Did you play with your dolls in the water?

The image shows an 18-inch American Girl doll (Kaya) and an 18 inch Madame Alexander doll playing on a beach. The beach is a home-made diorama including a table cloth-covered wall that looks like a blue sky with quilt-batting clouds overhead and vellum wrapping paper with tinsel on top to look like water on a fake-sand beach. The two dolls seem to be enjoying the sunshine as friends at the beach. The image has a watermark that says "ChellyWood.com: free doll clothes patterns and more." The Madame Alexander doll wears a blue bikini that has been hand-sewn. Its fabric is dotted with little popsicles. The American Girl doll wears a hand-made felt shirt with nautical-print cotton shorts (also sewn by hand). Both girls wear DIY sandals to match.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for FREE printable sewing patterns to dolls of many shapes and sizes.

These two doll-friends really remind me of myself and my cousin, Virginia. I was always afraid of the water, whereas Virginia would dive in the minute we got out of the car!

Virginia and I took our dolls to the beach, built sand castles for them to live in, and played like our Barbies were mermaids in the ocean water.

The American Girl dolls, like my Kaya (shown below) have soft bodies, so it’s never advisable to play with soft bodied dolls in the water, of course.

The image shows an 18 inch doll (Kaya from the American Girl doll collection) wearing a handmade bikini. she stands with her feet in imaginary beach water (made from plastic table cloth, velum, and tinsel which makes the water look iridescent and foamy. Kaya's swimsuit is a bikini style, made of navy blue jersey fabric decorated in tiny stars and Popsicles. Behind her, sandals which were also handmade sit in the imaginary sand on a beach with a blue sky behind the beach. The watermark says, "ChellyWood.com" and suggests that the free printable sewing pattern for making this bikini can be found at ChellyWood.com.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for FREE printable sewing patterns to fit dolls of many shapes and sizes.

But both of my daughters used to play with their Barbies in the bathtub, and what fun they had!

Of course true doll collectors cringe when they hear me talking about playing with dolls in the water because they know that under the scalp of the doll, mold can begin to grow if you leave your dolls wet for too long.

I’ve never been one to leave a doll in its box though, even as an adult. It seems to me that dolls are meant to be played with, so why not enjoy them?

Sometimes I’ll take a photo of the doll while it’s still in the box, for later identification purposes. Here’s Ginny in her box, for example:

In her box, looking very new, we see a Vogue Ginny doll in a pink ballerina outfit.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

And here are the doll clothes I made her, once she was out of her box:

Here we see a full wardrobe to be worn by a Vogue Ginny doll. Left to right, the top row includes one pink short-sleeved shirt with tiny white polka dots; one white cotton shirt with yellow stripes and multi-colored flowers (also short-sleeved), one pink felt sleeveless shirt, one white cotton pinafore style dress with multicolored bright flowers, and a pair of overalls made of denim fabric; the bottom row, left to right: one white cotton purse with yellow stripes and multicolored flowers, one pink skirt with tiny white polka dots, one pair of white trousers with an elastic waist, one pair of pink shorts, one pair of blue shorts, and a pair of yellow bloomers or panties. This is an entire ensemble wardrobe made for the Ginny doll by Chelly Wood, as a gift for her husband's cousin's children. The ChellyWood.com logo appears in a corner.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Even as a very young girl, every single doll I owned was given some newly-handmade doll clothes, the minute she came out of the box.

My Grandma Wood had a big box of fabric scraps at her house, and I have memories of Virginia and I dumping the scraps out and sorting through the bits of lace and satin, cutting out little unsewn vests or safety pinning sarong-style dresses onto our dolls.

This, in my opinion, was even more fun than playing mermaids in a pool. It was the epitome of fun doll play!

The image shows a swirling cluster of vines which are actually part of a wedding dress image from iClipart. At the bottom of the image is the website URL and company logo for ChellyWood.com, a website that offers free, printable sewing patterns and tutorial videos that show you how to make doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and sizes including but not limited various sizes of Barbie dolls, American Girl dolls, and more. The doll clothes patterns are free and printable, easy to find, and easy to sew even for beginners and children.
Visit ChellyWood.com for FREE printable sewing patterns to fit dolls of many shapes and sizes.

What happy memories do you have of fun doll play times as a child. Did you play with your dolls in the water?

Were you a “save them in the box” collector, even as a child, or did that seem foolish at the time? Do you ever wish you had kept your dolls in the box? Or are you glad you played with them?

I love it when you share your stories!

Leave a comment, please, on the topics of doll play, leaving dolls in the box, and even playing with dolls in the water. What are your thoughts?

And thank you, Cousin Virginia, for being my special “doll play friend” when I was growing up! I will forever have a warm place in my heart for you, and for all the fun times we had at play!

An American Girl 18 inch Kaya doll stands on a beach, dipping her little toes in the waves, with arms outstretched toward the blue sky. On her left and right sides are palm trees. She wears a handmade bikini made of blue jersey fabric decorated with tiny popsicles in red and white.
ChellyWood.com offers free, printable PDF sewing patterns for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and sizes.

As we wrap up the month of August, if you’d like to make a swimsuit for your dolls, I have a number of different options here, on ChellyWood.com:

If the doll you love to sew for isn’t mentioned in this list, go cruise around the website anyway. You may find that some of the swimsuit patterns for other dolls can fit your doll as well!

The image shows a 15 inch Wellie Wishers doll from American Girl doll company modeling a handmade bikini swimsuit made of blue jersey fabric with a red-white-and-blue stars and popsicles themed print. This is a side view of the doll.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Disclaimer/Credit/Affiliate Marketing Link:

*ChellyWood.com earns money by linking to Amazon, eBay, JoAnn’s, Etsy, and other online affiliate programs. Links provided above may be affiliate links. For a full list of my affiliate programs, please see my “Privacy Policy” page. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

To honor the trademark rights of the doll companies mentioned in this blog post, I am including links to their websites here. Please feel free to visit their website and consider purchasing one or more of the dolls mentioned.

Wellie Wishers and American Girl dolls are products offered by American Girl LLC, which holds the registered trademark for them (™). Please visit their website to learn more about their company and its trademarked toys.

Madame Alexander 45 to 46 cm dolls were products that were once offered by the Madame Alexander Doll Company, LLC, which holds the registered trademark for them (™). Be advised that at the time of this blog post, they no longer (to my knowledge) offer dolls in that size range; however you can visit their website to learn more about their company and the trademarked toys they are currently offering.

16 thoughts on “Did you play with your dolls in the water?

  1. My dolls were never water friendly (Saucy Walker, original Barbie, Betsy McCall, and Ginny! 1950s to 1960s) Baths were not fun time, and we didn’t have a pool. We had great fun running through the sprinklers but no water play with dolls. We missed out on the fun. 😆

      1. I raised four boys and 1 girl. I don’t think it ever came up lol… we had water toys, but I don’t remember dolls ever being in water. LOL! My daughter learned to sew making doll clothes with her grandma just like I did.

  2. Yes even though I only had two Barbies, I owned a baby bathette of plastic that looked like a swimming pool and both sat in the water. I had made a wooden crate into a room with leftover floor tiles from our house as the floor. Cardboard furniture. We wrap dressed the dolls with cloth and lace. Homemade was the order of the day and great for creative play. Some of my friends Barbies were their Mom’s vintage ones! The hair on them was shocking! Our dolls also climbed up the red bush, had marron leaves and little pink flowers in the spring. Our dolls made chocolate mud pies in metal soda caps. We did pretend trips walking to the Jewel grocery store with a homemade market basket 🧺.

  3. I am decades older than the rest of you and Barbie didn’t appear until I was an “older” child. My mother was shocked by Barbie and I was insulated enough that I didn’t know enough about her to want one. I had a couple of gorgeous Madame Alexander dolls. I know I played with my “Poor Cinderella” almost every day. I had a little electric stove and oven (still have it – why was I not electrocuted?) and my gma made clothes for her and for my baby dolls. Amazingly, she still is in very good (collector term) condition! Whatever the dolls, what wonderful memories, right?

    1. I was almost ten when I got Barbie. I sewed for her but she was preserved. My mom found her in the box and GAVE HER AWAY!! I hid the rest of my dolls. I still have Betsy, Ginny, and Tod-L-Dee (named Kathy) and a couple others. Of course the ones collected as an adult. 😉

      1. My mom had tons of wonderful qualities, was a wonderful seamstress but was NOT sentimental at all lol

  4. I never played with my dolls in the water because my parents said they would mildew. I made my WetnWild Skipper’s bathing suit turn colours by putting an ice cube on it rather than dunking her in water. We pretended that our dolls went underwater but we never actually did that for real.

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