My obsession with American Girl dolls has grown since 2010, when thanks to my granddaughter, Mylah, these marvelous dolls came into my life. I love them so much, in fact, that I started designing and making outfits for American Girl dolls myself. I have been blessed with a gift – sewing beautiful clothes. I started when I was in high school – 46 years ago. I have sewn everything – my own clothes, my children’s clothes, Halloween costumes and curtains and pillows. I’ve even made men’s suits and a wedding dress. During the 1980’s, I made and sold dozens of outfits for the Cabbage Patch Kids, that at that time were an enormous craze. You could say that I am happiest when I am in my design studio or sitting at my sewing machine.
That’s how Lee Boudro’s Doll Boutique came to be. Once again, it was my granddaughter, Mylah, who asked me to make a colonial Halloween costume for her. I couldn’t resist the temptation to make a matching outfit for her American Girl doll. Mylah was delighted and other family members ooohed and aaahed. I knew then that making beautiful clothes for American Girl dolls was my new calling.
I believe that you are never too old to “play” with dolls, especially when they are as beautiful and well-made as American Girl dolls. They are more than just dolls. Their stories are inspiring and through those stories, they creep into our hearts. They make us laugh and cry; they make us love and admire them; and in the process, they help us to understand ourselves and maybe even to be better people.
I remember crying at the age of 12 or 13 because I was “too old” to play with dolls. Though I no longer played with them, I couldn’t bear to part with them. So, the baby doll and Barbies were moved to the closet, boxed and stored for a future daughter.
In 2010, Mylah asked for a Julie for Christmas. I was only too happy to give it to her. I bought a used Molly on eBay, so Mylah and I could play American Girl dolls together. Since then, my collection has grown to 16 dolls: 12 historical characters (Kaya, Kristen, Samantha, Nellie, BeForever Samantha, Kit, Ruthie, Molly, Emily, Maryellen, Julie and Ivy), 3 Girls of the Year (Mia, Kanani and Grace) and a Truly Me doll, who I have named Amelia Leigh. I have complete or almost complete collections for most of them. Over the last five years, I have been telling myself, “This will be the last doll,” or “Just one more.” I know now, there will never be a “last doll.”
I used to worry that I was crazy. How many 61-year-old grandmothers “play” with American Girl dolls? But, over the last few years, I have come to realize that I am a long way from being the only adult collector of American Girl dolls. There are hundreds, if not thousands of adult women just as in love with these dolls as I am. I hope that the articles on this blog and the clothing I have designed and lovingly made will bring joy to you as a fellow lover of American Girl dolls.