Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Meet Gianna

For her birthday, Katie wanted a full-sized sewing machine.  We found a very nice Kenmore on Craigslist for a steal a few weeks ago and Rob found a Craigslist coffee table that made a workspace at just the right height.  We set her own space up next to my sewing area and called it a birthday success.

However, for her actual birthday I still wanted her to have a more typical gift.  I found a BFC Ink. Gianna doll on Woot one day last month for about $14 and fell in love.  Her cousins have American Girl dolls which are lovely but about five times that price and this was a beautiful doll.  My only complaint is that her "diary" includes things like "Things I could live without: Math (boo!)" and her crush on the boy in math class even though he's really good at math and she's "so not."  And her crush on a vampire character and a few other un-necessary cliches.  We'll straighten Miss Gianna out, no worries.  Katie already has her reading a book on dragons.

So the doll was boxed up and then came the real treat.  I found about twenty patterns online either for free or a small fee (largely from Liberty Jane who have amazingly detailed and photo-illustrated instructions). I printed them out in color, slid them into page protector sheets, and she unwrapped a cute three ring binder stuffed full of patterns to make jeans, shirts, dresses, skirts, bathing suits, nightgowns, leggings, socks, pajama pants, shorts, hats, and more.  Thrilled.

I found this idea on pinterest and followed the instructions pretty much exactly.  We didn't trim the round dowel rod and haven't gotten around to a decorative cap, but otherwise it's a total copy-cat.  We made a mattress pad out of a 5"x44" strip of flannel (folded over to be 5x22 and stuffed with a double layer of quilt batting; then tied with a dozen or so small knotted threads) and a pillow out of a scrap of fleece and some scrap ribbon stuffed with scrap batting.  This little doll is going to do wonders for clearing out my scrap bins.

The tiny doll quilt shown here was something Katie and I made a few years ago out of my scrap bin.  Gianna is apparently very pleased with it.

We got the hangers on Amazon and the bin hanging at the end was an Easter basket from Grandma.  It holds Gianna's diary, brush, books, and socks.

Speaking of socks, Katie made her first doll item today before lunch: a pair of socks up-cycled from a lonely mismatch.   Zero adult help involved. (Pattern link below)

We made the slippers together later.  We positioned the upper pattern piece on the fleece to ensure the flowers were front-and-center and then cut the soles from some blue felt.  (Pattern by Liberty Jane Patterns).

Gianna came with a dress and we got her another sundress as a gift.  But Katie was upset that she didn't have anything to sleep in so she made her a nightgown today as her first order of business (the brown dress she's wearing here).  I helped with the casings and guiding her from step-to-step but otherwise it was all her.

And since Gianna's eyes don't close, Katie came up with her own solution.  She traced Gianna's glasses onto some paper, cut out the pattern, cut that out from the star-and-moon fabric included in the stash sent from her aunt and uncle, and  attached a scrap of elastic.  Nighty-night!

The clothes she came with are hanging up.

Some of the patterns we have:

From Liberty Jane we have all of the free patterns (tank top, tshirt, shiny dress, swimsuit, crochet blanket, winter accessories), and a few paid ones (pajama set which includes slippers, party dress, jeans, bandeau top, leggings).  All are top notch.

Socks made out of a single mis-matched sock
Other socks (and some other items)
Make tights from a single adult sock
Peasant Dress (I adjusted it to fit the slimmer/longer doll; shortened sleeves; used as nightgown)
Two skirt patterns (and a draw-string shirt)
The Katie Dress (I re-drew the bodice piece based on the proportions of the free LJ tank top patterns)
Draw-string dress (aka pillowcase dress)--also slimmed down a bit for the slimmer/longer BFC doll vs AG dolls.
I also found some cute things on Ravelry and I'm sure several others I'm forgetting.


  1. Whoa. You are inspiring. And Katie is remarkable. Happy birthday again, Miss Katie.

  2. You probably sooo don't need this hint, but here goes anyway. But it might help Katie as she learns more about sewing.

    Once I became confident (if NOT proficient) with sewing, I found a few patterns that I wanted to make several times. However the pattern paper was so thin, that I could barely get one outfit out of a normal pattern.

    I got wax-backed butcher paper and ironed the pattern pieces on to the wax backing. The front was heavy/sturdy enough that I could use the cut-outs several times for outfits using different materials.

  3. I am so glad Gianna's getting an education. She will turn into a math whiz in no time at your house.

  4. That's right, I forgot you got her a machine! (I'm reading back through your blog now :D) This is so sweet and I'm glad she's having such fun with her doll. If anyone asks me about BFC doll patterns, I'm sending them your way!