Vera Bradley bloomer buddies

Ready to up-cycle?  Up-cyling fabrics from ready made items and clothing can be a lot of fun.  You can go to Good Will or other thrift store to find some cheap items. Another option is to use something brand new.  Today I’m going to take this little totebag that I found at the Vera Bradley outlet and turn it into a cute, Vera Bradley doll dress.

Oh Sew Kat! vera bradley doll dress

I’m lucky enough to live near an outlet, and they usually have some amazing sales.  Most of their bags are quilted, and can’t easily be up-cycled, but these little plastic lined bags were on special last year for around $6 or something crazy, so I stocked up on a few.  (Here’s my affiliate link to show you what this bag looks like- it’s called the “Ditty Bag” . The bag has two layers, one fabric and one a thick plastic, but they are not stitched together aside from the seams.)

Vera Bradley Bloomer Buddies Doll Dress by Oh Sew Kat!

Sometimes when I cut up an item to repurpose it, I cut carefully along some of the basic seams and then use a seam ripper in order to really maximize the fabric I’m going to get.  This bag won’t leave me much left over.  By simply cutting it apart, I have the circle base, the rectangle “bag”, and the top casing which had a thick cord in it.  I’ll just save the plastic liner for another project.  This particular bag has a cute little border print sewn on the bottom so I’m going to use that as part of my design.

Doll Dress Tutorial by Oh Sew Kat!
After I’ve pressed my fabric, I can see how much I really have.  The rectangle measures about 26 x 11 inches.  If I’m making an 18 inch dress (as I am here) I probably don’t have enough to make a bodice and a gathered skirt- I’d have to piece the skirt to make it long enough. Instead, I look for a pattern that has few pieces and slimmer lines.  The Sunshine Dress, Boardwalk Boutique or HalterAlls, Bloomer Buddies, and the Sixth Grade Skirt are all great options for something like this.   I chose Bloomer Buddies without the sleeves for a fresh, summer look.

Doll Dress Tutorial by Oh Sew Kat!
I simply pinned my pattern pieces to maximize my fabric and the designs, which are quite large on this fabric.  The Bloomer Buddies pattern is a perfect choice for a project like this, because it really takes a very small amount of fabric. I sew a lot of doll clothes,  so I spend a little $$ and keep a white, Kona layer cake on my sewing table at all times.  The 10 inch squares are easy to grab (compared to rolling out my white yardage) and perfect for most doll linings.  I use this for most of my doll bodice linings,  one, to save my pretty fabric (I often buy fat quarters), and two, just an extra layer of color fast protection. Quick and easy lemon squeezy!  Kelly has a cute new dress for summer!

Vera Bradley Bloomer Buddies Doll Dress by Oh Sew Kat!

Have you up-cylced something into doll clothes?  Head on over to and share what you made!

Purchase the Bloomer Buddies pattern on Etsy, Pixie Faire, and You Can Make This.  Also available for Animators and WellieWishers dolls!

Doll Dress Tutorial

Sewing patterns for dolls