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Making Doll Clothing

Tricia Deed is a freelance writer of arts and crafts. She enjoys bringing an array of different projects to your attention.

Dolls are Adorable

A doll wearing a black hat and funky clothing.

A doll wearing a black hat and funky clothing.

Mother and Daughter Outfits

“My doll is dressed just like mommy”.

Little girls enjoy playing with dolls. One of their favorite activities is dressing their dolls in different outfits. There are occasions when mothers and daughters wear identical attire and they do receive complimentary remarks. Daughters feel very grown up when they are dressed like mommy and mothers enjoy pampering their daughters with attractive clothing.

As a beginner, select one of the easiest skirts or dresses from your personal closet that you wish to copy. If you are a home seamstress use left over fabric remnants to make an exact duplicate.

Use your daughter’s favorite doll. This model may be any fashion doll made of vinyl or plastic or perhaps your daughter has a Barbie doll, celebrity, collectible, or other famous dolls.

Mother, daughter, and doll dressed in the same identical outfits will draw attention and compliments from family and friends.

Autumn Doll Clothing

A doll standing on brown leaves is wearing an outfit of a brown skirt and jacket for the autumn weather.

A doll standing on brown leaves is wearing an outfit of a brown skirt and jacket for the autumn weather.

Doll Pattern Construction

  1. Place the doll on a sheet of paper (I prefer tissue paper) and draw the design of a dress, blouse, shorts or pants.
  2. Measure the doll for correct measurements.
  3. Dress doll with the paper pattern.
  4. Note any special instructions and pattern adjustments.
  5. Place pattern on fabric remnant, pin, and cut.
  6. Dress the doll fastening seams with straight pins or paper clips. This fitting may seem unnecessary, but it is critical for making the correct fit or a permanent pattern.
  7. Once a pattern is correct, store it for future use. It may take some time to create and draw the pattern correctly, but when completed it is a permanent source for making more clothing.

Little girls who love playing dress-up with their dolls will want more than one set of clothes. Or it may become your trademark gift for other little girls. This is how the concept of fashion dolls started. It is an excellent way to show off a new line of clothing without using live models.

A Costume Experience:

I needed to make a costume for a dance event. The dance students wanted to see a sample before spending hundreds of dollars. I also did not want to spend money or labor making the entire costume and never use it. I made the costume and placed it on a fashion doll to give the students a visual aid of the proposed costume.

After reviewing the visual aid the students made a decision.

Fashion Dolls Modeling Black Dresses

Dolls dressed in variations of the little basic black dress.

Dolls dressed in variations of the little basic black dress.

4 Easy To Make Doll Dresses

These 4 black dresses are easy to make for any doll. The fabrics of choice are fabrics which do not shred or lose their threads when cut. Examples would include stretch fabrics or polyester blend fabrics. Machine or hand stitch these small garments.

For younger children cut a slit in the back of the dress to enable the child to pull the dress over the head of the doll and continue dressing. For older children attach fasteners such as a snap or hook and eye.

Dress #1

Wrap a rectangular shape of fabric around the doll. Cut fabric to fit around the doll and the desired hem length. Stitch one seam which would be placed in the back. In other words make a tube. The stretch fabric will conform to the doll’s figure. A small adornment may be placed in the front to help identify the front of the dress from the back or the adornment may represent a jewelry accessory.

Dress #2

This dress has short sleeves. Make a back pattern and a front pattern with sleeve cutouts. Stitch necessary seams. Cut a narrow strip of fabric and stitch around the neck edges. Place the garment on the doll, roll the collar downward and cut away any excess fabric. Once again the type of fasteners will depend on the child’s age and abilities.

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Dress #3

Make the basic tube pattern adding long sleeves as one unit. The easiest method for adding the sleeves is to make it a part of the basic dress pattern. As you sew the seam of the dress continue upward stitching the sleeve seam. If you choose to cut the sleeves separately and stitch it to the main garment as separate units; it will be a difficult sewing nightmare. Thread a couple of stitches at front chest to create a gathered bra front.

Dress #4

This garment is sleeveless with a V-neckline. Cut the basic back pattern. Cut the front pattern a little longer as you will need to cut a V shape to form the collar. Cut the “V” to enable that section being pulled over the head of the doll. The back of the dress will be shoulder bare. Cut away excess fabric. Stitch front side seams to back seam.

These instructions will get you started. You will easily start to make some other dresses and blouses as your ingenuity designs other patterns.


A Barbie doll wearing a simple red elegant gown.

A Barbie doll wearing a simple red elegant gown.

Fabric Choices

It is pleasing to see mother, daughter, and doll dressed as look-a-likes wearing their favorite fashion or costume for a special event. The arrival of the threesome will attract much attention and praises from family and friends.

Young children enjoy playing with dolls and will role play or tell stories with them. Look through closets, draws, and attic boxes for old clothing, socks, sweaters, and unused notions to make and decorate different types of doll clothing. Do not forget the boys; they also enjoy playing with dolls as they take part in the role playing and story telling.

There are many different types of dolls and their clothing may require untapped creativity and an assortment of sewing skills. If you choose to make elaborate bridal gowns, party wear, historical, theater, and action figure attire it is very interesting and will challenge your imagination. It is also an art and craft to design and make accessories.

Choose your fabrics wisely. Research fashions in the different time eras and use appropriate fabrics from those years. The fabric choices should consider how often the dolls will be played with or if they are to be shelved and protected as collections.

  • The easiest fabrics to work with will include felt, flannel, cotton, and stretch fabrics. These fabrics are washable and will not fray at their edges. These three types of fabrics may also be glued at the seams rather than stitched. This is helpful if you do not know how to sew.
  • Fancy fabrics which are used for wedding gowns and party attire can be used but are very slippery to handle. Netting for the wedding veil or to top off gowns and hats does not fray.
  • Textiles such as suede, leather, and artificial fur will require patience and advanced sewing skills.
  • T-shirts, and tight weaves are stretchable, washable, and easy to stitch.
  • Fabrics which fray include include velvet, burlap, denim, loose knits, linen, corduroy, brocades, and delicate fabrics.

How to test for fraying. Pull a thread at the edge of the fabric and if all other threads pull away forming a fringe; stop. This type of fabric is okay for large projects as they will require finishing techniques for security.

Girls and Dolls

Every little girl loves her doll regardless of its type.

Every little girl loves her doll regardless of its type.

Charity Donations

Do you love making doll clothing? Are you overloading your daughter’s doll collection with too many outfits? You may wish to consider making doll clothing for charity organizations.

There are charity organizations in the United States as well as other countries. Contact local organizations in your area to learn of their requirements before hauling a box load to their address.

Begin your journey contacting local hospitals or your favorite charity. This may be the beginning of a wonderful journey which goes beyond being a hobby. This charitable project may become a mother-daughter sewing activity.

Christmas Baby Doll

A baby doll wearing a crocheted Christmas dress and hat.

A baby doll wearing a crocheted Christmas dress and hat.

Christmas Gifts

Many little girls enjoy receiving a gift of clothing for her dolls. It is always the right time to start constructing these doll clothes in order to give them as Christmas gifts.

Much of a mother’s love is in the handcrafted clothing and accessories and those pieces of clothing which survive the many play hours may become heirloom pieces to be appreciated and memorable in future years.

Start planning and designing the new wardrobe today. Patterns may be made by you, purchased, or try some free patterns located online.

Clothing ideas:

  1. Daughter and doll matching set of apparel.
  2. Red Christmas gown or a party dress.
  3. Sportswear similar to child’s interest.
  4. Christmas wedding dress for the doll
  5. Christmas pajamas
  6. Santa dnd Mrs.Claus
  7. Matching bed covers for daughter and doll
  8. A Christmas stocking for daughter and doll
  9. Christmas purse, hat, mittens, scarf, and belt

Yearly Celebrations

Birthdays and other occasions which occur during the year open many opportunities for doll fashion ideas.

Matching birthday set for child and doll

  • Halloween costumes
  • Hobby interests
  • Sport interests
  • Easter fashions
  • Valentine's Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Matching swimwear

Learn to Make Doll Clothes on It's Sew Easy with

Sewing Doll Dresses

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