I am a mom of only boys and as a result, there weren’t many dolls in our house while the kids were growing up. I often visited friends with girls and saw how those little doll pieces took over every nook and cranny of their houses. Our home was filled more with matchbox cars, K’nex and art materials, but I did introduce a few dolls into the mix. First. there was a Basketball Barbie that was requested as a Chanukah gift by my sporty son. Barbie could actually bend her arm and throw a ball, which my son thought was pretty cool. She had only two outfits and that was just enough for us. My feminist Barnard-grad friend, who despised Barbie’s, insisted that I was corrupting my son by showing him a distorted version of a female body. Jane was serious with her thesis. Nevertheless, while we all got a very long lecture, the doll still stayed put and was played for a short while.
Next there was the set of dolls that I bought to announce to our first set of twin boys (age 2 1/2 at the time) that we were expecting another set of twins!! Each boy had their own lifelike doll to hold and carry, and they did a great job preparing to become big brothers. One of those dolls eventually broke and was thrown out, but the remaining doll lived on. That solo doll became known as Baby Doll by our youngest son, who would come along after the 2nd set of twins. Baby Doll was so realistic that she occasionally fooled us into thinking she was a 6th child!!! She had clothing, a wooden platform bed from Ikea, a pillow and numerous blankets. She even had an official zippered adorable Met’s jacket. (Let’s Go Met’s!) Today, she sits in the closet like an overlooked item from the movie Toy Story, tucked away but not really forgotten.
Lately, my friend Amy from A Doll Like Me has reminded me of the importance of dolls for therapeutic play. While my own boys may be out of the toy-playing stage in their lives and have moved on to electronic gadgets and such, dolls are timeless. There will always be children who play with dolls. Additionally, there will always be children who benefit from playing with dolls that look just like them. Dolls help children to mirror events in their own lives. There are so many dolls in various cultures that we can easily see their universal importance.
Amy presented me with a doll challenge that I couldn’t resist and today was my day to step up. The challenge was to make a doll sleeping bag, rather than a blanket, for a specific little girl who frequently takes her doll camping. Her clever mother thought it would be a lovely idea and I’m happy to oblige. Mission Accomplished!!!
I looked at numerous adorable patterns online, but this is the 18″ Doll Sleeping Bag tutorial that I found most helpful. I needed to make just a few minor adjustments to the directions. I wanted to make the sleeping bag extra snazzy with more than one coordinated fabric. The inside of the bag is a faux-knit Sock Monkey flannel pink fabric that I just happened to have in the closet. I also decorated the top portion of the sleeping bag with the light pink fabric in Organic Cotton. It is “spring bird” from Spring Walk by Little Cube for Cloud-9. I also opened up the side seam a few extra inches for easier access. Finally, this pattern called for a long ribbon to tie the bag closed, which I felt could be too complicated for our doll owner. Look at the photo below and do you see the elastic band at the bottom of the bag? Borrowing from a different idea online, I attached a loop of elastic right to the bag itself. Now it’s easy to take the sleeping bag on the go. You just roll it up with the pillow right inside and wrap the attached elastic around the entire bundle.
The matching zippered totes (seen in the bottom photo) are just because I had extra fabric and couldn’t stop. If zippers aren’t manageable for the little girl, then I would be glad for Mom to have a matching gift for herself. Either way, this is now an ensemble gift that’s ready to mail and I am thrilled with how it came out!