing appears to be identical to the box art.  It remains to be seen whether consumers will react negatively to the slightly different face mold and lower quality hair which are one again inaccurately depicted (at least in my opinion) by the box art.

As I mentioned, I found Nyesha at Target for $25.99.  According to the Playmates Toys website, you may also find the Hearts for Hearts dolls at Toys R Us, Walmart, Meijer, Kmart, and Barnes & Noble.   If you don’t feel like driving or calling around to your local brick and mortars, you can often find these dolls online.  As of this writing, you can get both Nyesha and Surjan along with quite a few of the Hearts for Hearts Girls from Amazon at near-retail pricing.

Be advised that the prices swing wildly for these dolls online, and while Nyesha and Surjan are currently widely available, the pricing will be decent.  But as the holiday season approaches and the first wave of dolls are snapped up from the stores (both by consumers and resellers), the prices will almost inevitably sky rocket.  As with Our Generation, Hearts for Hearts has been known to have some distribution issues, and as demand exceeds supply.. well, I’m sure you know what happens!

I made a video review of Nyesha if you’d like to see her in a little more detail.  In the video, I compare her in size to my Corolle Les Cheries, Paola Reina, and our American Girl doll Meggie (aka Cecile).

I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of the newest small friend posing with her new vinyl sisters.  I’d love to hear your impressions of the Hearts for Hearts Girls!

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha and American Girl Doll Cecile

Cozy Hat and Mittens Patterns and Tutorial

Make a Cozy Hat and Mittens for your 18 inch Doll

Materials

  • Cozy Hat and Mittens Pattern Sheet
  • 1/4 yard knit fabric -or- recycled sweater. Polyester fleece is a great fabric choice to make this project fast, fun, and EASY!
  • Coordinating polyester thread
  • Sewing machine -or- hand sewing needle
  • [Optional] Embellishments for the hat – ribbon, buttons, felt flowers, etc.

IMPORTANT – Be sure to download and save the patterns to your hard drive and print at “Actual Size” from a PDF reader like Adobe Reader.  If you print directly from your browser, the patterns may not print at the correct scale.

 

Mittens

1.  Cut four squares of fabric, using the dashed box on the pattern sheet as a guide.  For the wrist bands of the mittens, you can cut either four squares measuring 2″ x 2″ – or- if you are using a recycled sweater and have some pre-finished edging (from the bottom of the sweater or sleeves), cut four rectangles measuring 2″ x 3/4″ using the finished edging as one of the longer 2 inch sides.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

2.  Make a fabric sandwich with two squares of fabric, right sides together. Make sure to align the fabric squares so that they stretch in the same direction and in the direction indicated on the pattern.    Cut out the mitten template from your pattern sheet and pin it to the center of your fabric sandwich.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial3.  Using the paper template as a guide, sew around the mitten shape, starting at one black dot and finishing at the other, making sure to back stitch a few times at the beginning and the end of the seam.

Again using the template as a guide, trim away the excess fabric sandwich, cutting close to your sewing line.  If you are using a knit that will fray, you can go over the seam you just sewed with a short, narrow zig zag stitch to keep the inside of the mitten neat and make it more durable. If you are using fleece fabric, you can skip the zig zag, you will not need to finish any of the edges.

Very carefully snip a “v” between the thumb and fingers, taking care not to snip into your stitching.

 

4.  Turn your mitten right side out.  If you are using new fabric, fold one of the 2″ x 2″ squares in half, wrong sides together.  Align the raw edge with one side of the bottom of the mitten and pin.  Sew in place with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Be sure not to catch the other bottom side of the mitten as you sew (which would close up the wrist opening!).   I found it easiest to fold the other side of the mitten back and sew from the  “inside” of the mitten.  Trim the seam allowance to a scant 1/8″.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

Repeat with a second 2″ x 2″ wristband piece, sewing to the other side of the mitten.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

 

5.  Turn your mitten inside out again, and pin.  Sew the open sides of the mitten closed (see white dotted line below) back stitching several times at the wrist openings to secure the seams.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

Turn your mitten right side out and admire your work!  Repeat steps to make the second mitten.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

 

Cozy Hat

1. Using the printed pattern as a guide, cut 5 panels of fabric or recycled sweater for your hat plus one rectangle for your hat band.  If you are using new fabric, your hat band rectangle should measure 10-1/2″ x 2″.  If you are using a recycled sweater and have enough finished edge available, cut your rectangle 10-1/2″ x 1″, using the finished edge for one of the long sides.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

 

2.  Pin two of the hat panels together, right sides facing. Sew along one long side with a 1/4″ seam allowance (as indicated by the white dotted line in the picture below). Pin a third panel to two you just sewed together, right sides facing, and again sew along one long side.  Continue in this fashion until all five panels are sewn together.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

3. Fold your hat in half, right side in, aligning the long sides of the outermost two panels.  Pin and sew the panels together, which finishes the crown of your hat.

American Girl Doll Hat and Mitten Tutorial and free pattern

Trim seam allowances to a scant 1/8″.  If you are using a knit fabric that will unravel or fray, stitch over each seam allowance with a short and narrow zig zag stitch to finish.  This step is unnecessary if you are using polyester fleece.

 

4.  Fold the fabric rectangle for your hat band in half, right sides together, aligning the short ends.  Sew short ends together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Trim seam allowance to a scant 1/8″.  If you are upcycling a sweater and have a finished edge, you can skip to step 5.   You’ll use the circle you just sewed for the hat band.

If you are using new fabric (no pre-finished edge), fold in half again lengthwise, wrong side in, right side out, creating the hat band.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

5. Align and pin the raw edge of the hat band to the raw edge of the hat crown, right sides together.  Sew the band to the crown with a 1/4″ seam allowance, stretching the hat band slightly as you sew to fit it to the crown.  Trim the seam allowance to a scant 1/8″ and finish with a short and narrow zig zag if desired.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

You’re finished! You can embellish your hat with buttons, ribbons, or flowers if you’d like. I will be sending the MSF Newsletter subscribers an idea sheet for embellishments next week, so be sure to subscribe if you’d like to receive that email.

18 inch doll free sewing pattern for winter hat mittens

Beforever Mini Doll Review – American Girl Kit Kittredge

There’s a new Small Friend in town, and this little girl is extra small!

Beforever Kit American Girl Mini Doll Review

American Girl mini doll Kit Kittredge found her way into the MSF collection this week!   The Beforever minis are available on the American Girl website, but I have consistently found them to be a few dollars less expensive on Amazon.  I’ve also spotted the minis on the Barnes & Noble website and retail stores, Walmart.com, Costco and Sam’s Clubs, and occasionally in Target stores.  The packaging and pricing may vary, along with the size of the included book(s).  The online pricing for these dolls tends to bounce around, so keep your eyes open for a good deal.  For example, as of this writing, the Beforever Rebecca mini doll is $17.58 on Amazon while the rest of the AG minis are $21 or more.

Ch..ch..ch..Changes!

As with most of the historical collection, Beforever brought changes to the American Girl minis.  Most notably, all of the face molds were updated and the dolls’ torsos are now made of vinyl instead of cloth.  Additionally, if the full sized version of the Beforever doll got a new meet outfit, so did her mini counterpart.

 

The AG Minis

The mini abridged books that accompany the dolls were also updated, but this “update” can only be considered a “downgrade”.  In the photo below, the book “Really Truly Ruthie” came with the previous version of the mini Ruthie doll, while the Beforever Kit book, “Read All About It!” is the new mini book format.

Not only have the new Beforever mini books become considerably more miniature, but they have lost their hard cover, accompanying dust jacket, and illustrations, too.  Pfffft.

 

Beforever Mini Doll Mini Books

I like the face mold updates on all of the new minis, especially Kit’s!  Beforever mini Kit looks younger and sweeter to me.  Neither version exactly replicates the full sized doll, but in my opinion, the new Kit better captures the essence of the character.

American Girl Mini Doll Kit Comparison

 

American Girl Mini Doll – Beforever Video Review

Below is a video review of my new mini Kit.  Included are a few more pictures and comparisons to the previous mini dolls and a look inside the mini books as well.

 

Have you added any of the Beforever mini dolls to your collection?  I’d love to hear your opinions on the changes.  I’m really enjoying my new mini Kit but ultimately I do wish she had the older style squishy cloth body and the hardcover  illustrated book.

 

The AG Beforever Minis - Kit, Addy, and Ruthie

Skeletons and Pandas and Elsas, Oh MY!

American Girl Doll School Halloween Party

 

American Girl Doll School Halloween Party Kanani

 

It’s all fun and games at the Many Small Friends school Halloween party, until the lights go out!

 

 

Are your dolls dressed for Trick or Treating?  MSF reader Sophie sent me this picture of her girls in the costumes she made last year:

 

Sophie's AG Dolls - Halloween Witch Costumes

Sophie made these costumes from supplies she found at the dollar store!  What?!?  It’s real-life Dolly Project Runway and Sophie totally made it work.  :D I’m particularly in love with the hats.

If you want to see how she cast her magical spell on dollar store supplies, check out her guest post on Karen Mom of Three’s Craft Blog.

 

I’d love to see your costumes and Halloween displays, too!

If you’d like to share your work, you can post your pics on our dolly Facebook page or email me to post for you.  Be sure to send me a link to your [blog /Instagram /Flickr/etc.]  if you’d like your photo linked.

How to Make a Panda Costume for your Doll

How to make a Panda Costume for American Girl

So I had leftover foam sheets and t-shirt scraps after my impromptu Skeleton costume tutorialWhat’s a girl to do, but make another costume?

 

Panda Halloween Costume for Kanani

 

This costume requires a tiny bit more sewing then the skeleton costume, but no painting.  Since you don’t have to wait for paint to dry, this is a fabulous and fast last minute doll costume.

Can you see how easy it would be to use this formula to make a huge variety of Halloween costumes for your dolls?  Change the mask to penguin : Boom. Penguin Costume.  Or change the colors to red and brown and make a fox!  Make a kitty!  How about a dragon? The possibilities are endless.

If you make a costume for your doll (even if you don’t use MSF patterns) will you post pictures on our Facebook page?  I’d love to see!

 

Materials for the Panda Costume

In addition to the black knit fabric or human-sized black t-shirt to cut up, and the black and white foam sheets, you’ll also need a few scraps of black, white, and red felt.  You could probably substitute other fabrics you have on hand, but felt is so versatile and easy to work with, I always keep some on hand for dolly projects.

Download the Panda Costume Pattern Sheet – Pants, Paws, and Mask

Download the Long Sleeve T-Shirt Pattern  from the Scientific Seamstress

IMPORTANT – Be sure to download and save the patterns to your hard drive and print at “Actual Size” from a PDF reader like Adobe Reader.  If you print directly from your browser, the patterns may not print at the correct scale.

I put together a 5 minute video tutorial on YouTube to show you how to make the Panda Costume. Kanani told me it was about time she got the starring roll in a Many Small Friends video I think she’s a natural.

A note that bears repeating from the Skeleton costume, remember that black fabrics sometimes contain a lot of dye that can stain your doll.  It’s best to pre-wash your fabric or the t-shirt you cut up for this project before you start.  And just to be safe, don’t leave your doll in her costume for an extended period of time or in a very hot environment (like a hot car or in a sunny window).  She’ll be fine for Trick-or-Treating, but don’t leave her in her costume til the New Year!

Panda Halloween Costume for American Girl Doll Kanani or any 18 inch doll

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Boo! Skeleton Costume Pattern and Tutorial

m4s0n501

Make Your Doll a Halloween Costume

Free Pattern and Tutorial for American Girl or 18 Inch Doll

Skeleton Costume Pattern Tutorial for American Girl DollThis was NOT the pattern and tutorial I planned to publish this week.  I have a fun pendant necklace project and quickie Halloween bunting tutorial that I’ve been working on, but this is one of those project ideas that refused to be ignored.

I went to Michael’s in search of a specific decoration for the small friends’ classroom Halloween party, and came home instead with all the materials for this project.  Despite my best efforts to convince myself I really did not have the time, my hands independently added a black t-shirt, 2 foam sheets, and white acrylic paint to my basket.   Does that ever happen to you?

Anyway, I’m glad I gave in, because I’m very pleased with the end result, even though the time required to hone the technique, draw and digitize the pattern,  take photos, and write up this post has eaten up most of the weekend. We must suffer for our art, right? ;)

 

So are you ready to get started?

Here’s what you’ll need to make your 18 inch doll her very own skeleton costume. Don’t worry, it’s really fun, easy, and fairly quick (the most time consuming step is literally waiting for paint to dry)!

Ada's Skeleton Costume

Supplies

  • 1/3 yard of black knit fabric -or- 1 black t-shirt to cut up.
  • White paint and foam or stipple brush used for stenciling.  I used inexpensive acrylic paint and a foam brush.
  • White and black foam sheets -or- white and black felt.
  • A few inches of elastic -or- ribbon -or- yarn for the mask.
  • Sewing machine, iron, and coordinating thread.
  • Glue.  I used Alene’s Tacky Glue.
  • Tape or pins to adhere your paper Bone templates to your fabric.

 

Ada's Skeleton Costume

You will also need a few patterns, all of which are FREE! 

Be sure to download the patterns to your hard drive and print at “Actual Size” from a PDF reader like Adobe Reader.  If you print directly from your browser, the patterns may not print at the correct scale.

A note about the Scientific Seamstress pattern.  I have been aware of this free pattern for years and it is readily Google-able, but I could not find where the Scientific Seamstress. Carla, has posted about this pattern on her website. I would prefer to link to the pattern via her site, but since I couldn’t find the proper page, I linked directly to the download link which I found via Google.  I do want to give her a MAJOR shout out, as I have enjoyed her patterns for years, and if you are not familiar with her work, check her out at The Scientific Seamstress.

1.  Cut the pieces for the long sleeved top and pants from your fabric.

**IMPORTANT – Add about 1/2 inch length to the bottom of the long sleeved t-shirt Front and Back pattern pieces so that the painted Bones will all fit.

TIPS – I love cutting up t-shirts for doll clothes because I can use the pre-made hems!  Align your doll t-shirt pieces and pants pieces along the hems when you cut and save yourself lots of work.  This is particularly useful for the top of the Skeleton Pants.

upcycletshirt

2.  Cut apart the paper Bones pattern on the dotted lines.

Separate the chest piece, the two arm pieces, and the two leg pieces.  Carefully cut out the Bones, creating a template for you to paint the Bones onto your fabric. Tape or pin the paper template pieces to your fabric, aligning as shown. Note that the Arm Bones and Leg Bones are NOT aligned in the center of the sleeve and pant leg pieces, but are shifted off center.  This is very important for the correct positioning of the Bone designs on your finished costume.

TIP – Trace the paper templates and cut the bone designs from freezer paper or fusible embroidery stabilizer. Then, you can iron the freezer paper or stabilizer templates directly onto your fabric, paint, then peel off the templates after the paint dries.  This makes your painted edges very crisp and also ensures that your templates won’t slip around as you paint.

Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial

3.  Paint your Bones on the fabric pieces.

I used inexpensive white acrylic paint.  Use a foam sponge or stipple brush to apply the paint, in an up and down vertical “stamping” motion, rather then side to side strokes.  This will help to keep the paint within the boundaries of the paper templates and keep the edges of your design nice and crisp.

Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial

Avoid overloading your brush with paint, a little bit goes a long way! It’s better to do multiple thin coats, letting each coat dry between the next coat, if you want a thicker paint application.  I found one coat of acrylic paint to be just right.

Be sure to paint on a washable surface or with scrap paper behind your fabric, as some paint may bleed through the fabric.  TIP – Practice painting on scrap fabric before you begin!

Allow paint to dry thoroughly before you continue.  I waited about 4 hours.  Check the label on your paint for recommended dry times.  You can skip ahead and make the Skeleton Mask while you wait!

When your paint is dry, remove your paper templates and admire your work.

Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial

4. Sew the Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Refer to the instructions that accompany the pattern download.  Be sure to position your sleeves correctly so that the Bones will be on the front of the arms and not the back!

Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial

5. Sew your Skeleton Pants.

With right (painted) sides together sew the front and back seams.  If you did not use the hem of a t-shirt for the top edge of the pants, fold and iron a 1/2 inch hem and sew.  There is no need to insert an elastic waistband, the stretch of the knit will hold the pants in place.
Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial

 

You can turn up a 1/4 hem on the pant legs at this point, or leave the edges raw.  Don’t feel guilty if you decide to leave the pant legs unhemmed.  Knit edges won’t unravel, and it is after all, a costume!

After hemming the pant legs (or not), bring front and back center seams together, align the legs and crotch, and sew.  Your Skeleton Pants are done!

Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial

 

6. Make your Skeleton Mask.

Trace and cut the mask pattern from white foam or white felt.  Cut out the eyes, nose holes, and mouth. You can stop here, or you can glue black foam or felt to the back of the mask to make the eyes, nose, and mouth areas black and appear “empty” looking.  I backed my mask with black foam and cut holes in the eye “sockets” just large enough for my doll’s eyes to peer through.

Punch holes in the sides of the mask and thread elastic, ribbon, or yarn through the holes.  I used elastic and tied a knot at each side.

That’s it, your Skeleton Costume is done! Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  If you’d rather not paint on the Bones, you could use the pattern to cut Bones from white felt and sew them on the costume or fuse them on with a fusible web like Steam-a-Seam or Stitch Witchery.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if any of the steps were unclear.  I’m working on making these tutorials clear, yet concise.  Concise can be an issue for me. :D

One last quick note.  Black fabrics sometimes contain a lot of dye that can stain your doll.  It’s best to pre-wash your fabric or the t-shirt you cut up for this project before you start.  And just to be safe, don’t leave your doll in her costume for an extended period of time or in a very hot environment (like a hot car or in a sunny window).  She’ll be fine for Trick-or-Treating, but don’t leave her in her costume til the New Year!

 

Ada's Skeleton Costume

Ada's Skeleton Costume

 

 

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