Rachael recently wrote a post about her love-hate relationship with American Girl. And while I didn’t personally have a doll growing up, I had a few friends with them, and I always felt envious. Yet even more than that, I was in love with the books. Fast forward a decade or two and here I am with my own three daughters. Their grandmother bought them each a Bitty Baby as a big prize once they finished potty learning. I was worried at first that this age (various stages of three years old) was too young to handle such an expensive doll, but all of my girls so far have been able to handle them well. And the quality-made dolls have held up to a lot of imaginative play especially when we found you can customize your American girl bitty baby doll. Our oldest bitty baby will be 4 this year, another is about 18 months old, and the last we’ve had almost exactly a year now.
|Dolly, Hannah and Suzie – Real Extensions of Our Family|
For me, the cost of the doll wasn’t the biggest factor. Instead, the sticker shock of how much the ACCESSORIES cost was just completely dumbfounding to me! Over the years, I have searched high and low for my favorite ways to help customize your American girl bitty baby doll without breaking the bank.
When it comes to personalizing things for our girls’ dolls, we like them to be versatile and active (yes, the dolls) so they have baking aprons, camping gear, running clothes, swimsuits, musical instruments, snowboarding equipment and even a gymnastics mat. Had we purchased these items through American Girl, we may have had to turn off the electricity. Instead, we found a few favorite ways to make sure our Bitty Babies weren’t left out:
Customize Your American Girl Bitty Baby Doll
- Etsy Shops and Facebook Pages: There are a ton of options out there. I personally really like Lynn’s Sewing Room, a local seamstress who sells on Facebook and at local (St. Louis, Mo., area) craft shows. My oldest is in gymnastics and saw all the gear in the American Girl catalog mailed to our house. There was no way I could afford what she wanted, so I took to Etsy. Many of the options looked nice but were not what I was looking for. I asked around and finally learned about Lynn’s business. She took my photos and notes and created something PERFECT for my daughter. LynAllan Unlimited is another favorite site where we’ve gotten Elsa, Anna, and Sofia the First costumes for our baby dolls.
- Retail Big Box Stores: Places like Target and Walmart have their own lines of American Girl imitation dolls and they also create a whole line of accessories. The dolls are the same size, so all their accessories fit, too. We have gotten so many cute outfits and fun items this way including our doll camping tent and snowboarding stuff.
- Clearance Racks: Fun fact: Preemie clothes fit baby dolls exceptionally well. Some newborn clothes even work if they run small. This is one of our favorite ways to save on all the outfits for our girls’ dolls. Secondhand stores are good for this, too, if they sell the preemie size. I actually hand crocheted hats for my twins when I was on bed rest. They wore the hats as preemies and now their babies wear the hats. That is full-circle fun right there.
Tags: American Girl