When you have a kiddo who loves playing dress-up with their dolls, from American Girl, to Lori, to Barbie, of course you want to shower them with accessories and outfits.
However, doll clothing can get expensive quickly.
What better way to save some money and create a personalized touch than to sew your own clothes for the dolls? But, how do you even sew Barbie clothes?
Here’s a simple doll dress pattern to try out.
Where to Find Ideas and Materials for Sewing Doll Clothes
In addition to the pattern we outline below, there are a ton of patterns online, and once your children get old enough to safely learn how to handle a sewing machine, they can even help you!
Pinterest and other similar apps have pages and pages of patterns available for free, and you can size them to fit any doll.
Once you master the basics, the possibilities are endless, and you can even use your children’s old clothes as the fabric.
Other great sources of low-cost fabric are scraps from other projects, or even clothing from second-hand stores.
While they may not fit you or your children, there are some wonderful materials that can be found for just a few dollars—much cheaper than you may find buying by-the-yard.
Once you’ve chosen your fabric, it’s time to get started!
Collect Your Tools
Before you begin your project, you will need a few basic tools. Collect the following:
- Paper, to make the pattern
- Fabric of your choice, in a large enough piece for the size of your doll
- Matching thread
- Either a sewing machine or a hand-stitching needle
- Fray-stop, if your fabric is prone to fraying
Make the Pattern for Sewing Doll Clothes
First, let’s measure the toy.
Lay your doll on a piece of paper about the same size as them. It doesn’t matter what kind of paper you use, as this will be your pattern.
If you want to use something stiffer like cardboard or poster-board, you can then reuse the pattern multiple times for different styles of fabric.
Once you have the right size: on the paper, draw two neck straps coming up from her shoulders, and then two rectangles going out under her arms to her side. This is her skirt and should fit around her when cut.
Cut the pattern out, and then lay it over the doll to make sure it fits. The straps should wrap around her neck and be able to tie at the back.
From here, you can make the dress longer or shorter on her legs by either adding more paper or trimming the paper shorter.
If you’re happy with the fit, fold the pattern in half and trim it until it’s even on both sides. Unfold it again to check, and then you’re ready to move on.
How to Sew Doll Clothes
Now that you have a working pattern, it’s time to sew the dress!
Fold your fabric in half, and then pin the pattern to the fabric. Cut around the edge, leaving extra fabric around the bottom so that you can finish the edge.
Take your two pieces of material and turn them so that the wrong sides are facing you. The side that you want to be seen on the dress should be touching each other on the inside.
Using either a sewing machine or by hand-stitching, sew up both sides of the dress, and stitch a bottom edge on the dress to prevent fraying. Do not sew the neck strap or else it may be difficult to dress your doll.
Be sure to do a few backstitches to ensure that the threads hold. When you’re finished, trim the excess thread and turn the dress right-side out.
Slip the dress onto the doll and tie the straps around the back of her neck. Trim the straps to your desired length.
Depending on the type of fabric you are using, you may want to finish the edges with fray-stop, or you can turn the edges of the straps down and sew them in to prevent fraying with use.
Now that you’ve got a basic dress, spice it up to your heart’s content!
Add lace at the bottom, tie a ribbon around the waist, or even add beading and sequins with a hot glue gun.
Once you’ve mastered the basic pattern, you can cut new sheets of paper to change the length or the style, and fit them to any size doll.
Any patterns for adult clothes can be used to get the basic shape, and once you know how to miniaturize them, you can even make matching clothes for your child and their doll.
Reuse old clothes, fabric scraps from other projects, or even fat quarters and remnants from fabric stores to save money and give your child endless possibilities while playing with their dolls.
Once your child is old enough, have them help you make them, to teach them valuable skills and help strengthen their hand-eye coordination.
Here’s a video showing how to make jeans for your dolls.
Do you have any of your own tips on sewing doll clothes?