Friday, March 30, 2012

American Girl Dress Pattern

This weekend is going to be spent partying! All three of my children have a different friend celebrating their birthday. My daughter's friend has an American Girl doll and I thought it would be fun to make her some new doll clothes for a gift. I was able to quickly sew some pajamas, a leotard and tutu, and this new spring dress. (Don't tell her, but I only paid $1 for everything. Doll clothes use so little fabric that you can usually just use your scraps.)

The one I will show you how to make is my own pattern. Ariel wanted to sew her friend a dress and I knew we were going to need to keep it simple. I started to help her use one of my Simplicity doll patterns, and then decided it was beyond the simple sewing skills of my daughter. We threw it out!

free american girl dress pattern
This is what I came up with, a very basic dress that my daughter could sew, but one that is still pretty. Ariel calls it a formal dress since it's so long on the doll. In order to make the pattern, I decided I should make another dress for Ariel's Kit doll. Now her and her friend will have matching dresses!

free american girl dress pattern
When you print out the pattern pieces make sure you print actual size. Don't scale it down for the page, as it will be too small for your doll. Even fractions of an inch will be too tight. I made the dress very form fitting.

I like to make the cuffs of the sleeve a contrasting color. You could even make the bodice pieces a different fabric.

The skirt pattern piece is missing a tiny little corner. It's just barely too large for a letter size piece of paper. Your printout should take up the entire sheet of paper. I taped on the tiny piece that was missing.

free american girl dress pattern
Here's what all of your pattern pieces look like:



To start off, I first sewed the shoulders, with the fabric right sides together. I try to do 1/4 inch seam on most of this dress. The clothes are so tiny that when you do anything larger, you lose part of the dress.


You want to do a small hem on the neckline.


Before you sew your cuffs onto the sleeves, you first need to iron them in half lengthwise. Next pin them onto the sleeves with all the unfinished edges together. The cuffs should be a little bit longer than your sleeves. Trim off the excess.


I like to use the zigzag stitch to close my seams and keep them from fraying too much. I iron the seam toward the sleeve. Then I do a quick gathering stitch on each sleeve.


Pin your sleeves on the arm holes, and then stitch them with a 1/4 inch seam. You really need these sleeves on tight! The dress is so tight, that you'll be tugging quite a bit on the arm holes to get the dress on.


Now we sew the armpit. On this seam I try to keep it very small, and I reinforce it with a zigzag stitch. If you do an entire 1/4 inch, you will have trouble getting the dress over the doll's body.


You need to hem the back bodice pieces. This time I do a double fold for the hem, but still keep it small. You need as much as you can get to get the dress on the doll.


Now that the bodice piece is finished, you need to work on the skirt. I used a 1/4 inch seam here. Once you're finished you can flip the skirt to the right sides showing.


This really is a very simple dress. We're almost done! To attach the bodice and skirt, I placed the skirt in through the neck hole. You need to line up the seam you just sewed on the skirt, with the back bodice pieces. I first pinned the back closed then I pinned it to the skirt. This part is kind of tricky to sew as the opening is not very large.

The pieces should be the same size. I noticed when my daughter did the sewing; the skirt was a little bit too large. You can take in a little on the waist, but I would try to make your seams smaller on the bodice instead. (The parts that you hemmed on the back bodice pieces or on the armpits) Again if it's too small, it won't fit over the doll's body. This dress is very snug!


You're almost done! Depending on how long you want the dress, you need to do the skirt hem. I did a double fold about 1/4 of an inch, 1/2 inch total.


The only thing left is to decide how you want the dress to close. You could sew snaps on, or use Velcro. My sewing machine sews buttons on really easy, so I opted for one button at the top.

free american girl dress pattern
I love how the dress turned out! I think the part I especially enjoyed was how easy it was to make. I've made my daughter some complicated doll clothes in the past that take me all day long to make. This one only takes about 1 hour to put together. (Two hours if you're like my daughter and new to sewing) Simple, but beautiful. You gotta love that!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ten Little Frogs

Gabriel has been using all his free time to write stories. The Children's Literature Festival inspired him to be a full-time writer. His number one goal: to get published! I found this new story, finished just yesterday, to be quite entertaining. I wanted to surprise him this time, and post it while he is away at school. Normally it takes a few weeks of him asking before I get around to sharing it. This time I was proactive!

Every time he gets something published on my blog, he is very interested in his stats. How many people read his work of art? So if you like what you read, please do him the honor of clicking on the title. It will give him a pageview, and will mean the world to him. You can imagine his disappointment when he finds only two pageviews for one of his stories. I've tried to explain that probably more people are reading it; they just don't click on his specific link. So with all that said, here's the newest work of fiction by Gabriel:

Ten Little Frogs Jumping to Each Lily Pad
Dedicated to Zech



Ten little frogs jumping to each lily pad. One fell off and landed in the water. A crocodile was chasing him. Momma frog called the police and the police said, "We'll be right there."



Nine little frogs jumping to each lily pad. One fell off and landed in the water. With a shark chasing him. Momma frog called the police and the police said, "We'll be right there."



Eight little frogs jumping to each lily pad. One fell in the water. A piranha was chasing it. Momma frog called the police and the police said, "We'll be right there.



Seven little frogs jumping to each lily pad. One fell off into the water. A water tornado was sucking it in. Momma frog called the police and the police said, "We'll be right there."



Six little frogs jumping to each lily pad. One fell off and landed in the water. With an octopus chasing it. Momma frog called the police and the police said, "We will be right there."



Five little frogs jumping to each lily pad. One fell off into the water and a crocodile chased him. Momma frog called the police and the police said, "We will be right there."



Four little frogs jumping to each lily pad. One fell off and fell into the water and a shark started to chase the frog. The Momma frog called the police and the police said, "We will be right there."



Three little frogs jumping to each lily pad. One fell off into the water with a piranha chasing it. Momma frog called the police and the police said, "We will be right there."



Two little frogs jumping to each lily pad. One fell off into the water with a water tornado sucking it in it. Momma frog called the police and the police said, "We'll be right there.



One little frog jumping to each lily pad. One fell in the cold water with an octopus chasing it. Momma frog called the police and the police said, "We will be right there."



Then finally the police came and walked up to the mother. The mother said, "It's too late. It took ten hours for you to get here."

Then one of the police said, "It's not water monsters. It's her because look at the storm. That means she killed her frogs."

"No, I did not."

Then all the police frogs said,"Yes, you did." Then she went to jail screaming the whole way.





I told Gabe, after this story, I would need to take a break from posting his books. He asked for once a month, and I readily agreed. It will be a nice feature to include each month. So... the last week of April make sure to stop by for the newest hot off the press book Gabriel has authored and illustrated. You never know where he will take you!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Bird That Got Ariel

If you remember a few weeks ago, I promised that more would be coming from the very talented and special author, Gabriel, my son. So without further adieu, here's a brand new, hot off the press story, written and illustrated by Gabriel.

The Bird That Got Ariel
Dedicated to Ariel
drawing of blue bird
Once upon a time there was a bird. It was probably having a good day. Just sitting there on a tree. With a mother and a father. Like the nicest family of all. The father on the left. The mother on the right. The main bird in the middle of the tree. And a great big mountain behind them.



But one night the bird had a nightmare that the parents would die. She went to sleep with her mother after the nightmare.



The next day it was even worse then a nightmare. The nightmare came true. A human came over and shot the mother's leg off and shot the father's head off. The bird was in the middle of the tree so she was safe but sad.



It was getting close to Christmas. It was in 32 days. The bird decorated the tree and said, "Sweet."



The day of Christmas was going to be good. She saw over 100 presents stacked. She was excited to open one of her presents. She saw a present 20 times as tall as her. She opened it. It was a girl named Ariel. "I don't have to spend Christmas alone," she said in a shout. Then they became best friends forever.


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