18″ Doll – Picture Book and Sewing Project

While on Shutterfly a few years ago I saw a great idea.  Someone had purchased a teddy bear for their nephew, took pictures of the bear at different places, created a photo book and then sent them both as a gift.  I tucked the idea away and thought I might use it some day.

After my mother passed away in February 2011 I decided it was time to use this  idea for her two great grand daughters, my great nieces.  I had been looking at 18″ dolls and decided to purchase them each one.  I then purchased several patterns and fabric and began my sewing frenzy.  After the outfits were made I had several ideas for photo shoots.  I even asked my friends girls to help me out.  Going to Wal-mart with 2 dolls at my age just didn’t seem appropriate!

I named the dolls after the girls great grandmother’s and even added pictures and a little information about them both in the books.  I also used buttons on outfits from their great-great grandmother and added a picture of her in the book.  Here is a sample of the book I created at Shutterfly. If you click on “Full Screen” it is easier to see.

Below are the patterns I used and the issues I had if any with each pattern.  After sewing many outfits I have to say I am much happier with the McCall’s pattens. 

NOTE:  These dolls are the 18″ dolls from Wal-mart.


This dress is from McCalls pattern 6137.  I didn’t have any issues with this pattern.

This skirt, vest and shirt are from Simplicity pattern 2296.  I don’t like the finishing on this pattern. The vest is lined but then the seam is open on the inside.  The skirt is the same way.  The shirt is from McCall’s 6055 and it was fine.

 The bathing suit was from McCall’s 4896.  It is a leotard pattern but thought it would work great for a bathing suit or a leotard.  I don’t like the two piece on this pattern as the dolls have a fabric middle.

Of all the patterns I thought this was one was the closest to the “real thing” McCall’s 4066.  There are LOTS of little details on the jacket and I actually left one off, which was the flaps on the pockets.  On the boots I did not put the foam or the braid on the bottoms and did not put the snap on the side.  The pattern calls for  vinyl or rip stop.  I used a fabric from the costume section in JoAnns and really liked it as it was thinner than vinyl.  My presser foot still wanted to stick on the fabric so I used my roller foot.  The hat was the hardest part as it was hard to sew through all layers in such a small circle.  The pattern called for snaps for the coat but I felt that they would not hold up as well on the fabric so I used velcro and did not add the buttons.


For the coat and hat I used McCall’s 2506.  Very easy and using fleece you don’t have to worry about seams.  I used buttons from my grandmothers collection.  The mittens are from McCall’s 3469.  They were easy but tiny.  Not as bad as sewing Barbie doll clothes though!

I used McCalls pattern 6005 for these Pj’s.  They are cute and easy and had no alternations.  The blanket and pillow I just made myself.  The blanket is a fleece tied blanket just like the biggers ones.  The pillow I just cut a rectangle and filled it with fiber fill.


I used McCall’s pattern 5019.  I didn’t really like the pillow on this and not sure what I would have done differently.  I am sure the girls didn’t care.  The zipper was another story.  It was very hard to put in.  It turned out OK and looks just like a real sleeping bag but if I sewed them again I would just sew the botton up and only put the zipper on the side.  The dolls don’t really need a zipper that unzipps all the way across the bottom.

 I used McCall’s 2506.  There were no alternations to this.  It is actually a bath robe but I wanted it for a beach cover up.  I used terry cloth and had never sewn with it before. MISTAKE!  Terry cloth pulls apart very easy and with 1/4″ seams this was not a good choice of fabrics.  If I had used flannel or cotton it would have been a breeze. I sewed a terry blanket to go with this.

I used Simplicity pattern 2296 for this top.  I had to sew this twice as the first one was SO wide.  I took it in approx. 3/4″.  I don’t think the American Girl dolls are that much wider than the doll I used. The pants are from McCalls 6005, no issues them.    

 Cute!! McCalls 6005.  Pattern is fine, tule not so fine!  I sewed another tutu just using a piece of elastic, cutting strips of tulle and tying the tulle on the elastic with a slip knot.  MUCH easer.  The ballet slippers I used the slipper pattern from McCall’s 6005.  I cut the top part of the shoe off and then sewed ribbon to the back of the shoe long enough that it could be tied up the leg.


For the top I used Simplicity 2296.  The straps were way to long.  You can either make straps or use bias tape which I did. The leggins are from McCalls 6005 and no problems with them.

Beige jumper and top are from McCall’s 2506.  They were a perfect fit for these dolls.  I understand that American Girl dolls are a little wider than these dolls so you might have to increase the width of the jumper.

Christmas dresses from McCalls 3275.  These turned out great and I had no problems.  I purchased the boa from Michaels.  The boa on the spool was a not as wide and was priced cheaper than the hanging one.  I priced this at JoAnns and it was the same boa and was a higher price.  I just tacked it on in several differnt places with my sewing machine.

I hope you had as much fun reading about this project as I had creating it!  Do you have any ideas for fun picture gifts?  If so please share.

This entry was posted in Sewing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 18″ Doll – Picture Book and Sewing Project

  1. Pingback: Thrift Store Finds and Birthday Reflections 7-7-2012 | lifewithkeo

  2. Pingback: McCalls Pattern M6451 View E – Doll Apron Hat and Oven Mit | lifewithkeo

  3. Pingback: Simplicity 1793 | lifewithkeo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s