A young friend from England has several of the popular 18″ dolls. Her grandmother told me the prices for brand named clothes (ridiculous comes to mind), so I decided to cleanse my palate by making doll clothes.
Unlike a lot of girls, I didn’t learn to sew by making doll clothes. My mom sewed entire wardrobes for my Rosemary doll when I was really young, but I never even made an attempt so wasn’t at all sure what to expect when I opened up a pattern envelope. Turns out doll clothes can be as precise as people clothes.
Simplicity 8315 – Doll Aprons
There are plenty of doll clothes options in the Big 4 pattern catalogues. Some are quite simple (shorts and tops), others are more sophisticated. Simplicity 8315 seemed appropriate because my wee friend’s mother is a cupcake baker, so I decided to make up the apron.
After selecting the pattern I chose a white twill for the main fabric and a remnant for the back and bias tape. The notions list included an appliqued cupcake but as none were readily available at Hobby Lobby, this was a great opportunity to use my embroidery design subscription!
In spite of this being a small craft project, I tried to make it right (it’s all sewing practice after all!). On the front pocket, the top is hemmed and sides are turned under 1/4″ before stitching to the apron. Fortunately, I had bought some 1/4″ Wonder Tape a couple of weeks ago and that turned out to be the perfect tool for this job.
The fabric and backing/lining were the same, so I used two different bias tapes to differentiate between the aprons. The dark pink polka dotted bias trim was purchased a couple of years ago from an online shop called Elephant in my Handbag. They have loads of cute novelty fabrics and some nice quality bias tapes. The lighter coloured tape was made from the lining fabric. I’m finding that making my own bias tape is very satisfying. You get exactly what you want.
All in, I spent about 4 hours total making the two aprons and that included selecting and downloading the embroidery designs. The pattern for the apron is very easy, however, there is some skill involved to neatly attach the bias tape (and I didn’t do this perfectly). I think a child could sew the apron with some adult supervision. This was a quick project, and it’s a frugal make because you can use remnants. (Note that the pattern advises 3/8 yard of fabric for both the front and the backing, however, you use just a segment of that. You could make several aprons out of that strip of fabric.)
The second project was an old-fashioned nightgown from a website that specialises in doll clothes and accouterments. Pixie Faire offers patterns for sale and a free pattern for doll clothes each Friday. If you’re interested in sewing for dolls, check out Pixie Faire. There are countless inexpensive patterns, plus the Friday freebie.
This garment is well made. The bodice was lined, and all I had on hand was Bemberg lining, which means this is fancier than any of my own personal garments.
My young friend brought 2 dolls with her from the U.K. so I needed to make 2 nightgowns. The first version was made in pink and white Mother Goose toile, and the second in a soft cotton remnant with pink and blue birds.
For the first gown, I stuck closely to the pattern except I skipped the optional gathered front bodice and lace around the neckline. For the second version, I got a little lazy and used a lace for the front bodice and lower skirt ruffles.
The Pixie Faire pattern is in pdf format. The instructions were very good, and someone with some sewing experience could certainly have a successful make. However, there are some tricky bits so I wouldn’t think a child could make this on their own. There is a lot of gathering, fitting gathered pieces and stitching elastic to the sleeves. Total time required was about 5 hours, which included some time picking out when I failed to read the directions (eye roll).
We met up with my English friend when she was visiting the States and I was able to give her the garments. She was really pleased. Honestly, the me-made garments are better quality than the pricey stuff from the doll boutique.
There will be more doll clothes. There is now a boy in the family, and I was given an order to make up some pyjamas in teal and purple striped fabric. Guess I’ll be hunting for remnants again!
8 thoughts on “American Doll Clothes for an English Girl”
Janine, when my daughter was very young, back in the 70s, I sewed for her Barbie family. I made a complete wedding bride, bridesmaid, groom, and best man! Doll clothes are so quick and easy, once you get going you canno stop!
Your S ar adorable.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks, Susan! Were Barbie clothes difficult to sew with those little pieces?
Oh my goodness, these are incredibly cute. Outstanding! If I were a little girl again and received these I would die of happiness. Beautiful.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks, Viv! I’m wishing that there were more little girls in the family. These are quick and satisfying makes.
Lucky little girl Janine! You did a beautiful job!
Thanks, Julie! We need some little girls in the family so we have someone to sew for.
Your doll clothes are adorable and you did a great job. I didn’t learn to sew making doll clothes, either. For me, doll clothes can be more difficult to construct due to the small area you have to work in, especially Barbie clothes. Maybe I should try again. They may be easier after a few decades of sewing experience. 😄
Lisa, thanks! I think Barbie clothes would be difficult just because they’re so small. How would you ever do a set-in sleeve?