After finishing our first Nancy Drew book and starting another during Eric’s nap yesterday, Katie and I were casting about for something to do. We decided to take a five minute break to think to ourselves…

Then the strangest thing happened! I said, “Okay, I’ve got an idea…”

And then Katie piped up, “Let’s make paper dolls!”

Which was EXACTLY what I’d been thinking! We’ve never made paper dolls before, so how did we both think of this???

Katie then suggested, “Let’s make Nancy!” So a paper doll of Nancy it was.

I have never made a paper doll before, though I had a few from sets when I was a girl. Making them by hand turned out to be easy, and this is now going in our go-to rainy afternoon (or any afternoon) craft file.

First we drew out a figure on white card stock. I cut out two of them and glued them together for extra sturdiness. I am no visual artist, but since the doll looked reasonably like a human girl, we were satisfied. My instinct was to leave the face plain, but Katie really wanted us to draw some of it in.

Next, we traced the doll and made patterns for clothes: shirt, trousers, skirt.

We would trace the basic pattern on pretty paper, then alter the design (short or long skirt, plunging neckline, flared or straight dress, short or long sleeves). Then I would cut them out, being sure to add tabs to the perimeter, so we could attach the clothes to the doll.

The white pieces are our basic patterns.

Nancy and her new clothes (all of them do have multiple tabs, much like the green dress, but some of them are folded down from play and can’t be seen in this picture). Katie embellished many of the clothes with ribbons and other scrapbooking scraps.

This was our rather quick effort yesterday afternoon, and I sure wish I’d thought of this a few months ago. What a neat, inexpensive, and old-fashioned Christmas gift a homemade paper doll set would have been, no? It would be easy to cut a whole wardrobe for a pair of dolls after the kiddos go to bed, over several nights. A person could make era-themed dolls and clothes. Another idea would be to make some plain white clothes and have the child color/design the prints themselves.

Even though part of me wishes I could have surprised Katie with a beautiful, crafted-with-greater-time-and-care paper doll set as a Christmas gift, making this Nancy doll and clothes together was a gift to her little heart, too. Katie has already said she hopes we make more clothes, as well as Bess, George, and Ned dolls.

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