Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tutorial - Repair Your 18-inch Doll's Leg

LittleGirl had "Bring a Friend Friday" at school, and decided she wanted to take her American Girl Doll, Samantha. Against my better judgement, I acquiesced and allowed her to take her ridiculously expensive gift from Yiayia much cherished doll. I had an ominous feeling all day. Here's the story, as only 7-year-old LittleGirl can tell it. (You have to imagine this all being told with drama, big tears, and pretty much all in one breath.)

"Momma, I was sitting with Samantha during Circle Time, and I got a little tired.
So I decided to lay on the floor. I laid on top of Samantha and HER. LEG. POPPED. OFF!
And I got up and tried not to cry, but I couldn't hold it in.
My teachers said there's a doll hospital, and Momma, I was nice and said, 'Okay.'
But I really wanted to yell at them and tell them to shut up. Oops. I mean be quiet.
And then, you know what?
The Fire Alarm went off, and I thought it was a real fire!
But it was just a Fire Drill for school, and I had to go outside.
And Momma, I had to leave Samantha!
I was crying, cause I was afraid someone would steal her leg.
And then she'd be a one-legged girl!"
More tears at this point.

I really don't even think I could make up a better story than that. :o) After looking at Samantha's leg, I figured I could take her apart and fix her. So today, that's just what we did. I decided to take pictures along the way, just in case someone else has this problem in the future.

The good news, I discovered, is that all the appendages to this doll are attached the same way. So, you can use this tutorial for any arm or leg your doll has had the misfortune of losing. This is a photo tutorial, so be patient while the pages load. One of these days, I promise I'll figure out how to post a PDF file to my blog.

Here's what you'll need:

  • The Doll
  • The Appendage
  • One ¼-inch Eyelet
  • Chopstick
You can click on any photo to enlarge.
See that little white cord in her leg.
You'll need to hang on to that.
If you don't, you'll be fiddling around and
trying to wiggle it back to the top of her leg.

The base of the doll's head is much larger than the fabric opening.

If you haven't already, find a bag or basket to hold the doll's stuffing.

Before you insert the leg, examine the elastic cording on the leg.
Ours was very frayed, so I melted the end with a bit of fire.
Be very careful if you do this!

You'll need to reach through the neck opening and find the leg opening.
You'll place the white disc in the body opening,
holding it while you grab the elastic cording.
This is where an extra hand really helps!

Here's what the eyelets look like. The broken one is on the right.
I had both brass and steel eyelets in the toolbox.
Sorry the photos are grainy. I still can't figure out that Macro button!

Make sure all the arms and legs are hanging in their correct positions.
Grab that stuffing and your chopstick!

Breathe a big sigh of relief and give yourself a pat on the back!
You did it! And you saved a trip to the Doll Hospital. :o)

That's all there is to it!  Be sure to ask any questions if I need to clarify any of it.
It saved us at least $24, plus the shipping charges,
and the long wait to get Samantha back in LittleGirl's arms.

I really hope you have no need of this tutorial; however, if you do find yourself with an 18-inch doll who's missing an appendage, here ya go!

Good luck!


  1. You are now a CordCertified DDR-Doctor of Doll Repair with a specialty of Orthopediatric Totally Hip Repair.Lovedit! Whatfun...:) Dr. J

  2. i have a question, ok i have an american girl doll that has both of her feet and hands bitten off by a dog, i called the am hospital and they said it would cost 50.00 to replace them, My Q is could i take an (my generation doll and use its limbs to put on the american girl doll?

    1. I haven't done that but what a great idea! It was going to cost me $50.00 to have one arm put back on but I am going to try this tutorial.

    2. I haven't done that but what a great idea! It was going to cost me $50.00 to have one arm put back on but I am going to try this tutorial.

    3. Let me know how it works for you, Sherrill. Good luck!

  3. Replies
    1. Fabulous! So happy your doll is back in working order. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hi I have an OG Doll and her leg came unattached from body the material is not sewn around the top part of the leg what can i do

    1. Danita ~ Sorry for such a late response to you. I haven't been blogging for quite a while. Yikes!
      I'm not sure how to fix your doll's leg. I suggest contacting the manufacturer's Doll Hospital and perhaps they can walk you through the steps to repair.


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