I began my wonderful doll journey several years ago in 2013 when my eldest received her first American Girl Doll as a birthday gift. It was a truly me with green eyes and short ash blonde hair who looked just like my little girl and who she affectionately name Lizzy. As a girl I had loved reading the adventures of Felicity, Samantha, Addy, and Kirsten. These girls were amazing examples of bravery, courage loyalty, and compassion. Their adventures teleported me to the past and made me love history as equally as other subjects in school. And their clothes! I loved seeing fashion from the different periods of the past. So, when my eldest received her first doll it was something that I was instantly able to connect to her with and a joy that we were able to share. Of course, as we all know, American Girl has many accessories and outfits for their dolls. My husband and I were both in the military at the time and the prices for branded items seamed just beyond our reach. At the same time, I was teaching my self to sew and thought to myself that I could just sew up some clothing to give my daughter a nice wardrobe for her doll. This decision would put me firmly on my current path.
The first items I tried to sew for Lizzy were pajamas from this simplicity pattern.
This was my first indication that I needed a little more experience in order to sew clothing. These pajamas ended up in the scrap bin after I realized I did not know what many of the terms and instructions meant. Powered with Google and a small home printer, I stumbled across a site that changed by life when it came to sewing my own doll clothing. Liberty Jane was a website that had a collection of patterns for free and for purchase exclusively for 18-inch dolls. I tried two patterns first, the Trendy Tee and the Tank Top.
These patterns were able to guide me more gently into the world of sewing for dolls. The clear instructions and colored pictures helped to illustrate the terms and instructions that I did not understand. These first two patterns quickly expanded into a small collection of my own as I found more and more items that I wanted to sew for my daughter’s doll Lizzy. Within six short months I was sewing jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, and even made a pair of doll shoes. Granted I look back now seven years later at these first items and while they have stood the test of time and several hours of play, I can see my mistakes and unprofessional finishes.
These six months also made me realize something critical. There was simply not enough available for 18-inch dolls in the way of quality clothing. If we did go and buy something it would fall apart after a few washings or would be made of poor materials that felt more like plastic than cloth. And I thought to myself I can’t be the only mother out there that was dissatisfied with what was being offered for my child to play with. So, I began Sew Doll Crazy. A small, simple shop where I could provide quality doll clothing that would last, be trendy, and be easy for all age groups to use. Today, I have become more adventurous in my doll journey, designing my own patterns, using more difficult fabrics, and even creating my own runway designer line with seasonal looks.