My niece recently celebrated her sixth birthday. And I whipped up some new outfits for her much beloved American Girl doll to mark the occasion!
Her doll was carefully chosen to resemble her own physical features, including hair color and eye color. At the time, even their hairstyles looked alike! But rather than borrow my niece's doll to model these new clothes for my photographs, I borrowed my sister's original Pleasant Company dolls, Felicity and Addy.
Not to be outdone by the name brand clothes my niece could pick out for herself at the American Girl store in Columbus, I took the time to add some one-of-a-kind touches to these diminutive garments...
Firstly, I dyed this fabric to achieve a particular shade of blue before I started cutting or sewing. As you can see, it's pretty easy to turn any white-on-white print into an interesting new fabric, because the printed areas resist the dye. Thus the fabric's original printed pattern gets preserved, but also enhanced by the contrasting depth of color resulting from the dye process.
Secondly, I took the time to add finely stitched details to each item of clothing, including creases on the front of the pants, double stitched hemlines, functional pockets on the front of each shirt, and a tie-front on the khaki shorts as well as dummy pockets. I remember being fascinated with details, like these, when I was a kid. If my niece doesn't appreciate them, now, she might later in life.
If you ever want to dye your own fabric or soft goods — with or without kids involved — I personally recommend Tumble Dye from s.e.i. (www.seicrafts.com). It's my personal favorite, because it's safe to use without needing rubber gloves, salts, other chemicals, or even hot water. Once the dye is set, it's permanent, but I can easily wash it out while it's still wet, if I happen to make a mistake or decide I don't like the color. I also like that these dyes are ready to use immediately, and I can store them for long periods between uses. (Not true of many Tulip brand tie-dye kits, which come in powder form and expire within the same day you mix them.)
Of course, I also take some comfort in the knowledge these products are Made in the USA!
Below, you can see my fabric and get some idea how easy it is to use a Tumble Dye kit. The little blue spray bottle is my dye, and the bigger pink spray bottle is just water. (Sure, the grass gets a little color on it, but it's not permanent and it doesn't hurt anything!) I have used this same bottle of dye many times over several years, and I haven't run out. :)