Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Making Doll Clothes From Children's Clothes Patterns And Turorials

Sewing doll clothes has been a hobby of mine ever since my daughter got her first American Girl Doll for Christmas. I just couldn't justify paying for the clothes on the website. They are overpriced for the quality and fabrics that they use. (Tip: If you don't sew check etsy for some reasonably priced handmade doll clothes that are better quality than the official American Girl doll clothes.) But once you start making your own it really is addicting. The doll develops her own personality and you can tailor her wardrobe to fit it.

There are plenty of patterns available on the market for doll clothing. One source is Liberty Jane. While they offer a huge selection, sometimes they don't have exactly what I am envisioning. Besides when you want to make a matching outfit for a girl and doll it is much easier to start with a bigger pattern and downsize it than it is to start with a doll pattern and adjust it to your child's size.

For those reasons I have been working on making doll clothes from children's patterns and tutorials. I just finished up this fairy costume for a photo contest. It was made using a tutorial for a toddler romper and fairy skirt.
Fairy costume for 18 inch doll like American Girl
I started by using this tutorial from the Little Pink Monster blog. I made the following changes to fit our doll.

  • I used a 9 inch by 16 inch rectangle of knit fabric with a 40% stretch. Because I used fabric instead of a t-shirt I had to hem the bottom myself just before sewing up the back seam.
  • I sewed 7 lines 1/2 inch apart with elastic thread to create the smocking. 
  • I didn't notice any additional shrinking after the first time I sprayed it and went over it with an iron. If your trying to save time, once may be enough.
  • For the straps I sewed a 1 inch wide tube of fabric and turned it, then I hand sewed them in place while the outfit was on the doll to be sure they were placed properly. I matched the stitching to the smocking lines in the back and covered the stitching with flowers from my stash in the front.
  • For the skirt I cut a 16 by 7 inch rectangle and then created an elastic casing and inserted an 11 1/4 inch strip of elastic. I did not permanently attach it, so that it could be used with other doll clothes.
  • I cut the petals very carefully while the doll was wearing the skirt.
I'll tell you a little more about this photo contest (and beg for votes) a little later. I also plan on showing you how to adjust a pdf printed pattern to fit an 18 inch American Girl Doll. So what do you think of our finished work?
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