I felt like this doll was tired of being in her mermaid swimsuit all the time. Sure it was pretty, but come on, no one wants to stand around being pretty like that all the time–it’s exhausting! So I figured I would make her a new, comfy dress she could relax in.
Originally I thought this might be a tutorial, but then I realized I’m no good at explaining how I sew something like this. So, here is the before and after picture and you can just stop here and be happy that this little mermaid looks more comfortable now!
Oh, you’re so brave! You must be pretty good at sewing already and just want to get the idea OK! Here we go. Wheeeee!
Here is the simple shirt I started with. It is a size 4 Longsleeve that my daughter has already outgrown (Eep!).
I have this doll patterns size 16″ doll, which is what this doll is. I’m not really going to use the pattern because I want to use the neckline that’s already in place, but the pattern won’t really allow for that. All I’m trying to do is get the idea of what size I want.
So, I use the pattern to cut one side (making sure to cut through both pieces of fabric).
Next, I fold it over to cut the other side the same.
Now I put it over the doll and pinch up the shoulders to see how much of the neck-hole I need to cut off in order to make this dress fit. I put my pins in and take it to the sewing machine and sew across my pins. I then cut off the excess fabric at the seam point.
I try it back on her to see how it will fit now. Looks good! I do a little pinning and take it back to the machine to see the side hems.
Try it on. I don’t like how hard it is to get the frock over the doll’s big head. No little kid will be able to do this without frustration.
Ok, don’t panic!
I sew the bottom hem, serge the sleeves (you know, if you value your sanity, you might just want to do this part by hand, the hole is pretty small to serge a circle!).
Now, I decide to cut the entire dress up the middle in the back. It may sound drastic, but this way it will be super easy for little hands to put this dress on and off.
Then I realize it won’t fall right this way. Alright, stay cool! I pinch the fabric in the back to take away the excess, sew a seam and cut away the excess. Now it hangs ok!
I add Velcro to the back, just three pieces.
And now it’s a doll dress fit for a little mermaid and a little girl!!
Now she’s back on the shelf in my daughter’s room, but not for long!!
So, I hope this has helped to inspire you to sew your own doll clothes out of your kids’ outgrown-clothes. The best part about making doll clothes is that it’s a good way to learn new techniques, or even how to draft or custom build your own clothing patterns for yourself or your kids. It certainly doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can skip some things (because: doll clothes!). For example, you could leave the sleeves unhemed, knit fabrics won’t fray. I left the entire back unhemed.