The Sunshine Dress, with its three variations and classic A-line look, can easily be adapted to look like it came from the 60s era with just a few minor tweaks to the pattern.
Make a 60s style dress for your Melody doll with this Sunshine Dress pattern hack.
I used this photo for inspiration to make my Melody her vintage 60s dress. Click here to see Melody modeling View A (without any changes, just a retro feeling fabric.) Based on the photo, I am using View C, the princess seamed option with just a few minor changes.
This dress is made from the Oh Sew Kat! Sunshine Dress pattern. Click the photo to visit my Etsy Shop to purchase it. This pattern has had a recent update. Check your file and make sure that it says Copyright 2018 at the bottom of the front cover. If it doesn’t, you can find the updated version where you purchased the pattern.
- Raise the neckline by a quarter inch or so. Don’t forget the lining piece too!
- Raise the hem by an inch or even more. Dresses for girls were short then too! (I usually do this after the dress is sewn together unless I’ve done it before and have a good measurement. Once the dress is done, it’s easy to (use a ruler) and trim off the right amount for the right look for the era.)
- To make the pocket flaps: Cut a piece of paper 1 1/2 by 1 3/4th inches (This is the 18 inch doll size.) Fold it in quarters and round the corners. Open it back up and cut it in half the short way, so you have two pocket pattern pieces.
4. Trace two flaps onto the wrong side of your fabric, leaving at least 1/4th inch all the way around. (I probably cut mine a little close in this photo.) Pin two layers together right sides together, and stitch exactly along the drawn line, leaving a small opening to flip it right side out. Carefully cut out the pocket with a 1/8th inch edge border all the way around it. Press your seam line, clip the curves, and flip it right side out. Press well. Do your best to make both pockets look the same. Slip stitch the opening closed if needed. Top stitch around the bottom, curved edge if desired.
5. Put your dress on your doll and pin or tape the pockets in place. (I use transparent tape to hold them on, so they don’t shift as I sew. The tape tears easily away from the stitching when I’m done.) . Very carefully, top stitch along the top of the flap to attach it to the dress, being careful not to catch the back of the dress under your seam. If you prefer, you can stitch the flap on by hand.
Sixties Fashions for 18 inch dolls with sewing patterns by Oh Sew Kat!
One final note. I do not profess that this dress is 100% historically accurate. I saw an image on Pinterest and used my own pattern to duplicate it. However, in the world of child’s play, “close enough” is usually enough to save Mama a few dollars at the American Girl Store if you have a young friend pleading for Melody Ellison or items from her time period and collection. When my daughter was very young, and a new doll was released, I usually kept her focused on who she already had with just a few new dresses to fit the new era or theme. The one that comes to my mind is when Elizabeth Cole, Felicity Merriman’s best friend, was released in a beautiful pink, ball gown. I was able to make and buy a few colonial dresses for my daughter’s Mia doll, and off we went to Williamsburg happy as can be. Elizabeth never did join our doll family by the way. 😉