Kit Kittredge

What does Kit Kittredge have to do with sewing?  Who is Kit Kittredge anyway?

To answer the second question first, Kit is one of the historical characters in the American Girl line of dolls.  Her stories take place in 1934, during the Great Depression in the United States.  I fell in love with these stories when my daughter was reading them for the first time many years ago.

I greatly appreciate the thriftiness and resourcefulness of the people of that time.  ”Waste not, want not” was not merely a slogan; it was a way of life.  To make bed sheets last longer, Kit’s mother (and her real-world counterparts) would split the sheets down the center, then sew the outer edges together to form the ‘new’ sheet.  Dresses were made from the cloth bags that once held chicken feed or flour.  Mending worn clothing, remaking old garments into new ones, and altering hand-me-downs were ways in which families in 1934 could make their clothing (and their dollars) last longer.  (Has that sufficiently answered the first question?)

Kit has been my model for the doll clothes that I sell on Etsy, at Jori-M-Porium.  She helps me size the clothing as I’m working, and she patiently stands for picture after picture when I have a pile of new items to be photographed.  I love Kit!

(Note:  Kit actually belongs to my daughter, who allows me to borrow Kit for my purposes.  Thanks, sweetie!)

Doll clothes

I like to make clothing for dolls!  Let me be more specific: I like to make clothing for 18″ dolls, like American Girl dolls.  No making Barbie clothes for me.  That’s way too tiny.  Scale-appropriate prints are difficult to find, and using only solid color fabrics is just boring.  And adding embellishments to something so small would drive me crazy!  But I really enjoy creating little garments for the bigger dolls.

I made seemingly countless matching dresses for my daughter and her doll over the course of a few years.  One fun thing about all those doll dresses is that we now have a miniature history of my daughter’s wardrobe as she was growing up, even though we don’t have her dresses any more.  Girls outgrow their clothes; dolls don’t.  In fact, that doll probably has a larger collection of clothing than any of us, because she never has to get rid of anything!

When I was still making clothes for my daughter’s doll, the following would be a typical progression.  The doll’s mommy (my daughter) would see a picture of “the cutest dress ever” and her doll simply must have one just like it!  (Just ask me how many times I heard this one.  No, wait…don’t.)  I would then look at the picture, appropriately ooh and aah over it, go bug-eyed when I saw the price, then tell the doll’s mommy that we wouldn’t be buying that particular dress, but ask her help me find fabric to make one.  Those were always fun projects, and I knew the little mommy would love the end result because she had already picked it out.

Doll clothes that I make for gifts or for sale usually start out in a different way.  I begin with adorable fabric remnants that just happen to find their way home with me from the fabric store.  I know I have a pattern at home that will be perfect for this fabric, so I have to get it, you know?  Then I look through my odds and ends of trims and buttons and figure out exactly what this little dress (or coat or pajamas or robe or jumper or whatever) will look like.

A really nice advantage to making doll clothes is that they go together fairly quickly (compared to people clothes).  The longest seam (for a long dress or nightgown) is only 14″ or so.  Another perk is that adding interesting accents or trims uses minimal materials.  Since I already have a sizeable stash of ribbon, lace, bias tape, hem tape, Velcro, buttons, and the like, I usually don’t have to purchase any notions especially for a doll garment, except perhaps a zipper or other boring, practical item.


(Once again, I apologize for the lack of photographs.  It will be a glorious day when I find that flash drive!)