Maureen Monahan

Maureen Monahan is a ten-year-old girl living in present-day Ireland. Girls and mothers are invited to work together to make a collectible Maureen doll, following the instructions on this page. There is a free downloadable/printable book to go along with your Maureen doll.


Let's begin with the doll! To make your Maureen Monahan doll, you will need a Gotz Katie doll (or any redheaded 18" vinyl doll). Katie has grey eyes with a hint of green, and reddish-orangish hair. The clothing the doll comes in really doesn't matter, since her step dance costume is what matters most! You can of course change the doll's clothes in modern 18" doll clothes, although the idea behind this collection is to keep her in her step dance costume.
Most step dancers have tight curls when performing. You can try misting the hair with a hair-spritzer and putting it up in rag curlers (see my Maureen photos). Hopefully the curls will take, since the Katie Gotz doll has very straight hair! If not, a pretty updo will look nice.

Maureen's Doll

Maureen has a dark brown teddy bear in her story. If you would like for your doll to have one, you can look around in stores for a similar item. Or, you can buy the pattern from Morrissey Dolls' website. Check out and look under "Stuffed Toys and Dolls for Dolls." Make the medium sized Freddy bear in dark brown. You can also simply look around for a small, dark brown teddy bear.

Maureen's Dress

18" doll pattern for a princess cut dress (don't be afraid to mix a few patterns to get the style of dress you need)
green velvet*
metallic gold thread
white satin
Celtic clip art
* NOTE: I could not find decent green velvet for under $25 a yard. This was way too much to spend for something that would possibly get damaged during the machine embroidery. I opted for material that is not green velvet and not fuzzy, but looks that way.

To make Maureenís dress:
Cut the pieces out for a princess-cut dress with a knee-length skirt and long sleeves. You can adapt patterns if you know how to. For example, I combined two old Pleasant Company 18" doll patterns to make my doll's dress. You can mix and match patterns to get the correct length sleeves, correct skirt length (it should be pretty full), etc.
Find Irish clip art on the Internet, print it out, and embroider one large graphic onto the bodice. You can pin the paper right to the center of the front bodice piece of material. Sew right over the paper! Donít worry if your sewing machine doesnít have an "embroidery" setting. Just use the zigzag setting, making a close, small seam. I found a tree of life on the 'net and used it on the bodice, using metallic gold thread.
Take the skirt piece only and embroider designs onto the "right side" of the fabric. While embroidering, keep in mind what will show on the front, back, etc. to bring "balance" to the design. After you are finished with all of your skirt's embroidery, cut a piece of the same dimensions in white satin (or faux satin). Put right sides together (satin against velvet) and sew together, leaving open at top of skirt. Flip pieces.
Take the sleeve pieces and cut at the wrist. Inset a white satin triangle on either side sleeve. This will make bell sleeves. Hem the bottoms of the sleeves.
Piece together the dress as per your dress instructions.
For the cape, I looked at photos of authentic step dance costumes and designed it, outlined in white "satin" with a "satin" back. The hairpiece was very simple to make, simply piecing together some material that was embroidered on.
The shoes were made of felt and ribbon. Unfortunately, they don't show up in the photos and are a bit difficult to explain. I made soft shoes. If you look on sites about step dancing, you can check out the types of shoes they wear. It's possible you will find some doll shoes that look close enough.

Maureen's Book

Download and print the book's cover
  • Print the book--Plain HTML version (to read online or print, should work for all systems)
  • Downloadable book-format file ONLY download this version if you can unzip files, print on both sides of a sheet of paper, and have the program Microsoft Publisher. This file is a printable book. While printing, print on both sides of each sheet of paper used. This program will collate the paper automatically so that the pages can be folded in half and stapled in a small (normal-sized) book format. This version includes the cover, no need to download separately.
  • What is Maureen's Christmas like? Does she ever get to meet Sarah in person? Do her twin sisters finally drive her crazy? It's up to you. Moms and daughters, please feel free to write more stories and books about these characters for your personal use. (Please remember that stories cannot be published. The characters may only be written about for personal use.)


    Thanks to the following websites/groups, which offered help with my Maureen project:
  • Society of American Girl Collectors: This is where the idea began, with board member Sandra recommending a project of making our own dolls with personalities.

  • Irish slang -- in an effort to give the story an Irish feel, I used Irish slang dictionaries on the Internet. Parents, please be aware that some of the slang is R-rated. Not in my story -- but on these sites! The story's language should, for the most part, be self-explanatory by paying attention to the context and surrounding vocabulary, so the Irish dictionaries really aren't needed in order to read the story. Here are a couple:

  • Morrissey Dolls, Inc. at has a pattern for a teddy bear. I used some old Pleasant Company patterns for the dress, but their patterns are no longer available. This website has patterns for 18" doll clothes, and one might be useful in making the dress.

  • Babynames.com was indespensible in looking up Irish names for the various characters mentioned in the book.

  • Back to doll craft ideas page