To indulge my creative side, I have embraced a variety of needlework over the years. As a girl, I learned to embroider on "Days of the Week" tea towels and to sew clothes for myself, as my mother made many of our clothes. As a newlywed, I was into crocheting, making Christmas stockings for my husband and myself and a tree skirt, then baby items when our daughter came along. Next came counted cross-stitch, and I made a number of samplers and a Christmas stocking for our son, as well as more baby items for shower gifts. Then the smocking craze hit, and I smocked many outfits for both children, until my son -- at age 4 -- told me he wanted a suit and tie for Easter, NOT the cute little smocked shirts with button-on knee pants I loved to make for him. Fast forward a few years, and my sister got me re-interested in knitting, which I had learned as a child from my grandmother. I knit many hats and scarves and a few socks, then a grandchild born in the Frozen North had me knitting adorable baby sweaters. I still love to knit -- more about that in another post, maybe -- but in the past few months I have been entertaining myself by sewing doll dresses.
This spring I sewed several sundresses for my youngest grandchild, and for fun, I made matching dresses for her American Girl-style doll. Here's one example:
Phoebe & Egg. In addition to Lisa's amazing handmade dolls, she generously shares free patterns for clothing for her dolls, as well as American Girl and Waldorf dolls. Her blog features some of her creations, and she sells them in her Etsy shop, too. I quickly signed up for her newsletter and downloaded the patterns. They are easy and fun to sew, adding various features and trims to make them even cuter. Now my idea of a lovely weekend is spending a morning sewing a new doll dress! My older granddaughter even loaned me her American Girl dolls to use as models. Here are some of my favorites:
Lisa is introducing a new historic collection with dress designs from the 1940s. That's a little before my time, but it started me thinking about some of my favorite dresses when I was a child. The one below was my favorite dress in third grade in the early 1960s (before color school photos, obviously!). It was a blue floral print, trimmed with black rickrack and tiny black buttons, and I loved wearing it. So, I decided to use that dress as inspiration for a doll dress, and I'm pleased with the way it turned out.
Then, just for fun, I made another "dark cotton" as we called the school dresses worn when the summer heat was still evident, but fall clothes were desired. I have learned a LOT about sewing with baby rick rack, not to mention sewing tiny collars and pockets!
Do you think sewing for dolls is a sign I'm entering a second childhood? Or should I only worry if I find myself actually playing with the dolls -- without a grandchild present?!