Before I ever attempted to craft a pattern to fit a human form, my doll Molly served as my first dress form. I loved (and still love!) my American Girl doll – we created fantastic adventures together and learned all about WWII. When I began to outgrown some of the more traditional forms of playing with dolls, Molly quickly became the ever-patient form for trying out new patterns and sewing techniques. I had sewn for many years, but only following store bought patterns, before I decided to try my hand at pattern making. It helped that Molly was essentially a soft cylinder (no pesky womanly curves to deal with) and that she didn’t care if I accidentally poked her with my pins!
One of the simplest garments I created was this halter style pink striped jersey dress. It required velcro and doesn’t stay on all that well (waist is too large), but Kirsten here wore it for a bit.
Slightly more complicated is the skirt I made out of scraps of silky prints, styled here with a simple bandeau corset top that laced up in the back. I got to practice creating a corset closure and installing piping with this ensemble! At one point in time, I think I was considering making myself a matching skirt….
And if you somehow didn’t notice, yes, I was attempting to make shoes for Molly. She was clearly not tall enough and needed some platforms. There was a second version of this shoe with about three times as many straps (it looked a bit like a gladiator platform sandal) and included using cinnamon flavored floss for ties alongside the cardboard and duct tape seen here.
During middle school and early high school, I really really wanted to make a LOTR dress, but alas, had no event to wear one to! Instead, Molly got her own version of Eowyn’s dress, albeit not quite that exact, as I guess I decided to make her corset without straps.
And though I apparently didn’t finish it, I did attempt to add some hand embroidery details along the edges of the corset and decorative stitching along the neckline.
Sometime in high school, my mom got a new sewing machine and I was fasinated by the machine’s minimal embroidery skills and ability to make buttonholes automatically! I also came into a large quantity of tulle, so of course this party garment had to be created; I consider it Molly’s homecoming dress.
At one point I even made her a necklace out of a jewel I found in the sewing room and some stretchy bracelets out of a variety of beads.
And if Molly got a homecoming dress, she of course needed a prom dress! This garment was made out of leftover shantung silk used in my 9th grade Elizabethan dress project (and used in this skirt project), some white lining material and lots of puffy paint! This was my first time installing a zipper by hand and without following set out directions, so forgive that part of this garment. (Also please ignore the random strings I didn’t realize until now were hanging on the garment…)
And finally, I didn’t make this jacket pattern from scratch, but I made Molly a jacket that matched one that I made for myself! It’s made from a fabulous red boucle material that I won at State Fair one year.
You can’t really tell from the pictures, but I had to laugh at how poorly I finished all these garments. Not a single item was hemmed!
Also! It looks like Molly is about to archived in the American Girl collection, which is just too bad, as she is such an interesting, independent, problem-solving girl (I guess all the AG dolls are though!) and I’ll miss younger girls being able to play and learn with her in the future. I’m sorely tempted to go snap up all her outfits though before they can’t be purchased…goodness knows I don’t have them all yet!
Speaking of outfits, I just want to point out how incredible my mom is at creating clothing – I had no idea that she made both Molly’s birthday dress and Christmas dress (modeled on Kirsten here) for many years after the fact! And then I realized that the rick-rack was a bit too large, otherwise it was spot on! She also purchased the accessories (birthday cake, dog, etc) to go along with the dresses and made me matching dresses for my size! I’ll have to find that photo someday of my doll and I in matching outfits 🙂 Now that I think about it, I think Mom also made Molly’s school jumper…