I had my little nieces in mind for this gift. I wanted something that would encourage their creativity and imagination, so I went back to my childhood and thought about what I liked to play with. Dress up dolls were big for me, but I would always get frustrated by the fact that the clothes wouldn’t stay put and the paper was too fragile. Using actual fabric will solve the fragility, velcro keeps things in place, and having the doll on top of the box means that all the little pieces automatically have a place to go.
On the top of the lid I painted a little doll. I just freehanded it, but you could trace a cookie cutter or even decoupage a paper doll right on top. I chose skin and hair and eye colors that matched my niece, since every little kid likes to see themselves reflected in their toys.
Then I pulled out all my most interesting fabric scraps, the fuzzy ones, the sparkly ones, and plenty of tulle, and made a whole bunch of little clothes. To make the tutu I gathered the top edge of a square of tulle with my sewing machine. I didn’t use any patterns here, I just held the piece of fabric up to the doll I painted and snipped until it worked.
On the back of each piece of clothing I stuck a little piece of velcro. I used the kind that comes with a sticky back, but you can use a fabric glue to hold it in place too. For the clothes I used the loop side of the velcro so that when they’re all in a pile together they won’t get stuck and fray the fabric.
The hook side of the velcro I placed on my little doll. One at shirt level and one at waist level. If you make any shoes or purses or other accessories, just stick another little piece wherever you want the option of placing them.
I had so much fun making little outfits that I think this is actually going to be hard to give away. Three through twelve year old me would have gone nuts over this.
To make this an extra creative toy, you can include squares of fabric and velcro in the box and let the kid make up her own outfits. Then you’ll be letting her have her play time and training up a future fashion designer at the same time.