January 07, 2013

Balance beam for American Girl doll

Dimensions 20" W x 2 1/4" H x 3 1/2" D

See my other free Gymnastic tutorials


What you need

  • 2 x 2 x 20" lumber (actual size will be 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 20")
  • 1 x 4 lumber scrap piece (2 slices 1" wide)
  • 2 letter size pieces of felt (or one continues piece min 8" x 24")
  • Glue (e.g. Elmer's glue)
  • 4 small nails (min. 1 1/4" long)
  • optional 4 wood staples

How to make the balance beam

I will add more pictures as soon as I have them

1. Take the 2x2 and evenly distribute glue on one of the long sides

2. Lay felt pieces on table (if two line them up on the short side as close as possible together

3. Place 2x2 with glued side down in the middle of the felt, make sure felt will be able to wrap around 2x2 completely (make sure the felt pieces form a barely noticeable seam)

4. Put glue on either side of the glued side and pull fleece around

5. Let dry

6. Glue last side, cut felt to form a barely noticeable seam (fold one side in then fold the other over, take a ruler and place along the center, then take a sharp knife and cut along ruler through both layers of felt. This should give you a perfect seam)

7. Let dry

8. Fold in both ends to for a nice end and glue and optional staple it

9. Take the scrap 1x4 lumber and cut two 1" slices. You will then have two pieces  1 x 4 x 1
(3/4" x 3 1/2" x 1" actual size) that will form the feet for the stand

10. Mark each slice the following

11. Cut the corners off, that are marked with a red X

12. Sand and round off all corners, you can also clear finish or paint it at that stage

13. Place one of the feet 2" from the edge on the underside of the beam (the side that has the long seam all along) and pre-drill 2 small holes through the foot and into the beam

14. Nail in place

15. Repeat steps 13 and 14 on the other side with the other foot

You are done !!!

For more Gymnastics items see my blog

Uneven Bars for American Girl doll

Overall dimensions 13 1/2" W x 19" H x 14" D

The uneven bars can be disassembled (into 9 pieces, see picture further down) so they can be stored easily e.g. in a little bag)

See my other free Gymnastic tutorials

What you need

  • glue and if available PVC primer and cement
  • Krylon Fusion (for plastic) spray paint
  • painters masking tape
  • 1/2" CPVC 8' long
  • 5/8" wooden dowel 24" long
  • 4x 90° elbow for 1/2" CPVC
  • 6x T for 1/2" CPVC
  • 4x end cap for 1/2" CPVC
  • fabric 12" x 20" (e.g. flannel) for storage bag
  • draw string for storage bag
  • white felt (3" x 7") for grips
  • small pieces of velcro for grips
  • 2x 1/2" CPVC pipe wall attachment for grips


How to make the uneven bars

1. Cut the following pieces (I used a chop saw, but you can use a hand saw too)
         2x  10 1/2"    (sides for low bar)
         2x  17"          (sides for high bar)
         4x  5"            (bottom stand)
         1x  12"          (across bottom stand)
         4x  1"            (to attach end caps)

     wooden dowel
         2x  12"          (bars)

2. Take two 5" pieces and a T connector and glue together (part A)

3. Take the other two 5" pieces and a T connector and glue together (part B)

4. Take a 1" piece and a T connector and glue it together

5. Take an end cap and glue it into the T connector with the 1" piece (part C)

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 three more times to get all 4 end caps used (parts C)

7. Take one of the wooden bars and glue a 90° elbow piece on either side, making sure they are both facing the same way and laying down level

8. Repeat step 7 for the other wooden bar

9. Let all the glue dry thoroughly before continuing

10. Now we are going to assemble it before we are gluing the last pieces in place

11. Take part A and add a part C on each end (A and the two Cs should be 90° to each other)

12. Take part B and add part C on each end (B and the two Cs should be 90° to each other,
       just like in step 11)

13. Take the 12" piece and connect it to parts A and B to form an H
14. Take the two 17" pieces and put them on the back of the H

15. Take the two 10 1/2" pieces and put them on the front of the H
16. Add the two bar pieces
17. Now that it is assembled and straight (plumb)!!! we can glue the last 4 pieces in place

18. Take one part C out and glue it pack into place making sure everything is still straight (plumb)

19. Repeat step 18 for the other three part Cs, each time making sure everything is still straight

20. Let the glue dry

21. Wrap the wooden bars in painters masking tape all around

22. Leave assembled and spray paint all of it and let dry

23. After the paint has dried completely (24h - 48h) remove the masking tape,
      You could seal the bars with a clear sealer if you want to

You are done !!!

How to make the grips

1. Cut 4 pieces of felt 3/4" x 1 3/4"

2. Top stitch 2 pieces together, repeat for the other 2 pieces

3. Take 1/2" double folded bias tape and cut 4 pieces 4 1/2" long (or make your own: 1 1/2" wide 18" long, fold long sides in 1/4" then fold in half)

4. Cut 4 small piece of Velcro (rough and soft side)

5. Sew soft end of Velcro on one side of the bias tape piece, turn bias tape piece over and sew rough end of Velcro on the opposite end. Now you will have Velcro on both ends but on opposite sides of the bias tape

6. Repeat step 5 for the other three bias tape pieces

7. Sew on bias tape pieces as shown

8. Take the CPVC 1/2" pipe holder and cut one side of and sand off all roughness

9. Hand sew CPVC holder onto fleece (see picture in step 7)

You are done !!!

How to make the bag

1. Cut a piece of fabric 12" x 20"
2. Zigzag all around
3. Fold long sides together (right sides together) that you will have 6" x 20"
4. Sew bottom short side and continue on to long side sewing up to 3" from the top
5. Fold over seams from long side then double hem the top side (3/4")
6. With safety pin thread draw string through double hem and knot both ends

You are done !!!

For more Gymnastics items see my blog

Gymnastics for American Girl doll - overview

There are separate blogs for each of the items

Leotard / Swimsuit for American Girl doll

See my other free Gymnastic tutorials


What you need

  • 14" x 10"  4 way stretch fabric (stretches in width and height)
  • FOE (fold over elastic) (around 18")


How to make the leotard / swimsuit

download leotard pattern here

Please use for home use only, this pattern is copyrighted by me, Read Creations !
Make sure you have page scaling set to none !

All seams are 1/4" if not specified otherwise, use a stretch stitch on your sewing machine

1. Cut out both pattern pieces. You can play with it and make your own neck designs (that is why I have marked where I cut it but gave you the pattern up to her neck), just make sure you have the opening big enough for her body and arms to fit through (fabric and foe will stretch to a certain extend). The suggested neck opening is the bare minimum size if you don't want to use any Velcro. If you want a smaller neck opening, you either need to add a seam in the back with Velcro, or you have to make it big enough for the head and you can put a Velcro closure between her legs (like a body)

2. Sew her right shoulder sides (front and back) together (fabric right sides together)

3. If you have a pointed neck, mark the point with a needle otherwise you can skip this step

4. Sew foe around neck opening (pull foe slightly but not too much)

5. If you have a pointed neck, fold front in half and sew across foe in an angle (indicated with the needle since the thread is barely visible)

6. Sew other shoulder side (front and back) together

7. Sew foe around both arm openings (pull foe slightly but not too much)

8. Sew sides together

9. Sew foe around both leg openings (pull foe more tightly on the back sides and only slightly on the front, this will help shape the butt area)

10. Sew front and back together between the legs

You are done !!!

  • If you don't want to use foe, you can always add a seam allowance where I used foe and hem it with 1/4" elastic
  • You can always cut the pattern pieces in half (maybe in an angle across in the front) add a seam allowance to the cut sections on both sides and voila, you can have multi-colored leotards
  • You can add folded foe to the seams as seen in the black leotard

For more Gymnastics items see my blog

January 05, 2013

Native American Tipi for American Girl doll

Tipi is  36" high x 36" wide x 36" deep

See my other free Native American tutorials


What you need

  • beige suede fabric (min 38" x 73")
  • matching thread
  • 9 poles 40" long (dowls,branches,bamboo, ..  I used bamboo garden sticks from HomeDepot)
  • self sticking (commercial) Velcro
  • 2 - 3 medium sized safety pins

How to make the Tipi

download Tipi pattern here

Please use for home use only, this pattern is copyrighted by me, Read Creations !
Make sure you have page scaling set to none !

I made this Tipi without taking pictures, so I am just recreating the steps. To be able to capture it on camera, some of the pictures are not to scale, just for demonstration purpose.

1. Fold suede in half  right sides together so that long side is half the length (36 1/2")

2. On folded side go in 1" and mark the spot on the fold (this will be the center of your quarter circle)

3. Draw a quarter circle around that marked spot with a radius of 36" (to do that I took a marker and tied a 40" string on it, then I measured 36" from tip of marker and made a knot in the string at 36", then I held the knot on the marked spot on the fabric and started drawing my quarter circle, make sure you hold your marker straight down)

4. Stop with your circle 1" from the front of the fabric (the last 1" is your flap, see drawing)

5. Draw a straight line from the circle to the front of the fabric (this is part of you flap and chimney)

6. Cut along your quarter circle and the 1" straight line

7. Unfold, you should now have a half circle, 72" in diameter

8. Take Kaya's chimney cutout and center its cross onto your mark (center of your half circle), mark and cut (This will be the opening for the poles and the longer flaps will be part of the chimney

9. Take the Kaya's chimney liner pattern and put it on fold on some of the leftover suede and cut

10. Place the chimney liner onto the tipi (see above picture) right sides together

11. Sew along the front sides and around the opening

12. Turn liner to the inside and top stitch liner to the tipi around the unfinished sides (now, when the chimney flaps are open, it will have a finished look)

13. Top stitch around the opening and the front

14. At this point you could paint on it, if you wanted to decorate the Tipi

15. Layout your poles, space them evenly. Leave 6" on both fronts (this will form the door)
Space the other poles around 12" apart.

16. Put small pieces of the Velcro (soft part) on the bottom, (middle optional) and top where each pole goes (I had it tried with ties, but it didn't work, the poles were sliding out, that's when I added Velcro and it works great)

17. Put small pieces of the Velcro (rough part) on each pole corresponding to where the soft parts are on the tipi

18. Attach poles to the Velcro on the Tipi

19. Use the safety pins from the inside to close the top part of the Tipi (leave some room on top for the chimney, stay in the lined area)

20. Fold the chimney flaps outward

You are done, have fun !!!

For more Native American items see my blog