Back in November, Eleanor tallied up her piggy bank cash, visited the bank to count her coins and took a trip to the American Girl store to pick out a doll. I have vivid memories of my parents having me pay for my own Samantha Parkington doll (which I still own!) and knew I wanted Eleanor to do the same. She came home a proud owner of a Kit Kittredge doll and I promised her I’d make her and her doll matching Christmas dresses.
I knew I wanted to make Eleanor’s dress from The Library Dress pattern by Oliver + S and thanks to the ever helpful fabric-swatch-mailing and phone consultating with Diana at Pink Chalk Fabrics, I knew I wanted to make it from Robert Kaufman Interweave Chambray in Pepper for the main dress and In the Beginning Modern Solids in Slate for the sash. Eleanor would have been a picky pants about buttons down the back of the dress and I wanted to put an invisible zipper in the dress instead. I’d done one in the Fairy Tale Dress I made last Christmas and loved how it turned out. Lucky for me, Liesl shared a very helpful reader-written post for making that change.
Eleanor was delighted with her new dress and wore it several times at Christmas and since then, too. She even begged to wear it to school last week for the 100th day of kindergarten.
To make the doll dress, I modified this kimono dress from Pixie Faire patterns. I axed the apron and used sleeves from another doll dress pattern I had so that I could lengthen the sleeve and eliminate the gathers at the top seam. I also skipped the binding on the bodice and instead sewed it much like Eleanor’s dress, with two layers sewn together to make each of the overlapping pieces. I added the trim at the top and bottom of the sash and ended up chopping off a few inches from the skirt width because I wanted the pleats to mimic the real dress. I really love how it turned out, though I am highly annoyed that I didn’t notice that the pleats point the wrong way on the doll dress front. If I hadn’t already finished the edges of that seam and if it hadn’t been the wee hours of the morning, I might have fixed it. Oh, well!
I have a feeling that many, many doll outfits are in my future!