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

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


  • 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.


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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The Shrug Pattern : Re-sized for Smaller Dolls

Shrug Sewing free Pattern for Hearts for Hearts Corolle Les Cheries doll

The Autumn Shrug ::

We’ve had girl drama here at MSF headquarters.  The little ones are threatening to revolt.  They’re feeling bitter about all of the attention the American Girls have been getting here on the blog.  Nobody likes to be ignored!

So, in an attempt to assuage hurt feelings, I re-sized the Autumn Shrug pattern for the 13″ to 15″ dolls.  They are pleased.

Initially I tried to simply reprint the pattern in a smaller scale, but all my little girls (Hearts for Hearts, Les Cheries, and Paola Reina) are slimmer bodied then American Girl, so a few pattern adjustments were necessary beyond just scaling down.  The resulting pattern fits all three doll types well.

The instructions for assembly are the same as for the 18″ size and I am sending the pattern to the Many Small Friends newsletter subscribers later today.  If you’re not a subscriber yet, you can sign up here (it’s free!)  and you’ll get the link to download the shrug pattern for 13″ – 15″ dolls along with the 18 inch doll pattern, too.


In other news, American Girl is offering FREE SHIPPING again (I know, right? Again!) for $100+ orders through November 25, 2014.  Enter code BESTGIFT in the promotional code box during checkout.  They have just released their new holiday collection of outfits and accessories.  How about that Pretty City Carriage? Definitely has the “Wow” factor and a price tag to go along with it.


“Hey, do you sew?” HELP WANTED

Speaking of the holidays, have you started your crafting yet?  I know, I know, it’s not even Halloween yet but .. uh.. 70 days.  Just sayin’.

I’m starting my holiday sewing this week, and I’d love to share some of my original patterns with you.  I don’t want to bother with patterns you already have or aren’t interested in, so I put together a short sewing-for-dolls survey.  I would super duper appreciate it if you would take a minute to do the survey.

Your answers will directly influence the patterns that I offer here, in the newsletter, and on Etsy.  You don’t have to share any personal info, not even an email address (unless you volunteer to be a pattern tester, in which case I will need your email), so now is the time to put in your order!

Knowing the Internets, only a few people will take this survey, so you probably have a really good chance of getting your wish patterns made if you take the survey.  :)

:: Pretty Please..  Take The Survey ::


Many Small Friends on FACEBOOK

Last but not least, I set up a Many Small Friends Facebook page, because dolly posts on Facebook are way more entertaining then political conspiracy theories, news about what your friends aren’t eating these days, and funny cat pictures. Okay, funny cat pics are pretty entertaining, but I’m hoping to give Grumpy Cat a run for his money.

Many Small Friends on Facebook

Many Small Friends Dolls on Facebook


Our Generation “What a Trek” – What’s in the Box?

Our Generation What A Trek Set for 18 Inch Dolls like American Girl

I have a love-hate relationship with the Our Generation company.  In case you’re not familiar with the brand, Our Generation makes dolls, clothing, and accessories that are compatible with many other 18″ doll lines like American Girl.  Our Generation is primarily distributed by Target, but you can find some of the items on Amazon and through resellers on eBay.

I love Our Generation because they make cute, playable doll food and accessories that work fantastically for American Girl and our other 18 inch girls.  I don’t buy the  OG dolls ( American Girl has made me into a doll hair snob and OG wigs can’t yet compete) but I’m always on the lookout for the new OG accessory sets.  They aren’t the quality level of AG, but they’re usually a third of the price and well worth the money spent.  I would probably buy the clothing as well, but I talk myself out of purchases because, “I could sew that”.   Sound familiar, fellow seamstresses?

What I hate about Our Generation is a major distribution problem.  I’m not sure if the issue stems from Target or OG, but the availability of the accessory sets I’m pining for are spotty, at best!  It’s completely unpredictable when and where the items will be available.   Some sets sell out immediately, never to return, and then others languish for months on end.  My best advice for Our Generation items is, “If you see it and love it, buy it, because it may never be restocked.”  I learned this painful lesson with an OG sewing set two years ago.  I had the package in my sweaty little hands, but put it back because I was feeling frugal that day, and have yet to find it again.  Occasionally the set pops up on eBay and usually sells for over $100.  The price the day I held it in Target? $16.  Arghh!

And it’s not just my bad luck, this story is repeated amongst my doll collector friends.  I can’t understand a company that leaves that kind of cash on the table.  Here I am, begging you to take my money, and you can’t reliably get your most popular items on the shelves?  Insanity, I tell you.

Anyway, end rant.  I happened upon the Our Generation “What a Trek” set at my local Target last week and knew it had to be mine.  I like a lot of the pieces, but it was the dolly camera that sold the set.  I’m not a superfan of the unrealistic fuchsia color, but I suppose if it bugs me enough I can repaint it.


Our Generation "What a Trek"


In addition to the camera, the set includes a good assortment of doll food, a few dishes, and some typical camping and hiking gear including sunscreen, bug spray, a compass, a flashlight, bandages (which have a removable strip that reveals a sticky backing) and a lightweight nylon backpack to carry it all.   All of the accessories are plastic, of course. One nice surprise is that the lens barrel on the camera can turn as if to be “focused”.  So cute!
Our Generation "What a Trek"


There are some obvious and somewhat large molding marks on the apple and banana.  The apple, banana, granola bar, peanut butter sandwich, and bear-paw-shaped pancake are made of a flexible vinyl rather then rigid plastic. The tops of the water bottle, bug spray, and sunscreen are fixed and not removable.

The flashlight doesn’t have a real bulb or lighting mechanism, but the shiny silver center reflects light and it almost looks like it’s actually working. The face of the compass is just a fixed sticker under a plastic cover.
Our Generation "What a Trek"
Our Generation "What a Trek"


My daughter and I took the girls outside to give everything a test run. Taryn (My American Girl #44) and Kanani were our happy volunteers.  They both consider themselves to be the most outdoorsy of the small friends and neither are prone to mosquito bites.  Of course they applied sunscreen (a responsible SPF 65+) and sprayed on some bug spray, just in case.


Our Generation "What a Trek"


Our Generation "What a Trek"


Our Generation "What a Trek"
Our Generation "What a Trek"
Our Generation "What a Trek"


Our Generation "What a Trek"


We made a short 5 minute unboxing video, if  you like that sort of thing.


I would like to close this post with an open letter to Our Generation.

Dearest Our Generation Sirs and/or Ma’ams,


I have good news for you!  I have some money I would like to give you and, better news yet, I have lots of friends with money they would also like to give you.  This seems simple enough, because I’m sure you would like to receive our money.


Receiving money is actually a key point in your business model, correct?  I ask, because “teasing Stephanie with adorable sets like the new Bon Voyage Travel Set but making them neigh impossible to find” appears to be the more plausible model.


While I’m asking you to do me favors like taking-my-money, would you mind removing the Sewing and Dressmaking Set from your website altogether? It hasn’t been available for purchase for several years and the tease, at this point, has become just plain cruel.


Speaking of the Sewing and Dressmaking Set, are you aware that your competitor is selling a similar product for $275?  Do you know how many $16 sewing sets you could blow out the door this year? Are you certifiably insane not to have these sets on the shelves in 2014?


But I digress.  Back to taking my money.  To make this monetary exchange possible, I am pleading with you to do a better job distributing your products.  Target is good!  Amazon is good too!  Heck, I’ve even been known to pay a little more to the resellers on eBay.  But I’m not paying 10x retail.  I just can’t pull that trigger. So pretty please, get your stuff on shelves.  I’ll buy it!  My friends will too!



A devoted but frustrated dolly consumer.

How to Make Festive Doll Socks in Five Minutes

How to Make Socks for your American Girl Doll

I’ve got a fun, fast, and EASY doll sewing project for you today! You can make festive, seasonal socks for your dolls in just five minutes using store bought human socks.  Find socks in lots of fun prints at the dollar store, at the craft store, or in big box retailers like Walmart or Target.


American Girl sewing craft from socks

I found this fun assortment of Halloween socks at Target.  Each pair cost only a dollar, and you can make two pairs of dolly socks from each pair of human socks.

This is a great way to recycle your socks with holes in the heels, too, since you’ll only need the ankle portion for your doll socks. However, if your socks tends to develop holes in the ankles, I don’t know what tell you.  That’s just weird. ;)


DIY Five Minute Doll Socks


This is such a fun and quick project, perfect for a new or young crafter.  Even the video instructions are less then two minutes!



I would love to see your socks!  Try out the tutorial and then show-and-tell on the Many Small Friends Facebook page.

American Girl Beforever Review – Julie Albright Doll

American Girl Doll Julie Beforever Review

Hey girl, you’re looking pretty foxy in those bell bottoms and banana-yellow crochet vest! And that center part and single braid is sooooo groovy!

Yep, one last more American Girl doll has arrived.   Do you know who she is? Of course you do.  It’s 1974 representin’ with Julie Albright! 

In my three years of collecting American Girl, I have not been even slightly interested in starting a Julie collection.  Other then a personal connection to 1974 (Can guess the connection?  Ten years before I was born? Oh, you’re SO kind.. hah ha), I’m just not that into the 70’s and I wasn’t particularly attracted to the Julie doll, either.

Julie is made with the  Josefina mold, shared by Josephina (obviously),  Rebecca , Nellie, Elizabeth, Girl of the Year characters Marisol, Chrissa, and McKenna, and a number of other My American Girl dolls.  I haven’t been a big fan of the Josie mold and, having never visited an American Girl store, I had never seen a Josefina mold doll in person until my daughter received McKenna for Christmas.  Once McKenna arrived, I realized that I like the facial features a lot more in person then in photographs, so I didn’t discount the possibility of someday finding a Josie mold doll to add to my own collection.

Enter Beforever.  Before I decided Julie must join my troop of small friends, I fell in love with her Beforever collection, specifically her new wardrobe.  I adore just about every new piece!  It’s  kitschy without being gaudy, playful, and fun.  I admit I balked a little at the meet and the accessories together.

AG Doll Beforever Julie

Photo Credit :

Is this a little too over the top cliche? Maybe, but the 70’s was a decade of exuberant expression, and this combination certainly fits that bill!

But, oh the Bell Bottoms with print floral insets!  That gorgeous purple coat!  And the Tunic Outfit!  I must have it all. *eventually.   The more I drooled over the clothing, the more I realized I should just dive right in and get a Julie doll.  Especially since the new Beforever meet outfit alone is $36.  For just a few dollars more (79 is still “a few”, right?) I could get the coveted meet outfit, the doll, and the book, too!

<conversation with myselfBut really, do I need another doll?  It’s getting downright crowded in here. I haven’t seen my cat in a few weeks, he may or may not be buried under a pile of vinyl and serger tails. Maybe I should wait for Christmas.

I held out for a record 76-ish hours, but free shipping clouded my better judgement and broke my resolve.  Julie was ordered and a week later, she arrived.

Surprise… I love her!  Her chocolate brown eyes are gorgeous.  Her overall coloring is perfect. The meet outfit is simple; jeans, sleeveless tee, undies, and sweater vest, but all well made and as adorable as I expected.


Julie Albright - Beforever


I’m not crazy about her single line eyebrows.  Most of the other American Girl dills have multi-line feathered brows, and even Addy got a brow makeover with Beforever.  Julie is the holdout.  I think she looks okay with the solid line design, but I would have preferred her brows to be updated with Beforever, as well.


Julie Albright - Beforever


Julie Albright - Beforever


The sandals are fantastic.  The girls are already fighting over them.


Julie Albright - Beforever


Julie is one of my only straight haired dolls, and it really is a joy to comb through her silky, shiny hair. However, I was a little surprised and disappointed that she doesn’t have the short hairs in her wig that keep the wig cap from showing when her hair is separated into two pony tails.

Here is a comparison shot with Julie and My American Girl #61, Ada.


Beforever Julie and #61


Sometimes the short hairs stick out a little and poke through an otherwise combed area of hair, but that minor hassle is worth a hidden wig cap, in my opinion.

Regardless of line brows and nakey wigcap, Julie Albright has found a home among the small friends, and she is here to stay.  I’m glad to add the Josefina mold to my collection and I can’t wait to collect and sew more 70’s inspired outfits.  Maybe I’ll even cave and buy her those crazy accessories!


Julie Albright - Beforever


I made a short unboxing video (no really, it’s only 2 minutes! I saved the “blah blah blah blah” for this post, instead.  Lucky you.)  for my dolly channel on YouTube.  I make a brief cameo appearance at the end, finally fully revealing all my dorkiness for the world to see!


Thanks for hanging out with me today and talking dolls.. see you soon!

The Shrug Pattern is Ready!

Sweater weather has arrived, here in the mountain valley where my small friends and I live.  The days are still hot, but the evenings bring a chill that harkens the ripening of our last garden tomatoes and signifies that cider season is just around the corner.


American Girl Doll 61 Free Sewing Pattern


Around these parts, autumn means boots, college football (Go Utes!), pumpkin-spice-everything, and did I mention.. boots?!  But oh how we hate to put away our sleeveless tops and bright summer dresses!


American Girl Free Shrug Sewing Pattern PDF


Autumn Shrug

If your 18 inch doll needs something to wrap around her shoulders this fall, I have a sewing pattern just for you!  It’s very easy pattern with only 6 pieces, super fast to put together especially if you upcycle a sweater, and best of all.. it’s free!

You can make the Autumn Shrug from a thrifted or outgrown sweater or with any medium-weight knit fabric.  And don’t you dare say you’re afraid of sewing with knits.  You can totally do this, knits are very forgiving, and if you use a sweater, your shrug will look  like you spent hours knitting it with tiny dolly needles, even though it took you no time to sew!  You could even sew this by hand if you don’t have a machine or like to have a lap project while hanging out at soccer practice or while catching up on the new fall tv shows.

Free 18 Inch Doll Sweater sewing pattern PDF

To get the pattern, sign up for the Many Small Friends newsletter. The newsletter is published every few weeks and will let you know about new posts on this site, new free patterns, and other good dolly stuff.  It will always be free, fun, and worth your time.

After you sign up, check your inbox. you will get an email from me asking you to confirm your subscription. This is to protect you from spam and me from robots. ;) After you click “Confirm”, you will be redirected to a page thanking you for subscribing that will have the pattern download link. If you have any problems during this process, let me know in the comments section below!


CLICK THIS LINK to sign up for the Newsletter

I will never share or distribute your private information, nor spam you, nor send you viruses, nor attack your cat with a spiked banana (okay, this is getting weird)..  Anyway, no bad stuff will happen and you can unsubscribe easily and at any time by clicking the “unsubscribe” link that is in every newsletter.  You can even sign up for the newsletter, get the shrug pattern, and then immediately unsubscribe.  We can totally still be friends (but you’ll miss a lot of great stuff, so I hope you don’t do that!). :)


Please remember to save the pattern file to your hard drive and then print from PDF software (I use Acrobat which is available for free).  If you print directly from your browser, the pattern pieces will probably print at the wrong size.  You can be sure that the scale is correct by measuring the 1 inch box printed on the pattern page.

One more tip:  You can save printer ink by only printing the pattern pieces page and referencing the instructions on your computer or tablet.  To do this with Acrobat, open the pattern file, then click File, choose Print from the drop down menu, click the radio button next to Pages, and enter the number 6 in the box next to Pages.  Then click Print, and only the pattern page will be printed. Neat, huh?



Note: If you are a Gmail user and you don’t see your newsletter, be sure to check your “Promotions” tab, as sometimes Google will presort email into that folder.  If you’d prefer to have future editions of the newsletter go straight to your main inbox, you can click and highlight the star next to the newsletter or drag and drop the newsletter into your “Primary” tab.



Fall in the Rockies

Pictures and Review of My American Girl #61



American Girl Doll #61


Ada has moved into our doll family with ease.  She fits right in here.


My American Girl Doll MYAG 61


Saige is (mostly) happy to have another red-head among the small friends.  Although she drops the fact that she was Girl of the Year 2013 into conversation a little more frequently then one would expect.


Ada & Saige


Did you notice that American Girl quietly raised the price of the My American Girl dolls to $115 , an increase of $5, during the Beforever launch?  I wasn’t surprised that the historical dolls increased to $115, given the overhaul of the line, but the MYAG dolls generally increase in price (if they are going to) at the beginning of the new year, so it was a little surprising to see a mid-year increase.    The last price increase for the dolls occurred on January 1, 2013, when the price went from $105 to $110.


Speaking of AG prices, today is the last day for free shipping at with a minimum $50 purchase. Enter code CELEBRATE at checkout.


The Maplelea free (or reduced by $9 for US customers) shipping code is also still valid through September 24.  Enter code FALL at checkout. AND,  I noticed over the weekend that the beautiful Saila doll has been restocked on Amazon!


I did a video review of My American Girl  #61 and compared her to Saige and doll #55 (Avery).  Avery and Ada have very similar wigs, with the obvious difference being the color.  There are more pictures of Ada and comparisons with Saige at the end of the video.



If you like this video, please subscribe to the Many Small Friends channel on YouTube.  I’m having a great time learning how to shoot and edit video and am fortunate to have 24/7 in-house tech support from two teenage boys.

Ada, Free Shipping, and Pattern Preview

American Girl Doll 61 Free Pattern


Introducing… Ada! 

Ada is the newest My American Girl Doll (MYAG), #61.  She is our long-awaited, carrot top, “true” red head.

I’m in the process of filming a video review for you, which will include a comparison with Saige, American Girl of the Year 2012, and lots and lots of pictures!  Hopefully I will have that ready for you within the week.  You can check out my current library of doll review videos and doll sewing tutorials on the Many Small Friends YouTube channel.



There are FREE SHIPPING offers available this week for both and  Both require a minimum $50 purchase.  This is pretty rare, especially for American Girl, where free shipping  typically requires a $100 minimum purchase.  There are still some nice items in the SALE section (including that Chalet.. which is killing me), so this is a great time to start your holiday shopping.

If you live in the United States, the Maplela code will reduce shipping by $9, but you will still be required to pay the balance of the international shipping charge.  US customers also have access to a (currently) limited portion of the Maplelea collection at  As of this writing, shipping is free to the US if you have an Amazon Prime membership or your order is greater then $35.

To redeem the American Girl offer, visit, add at least $50 in merchandise to your cart, and enter code INSPIRING at checkout.  This offer is valid through September 22, 2014 – 11:59 PM CST.

To redeem the Maplelea offer, visit, add at least $50 in merchandise to your cart, and enter code FALL at checkout.  This offer is valid through midnight (not sure on timezone), September 24, 2014.




American Girl Doll 61 Free Sewing Pattern

Did you notice Ada’s sweater?  There is a nip in the air and Fall has arrived at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.  While it’s not quite time to break out our ski jackets, we definitely need a extra layer in the evenings.  If you’d like to sew Ada’s sweater for your American Girl doll (fits Maplelea and other 18 inch dolls, too), be sure to sign up for the Many Small Friends newsletter, as this pattern will be free for subscribers!

American Girl Beforever Review – Addy’s New Outfits


Addy’s Crinoline & Chemise, Meet Outfit, and School Outfit


Review American Girl Doll Addy's Beforever Meet Outfit


Not to be outshone by Kit’s fantastic jade frock or Samantha’s hot pink bike (+ complimentary riding gear), Addy asked that I review some of her new outfits from the recently released BeForever collection, the refreshed historical line of dolls and accessories from American Girl.  I was happy to oblige, as Addy is one of my favorite dolls and I was tickled pink (or maybe blue?) with American Girl’s newest offerings for her.


As with most of the historical characters (Kaya being the noted exception), Addy got a brand new “meet” outfit.  Her meet dress, pantalettes, stockings, and boots are available with the purchase of an Addy doll or separately as “Addy’s Outfit” on the American Girl website.   Her dress is a brilliant royal-blue cotton print, adorned with black trim and ribbons.  The color is simply gorgeous on her!   I still love her original pink meet dress, but the vibrant blue really suits her.


As much as I love the dress, Addy’s new boots are the show stopper.


American Girl Doll Addy's Beforever Meet Boots Review


Seriously, how cute are these?  They are made of  dark charcoal grey canvas and have decorative black buttons up the side.  And the wee little heels slay me.


Along with the meet outfit, I also ordered Addy’s “new” Crinoline and Chemise.  Turns out this set is straight-up recycled from the now defunct Marie-Grace and Cecile New Orleans collection. They are the same two pieces, confirmed by the tags marked “copyright 2011″, repackaged for Addy.  This is fine by me as they look as good on her as they did on MG and C,  and I’m sure Addy would be on board with the spirit of “waste not, want not” as well.


"Addy's" Crinoline & Chemise



American Girl adds a disclaimer in the September 2014 catalog that the Crinoline and Chemise “can only be worn with Addy’s doll-set dress.. and Addy’s School Outfit”.  Doll-set dress is apparently the official terminology for meet outfit (who knew?) and of course the School Outfit was designed with the repurposed Marie-Grace and Cecile’s Crinoline and Chemise in mind.  This leads me to believe some of Addy’s previous dresses will be too short or not full enough to accommodate the crinoline.


Finally, I couldn’t possibly pass up Addy’s School Outfit, which is, in my  humble opinion, the best of the BeForever release.  This outfit is simply stunning, reminiscent of Pleasant Company days in both quality of materials and complexity and execution of design.  Kudos to American Girl for going back to their roots and creating heirloom quality doll clothes for one of their most beloved historical characters.



American Girl Doll Addy Beforever School Outfit



I filmed a more thorough video review of Addy’s new outfits including current pricing and what’s included with each outfit.  There are also a few more photos at the end.




I would love to hear your impressions of the new BeForever line.  Do you think it’s an improvement or are you disappointed?