Kids' Sewing~ More Doll Clothes

My girls have sewn a lot of doll clothes over the past 2 years and they have gotten a bit more advanced. Some of these patterns I have created for them and some were freebies we found. Some of my patterns are available on the blog and some have yet to be published. (Vote at the end of this post for which one we should post next!) For now, I thought I would share which ones we like to use. These dresses were made using the Salina dress pattern from Pixie Faire. (They have free patterns available every Friday if you sign up for their newsletter!) We really like this one and it is an easy pattern.

The aprons were made using my free pattern. Available HERE.

These dresses were made using my own pattern. It is just a basic doll dress (like THIS one but in 18" doll size). Is there any interest for a tutorial and pattern for these?

Liberty Jane has free patterns for T shirts HERE. Hemming the neckline is hard, but the rest is pretty simple and the fit is great! We made our own leggings pattern that can be done on the overlock machine except for the hem.

We made our own PJ pants pattern, too. Any interest in a pattern for that one? Oh, and the eye mask was adorable; it is just decorative elastic sewed to felt.

My daughter wanted to buy this sparkle tulle so I came up with an easy way to make tutus. I think I have some that I saved to do a tutorial but haven't gotten around to it yet.

We made our own cardigan pattern. (OK, I am seeing a trend here of us just making stuff up as we go along.) This dress, though, is a pattern that I have had in the works for 4 years.

I have my own baby doll diaper patterns in a few different sizes and we use those for the dolls that wet themselves. I refuse to buy disposable doll diapers! My daughter used her scraps from THIS collection to make some sets.

Paired with a pillowcase top these are really cute for baby dolls! You can get a free pillowcase dress pattern HERE. We just shorten it for baby dolls.

My younger daughter started out with some simple sundresses. I modified some patterns to come up with our own thing for these, too.

Finally, my oldest daughter wanted to try cold shoulder tops so we made a pattern up for those. (I can't figure out where we got the shorts pattern.) Then, we made tassel necklaces to match.

Now it is your turn... Which free pattern should we release next?

Kids' Sewing ~ Doll Peasant Dresses

I mentioned last week that I have been sharing my sewing machines with my daughters. I want to make sure that my girls know how to sew because I want them to be self-sufficient adults one day and not bug me to do their mending. I hate mending. These doll clothes were sewn by my daughters. Doll peasant dresses are a really good beginner sewing project! It is one of the first things I teach my girls to sew. I usually have to help them with the elastic casings around the neckline until they are more experienced, but the rest of the dress is simple enough that they just need a little coaching.

Once you get the basic peasant dresses mastered, you can increase the difficulty with details like bows and trims.

Elastic sleeves at any length change the dress up with one simple addition. If you shorten it to a tunic length it is really cute with leggings, too.

Here are the patterns/tutorials if anyone wants to give it a try!

Doll Peasant Top Free Sewing Pattern

A free printable pattern for a doll peasant dress with elastic sleeves!

They can easily make a matching girls' dress, too!

You can also see more of the doll clothes my daughters have made HERE and HERE. For the full list of  my doll clothes tutorials click HERE.

Doll Peasant Dress Pattern and Tutorial

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Peasant dresses are a really easy beginner sewing project. When I teach my daughters to sew doll clothes, this is our first lesson. I have to help with a few of the steps, but they can handle most of it.

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After you learn how to make this basic dress, there are a lot of options to change it up for a totally different look. I also have tutorials for making peasant dresses in girls' sizes. Matching girl/doll sets are always a pretty big hit!

These dresses have a lot of variations, and I hope to expand on this pattern in the future. For now, though, I am starting off simple with a basic, short sleeve peasant dress. I have picked up some tricks over the years to make sewing them a little faster and easier.

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You will need:

  • a fat quarter of fabric or 1/3 yard of fabric if bought from the bolt
  • 8 1/2" of 1/4" wide elastic
  • thread
  • pins or wonder clips
  • sewing machine and needles
  • printed free pattern- available HERE

First, let's prep the pattern. Print it out in actual size and cut it out. To fit the longer main dress piece on the page, I had to do it in two pieces. So, you will have to overlap the little bottom section and tape it together. It is off a little bit- about 1/8" but I am not a professional and it is a free pattern so center it the best you can and don't complain. OK?

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These dresses require very little fabric. A fat quarter works perfectly and I always seem to have a lot of those hanging around.

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You want to make sure to place the width of the fabric (the direction that stretches a little more) across the width of the pattern pieces. Just fold the fabric in enough to place both pieces on top.

how to cut a doll dress from a fat quarter

If you want to be really efficient about it, fold it again, accordion style, and cut two of each pattern piece.

How to double fold to cut two pattern pieces
how to cut two pieces on the fold

(If that was confusing, just ignore it and cut two pieces out individually!)

You will have four pieces total- a front, a back, and two sleeves.

doll peasant dress pieces

One trick I learned through experience is that it is easier to hem the sleeves before sewing the dress together. Fold it under 1/4" twice and sew 1/8" from the edge. (My girls usually need help with this when they are first learning because it is such a small hem.)

hem doll dress sleeves

Next, line up the curved edges of one sleeve and one dress piece as shown. Make sure to line up each set on the same side.

how to sew a doll peasant dress

Sew the curves together with a 1/4" seam allowance. (I also use a shorter stitch length to make those curves tighter.)

Then, sew the opposite side of each sleeve to the other side of the dress. This part used to confuse me, so I will show it at a couple of different angles.

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Again, use a 1/4" seam allowance. It is kind of like sewing everything together in a loop or a rectangle.

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Next, fold the right sides together and line up the side seams. Make sure the ends of the sleeves and armpits line up.

(Normally, I would nest the armpit seams so that one goes in each direction. It would lay flatter and be easier to sew. However, on this particular project, I like to face both of the seams towards the dress pieces, away from the sleeve hem. I just don't want more bulk in that area. You can do whatever you like.)

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Pin and sew along each side with a 1/4" seam allowance.

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Now, I happen to have an overlock machine, or serger. If you don't have one, go buy one. They are awesome. If that isn't an option or desire for you, you can finish the seam another way- pinking shears, zig zag stitch, etc. Google it.

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Now, I happen to have created a separate tutorial for how to tuck in those serger threads. You can see it HERE.

Next you have to sew the elastic casing for the neckline. This is the hardest part, in my opinion. It just seems to take a little practice. The most important thing to remember is this: KEEP THE SEAMS ALL PRESSED IN THE SAME DIRECTION! Did that seem like I was shouting at you? Good. I was. Trust me. It is very frustrating to get the elastic stuck at a seam and this will prevent it.

press seams in one direction

Fold the raw edge down 1/4" to the inside.

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Next, fold it in 1/2" (and watch those seams!) You can iron and pin. You can use wonder clips (those rock!) You can just eyeball it up and fold it as you sew (maybe after some practice). So that I could take a picture... I pinned this time.

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Start sewing somewhere on the back. I like to start just before a seam. Sew about 1/8" from the folded edge all the way around. I keep my needle to the left and line up the outside folded edge with the edge of my presser foot.

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Do NOT go all the way around! Leave the last inch or so open so that you can put the elastic into the casing.

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Cut a piece of 1/4" elastic 8 1/2" long. Pin a safety in onto each end. One will guide it through the casing. The other will keep the end from getting pulled in. (You can pin it to the dress if you want to be really sure!)

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Make sure that you push the safety pin towards the seam so that everything is going the same direction.

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Push the elastic all the way through the casing, being careful not to twist it.

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Overlap the ends of the elastic about 3/4" or so.

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Use a small zig zag stitch on the machine to hold the ends together.

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Stretch the casing to pull the elastic inside. Sew the opening closed.

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Finally, turn the bottom under 1/4" twice to make a small hem.

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Stitch 1/8" from the edge.

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Hooray! It is finished!!!

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To put it on the doll you will want to pull it up from the legs, not put it over the head. They are sort of disproportional so it is easier that way. Plus, you don't mess the hair up.

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Don't forget to save the printable pattern...

If you want to pin this post to save the instructions for later...

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Here are some more tutorials you might like: