I’ve been scouring the internet and Pinterest looking for ideas to sew for 1980s BeForever™ character Courtney Moore™ from American Girl®. She’s the newest character to join the historical line up of dolls likeJulie, Melody, Maryellen, Nanea, Molly, and more!
Make 80s Doll Clothes for Courtney Moore, American Girl Doll 1986
This PIN (Don’t forget to follow me and save my pins on Pinterest!) reminded me of the boxy summer outfits that were so popular in the 80s so I immediately set about creating the same or similar look for Courtney using Oh Sew Kat! patterns that I already had on hand. I first used the Picnic Play reversible top (adding square chest pockets on some of them); read all about it in THIS POST.
Next I needed to make wide shorts with big pockets. I used the Sandbox Shorts pattern, view C, which has a wider leg. Because the pattern has a flat front and elastic back, I couldn’t just add pockets to the sides without changing the whole pattern. My answer was to add the pockets, just before or just after sewing the leg hems. I used a 2.75 inch square, taking in .25 under each edge. Bam! Perfect 80s shorts! You can find both patterns in the Oh Sew Kat! pattern shop! (Note, you can also use the Jumping Jack 3 in 1 pattern if you have that one as well!)
Make 80s style shorts for your Courtney Moore™ American Girl® Doll
To make the black suspender skirt, an iconic look for Miss Eloise, I used the overskirt pattern, found in the Everything Nice accessories pattern. You might want to make it more full than the pattern calls for, but this basic, open back gathered skirt has a nice waistband. My fabric was 29 inches long, so that is what I used. I also took off 1 inch from the hem. Instead of a regular gathered skirt (which will still look very cute!) I pleated my fabric every 3/8th inch or so (I did not measure) and it fit perfectly to my waistband. If you choose to do this, I recommend cutting your skirt piece longer than you need and trimming to fit just in case.
18 inch doll sewing pattern for an Eloise inspired Suspender Skirt
Once you attach the skirt to the waistband, try it on your doll and mark or pin the strap placement. Pin the straps in place inside the skirt (front and back, being careful not to let them twist). On the front, sew a few stitches to secure the straps right in the center of the waistband. On the back, consider hiding your stitches in the hook and loop tape area or the topstitching. Sew the buttons to the front of the waistband where the straps meet the skirt, covering the stitches that attached the straps. For this outfit, I used 9.5 inches of black Fold over elastic for my straps. If using fabric, cut two pieces, 11 x 1.25 inches, folding in each long edge to the center and stitching in place.
I chose a Playtime Peasant Top for my Eloise costume because all the photos of her seem to have a baggy, almost untucked look to the front of her shirt. Even though it doesn’t have a collar, it still created the look I was after. You could easily add a collar to the bodice of the Sugar n Spice dress and make it into a blouse. You could also use the school blouse pattern from the Pleasant Company Molly’s Pretty Clothes patterns. You can find those at a site called AG Playthings. White knee socks and black mary jane style shoes can be found at American Girl®. See this POST for more doll shoe sources.
Add a bright read headband with this easy TUTORIAL and she’s ready for tea at the Plaza! Find Eloise stories on Ad: Amazon. See more pattern hacks and ideas for the Sugar n Spice dress HERE and HERE.
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2021 PowerSheets are here!!! Let me step aside from 18 inch doll clothes to share with you a product I discovered a few years back and still truly use and love! If you purchase PowerSheets by clicking my links in this post, I will receive a small compensation at no cost to you. Feel free to share this post with others that might be inspired.
Cultivate what matters with the 2021 Power Sheets Collection.
Click HERE to see the beautiful 2021 collection, or click on the photo below.
The 2021 Power Sheets Goal Planners are now available.
This year is my fourth year (in a row!) of using this intentional goal planner. Let me be clear- this is not a daily planner. I have a bullet journal I’m currently using to track my schedules, appointments and my to do lists. The Power Sheets system is a way to look at each month, quarter, year and keep what’s most important to you front and center, or help you let go of one thing and focus on another. I ten out of ten recommend the PowerSheets!
There are pretty pages of prep work to help you reflect and find what matters most to you right now (any season of life) and what you can do to cultivate that. It sounds like a big job, but I do a few pages at a time over a week or so and if I can’t answer one question, I come back to it. I used this system when my kids had busy schedules and I still use it now when we are stuck closer to home. What kind of goals do I set? Goals to declutter my home, goals to do a monthly day trip or (used to) make dinner plans with friends, goals to send cards and packages for birthdays, goals to set up my blog post calendar and pattern/sample sewing, even home improvement goals.
My favorite part of the system is the monthly tending list. After writing down the monthly priorities, stresses, and ideas, you choose which ones to focus on and sort them into monthly, weekly, and daily lists for the month ahead. I then decorate this page with stickers or my stamps, and put it in my daily planner. Every morning, I check it along with my plans, to remind myself of both big and little things I’m working towards. At the end of the month, I tape it back in place in my PowerSheets.
Click on the photo to see the entire collection. There are bundles, and journals, stickers, and markers, calendars and pouches. Which color will you choose? Power Sheets are also a great gift! I gave my niece a set when she graduated from college. So far, I’ve always chosen the teal colorway (they matched my business logo!) but this year I went for the bold and bright citrus floral. I love the gold foil accents on the cover. The book itself is super study and very high quality. You won’t be disappointed, I promise!
The Twinkle Twirl Skirt pattern is a great choice to use up those fun mix and match holiday prints to give your doll a boutique ruffle skirt! For this Halloween 18 inch doll skirt, I actually used 9 5 inch squares (Quilting fabric precuts are sold in set sizes- a charm pack is usually 20-40 5 inch squares. Imagine how many skirts that can make!! Find a large selection at my favorite online fabric store: Ad: the Fat Quarter Shop!
DIY 18 inch Doll Twinkle Twirl Skirt for Halloween
In these photos, Joss is wearing her Twinkle Twirl with a Jumping Jack knit turtleneck shirt. You can find that pattern (also from OhSewKat) here.
I searched through my drawers for fun bias trim. I purchased this one a year or so ago, and realized that the bias tape still opens, but has a crochet trim on one edge. I attached it the usual way for this cute hem! Find the Twinkle Twirl Pattern in my Etsy shop. Five different sizes are in one pattern! See more ideas to stitch it up in the Inspiration Gallery.
Make a fun twirl skirt for your doll’s Halloween party
Before I publish a new pattern, I send it out to my amazing team of Oh Sew Kat! testers. I love to get their feedback and see what they come up with. Here are a few photos from some of the test outfits of the new Twinkle Twirl Skirt pattern. You can find it in my Etsy Shop with five sizes included in one pattern! Be sure to notice all the different tops you can use with this skirt. Patterns are all by Oh Sew Kat and found on etsy.
Twinkle Twirl Skirts for Dolls in 5 Sizes by OhSewKat.
Leah’s outfit, made by Michele, has a western flair. The sunny colors are perfect on her. Her top is made with just the bodice of the Spring Shine Dress pattern. Michele is very talented, no matter what doll size she is sewing for! All of her Twinkle Twirl Skirts are just darling!
Be inspired by the OhSewKat testers and the Twinkle Twirl Skirt Sewing Pattern.
Shh. Baby is sleeping! Magz not only stitched up an adorable Twinkle Twirl Skirt in the 15 inch baby size, but she sent over the cutest photographs! I love the pop of green with the black accents on this skirt. Her top is made with the Simple Sweet Tee Shirt pattern.
Kathy’s cute Twinkle Twirl Skirt has a primary colors school theme. Her Popsicle Top is reversible for two outfits in one! Kathy made her own bias tape to match the ruffle on her skirt. There are so many options for you to try!
Michele added a patriotic theme to her test outfits. Aren’t these darling? Willa has a Picnic Play top with her Twinkle Twirl Skirt with hem ruffle and Kendall is wearing a top made with just the bodice of the Spring Shine Dress with her simple patchwork skirt. These girls are ready for a hoe down! Visit the inspiration gallery to see more ideas with this simple to sew pattern.
Find the Twinkle Twirl Skirt Pattern (with 3 styles and 5 sizes in one pattern) in the OhSewKat Etsy Shop.
Courtney Moore,™ the newest BeForever character from American Girl® is a true 80s girl. With hair scrunchies, boxy clothes and bubble skirts- you can create similar looks with PDF sewing patterns you may already have!
You will want to choose a fabric that has some “drape”. That means it softly hangs. Stiff cottons and wovens might not be the best choice. The Four Season Skirt pattern doesn’t have pattern pieces since it’s just too basic rectangles. Cut your waistband as the pattern directs. For the skirt part, you will still have the same length (the long way that goes around the doll), but you will want to double the width of your rectangle (the short way- from the waist to the hem.)
Press your fabric well before you start. Fold your skirt piece in half the long way, with wrong sides together. Baste the raw edges together to hold them in place, and gather as the pattern directs. Do not press the folded edge (which is the hem).
Do you use a serger when you sew your doll clothes? I’ve always felt that a serger is as essential as my sewing machine but I know everyone has a different view on this.
Try this easy Serger Setting Tip from Oh Sew Kat!
The Twinkle Twirl Skirt PDF sewing pattern offers many variations for adding different ruffles and hems. When making long and thin ruffles, the serger can be your best friend! You can use a rolled hem to finish the edge (in matching or contrasting colors) in just one step, compared to finishing, pressing, and hemming those little strips.
You can see that the think black ruffle at the bottom of Joss’ pink Twinkle Twirl skirt (above) is gathered just above the middle of the ruffle and is attached to the skirt on the outside. Both edges of the ruffle, as well as the pink hem, were finished with a rolled hem.
Use this Serger Settings Tip to Easily Change from an overlock to rolled hem stitch
Here’s a quick tip to make it super easy to switch back and forth between your 3/4 thread overlock stitch and a rolled hem. You will need two colors of some sort of sticker, washi tape, or vinyl scraps. Cut each color into 4-5 tiny triangles. And by tiny, I mean tiny. Maybe 1/4th inch long.
Most of us leave our serger set to a standard overlock stitch. I use a three thread since it creates a smaller stitch for doll clothes. Take one set of your colored triangles and use them to “point” to the current settings. My serger has two knobs, plus one letter dial. So I made a blue triangle point to each dial’s current setting.
Next, you will want to set up for a rolled hem.
The first place to look to make a rolled hem on your particular serger is in your owner’s manual or threading guide. This will tell you how to set your machine up and what dials and settings you will likely use. I also suggest heading over to YouTube to search for your specific brand-rolled hem.
Change all the settings to the rolled hem settings and test it on a scrap of fabric like the fabric that you use most often. Adjust the length and / or width until you are happy with the stitch. Now use a different color to mark these settings.
You might want to add an extra little sticker on a piece of tape on the inside of your machine as a key to remember which is which.
Once you finish your rolled hem, simple move all of your dials back to your 1st color (blue in my case), and test it on a scrap. The next time you need a rolled hem, you won’t need to look up the settings again, just turn all of your dials to your second color. You can add more colors if there are other stitches that you frequently use, such as a 4 thread, which on my serger, are green. For the most part, I just move back and forth between the 3 thread (blue) and a rolled hem (pink). I also used my label maker to remind me which dial is the width and which is the length.
Try Kat’s Quick Tip for Your Serger Settings
Easy peasy, right? I’m sure you will now find lots of way to reduce your sewing time plus add a fun accent to your doll clothes by adding a rolled hem.
Make a boxy, 80s style top for your 18 inch Doll like Courtney Moore™.
As written, the Picnic Play Top is already pretty similar to the 80s tops like these and these from Pinterest. However, the 18 inch size does hug the doll’s waist a bit, so I wanted my top to look a little more boxy which was a popular part of 80s fashion. I also deepened the neckline curve in order to give the “off the shoulder” option. Here are the few changes I made.
Print out the top pattern. You will notice the hem corners are marked with large black dots. Using a ruler, make a line of dots that is 1/2 inch along this sleeve/side cutting line (the one with the two black dots). Extend the current hems out to your dots, then connect your series of dots and make a new cutting line. Ensure the corners are 90 degree angles. This basically widens the piece by 1/2 inch.
Deepen the neck curve by cutting along the dotted seam line, then ease it up to the edge.
Cut out your new pattern piece and follow the instructions in the pattern. Lots of 80s tops had square pockets. Add one to either or both sides of your top before you assemble it. I used a 1 3/4th inch square for my pockets on both sides of my black tops.
Fashions for 1980s Dolls: Boxy, Crop Top Sewing Pattern
Layer the Picnic Play top over the lavender tank top that comes as part of Courtney’s meet outfit. I also chose fabrics that matched her pink tights and hair scrunchie.
Make an 80s style top for your Courtney Moore™ doll from American Girl®
I love the fall! Here in Virginia, we get the color late, but it’s so rich! We go apple picking and use our fire pit and enjoy being outside in the nice weather. Here are a few outfits sewn with the Backyard Bibs sewing pattern I’m reaching for to get my dolls ready for the Pumpkin Spice season this year.