American Girl Dress Boutique

American Girl dress store

Guess what Miss Priss got for Christmas? An American Girl dress shop craft book! I practically ripped the book out of Miss Priss’ hands. I did control myself briefly while we visited my parents during the holidays, but then some of my nieces asked about AG crafts, so I made one tiny stop at Hobby Lobby, and you can probably fill in the rest.

American Girl Ruthie white satin dressMiss Priss actually did a lot of the work on the hats and purses, but there is hot glue involved in the gowns, so I have been handling most of the design on the dresses while Miss Priss acts as consultant.

American Girl Doll Boutique BookThe Book

  • The craft book kit comes with two shopping bags, a receipt book, play money, a foldable paper laptop computer, and other paper items you can use to decorate your store. The book gives suggestions for using old clothing and other found items to make doll hats, purses, and gowns. I did source my massive craft supply inventory and end of the year donation pile, but I still needed a few trips to Hobby Lobby for odds and ends to make the shop look really professional. I have a materials list at the end of the post.

American Girl purses

The Purses

  • We used tiny bottles I had leftover from the American Girl Campout and wrapped them in fabric. We put a strip of double sided tape around the bottle first, then brought the edges of the fabric up and tied around the top. You can then add a strap by tying another piece of ribbon around the gathered fabric at the top or hot gluing a looped strap near the top. You can add little beads or sparkly stickers to the sides.

American Girl pouch purse

American Girl blue evening bag

  • I found small, round bead boxes at Hobby Lobby. We covered those smoothly in fabric using double sided tape and hot glued a fabric handle (see the little white round purse in the picture of the purse wall above).
  • There are mini drawstring gift bags in the wedding or bead section of Hobby Lobby. We added trim to the bags and other sparkly buttons for another type of purse.

American Girl hat samples

The Hats

  • First we painted wooden discs, candle stick looking things, and knobs I found in the wooden pieces section at Hobby Lobby with acrylic paint. Once the pieces dried, we hot glued them into hat stands. (We also painted mini wooden spools, which are used to hang the purses on the wall of the shop.)

American Girl hat stands painting

American Girl hat stands finished

  • I purchased round cardboard gift boxes, and we covered those with fabric, trim, and buttons or sparkly stickers to make pillbox hats. The lids work better than the bottom half of the box, but we used both top and bottom box pieces for hats.
  • I found tiny clips and baby barrettes, and we hot glued tulle and little flowers leftover from the American Girl wedding cakes to make fascinators (very Kate Middleton).

American Girl stocking cap

  • My favorite hat is the stocking cap. We made a trip to Goodwill and bought blouses and knit tops that had fun designs or fancy fabric. I cut the sleeve from a silver knit sweater about 6 inches from the wrist end. Then, I turned the knit inside out and tied the cut end tightly with a piece of thread. Finally, I turned the tied sleeve right side out and added a little button decoration to the outside.

American girl hatsThe Gowns

  • I went through the remnant section and trim section at Hobby Lobby and bought things that seemed fluffy and fun. I also used some of the lacy ribbon I had leftover from the American Girl Sweet Shop and other scraps of fabric I have lying around. As I mentioned in the hat directions, we made a stop at Goodwill for blouses and tops that we could cut apart.

American Girl sleeve gown

  • For the gowns, I cut the sleeve off of a blouse or stretchy sweater and put it on the doll to size. Then, I would remove the sleeve and cut the length as needed. From there, I would hot glue or sew trim on the dresses. Do NOT do any gluing or embellishing while the gown is on the doll. Always remove the dress before adding anything permanently. I did use my sewing machine a little, but most of the design could be handled with hot glue and safety pins. On some dresses, we simply wrapped and clipped with small hair clips (kind of like a toga). Miss Priss takes the wrap dresses on and off and re-wraps a new design each wearing.

American Girl sleeve gown fitting

  • We made some armholes by cutting small slits about 1 1/2 inches from the hemmed edge of the sleeve. Pull the dress or top on the doll by starting at her feet.


American Girl knit topThe Shop

  • Hobby Lobby even has those tri-fold science fair backboards, so I did not have to make an extra stop! Use a science fair board to make the background of the shop. We hot glued mirrors to the sides of the backboard. Along the sides of our “full length” mirror, we hot glued the small painted spools, so we could hang purses on display. We used glue dots to stick the posters that came with the craft kit to the center of the backboard. I did have to measure everything to make sure it was centered and even.

American Girl store back drop

  • I bought a handful of clear acrylic boxes in a variety of sizes. We stuffed the insides with colorful tissue paper and leftover fuzzy boa trim. Stack the boxes around the store and use them to display the hats and purses.

American Girl dress store w dolls

  • Cost is (almost) no object when it comes to my crafty projects. I happened to see this pink hanging rack at a local store before Christmas. I did not get it at the time, but when we started building the dress shop, I knew we had to have it– um, I guess I mean Miss Priss needed it. The rack really does add a little something special to the store! It even came with hangers and the bench seat box. The Doll Boutique Kit comes with a cardboard hanging rack that mounts (glues) to the wall. Wooden dowel to complete the hanging rack is not included.

American Girl hanging rackThe Fashion Show

  • The last page of the Doll Boutique book gives an address to mail pictures of any favorite fashion creations. Guess what we are doing next? Any votes for which dress design we should submit?
American Girl Kit striped gown

Kit is wearing a cotton striped tube gown with lace and bead trim. There is a one shouldered floral strap. The drawstring purse has matching bead trim, and the look is finished with a smart pill box hat.

American Girl purple skirt and silver top

Kit is wearing a lilac satin pleated skirt with ruffled waist band. The outfit is finished with a silver tank top and tulle fascinator. Kit has a small lilac purse with wrist strap.

American Girl satin and red gown

Kit is seen here in a white satin evening gown with red floral overlay and off the shoulder straps. The top is finished with delicate pearl beading around the neckline. A red flower fascinator completes the look.

American Girl silver gown finished

Kit looks stunning in this silver evening gown with matching fur trimmed poncho. She is red carpet ready and even has a small pill box purse to finish the look.

The Materials List

  • tri-fold project poster board
  • 3-5 clear acrylic boxes, variety of sizes
  • mini bottles, small bead containers, little pill boxes
  • wooden craft pieces (candlestick shapes, knobs, discs)
  • glue dots, hot glue gun, fabric glue, double sided tape
  • round cardboard gift boxes (~3 in. diamter)
  • tulle, trim, ribbon
  • fabric (various designs and materials)
  • buttons, stickers, sparkly embellishments
  • mirrors
  • old knit tops and blouses that you can cut the sleeves– leggings work too

American Girl silver outfit