Monday, February 8, 2016

American Girl Doll Obsession

When my oldest two daughters were younger, they had a small collection of Our Generation dolls from Target.  There just wasn't room in the budget for American Girl dolls.  It's kind of funny, because just a year or two ago I got tired of all the clutter in the playroom and most of the OG doll stuff was sold on the classifieds.  The horse and salon chair and dolls with matted hair just seemed to be taking too much space.  And then it happened.  The glorious day when I was strolling down the aisle of my local thrift store and spied some doll feet protruding from the bottom shelf.  I stooped down and pulled the doll out.  Could it be?  Could it actually be an American Girl brand doll?!  Yes, yes it was.  And not only was there one doll, there were three dolls!  Three AG dolls in really good shape and all with AG brand clothes on.  One of them even had a snowboard, boots, and helmet taped to her.  Are you ready for the best part?  The price....wait for it.....$3 each!  The skies parted and a bright light shone down on me from on high.  Choirs of angels sang their glorious melodies of peace and goodwill to all mankind.  It was a MIRACLE!  I practically skipped up to the register to buy my new treasures.  

My original thought was to sell them to make a little money.  After all, I had very recently gotten rid of most of the OG dolls, although we still had a couple dolls and most of the clothes.  And did my daughters really play with them that much?  But it turned out that my youngest two daughters saw the AG dolls I bought and fell in love with them.  So I decided I would let them each pick their favorite and I would sell the third to make a little moola.  I sold one doll on the classifieds for $80 and the snowboard set for $20 so I was $91 ahead at this point.  

Things stayed chill and calm for a while after that.  It wasn't until this Christmas when I came upon a cute little wood park bench at the DI for $8 and thought it would be the perfect size for the AG dolls.  And maybe, just maybe, I ought to buy one of the littles another doll to sit on the bench.  I could just picture Christmas morning in my head with the doll sitting on the bench beneath the tree. Perfect!  So I pulled up the online classifieds and came across a used AG doll for $35.  I could spring for that.  The downside was that someone had given this doll a haircut.  It was fine from the front, but pretty short in the back.  It would just have to do.  And then, as I do every Christmas, I started to think I was being unfair.  How could I give one of the littles a new AG doll and not the other one?  It would be so cruel and unjust!  So back to the classifieds I went.  This time I had a heck of a time finding anything in my price range.  Most dolls posted were upwards of $80.  Grrr.  I managed to find one that she was asking $60 for and I talked her down to $50.  She is a Nicki doll and came with her original outfit but was pretty dirty with a dark stain on her body and fairly messy hair.  But I was anxious to find a second doll and so I forked out the cashola.  Since then I have been back to the thrift store dozens of times hoping that another miracle will happen, but not so.  I have also been on the online classifieds almost every day and I found a Kit doll for $60.  To date, that is the most I have spent on an AG doll.  We have five AG dolls, the cost of all the AG dolls I have bought adds up to $154 minus the $100 I sold the one doll and snowboard set for, leaves $54.  That's an average of $10.80 per doll.  Not too shabby!

Since the one doll didn't come with any clothes, I decided I would sew her a dress.   One of the girls was getting a 50's diner set as another one of her gifts, and so I made these retro dresses using Simplicity pattern 1245.  The white ruffled apron was from a free pattern I found on Create Kids Coutoure.  The black shoes shown with the turquoise dress are from American Girl.

After Christmas is when the real obsession began.  My transcription job was slow from the holidays and I started to think that I should try some other doll patterns that I had lying around.  I made this skirt using Simplicity 3551 and the shirt I tweaked from the jacket pattern in Simplicity 1245.  The black lace-up boots are from Silly Monkey.
Next I decided that our boy doll needed more clothing options.  After all, he only had the one outfit he came with.  He is a Jack doll made by Battat in the 1990s.  I lucked out and found him at a different DI store just a weeks or so after I found the first three American Girl dolls.  He was also $3.  He was obviously not originally as expensive as an AG doll, but since Battat no longer makes a boy doll, he does sell for upwards for $50 on Ebay.  I made him a suit and tie.  This pattern I came up with on my own and I have plans to create a PDF version to sell in my Etsy shop, so I'll keep you posted on that.  The white dress shirt is actually a fake out that I found the free pattern for HERE.  The white tennis shoes I bought from a vendor booth at Quilted Bear.
I also made him a full-size blue dress shirt.  The belt was from Savers for $1.  It was a real belt.  I just cut it down in punched a new whole in it to fit his waist.  The black dress shoes are from Silly Monkey.

So at this point I'm thinking about doll clothes pretty much non-stop.  My hubby likes to say that as long as I'm not talking to the dolls, it's okay.  ha ha.  I think the reason I like them so much is because they are on a small scale so they don't cost much to make and I can usually finish up an outfit in a day or two.  I like to shop remnants at the fabric stores as well as Wal-Mart.  They are always marked down from their original price and are usually just enough.  You can really make almost anything out of half a hard, sometimes less.  

These next two dresses were made using Simplicity 1443.  Those little buttons and ric rac trim make it so darn cute!

This one was mostly from Simplicity 1443 as well, but I did make a few adjustments to it based on a picture I found on Pinterest.  The red shoes are OG brand from Target.
This coat was made from Simplicity 1245.  That cloche hat was (I thought) a splurge purchase from Pixie Faire.  Their patterns range from $4-12 a piece and usually only make one item. I had a  hard time justifying that cost when I can pick up the Simplicity or McCall's patterns on sale at the fabric store for $1-4 each and they make anywhere from 6-8 different pieces.  But when I signed up for the Pixie Faire email list, they sent me a a coupon for buy three get one free and I had my eye on a few of their adorable patterns, so I just decided to go for it.  I say that I thought it was a splurge because in the end it has been awesome.  Pixie Faire sends me a link to a free pattern every Friday, so I've accumulated quite a stash from my one purchase of three patterns.  I think their stuff is just too cute!
This little pinstripe dress was based on one I found on Pinterest that I fell in love with, so I tried to duplicate it.  Once again, I kind of just figured the pattern out on my own.
And last but not least is my first historical fashion.  I used this free PATTERN but I'll warn you now that there are no instructions included.  I shortened the sleeves and made them a little less puffy.  ("I like your sleeves.  They're real puffy.")  I also changed the neckline a bit, added trim, and made up my own netting under piece that is not attached, but more of a dickie style.   The bonnet was from Simplicity pattern 1245 but I also made a few of my own adjustments to it.  Doesn't she look like she's straight out of Jane Austen novel?  Okay, maybe not.  I think the skirt is too full.  But it was a good first attempt.

Come back again soon where I'll continue the American Girl doll series with a post on upcycled doll clothing as well as more boy dolls and clothes.  Thanks!

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