Learn how to sew a basic dress for an American Girl doll or other 18″ doll. This free pattern is versatile and easy to follow!
I’m obsessed with making 18″ doll clothes lately. It’s so much fun! If you would like to try making some doll clothes, I have come up with a very simple pattern that is super versatile and great for beginning sewers. Once you master this pattern, you can whip up a variety of outfits for your doll.
Like a sweater dress:
A comfy nightgown:
Or a long, flowy maxi dress:
So many possibilities with just one pattern! Let’s get started!
1. Print out the three pattern pieces. There are three PDF files to download and they’re all in the same folder on Google Drive. Click on the big blue button at the bottom of this post and you should be able to download the patterns to print out.
2. Choose fabric. I suggest using stretchy knit fabrics with edges that don’t fray. That way you don’t have to roll edges under twice… which makes finishing the neckline and hems so much easier. This is a great project to use old t-shirts that don’t get worn anymore. If you decide to go with a woven fabric, you will need to serge all the raw edges and fold all the hems under twice. And that’s why it’s so much easier to just use knits! 🙂
3. Carefully cut out all your pattern pieces. If you are repurposing an old shirt, try lining up your pattern pieces to take advantage of the already-finished edges.
4. With right sides together, sew the front piece to the two back pieces at the shoulder seams using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
5. Roll the fabric under about 1/8 inch and finish off the neckline. Be careful not to pull or stretch the fabric or your neckline will pucker.
6. Roll the bottom edge over and narrow hem. In this photo, I took advantage of the shirt’s pre-finished hem, so I got to skip this step!
7. With right sides together, match the sleeve center with the shoulder seam. Pin in place. Then match up the edge of the arm hole with the edge of the sleeve and sew, easing the fabric (that means fiddling with it to make the two pieces line up) as you go.
8. With right sides still together, line up the bottom sleeve edges and sew from the sleeve all the way down to the bottom hem.
9. Finish the back edge openings, then narrow hem the bottom edge. Add some velcro closures (I like to use a zig zag stitch) and you are done!
I see so many possibilities with this little pattern. Cut it short to make a tunic-style shirt to pair with leggings. Add a ruffle to the bottom hem. Use two fabrics for a color blocked look. Add a tuxedo bib detail. Use it as the bodice for a dress and add a gathered skirt. Or turn it around and make a cardigan with little faux buttons over the velcro. Fun, fun, fun!
Pin it so you don’t forget it.
Looking for more doll clothes ideas?