Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My Little Sister's Birthday Present(s)!

There's a chance I might just spoil my little sister when it comes to presents. I love making her gifts for her birthday and Christmas. For her birthday this year I had a plan, one gift that I knew she would love.

Since last Christmas I have been planning to make her a doll-sized dress form. She loves to come up with dress design ideas, and really likes American Girl Dolls, so I figured it would be the perfect gift. After reading an online tutorial or two I came up with a general idea of how I would make one.

I started with a paper towel holder, a coffee can lid, fabric, and stuffing. The body of the dress form I made by altering a doll coat pattern. I made 2 backs of the coat (so that there would be no front opening), added a high neck and sewed circles over the arm holes and neck.

To stiffen the arm holes and neck so that they would hold their shape I underlined the circles with cotton pads, the kind used for makeup and nail polish removal. They worked great! The arm holes and neck came out as perfect circles, just like they were supposed to.

Once the body was sewn it would have to be put on the paper towel stand. So, when I sewed the neck of the form, I put a grommet in the center of it. This would make attaching the body to the paper towel stand pretty easy.

Once the body was all sewn up I took apart the paper towel holder. I unscrewed the top, put the body on, the screwed the top back into place. Next, I stuffed the body till it was firm and the approximate measurements of an american girl doll. To finish the body I cut an oval out of the coffee can lid with a hole in the middle. I covered the plastic with fabric and hand sewed it in place.

Then the dress form itself was done! I just needed to put the paper towel holder back on it's base so that it would stand, however, the fully assembled paper towel holder was a bit shorter than I wanted it to be. Dress forms work better if they are the same height as the subject they represent, so this one needed to be the same height from shoulder to base as an American Girl Doll. So I found a wooden thread spool that was the perfect height.

I didn't feel like unwinding all the thread on this spool, and I have more thread the same color, so I coated the thread with clear nail polish to keep it from unwinding. Then the thread spool got screwed in place at the bottom of the dress form, and it was done.  I love the pop of color the thread adds!

I had one happy little sister when she unwrapped her present! 

But the dress form wasn't the only thing in that box. Once I finished the dress form I got a little carried away and made a couple more presents.

Like a fancy doll dress, as I remembered my little sister had asked for one recently. So I pulled out a doll clothes pattern, Butterick B6035  that I had picked up at a pattern sale a while back and never got around to using.

I found some scraps of velvet and satin in my stash, then got to work, resulting in one very fancy doll dress.
Once the doll dress was finished I decided my little sister needed one last present, so I threw together a doll sized hoop skirt to go under the dress.
This went together extremely easily, and didn't even require a pattern  To make the hoop skirt, first I made a waistband that velcroed closed, with 4 ribbons hanging off of it, equal distance apart.

Next I made 3 hoops from some polyester boning I had on hand. The nice thing about polyester boning is you can sew through it! That was great for this project as I was able to just sew the ends together.

I marked on the ribbons where I wanted the hoops to be, then sewed the hoops in place.

There we go, a doll hoop skirt, perfect to go under the fancy purple dress!

I had one very excited little sister when she unwrapped her entire box of presents! Hopefully she gets lots of enjoyment out of her new American Girl Doll accessories! 


  1. I looove the doll dress stand idea! I so will be making my girlie one of these.
    You are a great sister--- and passing along and sharing your love of sewing and design to her is a fabulous thing!