• American Girl Doll Crafter

The American Girl Design Challenge


Though I have always loved American Girl, my absolute favorite hobby is fashion design. Ever since I was little, keeping up with new trends and even creating my own outfits has been an interest of mine. In fact, I'm seriously considering a career in the field of clothing design. God has place this dream inside of me, and I can't wait to see what he will do next! But for now, I want to reveal something special I've been waiting to share- something that combines both American Girl and fashion!


Of course, every designer needs a space to dream and create- the AG Design Studio is just the place!

Using the American Girl Beforever Sketchbook, I designed six modern looks inspired by historical outfits from the Beforever line. After scanning the designs, they were then uploaded to Photoshop where I made a digital inspiration board for each one! I completed the last board a few days ago, and I can't wait to share this project with you. Let's dive right in!


The first look was inspired by the doll who really sparked my interest in American Girl, Kit Kittredge! Her Play Outfit is incredibly cute, and the idea came to me after dressing my own Kit doll in the dress.

Kit is known for her resourcefulness and passion for reporting, so I wanted her outfit to have a smart, vintage vibe while keeping a clean look. As shown on the inspiration board, ruffles from the skirt of the dress were used for the sleeves and top. A pencil skirt seemed fitting for this budding reporter, so it was designed to resemble the pop of color on her hat. Floral prints were very trendy in the 1930s, and in fact, this fabric is still in style today!


A few of you may know that I have had a recent obsession with Kirsten Larson, so of course she was my next design choice! This adventure-ready ensemble was inspired by her Meet Outfit and accessories.

Calico (a flower-patterned fabric popular in the 1800s) was mainly used for clothing on the frontier, and a similar pattern is on the front of the dress. My favorite aspect of Kirsten's modern outfit is the apron-inspired overlay. It's a stylish twist on an old classic! Some smaller details include bows, taken from her braids and bonnet. Did you catch her boots as well? There are so many little details to consider when designing an outfit!


Let's jump back a century to 1774 with Felicity Merriman. Hoop skirts and petticoats were common attire in those days, but how unfashionable would that be in 2018? It was a bit of a puzzle creating her look, but I think that was a good thing- Felicity really challenged my design abilities!

Felicity's dress was fashioned to reflect her bold, spunky spirit. The bright scarf adds a pop of color, and ties in to the yellow petticoat on her meet dress. Ruffles on the hem were inspired by the original sleeves, and although tall riding boots may not have been in style for girls back then, I know Felicity would wear a pair every single day if she lived in our times!


Nanea's design was fun to create, and I especially loved working with the tropical prints! Her story takes place in the beginning of World War II, so Nanea's school dress featuring the "Remember Pearl Harbor" pin seemed like the perfect historical outfit to refashion.

One of my favorite aspects of Nanea's School Dress is the tiered ruffled skirt, and it was incorporated through the neckline of the top. Another unique feature is the purse, which has a geometric pattern similar to her sandals. The bermuda-style shorts include the same colorful fabric as the dress. If you look closely, you might even spy the pearl buttons on the decorative straps of the shorts- a small detail in the memory of Pearl Harbor.


The 1950s was one of the most influential times in fashion history, complete with poodle skirts and pedal pusher pants! So many fun styles were introduced during this vibrant decade, making Maryellen Larkin's modern outfit a nifty design.

At first, I debated whether I should recreate Maryellen's meet outfit or school uniform, but her preppy purple dress won me over in the end! The tie front shirt relates to the many bows seen in the original dress and throughout Maryellen's collection. Shiny black buttons also played a role in the making of this design, as seen on the front of the top.


The final design has a groovy flair- literally! Julie Albright rocks her funky floral and bellbottom jeans with style. All of her outfits are so vivid and fun, but I was drawn to the bright color palette of her New Year's Eve Set.

My favorite characteristic of this modern outfit is the lavender kimono. I wanted to keep the layered look of Julie's long top, but update it to something girls would wear today. The lace trim from the shirt inspired the lace sleeves of the kimono, and those classic retro clogs definitely complete the 70s style!


Over in the AG Design Studio, Shelby is feeling motivated to create! She made a great score in the fabric shop today, and returns with arms full of colorful bolts of cloth.


"Let's make something for the Beforever girls," Shelby announces reaching for her doll collection.


Oh, but which doll to choose? Spirited Felicity? Clever Kit?


The options are endless!

After much thought, Shelby decides on...


...the one-and-only Maryellen Larkin! To begin the design process, Shelby starts by gathering her thoughts on an inspiration board. Maryellen's school dress has appeared to have caught her eye- good taste, Shelby!


Over in the corner of the studio stands a tall dress form displaying the school outfit. Shelby studies the original dress extensively, noticing each detail. Would she include gingham in her design? Perhaps pleats or bows?


Suddenly, Shelby snaps her fingers with a smile. "That's it!" A bright idea has struck! She rushes over to her sewing machine, purple fabric in hand. Then Shelby carefully threads the needle and begins to sew.


Shelby watches the needle as it soars up and down, piercing through the fabric. Though her eyes are focused on her work, Shelby's imagination is far away from the studio, already dreaming up another creation.


Whirrrrr, Whirrrr...

The studio is filled with a peaceful silence; the only sound heard is the sewing machine, purring loudly as it glides through the fabric.

This was the AG Design Studio, and it was just the way Shelby liked it.


Thanks for stopping by the studio today! Shelby and I had sew much fun, and we hope you enjoyed looking through the different designs.


Fashion designer or not, creativity is inside of everyone! If you design an American Girl inspired outfit, share it with us using the hastag #AGDesignChallenge.

Let's have fun and inspire each other!

Which outfit was your favorite? And whose historical outfit should I design next?

-AG Doll Crafter

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