If you’ve got a kid who loves American Girl dolls, then you already know the following fact:
The American Girl war machine wants all your money.
All of it. Every spare cent, every few bucks that you can save, they want you to spend on American Girl doll shoes and American Girl doll Halloween costumes and American Girl doll outfits that perfectly match kid-sized outfits that they also want you to buy.
Fortunately, American Girl dolls, and their other 18″ doll counterparts, have a big advantage for the DIY-er: they’re actually pretty easy to craft for.
Pity the ones whose kids are into Barbies, because you’ll drive yourself mad sewing all those itty-bitty seams on itty-bitty Barbie clothes. DIY American Girl doll clothes have normal seams that you can sew on a sewing machine. In some cases, you can even upcycle baby clothes for them (more on that later!).
Doll things are also fun to make because it’s so easy to upcycle for them–old clothes, fabric scraps, bits of cardboard and wood can all be fashioned into some really cute American Girl doll clothing and accessories.
So if your kid has an 18″ doll, check out the following list of DIY American Girl Doll clothes and acessories that you can actually make for that doll.
DIY American Girl Doll Clothes and Accessories
1. bed with hidden storage. If you’ve already got a plastic bin around that’s a suitable size, this is a handy way to sneak some storage into your American Girl doll’s decor.
2. elastic-waisted American Girl doll skirt. Here’s an easy way to make a doll skirt. Try all kinds of fabric with it!
3. Girl Scout vest. I sewed Girl Scout vests and matching skirts for both of my kids’ American Girl dolls, and it’s kind of the cutest thing ever.
4. hangers. After your kids outgrow their toddler-sized clothing hangers, you can upcycle them into doll hangers.
5. hat and mittens. Upcycle an old sweater into these warm accessories.
6. Hogwarts robe. Did your kid’s American Girl doll get her Hogwarts letter yet? Make her a robe to celebrate! Black dress pants would be a good material to upcycle for this.
7. hospital costumes and accessories. This is the best group of tutorials EVER! You can make everything from scrubs to a band-aid using this set of tutes. I think the hospital gown would be an especially sweet item to craft for a kid who’s anticipating a hospital stay.
8. leggings. Here’s how to use a well-fitting pair of doll pants to make a pattern that you can use to sew doll leggings.
9. leotard. Kids outgrow their own leotards monthly, I feel like. Let their American Girl dolls wear their hand-me-downs, with this leotard or swimsuit tutorial.
11. newborn onesie into American Girl doll T-shirt. This is probably my favorite project on this list, because it’s so quick and easy–and CUTE! You can turn any newborn onesie into a T-shirt for an American Girl doll, and you don’t have to sew a stitch.
12. oatmeal canister into chair. Here’s another no-sew project–make your doll her own comfy chair out of an oatmeal canister.
13. peasant dress. I think this dress is SO cute. The pattern itself is on Scribd, which I find overpowerfully annoying to use, but it’s there if you can force yourself to jump through the Scribd hoops.
14. pillowcase-style dress. If you make a pillowcase dress for your kiddo, you’ll likely have to cut off part of the pillowcase. Use that leftover fabric to make a matching doll dress! Do NOT use the style of shoulder ribbon on this doll dress for an actual child, however, because that would be a strangulation hazard for a human.
15. postage stamp wrap skirt. Use up the teensiest fabric scraps to sew your American Girl doll this patchwork-style skirt.
16. scarf and beret. Winter is coming–your doll needs a scarf!
17. sleeping bag. Does your kid’s American Girl doll want to go camping, too? That is not a problem.
18. sleeveless jumper. This would be a good beginner’s project for an aspiring sewer.
19. T-shirt. This is another way to upcycle old T-shirts. Combine it with the maxi skirt, above, for a complete outfit.
20. tutu. I have a lot of luck finding the tulle that you’ll need for a project like this as part of the formal dresses that I sometimes thrift to make dress-up clothes for my kids.