Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The gift I am most excited to give this year!

Do you usually have one or more Christmas gifts each year that you are so excited to give that you are about to bust?  I usually do and this year is no exception.  I have been sewing like crazy to make a whole fun and funky wardrobe for my daughter's beloved American Girl doll.  My daughter, Piper, is seven and recently she has gotten rid of ponies, princesses, and pale pink *gasp!* in favor of glitz, texture, bold colors--and black!  I am not exactly sure how this happened, but she suddenly has her own style and she is having so much fun with it.

So, she asked that I make her some doll clothes... and I let her go to the fabric store and just pick out fabrics she loves.  Wow-- we left with short cuts of sequins, faux fur, satin, metallics, lycra, animal prints, glitter tulle, and faux suede fabrics in her favorite colors.  I am so glad I had her pick out fabrics because I would never have gone in the directions she did! 

Even knowing that this gift will be doll clothes --and what the fabrics look like, she has told me every day that she cannot wait to open this gift.  She is dying to see what I did with the fabrics she picked. 

So...this is the wardrobe I sewed using Piper's fabric picks:

Skinny jeans and shimmery tank

  • Liberty Jane Jeans pattern (see links below under My Sources).  I will say that I had to draft a new pattern piece for the front pocket in the jeans but this design was worth figuring out.  I have things I will change for the next pair of jeans I make, but I was really pleased with how these came out.  This was made from the legs of an old pair of jeans that I cut off ten years ago!
  • Liberty Jane Trendy Tank pattern (free download) sewn in red metallic knit. 
  • I made a necklace by using a Mouseketeer polymer clay bead and Stretch Magic .5mm jewelry cord.  I cut off 10" of cord and beaded until only 1-1/2" of cord remained on each end.  I tied a number of square knots and trimmed the ends, leaving 1/4" tails.

  • I used iron-on jewels for the back pockets of the jeans.

Geometric dress with leggings

  •  Liberty Jane Leggings pattern was sewn with two-way stretch lycra blend.  The leggings finish about 1" above the doll's ankle when unaltered.  My daughter loves leggings and wears them all the time so I knew any casual dress I made would have to include leggings!  I HIGHLY recommend the leggings pattern.  It is one pattern piece and goes together so fast!  They are designed with negative ease so they look like real leggings.
  • Magic Number Dress pattern by Ardently Admire Doll Attire (pattern purchased through Liberty Jane site) sewn in knit.  The next time I sew this dress, I will alter the neckline so that it is tighter.

Green and black stripe outfit

  • Liberty Jane Trendy T-shirt (free download) sewn from snake skin lycra.
  • Liberty Jane Shiny Happy Dress (free download with purchase) made green and metallic stripe knit.  I wish I had lengthened the dress; more like a tunic at this length.
  • Liberty Jane Leggings were sewn from sheer tricot.

Hot Pink and Feathers!  Two piece dress

  • McCall's 3474 sewn up in nylon satin with hand-applied feather trim.
  • I made a longer necklace with stretch cord, gold-tone beads, and a cupid charm.

Zebra skirt with hot pink T-shirt and Saturn necklace

  • Liberty Jane Harajuku Station skirt pattern- this is an awesome pattern and sews together perfectly!  Skirt sewn with zebra two-way knit and glitter tulle.
  • T-shirt sewn from Liberty Jane T-shirt Variation pack, creating my own sleeve length and opting for the higher neckline. 
  • I added 1" to the Liberty Jane Leggings pattern and made these leggings from sheer tricot.  This was an experiment because the legging fabric was a one-way stretch, and not a 2-way stretch, but it worked just fine by taking advantage of the cross stretch. 
  • I made the planet necklace with stretch cord, glass beads, and a metal charm.
  • I used an old t-shirt for the doll's t-shirt, using the stitched hem for this little t-shirt's hem.

Turquoise and black ensemble

  • Liberty Jane Harajuku skirt pattern sewn in houndstooth and glitter tulle.
  • Liberty Jane Leggings pattern with 1" added to length.
  • McCall's 3474 sewn with sequin for the tam.
  • Liberty Jane T-shirt Variation Pack long-sleeve t-shirt in panne velvet
  • McCall's 6480 low-pile faux fur vest with lapels that turn back to show faux leather.  The vest was made with a fabric I love but it is too thick to turn so I used leather sewing techniques and lapped the seams, leaving the edges raw and the vest unlined.  Not lining worked just fine; the vest looks like leather inside.

Christmas Baking Outfit

  • McCall's 6451 for apron made with eyelet from my stash. 
  • Liberty Jane Leggings pattern with 1" added to the length and sewn in a shiny lycra.
  • Simplicity 2458 sewn with a cotton Christmas print from my stash for the top. 

Cheetah ensemble

  • Liberty Jane Mini Skirt sewn in an animal print-stamped patent leather.
  • Liberty Jane T-shirt Variety Pack pattern for the long-sleeve metallic knit t-shirt.
  • McCall's 3474 pattern for matching cheetah print lined boxy vest and tam.

Lined Faux Fur Coat and Loom Knitted Scarf
As I was sewing, Piper would call from another room (as she was banned from my sewing area) to give a suggestion of what to make.  At one point, she told me she wanted a winter coat. 

  • Hoodie pattern.  I altered the pattern to line the coat in turquoise satin and I added a closure to the front-- I love how it went together so easily!  This pattern was just under $10 but also included a top, pants, and directions for making fringed lace-up boots.  I will definitely be trying those boots, but not before Christmas!
  • I made the scarf on the shortest Knifty Knitter long loom.  I used 8 pegs and did a simple double knit stockinette with leftover homespun yarn until it was 27" long.  I finished the ends without fringe.

Metallic top and suede mini 
I made a simple outfit to go under the coat. 

  • Liberty Jane Mini Skirt sewn in faux suede.  One point to mention:  sew the center fronts and backs at 1/8" at the fold, not 1/4" to make it easier to put on the doll!   
  • Liberty Jane T-shirt Variation Pack used for the long-sleeve t-shirt with 3/4 sleeves.  This black and gold metallic knit was one of Piper's top picks and it sewed together like a dream!

Gold Swirl Tank Dress

  • Liberty Jane Happy Shiny Dress that was lengthened by an additional 1-1/2".  I also altered the neck to lower it so more of the t-shirt would show.  This crazy printed lycra was another of Piper's absolute top picks--- is her alter ego a professional wrestler???!!!
  • Liberty Jane Trendy T-shirt pattern for undershirt.

Party Dress
Tell me you are impressed that I figured out how to get her doll to hold the baby Jesus without visible mechanisms! 

  • Heritage Doll Fashions (purchased on the Liberty Jane website) Party Skirt pattern. This pattern allowed me to use my rolled hem foot!  (Yay me!)
  • Liberty Jane Trendy Tank pattern sewn from knit with added trim and a few beads. 
  • The bracelet was made, just like the necklaces, from Stretch Cord.

Glittery Mary Poppins custom t-shirt and leggings
I wanted to make a custom t-shirt for her doll with my Yudu Cardshop!  Piper's ballet school just announced that they would be performing Mary Poppins this spring.  All of the students will have a part, including the girls from Piper's class, and talking about Mary Poppins will be THE topic of conversation among the girls.  I thought it would be fun to use this theme for the t-shirt! 

  • Liberty Jane Trendy T-shirt.  I altered the shirt front to raise the neck at the center 1/4".
  • Liberty Jane Leggings shortened by 1".
I searched "Mary Poppins silhouette" on Google Images and found the graphic.  I just received my new custom-made Yudu Cardshop screens from Ryonet (click here for info on a past post on this blog for ordering info.  It took about 6 weeks to get but soooo worth it).  I burned the image on an 86 mesh screen on my big Yudu so that I could pull adhesive!  For info and tips on using the Yudu Cardshop, click here.

I used a new, unloved, unworn, unwashed, adult t-shirt and cut off a section to screen.

I used Plaid Simply Screen Foil and Glitter Adhesive and Yudu brand Glitter.

Instead of placing on the fold, I traced the full front pattern piece onto tissue paper so I could center the screened and glittered shape onto the front easily.

I wanted to help my daughter keep these outfits together, so I found a great deal on hangers and sewed loops to any garment that couldn't hang on (like the pants and hats).

Are you sick of this post yet?  I had one more thing for this gift: 

New bedding for her new doll (that we expect Santa to bring) to go on one of the doll beds. 
  • I loom knitted the blanket using Bernat Baby Blanket super chunky #6 yarn, using nearly a whole skein.  I used the blue Knifty Knitter long loom, casting on 30 pegs.  I made a flat panel with a slip stitch edge.  The knitting finished at 18" long by 14" wide.  I turned down the top (cast on) edge and hand-sewed on a piece of cotton lace from my stash. 
  • I created a pillow that finished at 11" x 4-1/2" using leftover eyelet fabric and trimming with more cotton lace.

Thank you for letting me share my sewing project!  I am so excited for Piper to open this gift!  I have a few BIG surprises for her planned too, but this gift was such a labor of love!  I also think all of her little girl friends at school will be getting doll clothes for their American Girl Dolls for their birthdays this year!  This has been so much fun!

My sources (just in case you were wondering):
  • If you have a girl in your life who would love some fun, creative doll clothes, check out Liberty Jane Patterns.   I love, love, love these!!  They have several free patterns that will give you an idea of how they go together -definitely download the FREE Trendy T-shirt and FREE Trendy Tank!  Finding the Liberty Jane designs allowed me to be able to make modern, fun styles easily!  Aside from the free ones, all of the patterns are $3.99, but that is actually more expensive than the patterns you can find at the fabric store because you are buying a pattern for only one item of apparel.  Even so, I liked that I can get the pattern instantly as a PDF and that I can print them as needed on my computer.  I use 10x13 catalog envelopes and simply tape the first page of the pattern on as a label and put the guidebooks and my tissue pattern tracings inside.  Another plus to Liberty Jane designs:  very few pattern pieces.  This makes alterations for variety super easy!  The designs are just so straightforward and simple!
  • Also check out - not too many patterns, but I loved the hoodie coat. 
  • Check out Britlyn Madison for great shoes--- and clothes if you are not a seamstress!  Wow- stuff so much cuter than in the actual American Girl Doll catalog.  I am hoping the shoes and boots I ordered will arrive before Christmas, but I am not sure that they will based on the tracking info.  (The footwear might be a New Years gift!) 
  • I bought lots of hangers from a vendor on Amazon. 
  • Aside from a couple of older fabrics from my stash, the fabrics I used were purchased from our local Hancock Fabrics.  The yarns were purchased at Walmart.
As always, thank you for your interest in my projects.  To see all of my paper crafts, check My Project Gallery.  For info on how to Yudu, check my Yudu page

Happy crafting and Merry Christmas!


Rachel said...

WOW, that is absolutely AMAZING! I remember always getting the American Girl catalogs and pretending that I could pick outfits for the doll I never got, haha. It would've been amazing if I had as many options as your daughter does now! Instead of an AG doll though, now I'm 27 with a bear from Build-a-Bear! Thanks for sharing all your fantastic work!

Sis Patterson said...

I am nearly as excited for Piper as you must be!!!

This is a totally memorable gift - I adore the whole ensemble and the photo shoot.

And yes, I am amazed at the ability to hold Baby Jesus without visible wires.

All of the outfits are so spectacular - great idea letting Piper pick the fabric.

What a wonderful Christmas you have crafted for your daughter and family!

Merry Christmas, Nadia.

And AE sends her best regards to Piper.

DEBORAH said...

What a beautiful gift. All the outfits are beautiful. Your daughter will love everything.

Carole P said...

Wow, Nadia! What an amazing wardrobe! You put so much work and love into. I can see why Piper can't wait to see what you've done. I think she will love all the outfits you made!

Maria said...

Wow beautiful work, she will always remember that gift.

Beth said...

Awesome Job, I love all the outfits!

Hrvatica said...

Wow! Absolutely amazing work. Your daughter is sure to love everything!

AllisonF (Goody Bag Diva) said...

Dear Nadia,

I vow to never ever ever show Rose this blog post because not only would she want every item she would want it in her size as well. Then I would have to drive halfway across the country and smack you in person because I would then have to bust out the sewing machine. And I don't mind sewing but I don't do little teeny doll clothes.

I am blown away by the amount of work that went into this. We recently have just got into the AG phase in this house and I haven't seen anything in the catalog that can touch this. I think Santa has nothing on this gift. Kudos to you and Piper is a super lucky girl this Christmas!

Ohhh Snap said...

That is sooooooooooo awesome!!! What a wonderful Christmas present! I especially love the Mary Poppins tee shirt lol. TFS :D

Sandy from Ukiah said...

Oh my, thank you for sharing this with us... You did an amazing job, she is going to be so thrilled with what you made.. i hope you take a picture of her when she opens this one... Everything is simply GORGEOUS'
hugs from ukiah

Diane Hodrick said...

I am having one of those "I can't sleep due my holiday panic attack" moments. What a great way to calm myself down. I think you must be incredibly relieved that this is done. It gives me hope I will get there too. ;) You made the cutest doll fashion show here. I have enjoyed reading and looking at your fabulous creations. My favorite outfit is the houndstooth and blue sequined number. It's completely fun. They are all fabulous, but that one struck me. Such an amazing gift. Have fun watching Piper open it. The best part of it all....Merry Christmas!

JenL said...

Wow!! Your talent never ceases to amaze me. I loved what you made for Piper, and her picking out material made it so much better. Honestly it took me back about 40 Christmas' ago, minus the American Girl part. :) Piper is going to love this and remember it forever!!

Merry Christmas!

Carolyn/MamaC said...

OK...I am speechless! What a wonderful labor of love! You are such a special crafter! Thank you for sharing your heart!

-Candi said...

My own 7yr old is getting her 1st American Girl doll for Christmas, she and I are both blown away with your amazing outfits.... and she's more then a little bit envious that your daughter is getting them all, I don't sew, at all. Any chance you sell clothing? I'd be more then interested, those little jeans are the cutest!

JeanneLee said...

Wow! Your sewing skills are wonderful! Making clothes for big people is hard enough...but sewing those little arm holes....just wow!
Loved the Mary Poppins T-shirt!
She is going to LOVE this gift from you!

Merry Christmas to your family!

Maria said...

I am actually jealous of a doll now! Lol. Piper did a great job choosing fabrics and I'm sure she's going to love what you created with them.
Merry Christmas!

mary said...

OMG! I have said it before, you little daughter is one lucky girl! You are so talented and what a fabulous gift of time and creativity! Piper will love these beautiful clothes for her doll! A priceless gift! Thanks for sharing!

L.B. said...

AMAZING WORK!!! My mom is a sewer and this spring we are going American Girl for my daughter's 6th bday...I can not wait to show her this post and watch her get all sorts of ideas!!

Ladybug said...

WOWSERS! Totally mind blowing! What a lucky li'l girl you have!

Hey, Nadia, I hope Piper doesn't read your blog but. . . .
have you thought about maybe choosing one of the outfits you made and then make one to match for Piper? How cool would that be, eh? And. . . .she'd be totally surprised by it all.

You did a fabulous job on them but I wouldn't have thought anything different --- w/ the amazing talent/creativity you've been blessed with! TFS! :-)

Merry Christmas to you and your family!! :-)

Kate said...

I can imagine how excited you must be to give your daughter these wonderful items!! Two of my nieces are very much into their Maplelea dolls (Canadian version, I would assume) and I searched high and low for little t-shirts in order to customize them for their dolls - with no luck! Thanks so much for the link and now I'll have it for birthdays. Your daughter will be so thrilled with all the little outfits. I especially like the little fur coat and scarf. Enjoy the joy you'll experience in giving!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Unknown said...

Wow! Not only is everything you made amazing and beautiful! The way you posed and took the pictures of the doll was so artistic too! You should be a fashion designer.. I love the bedding for the doll..Really beautiful.. I am in awe!

ScrappyMama said...

Do you think that when the makers of American Girl dolls started, they EVER expected to see their dolls in skinny jeans, lycra & spandex????!! I'm waiting for tomorrow's post when you tell us that you've made Piper a set of matching clothes for all these outfits ; ) ! Even if you couldn't sew *gasp*, Piper would still be one very lucky girl to have you for her Mom!!

Unknown said...

oh my my my! You have talent coming out your ears!
Such beautiful outfits you have created with Pipers selections. To be a fly on the wall when she opens her gifts. I'm sure she will be just as amazed as we are.
Thank you for sharing the photo shoot.

moknowsall said...

Absolutely fabulous --- what a great job. these are keepsakes for a lifetime.


Jodie R said...

Merry Christmas to Piper!! I have no idea what to say! You did an amazing job! It looks like you have a great time doing your own fashion show too! I want a wardrobe like that!!

You just reminded me that I have to make one more little gift for my DD. She wants a little lap quilt. Guess what I am doing on Saturday!!

Unknown said...

Amazing dedication to detail, Piper will love everything you have made :)

JennyKozar said...

You are amazing and oh SO talented!! Your Piper is going to LOVE this gift!!

Gina piazza said...

What a truly beautiful bond there is between you & Piper! That you love her so... and that she inspires you to give her the most priceless gift.... I know every stitch of this fabulous collection was sewn with love and it shows!!! It is amazing; all of it; she is going to flip; I hope you get a few photos of her face when she sees it... And yes, I have missed you on the mb, but I always know you are off creating something special.
Wishing you all peace, love & joy this Christmas and always....

Sheila aka SassyLady said...

I am almost speechless! How awesome a gift this is.... you should have been my mommy when I was growing up! What an awesome gift. I sew and can understand the hours and the love that you poured into this and it shines through. Thank you for sharing this with us, I am in Awe!
Merry Christmas

Got2BCrafting said...

My jaw dropped to the ground, as well as me DD's, when we saw the picture of all those fabulous outfits!! My DD immediately said "tell her I want her to make those for me too!" LOL!! Nadia... you have always amazed me with your papercrafting, but you are so incredibly talented in so many ways, I am in AWE!! Your DD is going to LOVE her new doll clothes without a doubt. You are an amazing mother and Piper is one incredibly lucky little girl!!
Thank you so much for sharing your talent us.
I wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and a new year filled with love and happiness. :)

Lena said...

Wow! This is absolutely amazing! I'm not a sewer at all, but I can see what a load of work this was and the love you put into it really shines through. Your daughter is going to be filled with joy on Christmas morning!
I wish you and yours a very Blessed Christmas and a new year filled with joy, good health and lots of crafting :)

MelodyR aka Ry&MysMom said...

This is so cool! That is one stylin' American doll, Nadia! Very lucky kid you got there! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful Christmas!

Betsy said...

Wow!!! Your daughter is gonna LOVE her gift!!
I remember when I was 4, my big wish was for my first Barbie doll and some clothes for her. My great aunt lived in a retirement community in Florida, and she had her friends all make Barbie outfits for me and she got me the doll. It arrived in a big box a few days before Christmas ~ it was the BEST present I got that year. All the clothes were unique ~ not like the bought ones my friends all had. I played with that doll and those clothes for years!
Merry Christmas! Have fun watching your daughter's delight when she sees all you've done for her!

Unknown said...

First, I stopped by your blog to say thanks for the kind comments - and then I see all the beautiful AG clothes! Eeek! I may have just enough time to sew some! Thanks for the inspiration!

JustJules said...

I am thankful that you have such a wonderful relationship with your daughter. This act of love will only deepen that bond. Have a wonderful Christmas day! said...

How could I be sick of your post? this is amazing and just brought memories of my Mom sewing clothes for our Barbies!!! TFS!

Christi said...

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! My daughter is getting the same kind of gift this year from her grandmother. She has an American Girl doll that she has had for a few years and this year she decided that she wanted a Springfield Doll named Abby (my daughters name is Abigail, AKA Abby). My mother has went crazy buying doll clothes patterns and sewing for her. She has also bought my daughter a bunch of patterns and fabric and her own sewing supplies to get her started sewing, she got a sewing machine earlier this year. I can't wait until tomorrow so we can start sewing, it is going to be such fun!
Thanks for sharing all your great work, I am going to print you post for her to look at.
Have a Merry Christmas!

Audrey Frelx said...

All I can say is you are just absolutely amazing, my friend!!! It's been a wonderful year of spent with you and all your creative "masterpieces"; looking forward to sharing 2012 with you!

I wish you and your family a very merry and bright Christmas!


Linda Kaiser said...

Oh my goodness! I love love love all the amazing outfits!

Merry Christmas.


Mrs. Green said...

Wow! This is fantastic! Great job Nadia!

Melissa said...

I am going to show these outfits to my girls.... They have Felicity and Kit. Merry Christmas- Melissa

Mrs B said...

wow! These are awesome! My granddaughter just received an American doll for have inspired me to try making her some clothes for her birthday.
thank you,

Shari said...

Awesome job! I really like the eyelet apron and the houndstooth skirt.

Diane M. said...

Wow, you were certainly busy! Great job!

RockinRenee said...

Oh Nadia...I can't believe how AWESOME these clothes are! You did a PHENOMENAL job! Please share how much your daughter loved this gift. I am dying to know!

paperANDi - Stephanie Dang said...

Oh my goodness, Nadia!! hehehe seems like the only thing I can say on all your projects, because you are so talented beyond my imagination!! I love all your projects and you have got to be the best mom ever!

Julie Kight said...

I so wish I had a young daughter or a granddaughter right now(I only had 2 boys and they are 19 & 20) so I could make these for her! The work you did is absolutely AMAZING!! I would have to say that my fav is the Turquoise and Black outfit. I didn't want them to end as I was scrolling down the page, each outfit is so beautifully done. You are one TALENTED women. Thanks so much for sharing all your work with us for the inspiration you bring is so contagious!:) I can't wait to see more and hope you do make more. Thanks again from one crafter to another.

Julie/scrapnmom atlive dotcom

Dinah said...

Piper is one lucky little girl! You are making memories as well as doll clothes! What fun!

Helen said...

OMG! those clothes are so gorgeous! not boring at all. wish I could sew. My daughter is into doll too.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I had such fun reading your post and seeing all of the fabulous clothes you made! I just started sewing for my dolls and I'm so excited! I'll look for some of these patterns! Thank you so much for your inspiration! Diane

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