Re-Make It – An Outgrown Shirt Becomes A New Outfit For An American Girl Doll…

I have always been a big fan of recycling, now also known as re-using or re-purposing. As far back as I can remember my Grandmother could always find a way to re-use items like : coffee cans, jars, pantyhose, old clothing, even those little left over pieces of soap, she would keep to compress together.  She frequently gave me scraps  and buttons from my Grandfathers old shirts to make things for my dolls.

So it is no supprise that I have followed suit. I find it challenging to throw things away, I stare at the item and try to think what could be done with it now, especially when I was home-schooling. Which, of course, could easily put me into the catagory of “hoarder”. We are in a time of cross purposes: recycle, re-use, re-purpose, or on the other hand  we hear “don’t hoard- purge!” So, in trying to find a happy medium, I recycle in the usual community way and since I am a seamstress/designer, I examine every piece of clothing that is ourgrown or damaged in our house, before it goes to Goodwill or the trash.  If I am particularly attatched to the item, like baby clothes that hold a special memory, it is saved, or if it is something I think I can use in a new project, it is put in my Project box- or boxes, in my case!!This pillow, for example, was made with my sons’ outgrown Tshirt and matching patchwork shorts, that he and I both loved, and co-ordinated with the “surfer” theme we were working on in his room.

Recently my daughter, Brianne,  outgrew a favorite shirt that she did not want to part with as it is an official “American Girl” shirt and she just recieved an “American Girl” doll for Christmas, that of course, looks just like her.  So my solution? I will make her doll an outfit from the shirt. 

So I cut it up through the sides, seperating the front and back, then cut out the “American Girl” emblem so that I can later applique it to the front of the dolls’ top as it did not fit the pattern piece for the top because of where it was located on the shirt.

Then, using a popular 18″ doll’s clothing pattern, I laid out the pieces I needed to make a similar style top and matching pants for our AG doll.

Notice I cut the doll’s top using the existing bottom hem as the doll’s hem as well to retain the original decorative stitching.

I was able to get all the pieces I needed for the top and a ruffle for the pants, from my daughter’s shirt.

I appliqued the American Girl emblem to the front of the top, suprisingly it just fit!

Then I  went on to finish the outfit and – voila!!

She has a new outfit similar to one of my daughter’s favorite outfits!!!  Needless to say, Brianne was thrilled!!  Considering how much these American Girl outfits cost, this is a great thrifty way to fill up her closet. (No we don’t have the “Armoire” yet- but I am sure we soon will!)

Best of all I did it all with-in one hour!!

Next week I will show you how to make something really practical that everyone could use and will save you money!!!

Keep up the recycling, re-using, and re-purposing.



Finding Time to be a Work -at-Home Mom

I am a stay-at-home Mom, who feels like a single parent to my three wonderful children. My Husband works insane hours and is never home on weekends due to his schedule. Thus leaving me to be the literal Mom-Taxi!  But wait! There’s more –  I am also a work-at-home Mom, as I own my own business –

K. A. Handmade.

This will all soon become MORE complicated as we are adding a second business to the mix!

What do I do, you ask?  Well, I design and create handmade costumes, clothing, home decor and plushies, your wish is my inspiration! I have been doing this since I was in middle school when I learned how to sew.

Now, as you can imagine, trying to do all this along with taking care of a family of five and three dogs, is no easy task. How do I create 30 costumes, shuffle the kids to three separate schools-(no buses!), get them to practice, play dates, shop for groceries, clean the house, do the laundry and walk the dogs??  Holy Cow! I have no idea!!

Organization and cooperation are the key, even though I don’t always feel that my life is organized.  It is also by teaching my children to be self-sufficient – wish I could teach my husband that one!! LOL!
They make their own lunches, are responsible for putting their own clothing in the laundry bins because I do NOT search for dirty clothes. Who would want to do that? It means more work after all! They wanted the dogs, so they are responsible for taking care of them. They clean their own rooms and bathrooms and since I do the cooking – they do the dishes. I mean, what are kids for if not to take a load off? Right?

Seriously, my goal here is to raise responsible adults that have a good work ethic and can take care of themselves. At the same time I am hoping that they will pick -up on  my entrepreneuring spirit by watching me create a business from something I love to do.

I find that if I get up an hour before my family, then I can get myself organized for the day and once I am organized, then everything runs much smoother. I generally have five hours between the time I  drop off the last child at her school- before I have to pick up my oldest and get him to practice. Once we are all home (two hours later- traffic -URG! ) It’s homework time while I prepare dinner. Luckily, the older two do not need much help with their homework, thank God! I am no math whiz!! Once dinner is done I go right back to my studio, which is right off the living room, so I am accessible, but in my zone. When my husband comes home I sit with him while he eats his dinner and we share our day. Then, if I am on a deadline, I go back to my studio. Weekends are another story!
I usually have more time on weekends – until racing season begins! Did I mention my boys are in Crew? Not familiar with it? Ever seen the movie “Varsity Blues” or “The Social Network”? Well being a part of Crew is NOT an activity- it is a way of life! In our house, it has become a year long – life long sport / obsession!!

Regatta Oars

When racing season begins we generally have a race every Saturday, which is a day-long event.  I’m talking 5:00 am to 6:00 pm! In ANY kind of weather, they are more determined than your postman!! The more prestigious races involve many states or regions and are whole weekend affairs.

How do I work with this, you ask? I prepare whatever must be done on the sewing machine and save the hand-work for these days; Buttons, hand stitching, embroidery, crocheting, stuffing and paperwork are saved for ‘race days’ where I sit under a tent in my fold up chair with my sewing bag next to me and my binoculars around my neck  waiting for my sons’ races to begin.


I have been seen hand sewing the lace cuffs on the Mad Hatter Costume.

The Mad Hatter!

Hand appliqueing the ‘E’ on a Crew blanket  for a team member. Crocheting flowers to add to a repurposed denim skirt. Stuffing a Coraline doll and sewing her limbs on.

This has actually been a great advertisement for my business, as the other parents arrive currious to see what I will be working on that day. I practice this at other places as well, such as,  doctors’  appointments, the dentist’s office, and the dreaded car maintenance appointments. I’ll say it again, this has been a boost to my business as it is a great conversation starter and people are always curious about what I am making. Where there is a will there is a way, and if there is ANY block of time that my hands are free- I will fill them!

This summer my husband has bought me a new Mac-Book Pro laptop, as we will soon open a new business. Now, I can take that with me as well! (Not sure if that’s such a good thing or not!)

By the way, that new business I mentioned?  It’s  You’ve heard it mentioned here for the past several weeks, as we have divulged details about a new E-commerce handmade web-site. We are getting closer to our launch date and SO excited to present to the public a fresh, personal experience in an on-line venue for handmade Artists of all types and a pleasure for shoppers world-wide!  Keep reading our posts and be the first to know when we launch!

As my daily schedule fills up even more, I find new places to create and fulfill God’s purpose for my life.

Kerry ♥♥♥