Tag Archives: dolls

A ballet costume for Bean’s doll

Last June I took Bean to see her cousins dance in their dress rehearsal performance. For weeks afterwards (actually it still occasionally happens), Bean and Sprout would pretend that her dark closet was the dark theater complete with an old adult Halloween costume that served as the curtains. The two of them would “dance in the theater” and clap for the performances. I managed to convince Stephen to sign her up for her first dance class soon after. This year Bean will get to dance in her first ballet performance along with her cousins and some friends of ours that are at the same studio. She is soooooooo excited and so am I.

They recently posted the costume photos for each class. Around this time, Bean was on a big “doll and me” kick that started just before Christmas. The doll has to do everything she does. It’s kind of cute, but has also led to some frustrations when “Lanie” isn’t ready to go when we are and there isn’t enough time to get her ready. Lanie even has her own ballet gear and has been to ballet class with us (thanks Aunt Ruth).

So, at some point I decided that I was either going to find someone on Etsy to make a copy of Bean’s costume or I was going to do it myself. I asked a few sellers that did American Girl clothes, but none said they were able to do it. So I did it myself. My original plan was to make the outfit in secret and then give it to her right before the recital, but Bean has been tagging along over my shoulder every step of the way. I may still put it away tonight after she goes to bed. Not sure.

Anyway, I finished it. So super excited about it and so is Bean.

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After a couple failed attempts at using the official American Girl leotard as a template for Lanie’s costume, I wound up just pinning fabric directly onto her soft body. It freaked Bean out a little bit. She was afraid I was hurting her.

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I completed the leotard first and then added the tutu.

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Then I attached the pleated ribbon and rhinestones to the edge.

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Finally I added some embroidery to the bodice.

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Bean’s doll and the photo of the costume she’ll be wearing in the show. I originally planned to do the straps too, but I ran out of ribbon and I figured it would be easier for her to get on and off of her doll without them.

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So happy and excited!

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Being the little brother of a big sister

Being the little brother of a big sister means…

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…you pack your purse with all the essentials: wooden train cars and engines, frying pan, sparkly bracelet, baby lotion and mini pink bear.

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…you play with dolls, carrying them around, patting their backs to burp them, giving them kisses and loves, changing their diapers and pushing them in the doll stroller. These are things you see Papa doing and I hope it will make you a good papa someday too.

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…you play dress-up often. You like faux pearl necklaces, purses, sparkly shoes and tutus.

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…pink flower rain boots are often your footwear of choice.

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…you love necklaces and would play with my “pity boo beads” all day if I let you.

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…sharing your “boy” toys with your big sister.

*Edited to add: Documenting these things may seem “wrong” and some of you are probably thinking that Sprout might hate me for having these types of “blackmail” pictures when he’s older. I think this post by my former colleague really sums up how I feel on the subject. Sprout plays with Legos and blocks, he bangs on things and exhibits many other stereotypical “boy” behaviors. This is another side to that typical boy side. It’s an OK side for him to have.

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The dog ate my daughter’s doll…

So, if you have been following this blog for awhile, there has been quite the saga with a certain knitted friend.

Here she is bright and shiny the first day I made her:

Bean wasn’t always thrilled with her, but she did grow to love her.

Isn’t little Bean so cute at a mere 56 weeks (Weeks? God, I was just a little anal, don’t you think? I would totally convert this into the month approximation, but I am lazy and hate math.):

Or how about this one from 15 weeks, look at those chub cheeks:

And then the knitted friend got lost when my husband and Bean spent the day together in Bakersfield. I was kind of upset. But then I made a new and improved version. Bean loved her just the same:

One day Bean fell down in the garden, scraped her knee and needed a band-aid. She decided that her dolly needed one too:

Other than that little boo-boo, things were going fine and dandy for our knitted friend until Thanksgiving when we were staying at my in-laws. Bean misplaced the doll and left her there. My in-law’s Shetland Sheepdog, Bodie, found her.

At Christmas the doll was returned to us. She wasn’t as pretty. As Bean said, “Bodie got my dolly.”

A torn dress:

Mangled and missing pig tail braids:

We talked about the importance of taking care of our things and not leaving them out when we are done with them. Especially at Grandma and Grandpa’s house where Bodie can get them.

The knitted friend was temporarily relocated to my craft to-do basket. Except I didn’t feel like doing anything. So she sat, and sat, and sat.

Really, I was making a mountain out of a mole hill. I knew I could fix her up during an afternoon nap. I just didn’t feel like doing it.

Well, I was getting all my craft stuff organized for our big trip today and I was almost going to stick the doll in the to-go bag, but then I just decided that instead of doing more graph paper coloring or more crochet medalions or starting any new projects, I should probably use all my crafty inspiration and energy and finally get around to fixing the doll. So I did.

I also decided that I wanted her to have better hair. So I Googled “doll hair tutorial” and found a ton of stuff. The doll got a makeover:

Bean was super excited that I was finished when she woke up from her nap:

And she was so in love with the made-over version that the dolly had to go with us to the Farmer’s Market to enjoy some Oxnard strawberries:

So the adventures of this girl and her doll continue…

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Turning a girl sized pattern to American Girl sized

If you remember, back in July I made my niece a dress.

Well, when I found out she was getting an American Girl doll for Christmas (Shhh… it’s a surprise), I decided that I would try to make a matching dress for her doll. Her mom agreed that she would probably love it. I had a bunch of fabric leftover from my niece’s dress, so no need to buy anything new. However, I did not have a pattern. I tried to see if I could find one online, but did not encounter much luck.

So. I did math.

I was never really all that great at math. I do think part of it stems from some pretty terrible teachers in junior high and high school. Because some of the equations that I did figure out have definitely stuck with me. Like the proportional equation. And some geometry stuff that helped us out when we put in our own hardwood floors.

Give me a few minutes and I may be able to explain some math to you AND help you figure out some pattern making skills.

I still had the pattern pieces from the dress I made from “Project Runway Inspired” Simplicity Pattern 3510. I also still had my niece’s measurements and I found a few different websites that listed the dressmaker’s measurements for the American Girl doll.

So, I took all my measurements and the pattern pieces and started doing math and some drawing.

In order to do this I would measure a portion of the pattern piece, say the width of the armhole, and then plug it into my proportional equation (I am really not sure if that is the correct name for this equation, just go with it) along with some of the other measurements. This is the kind of math where there are knowns and unknowns and you have to do a little figuring to find out what the unknowns are (X).

So let’s go with the armhole example (FS = Full size, AG = American Girl):

FS armhole width               X (AG armhole width)
—————–            =       ———————
FS chest width                     AG chest width

So to find X you have to break down the equation until X is left by itself on one side of the equal sign.

2 1/8″           X
—–       =    —–
25″              11.25″

Now I’m not really sure the whole theory behind this, but you multiply in an X across the equal sign.

(2 1/8″) * (11.25″) = (25″) * X

Then to get the X by itself you have to divide both sides by 25 which eliminates the 25 on the X side.

(2 1/8″) * (11.25″)
——————       =        X
            25″

In this case X = 0.956″

So, then you know that when you are drawing the armhole, that it needs to be about an inch wide for the American Girl dress.

So, like I said when I was doing the equation I was also taking into consideration where on the body the measurements occured and using corresponding measurements. You wouldn’t for example, use the dolls height in the above equation over the chest measurement. And you want to use the width measurements with other width measurements and height measurements with other heigh measurements.

Or, if you were making a dress with sleeves, you would want to use the wrist and arm measurements when figuring out how wide and long to make the sleeves.

Does that make sense? I hope it does.

Here were my final pattern pieces:

I actually cut out the matching mini pockets for the American Doll dress too, but when it came down to actually sewing them, it was much too hard, even hand sewing them. They were soooo tiny. The dress isn’t an exact match, but I think it turned out pretty good.

I was also concerned about whether the doll version would fit over the doll’s head, so I decided to put a snap in at the back to give more room for pulling it over the doll’s head.

A few of the sites I found that talked about making doll clothes to match big kid clothes said to make it more accurate you should find coordinating fabrics with scaled down versions of the pattern (quilting cottons are a good place to look for this). I just wanted to use up some of the extra fabric I had on hand, so I didn’t do this. I think it looks alright. I did, however, scale down the size of the binding around the armhole to 1/4″ binding. I think on my niece’s dress I used 3/4″.

Anyway, it really is just a matter of knowing a little math, maybe having a calculator on hand if you can’t do math in your head like me, some blank paper, a ruler, measuring tape and a bit of drawing skills. Or if you are not super impressed with your drawing skills, you could make a rough drawn version by hand, scan it and clean it up in a program like Adobe Illustrator.

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Daily, 11/7

My sister-in-law and I lived out a childhood dream today. Bean came along too. No doll for her yet, but maybe one day.

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And just like that…

…we are a month away from TWO YEARS OLD!

These are a few of your favorite things:


Being outside. At the park. Our mini back yard. Helping me water the plants. Eating snacks on our little bistro set. Rearranging the dirt in the flower beds. At the beach in the sand.


Ballet shoes. Dance parties in the living room. Music. Singing. Action songs. The Wheels on the Bus. Raffi. “See Emma dance ocean.”


Water. At the beach. Making puddles from your sippy cup. Pouring water in various kitchen toys. Watering the plants. Water in the bath. Washing your hands. Water in the potty. Yes, I just said water in the potty. It’s an issue. We’re working on it.


Getting into things. Trying to be like me. Making messes.


Helping in the kitchen. And by helping I mean sneaking tastes every step of the way and licking the beaters. Making granola (I can’t even pull the oats out without you demanding that we make the stuff). Being lifted up to see what I’m doing. Watching the mixer spin.


All things William. Drumming. Musical instruments. Singing songs. The Beatles. Dancing. Listening to music.


Playing dress up. My wedding shoes. Head bands. Bows. Hair clips. Pig tails. Brushing your hair. Trying on all your clothes. Changing outfits multiple times a day. Changing shoes multiple times a day. Anything with flowers or pink or gold on it is, “so cute,” and must be worn. Jackets (even though we’ve finally got some summer weather in the 90s). Pink cowgirl boots.


Band-aids. Talking about your boo-boos. Pretending with your dollies. Making them do everything you or your Bubba do, including diaper changes, stroller rides, walker time, sitting in the high chair and being pushed in the stroller. Taking your knitted dolly with you everywhere.


Snuggle with Papa. Snuggle with Mama. You come in our room every morning with your blanket, pillow, paci and dolly asking for this. Or, “Mama/Papa hold you.” So cute.


Hugs. Kisses. Sprout.

I feel like it has gone by so fast. That you’ve completely changed and grown overnight into a girl. A real girl. With real thoughts. Real wants and desires. Someone that actually communicates these things to me with words and sentences. I feel like I’m grasping to hold onto it. To the baby fat melting away as you turn into a skinny little kid. To my baby.

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An Olive doll for a friend

One of the hardest things about leaving Bakersfield last year was leaving our community. We had a church that we both had basically grown up in with lots of people we loved and loved us.

It has been very challenging trying to figure out where we fit here and finding another community. I know that relationships take time to develop and didn’t expect it to happen overnight.

A few weeks ago Stephen’s sisters’s in laws invited us to the community group Bible study that they are apart of through their church. We did try a similar group that our church was hosting, but it was in Camarillo, had no childcare and sometimes went a little late into the night. It just wasn’t the best situation for our family. This new group has a wide variety of age groups and they have childcare during the study on site.

It has been so neat to become a part of a community again and meet some new friends. There are things we have in common like food allergies and things we don’t always agree on. The conversations can be passionate and they can be fun. We’ve been welcomed in immediately. We’ve had playdates, barbecues, pot lucks, and sporting events to go to with them.

Today we have a birthday party for one of the little girls in the group that is turning one. So, I decided to make her an Olive doll. I did most of the sewing while the kids were napping, well not so much Sprout he chilled out in the Boppy to watch. Yesterday Bean helped me stuff her and she’s all ready to go.

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