My son and my nephew share birthdays that are a month apart. It’s great- they’re both the same age. I always wanted a sibling close in age, so I’m pleased that my son will have a similar experience. My relationship with my cousin who was close in age, was a part of my childhood that brings me some really heartfelt memories.
Being that I don’t believe in consumerism, I made toys for both boys. And while I don’t believe in gender grooming, these toys tend to be male oriented, but don’t let that dissuade you from trying your hand at them. One of my fondest memories growing up was opening up the homemade gifts my mother made me for holidays and birthdays. I especially loved homemade dolls and Barbie clothes.
This doll here is just a salvage Cabbage Patch, rescued from the consignment shop. It was naked with messy hair, but clean, so I scooped it up like an orphan. I made some clothes for it out of some old felted sweaters, and I’ve included instructions below!
To felt your sweaters, make sure they’re 100% wool. Wash them on hot, preferable with something like denim to agitate it more, and then dry it on hot.
To make dolly pants, the pattern is simple. Since most dollies don’t have much in the way of a butt, you simply cut off a sleeve at the end. I sewed up one side to make it more even, like a tube.
Then I cut up the middle, and sewed around the edges to make pants.
Tada!!!!! Next is the shirt. Cut off the end of another sleeve. Cut holes in the sides, big enough to accommodate the width of the doll’s arms.
Cut two squares of fabric and sew them together on the side to make tubes for sleeves. You can simply measure around the dolls arms by wrapping the fabric around it and allowing for a small seam, or even cutting the sleeve length after the tube is sewn on. I cut along my seams to reduce bulk after stitching it.
Then I turn up the sleeves on the ends, and turn up the armholes. This makes like two sets of lips touching, making a fabric seam to sew. It should look like this.
Since my dolly has a short baby neck, and the cuff of the sweater I used was long, I folded it down, and blanket stitched it in place, like a turned-over turtleneck.
I also blanket stitched around the cuffs. I like how it flairs the end of the sleeves.
Lastly, I blanket stitched the bottom of the sweater and the bottom of the pants.
The booties are stretchy fabric (knit would work, like an old t-shirt). I sewed it in the shape of a capital cursive “U” (that is, straight on one side, curved on the other), with a straight hemmed top. Infant socks would work just fine if this seems tedious to you. For a bed, I painted an old clementine box, and made some simple bedding from some fabric scraps and quilt batting.
In addition to the dolly, I made a few other gifts. I made this bag with washable crayons and a tractor coloring book for my son. It’s a great little bag to bring for rides in the car, or appointments. There’s an entire post on how to do this one.
Perhaps one of my most clever hacks was this wallet that I made my nephew. I used this pattern, and used old mail-offer credit cards and old gift cards. There’s also an ID card to fill out, which came from something my grandmother had on hand. The money is just a rectangle of felt, which has fancy stitching around the edge, and I used a fabric marker to write on it. I suppose that a Sharpie marker would work as well.
Last, I also recommend this car cozy. My son has had a blast with it!