Category Archives: doll clothing and accessories

AG Doll Spa Wrap Tutorial & Free ME Designs



Well, I promised this tutorial would be posted today “if the good Lord’s willin’ and  the creeks don’t rise.”  I have to tell you that I’m not sure the Lord was willing but the creeks did not rise.  So I took the normal water level as a reluctant “okay” from above, even though just about everything else that could have thwarted my goal today did.

After the pictures from my granddaughter’s 8th Spa-tacular Birthday Party  were posted, the American Girl spa wrap has gotten a lot of attention, as well as many  requests for the long promised tutorial.  This is a follow up to the Girlie Spa Wrap for the girl doll owners.

So all day and into the wee hours of early morning, I have held on to this tutorial mission with the determination of a Pit Bull.  Finally, here it is.  Please let me know if you find any errors.  I didn’t have the luxury of reviewing this for a day or so before posting it.  That makes me really nervous.


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Contemporary Cute~Knot Dress



Jo creates the most adorable clothes, like this dress,  for her girls.  She also takes fabulous pictures! Photography is another of her passions.

Often, Jo chooses contemporary patterns, always adding her own classic touches, like the hand embroidery on the apron.




On this dress, she added an especially unique and clever detail, a label made from the fabric selvage. This is an idea she gleaned from Pinterest.  CORRECTION:  Jo says it was a Flickr idea.


selvage tag

How cute is this?


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Granddaughter’s Sewing Camp


Kennedy is proudly wearing the sundress she made at her grandmother's ("Mimi" Judy Day) sewing camp.

Kennedy is proudly wearing the sundress she made at her grandmother’s (“Mimi” Judy Day) sewing camp.

Mimi’s Sewing Camp at Judy Day’s house has been a whirlwind of activity.  Before the arrival of 8 year old Kennedy, Judy prepared a variety of projects.  Then they sewed and laughed and had a great time together.

Kennedy, who has sewn with her grandmother before,  stitched some fabulous things.  This sundress was an ambitious undertaking–and didn’t she do a great job?!?   Don’t you love her fabric choices?

See how cute the back is? Continue reading

Another Smocked AG Doll Dress


This dress was made many years ago, before embroidery machines, before grandchildren and before I had any idea that grandparenthood would be such a busy time.  Again and again I am grateful for all my class samples, like this dress,  which seem to have been lying in wait to be worn or played with by a grandchild.

When Mildred Turner and I were doing our Sewing for Dolls schools around the country, we designed unique, personalized wardrobes for porcelain dolls, made by my mother and included in the class kits.  Each school had a different doll–the same body but different face and hair, like American Girl or Cabbage Patch dolls, so all the clothes and patterns were interchangeable.

Each doll was like a participant in the Witness Protection Program.  She was given an identity and fictional life, even an adoption certificate,  then outfitted to fit the character she became. Continue reading

Readers’ Creative Projects

The past week has been a blur!  We had our precious 3 yo grandson Alastair with us for 5 days, that big estate sale that I couldn’t keep myself away from (more on that in another post), and a family cold that clobbered me.


Alastair just gave out, clutching his beloved E=MC2 (squared) blanket.  His mama calls it his nerd blankie.


Six year old grandson Robert,victim #1, had it first and shared it with  #2 Cousin Alastair  who spent two of his 5 days with us in abject misery.  Then a day later, my number (#3) was up and Bad Bug morphed into bronchitis and Black Plague.  Well, it felt like what I imagine Black Plague did.

Now, hale and hearty Granddad (#4) is sneezing.  Even Alastair’s father Harvey (#5), an aged-out Eagle Scout (motto Be Prepared),  keeps his handkerchief handy. We’ve gone through A LOT of orange juice, Kleenex and vitamin C.

The really good news is that my PREGNANT (hurrah!!!) daughter has nary a sniffle.

But I am eager to get back to blogging.  One of the best things about this blogging activity is viewing the photos of projects made by you dear readers.  I love getting these pictures!

Today, I’d like to share a few with you.


Shirley made the doll dress with designs from a Custom Keepsakes collection. The sweet doll was rescued from a thrift shop.

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Spa Party Pics and Particulars

I finally got the pictures of the Spa-tacular birthday party and just have to share these with you.  What a fabulous 8th birthday Laurel had!  Of course, this is a sewing blog, but sewing projects played a part in the celebration.

Like all great events, it took a lot of planning and organization, areas in which my DIL excels.  Fortunately, within the homeschool community she has a strong network of wonderful friends without whose help the party would have been impossible.


When the girls arrived, they “signed in,”  indicated their dinner preferences, picked up their spa wraps and goodie bags.  For whatever reason, they decided to put their spa wraps on over their clothes, though that unspecified reason did not apply to their dolls.   Still, it was reported that the wraps saved a lot of shirts from being stained by facial mixes.  The dolls’ clothes were not at risk.



The girls were divided into groups to make it easier to rotate among the stations. Like the foot baths where they soaked their pretty feet and chatted…..

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Spa Wraps for American Girl Dolls



The spa wraps for American Girl dolls are finished, waiting at the home of the birthday girl for the guests to arrive.



hostess Laurel’s spa wrap


The big Spa-tacular birthday party is today so I quickly snapped a few pictures while the wraps were still in my possession.  Each guest is bringing her doll to the pampering party where they will dress in matching outfits.


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Cousins’ Matching Birthday Dresses

I’m busy making spa wraps for Laurel’s 10 birthday party guests and their AG dolls. Then I’ll start embroidering button covers for my Hope Yoder button-up machine. They will be attached to ponytail holders but the girls will do that at the party. Lots of fun, but nothing to show or report now. So once again, I am posting one of Judy Day’s projects.

Her 8 year-old granddaughters are just 3 months apart in age.  Making gorgeous, matching birthday dresses, along with gorgeous matching doll dresses and hairbows is an annual challenge for their long-distance grandmother. Of course, there are also matching Christmas and Easter dresses.  If you haven’t seen Judy’s lovely creations, click on Judy Day’s Creations  in the menu on the right.

As happens so often, Creative Needle  magazine provided the inspiration for the birthday dresses.  Judy told me that the Sept./Oct. 2001 issue had been waiting its turn on her cutting table since before the girls were born.  That’s where she stacks “I definitely want to make that!” ideas. Continue reading

Easter Dresses by Judy Day


Judy is as skilled at gardening as she is at sewing. Just look at this spring scene in her back yard!


Judy Day has continued her tradition of gorgeous Easter dresses and hairbows for both of her granddaughters and their dolls.  These are very different from the heirloom confections she has always made.   But as we all know, as little girls grow a little older, they like contemporary garments. 

Here is Judy’s tale of how  these dresses came about.

This idea for this year’s Easter dresses for my DGDs actually started last summer when I was asked to make a store sample for B Sew Inn (BabyLock dealer)in Springfield, MO.  I fell in love with the dress from the picture on the front of the book, “Rosie and Me”  by Michelle Griffith.


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Delicious Doll Bedding

In light of the interest in the free fil tire’ heart design for machine embroidery,   I thought a rerun of this earlier post might be of interest. ~~~

“Nothing’s as mean as giving a little child something useful for Christmas.” ~Kin Hubbard



No one can accuse a doll bed of being useful. This was a Christmas gift for my granddaughter, Laurel.

The top sheet and pillow case are made from combed cotton batiste and trimmed with bias scalloped pink batiste, English lace edging, feather stitching and machine embroidery.  If embellishments were made of sugar, these bed linens would qualify as a dessert.  I think the bed looks delicious.




Laurel will receive the American Girls doll of my era, Molly.  Thus, the “M” monogram, from my favorite alphabet in Brother’s PE-Design. The fil tire’ heart and floral spray  which brackets the monogram are from  two of the Fil Tire’ and Fancywork machine embroidery collections by Suzanne Sawko and me.



pillowcase embroidery and bias scallop trim

The bias scallop trim is one of my favorite techniques. It is worked with a blind hem stitch and thread matching the color of the fabric.



This photo shows the stitches in black so you can see how the stitch works. In order to get best results, you must use a bias strip of fine (thin, not necessarily expensive)  fabric and practice a bit before getting the effect you desire.

The tiny 1/4″ English lace is another of my favorites. It has holes in the header that look so much like entredeux that the effect of that expensive and time consuming feature was achieved by simply tiny zig zagging this lace to a finished edge. For added detail, I have woven pink embroidery floss through the holes.

Polar fleece is a fabulous, sturdy, versatile textile. I wanted the effect of a whole cloth quilt and sought to achieve that look with the fleece. The biggest challenge was transferring the quilting design to the fleece. After much experimentation, I had success by tracing the design onto tissue paper. The fleece was very lightly sprayed with adhesive and the tissue quilting pattern patted in place on the fleece.

Using the walking foot for straight lines in the cross hatching and free motion for the curved, feathered hearts, my beloved Brother ULT was threaded with pink 80 wt. Madeira Cotton thread in both the needle and the bobbin. After quilting, the tissue is pulled away.  The spray adhesive makes it difficult to remove all tissue, but gentle laundering removes the remaining bits.

The edges of the fleece were finished with the same blind hem stitch that created the bias scallop trim.  The unusual fleece weave allowed the raw edges to scallop satisfactorily, but not as nicely as the bias cut cotton.

When using tissue in this and similar projects, I first wad up the paper tightly and then iron it flat again. This breaks down the stiffness and makes it easier to tear away after stitching. When the 8″ Stitch N’Ditch is wide enough, I use that.

One of the neatest features of this set is a technique I developed out of necessity when my daughter went off to college and was assigned to the top bunk. Like Rebecca’s bedding, Laurel’s doll bed linen has at the foot of the sheet, buttonholes which are partnered with small buttons sewn to the underside of the fleece “quilt.” With these two elements of the bedding joined in this manner, a little housekeeper or chambermaid can make the bed with ease and some degree of respectability.

The rope bed came with no mattress, so I covered a piece of 1″ foam with pink candy stripe polished cotton, to suggest ticking.  Laurel and I have talked about how beds used to be made and then looked at a few old feather pillows I have that are made of standard blue ticking.

I doubt the educational use of the bed makes it “useful.”   Instead,  I think it looks delicious, just the kind of bed on which I would like to rest my weary head.

O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head.
Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg – Her Dream