Confession: Crafting with my kids is not my favourite thing to do. Especially when it’s a specific project that requires a good deal of adult assistance. There’s too much of Mum cutting, reading, sewing, and not enough for the kids to do, and their restless hovering while I get the project to the next phase of kid-readiness tends to make me a bit testy.
However, it’s good for my kids to learn how to do things. Like use a sewing machine. And without my help, that’s not going to happen. One of their friends was having a birthday, and, like my girls, she is the owner of a Maplelea Doll.
Maplelea Dolls are the big thing in my girls’ circle. They are very like American Girl dolls, but they are Canadian and represent different regions of Canada. They are also expensive! My daughters saved their own money to buy their dolls, but when it comes to clothing, we’ve been too cheap to buy the (beautiful) outfits available on the web site. Fortunately there are many patterns available online for American Girl dolls, and there are only slight differences in the body style of the two dolls.
I downloaded this free Drawstring Dress pattern from Liberty Jane designs, and we picked out fabric for dresses and stitched them together one sunny afternoon.
The girls found pinning and cutting out patterns very tedious! (I didn’t tell them that I could have more easily and quickly cut them with my rotary cutter.)
Sewing a drawstring dress is a matter of straight lines, so it was a good project for a beginning seamstress. The girls both learned how to control my machine and keep a relatively straight line, and I stayed nearby to correct any mistakes and thread the bobbin when it ran out.
The dolls modelled the dresses after they were completed. For some reason, the green dress turned out very short – I had adapted the pattern slightly to add a black border along the bottom, and I think I didn’t allow enough seam allowance. So I found a pattern for simple elastic waist pants and we stitched them up as well. And we added a ruffle to the bottom of the purple dress to make it a little dressier!
The girls were thrilled to give their friend two doll outfits, and it was cool that we were able to take one pattern and make two rather different looks. And I survived a sewing session with two girls panting over my shoulder!