Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sewing a wardrobe for Twinkles

About a year ago I found this pretty gold makeup/toiletries bag while thrift shopping.  It was so sparkly and looked like a mini suitcase (with a mirror inside).  I had to buy it.  I thought it would make the perfect special Christmas gift for Lucy!  So I stashed it away in the closet all year, thinking of a special something to tuck inside. 
Then on the last day of school before Christmas break Lucy came home with a present from her teacher....a cute little bear she named Twinkles (courtesy of IKEA)

Now, Lucy's never been into dolls.  She's definitely a small figurines kind of girl.  So I thought the bear was adorable but didn't think she'd actually play with it. 
Then for the next 2 days she toted that thing around the house, grabbing scraps of fabric and taping it around the bear's body to create dresses, tying ribbons around her waist etc.  It was really cute to see the ensembles she came up with.

And then it all clicked.  I needed to sew clothes for Twinkles!  And I needed to wrap them all up in the pretty gold suitcase!  Perfecto.  So for the last 3 nights leading up to Christmas, I waited til she went to bed, grabbed her bear (which was sleeping next to her in bed) and started sewing.

First a little dress with....yep...1/4 inch bias tape.  There's always a need for bias tape.
 Then I thought jammies were in order.  I love how little fabric it takes to make doll clothes.
 She'll probably need some blankets and pillow...
And soon I'd drafted a small collection of patterns so I could make the same items over and over with variations.  I had so much fun!  And I loved sewing freely, without taking photos along the way (something I haven't done in a while). I couldn't wait for Lucy to go to bed each night so I could get sewing again. 
I stuck with very basic clothing construction.  Like basic pants (with tons of room in the bum for a bear tail), a simple skirt, an oversized bow, and a basic shirt that velcro in the back. Then I added puffed sleeves and made a tiny pair a shoes.
Shoes!  I was so happy when these worked out.  They're one of my favorite items in the bunch.
I gave her a pair of polka dot skinnies,
and a gray heart sweatshirt with raw hems and puffed shoulders.
I could have sewn all week but I could tell Casey already thought I was crazy.  So I finished the wardrobe with my favorite outfit.   It started as a satin skirt, then I decided to add little shoulder straps, and a feather hair accessory, and...well, it totally looked like a teddy (no pun intended).  I had my doubts.
 But then I tried it on and loved it!  A little evening wear for Twinkles.
It simply ties together in the back like an apron.  Easy for tiny fingers to put on.
Then I pulled out the gold suitcase, loaded it up and tied a big green bow on top.  When Lucy spied it under the tree Christmas morning, she walked straight over to see who it was for and let out a little gasp, "Owen, it's for me."
She opened it up to find Twinkles and her new clothes!
Then she couldn't wait to share the news with her class.  She even took her to school today dressed in the pink satin dress....and reported back this afternoon that now all the kids in her class would like bear clothes. Hmmm.  Noted
Who knew this round of doll clothes sewing would be so fun?  I think it was the secret surprise of it all that made it extra special.  I should pretend I'm a sewing elf every few months.  I know Lucy wouldn't mind.

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