Assembly and Review of Hobby Lobby's "Make Me Your Friend" Doll:
First, I wasn't planning on getting a doll. I was headed into HL to look at doll bodies, (the Goodwill-found porcelain doll the Pie has is coming apart, and the fabric is cheap and will re-rip if I just repair the seams) and various other sewing notions.
Anyway, this lady stops me in the parking lot, and says that HL didn't have what she wants, and she has this coupon that expires today, and can I use it? So, hey, 40% off coupon, score!
The doll supply aisle didn't have any doll bodies in the size I need, so I looked at what else was around, and saw the MMYF dolls. One doll, "Naomi", was surprisingly not ugly, so I decided to take a chance and see how she turned out.
"Naomi" in her package. She comes unstuffed, with polyfill and an outfit.
And with my hand holding her head, so her eyes are open. Her unstuffed torso can't support her head, so it just flops forward. The MMYF display in HL is kinda creepy because there are a ton of dolls with floppy heads.
Unboxed and ready for action. SCARY, no? The packet to the left is her clothing, to the right is the polyfill.
Pleasant surprise #2: Her body has a Velcro opening. I was expecting to have to sew it up. There's a peek at her arm joint there, too.
Pleasant surprise #3: There is PLENTY of polyfill for the stuffing. I was thinking there was no way that the wee package would hold enough stuffing and I'd have to improvise to get a well-filled-out doll. Happily, I was wrong.
Problem #1: Between the abundance of stuffing and its tendency to stick to the Velcro, that opening isn't closing up. I ended up reinforcing it with a safety pin, and stitching may be in its future.
Pleasant surprise #4: This doll is capable of standing on her own. Sometimes. It take a lot of fiddling with the limbs to achieve the magic balance! Those legs are floppy.
(Also, there's Felicity in the background, in the middle of fitting a bodice for a new dress.)
A body comparison with Felicity, who is a pre-Mattel AG from 1993. Felicity's limbs are wider, as are her shoulders and hips, so sharing clothes may be limited.
"Naomi" has had her hair taken down - it's rooted (and the roots are pretty widely spaced) but silky and easy to brush. There are two big problems: the front and sides of her hair have shorter layers, and her part is rooted in. So no drastic hairstyle changes for her.
Her clothing. The pants are pretty cute - they'd make great pajama pants. The shirt is not so great - it's pretty cheap and doesn't fit all that well. I think I'll get a new outfit the next time I'm at HL (this one looks pretty cute).
The shoes are the biggest disappointment of the whole endeavor - they're very cheaply made, and too big for the doll's feet. I hear that the Our Generation shoes sold at Target are too small for American Girl - perhaps they'll fit a MMYF doll.
"Naomi" dressed and ready for action.
All in all, with the 40% off coupon, "Naomi" cost me $12 and 10 minutes of unboxing, stuffing, and dressing, and has made my kid pretty happy.
If you're looking for a cheap starter doll for a wee kid, or want something to test your modification skills on before working on a $95 AG or other high-end doll, the Make Me Your Friend doll isn't a bad bet. The Velcro closure on the body would be especially good for someone who wants to experiment with armatures without having to sew and re-sew a body. She's prettier than the Springfield Collection dolls at Michaels, and cheaper than the Our Generation dolls. If you spring for a MMYF doll, I would recommend "Naomi" or her blond cousin "Sarah" - the other female dolls have ugly straight, blunt-cut bangs (and the "Asian" doll Lily has a face mold that's flat-out weird).
So, she's by no means equal to an American Girl, and I probably would put an Our Generation doll a few steps above MMYF as well (I haven't seen an OG unboxed to get an opinion on hair and joints), but a decent doll if you need something that can take some rough handling without feeling guilty about the cost.