Spring Sewing Swap

Thimbles Acorns Mary Laura Dress PatternHave you ever participated in a sewing swap?  Swaps are a great way to practice your skills, try new patterns, and make new friends!  I love the feeling of sending a handmade gift and it’s always a thrill to get a surprise package in return.

I’m a member of the American Girl Playthings community and several times a year, AGPT hosts a themed sewing swap.  My swap partner requested a spring outfit appropriate for the 1800’s.  Shuffling through my pattern collection, I came upon Thimbles and Acorns “Mary and Laura” pattern.  Here’s the description of the pattern from Thimbles and Acorns:

Born in 1867, Laura Ingalls Wilder had the privilege of witnessing a whole period of American history; the frontier, the woods, the Indian country of the great plains, the frontier towns, the building of railroads in wild, unsettled country, homesteading and farmers coming in to take possession. Later in her life, she began recording these memories in her classic “Little House on the Prairie” books, preserving a first hand account of those significant years in American History. The “Mary and Laura” dresses are a reproduction of the dresses the girls wore in a picture taken around 1880, the year recorded so vividly in her book “The Long Winter”.


Now your 18″ doll can dress as Mary or Laura in this replica of the Ingalls’ dress’ by Thimbles and Acorns This PDF pattern includes instructions for an overdress, an underskirt, and a hand stitched hankie to tuck in the side pocket.

I’ve owned this pattern for awhile, but it was my first time sewing it.  I found the instructions to be very clear and straightforward, it was a pleasure to sew, and I’m very happy with the finished garment!

1880s sewing pattern for American Girl DollIn the spirit of challenging myself, I chose working buttons for the back closure.  Buttonholes have never been my friend, but after spitting and swearing at my machine and numerous Google searches, I finally managed to get my buttonhole foot to function properly and I am pleased to have conquered the task.

1880s sewing pattern for American Girl DollSome of my favorite details of this dress are the sleeves, the single working pocket, and the hand sewn handkerchief.  I was able to put this pattern together in two afternoons.

Historical hand made dress for American Girl Doll

I wasn’t quite clear about how to finish the ribbon neck-tie thingy (why yes, that is the historically accurate term. Why do you ask?).  I settled on using a button from my stash that had a shank to pass the ribbon ends through.  Avery says, “Good enough!”.

18 inch doll sewing handmade historical dress 1800s

Bottom line, I really enjoyed making the Mary and Laura dress for my swap partner and I look forward to sewing a second dress to keep. I should probably do it soon, before I forget how to use the buttonhole foot again!

Wanna see what I got in the swap?  I requested a modern outfit for my very trendy and fashion forward vinyl brood. 😉

American Girl Doll Kanani

Kanani took one look this delightful bright pink halter top adorned with lace and matching gathered skirt and claimed it as hers and hers alone!

KananiThe color is absolutely lovely against her medium tone and she happens to have the perfect coordinating hair clip already in her possession.  She’s ready for the first spring luau.. anyone care to hula?


As always, I enjoyed the AGPT spring sewing swap immensely.  I hope my partners did as well!

Have you ever participated in a sewing swap?  Does it make you nervous to send out your work? Do you get more excited to give or to receive? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comment section. 🙂


  1. Natali says:

    I’ve never done a sewing swap. Sounds perfectly fun. Id also like to tell you that your blog makes me happy. Some people in my house (I won’t name my husbands name) don’t get how much joy these lovely little friends can bring. I’ve had a not so good winter and my vinyl friends sure far me a lot if happiness when I had very little. Your blog gave me happiness too. Thanks!

    • Steph says:

      Natali! Thank you so much for your sweet comment. 🙂 My husband doesn’t really understand either. Now that I’ve been collecting for nearly 4 years, he’s at least realized it’s not a passing phase and has moved from snarky comments to.. defeated acceptance? 😀 May your spring and summer bring renewed joy and keep those little vinyl people nearby! <3 <3 <3

  2. Dolltopia says:

    Your blog is amazing! I would appreciate it if you would cheack out my newest blogpost and leave a comment and maybe even follow my blog? It would make my week!
    Eva 🙂

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