My Young Fashion Designer & Her American Girl Doll

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I love making things. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s the creative process I’m in love with. Specifically I love creating with textiles, mostly because I made costumes for the stage in my before kids life. I’ve introduced my kids to my passion.

When Sophia was two years old, I handed her a blunt needle threaded with embroidered thread and an embroidery hoop with muslin. Together I taught her how to move her needle in and out to create art with thread. She couldn’t get enough of it.

Eventually, I showed her how to sketch her ideas and create them. She made booties for her dolls, dresses, skirts. At first we collaborated. She designed, chose the fabrics and I sewed it all together. Then, while I unintentionally napped with her little brother, Sophia dug into the bag of fabric I put aside for her. She snipped and stretched. Tested her designs on her dolls, on herself. Pretty soon, she was making dress up clothing for herself and ensembles for her doll.

I haven’t introduced her little brother to sewing yet. His personality is different from his sister (obviously) and I’m not sure I trust him not to ram the sewing needle in my arm just to see what happens. This means sewing has become a mother-daughter activity. I cherish it whenever we can sneak those moments in.

Last weekend, after discovering the leggings she wore had a large hole at the knee, I tried to convince her to get rid of them. Like any seven year old, she begged to keep them. They were her favorite. They were sooo comfortable!

“What if you cut it up to make clothes for Ruby?” I asked in a flash of brilliance. That’s all the motivation she needed. She took the idea and ran with it.

Without any sewing, just strategic cutting, she made two articles of clothing for her American Girl Doll. A ball gown fit for the red carpet and a lounge dress. The ball gown Ruby is modeling in the photo above is backless and comes with a choker. Take that Anne Hathaway.

I’m not sure who is more proud of Sophia’s creation: me or her.

This post was inspired by Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives by John Elder Robison. In his memoir, he and his son Cubby design their new home together, from the bedrooms to the kitchen. 


Parenting is a challenging job, but what challenges does a parent with Asperger’s face? Join From Left to Write on March 12 as we discuss Raising Cubby. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes. This post contains affiliate links.

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