Step it Up Series: How to Sew a 70s Sunshine Dress for Julie

The Sunshine Dress, with its three variations and classic A-line look can easily be adapted to look like it came from the 70s era with just a few minor tweaks to the pattern.

Julie american girl doll in pink daisy trimmed dress

I used this photo from Pinterest for inspiration.  Here’s another one.  Based on the first photo, I am using View C, the princess seamed option, but I really think that any of these views can be easily adapted to create this daisy trimmed look. The second photo definitely looks like View B.

Start with the Sunshine Dress pattern.  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, or contact me.

Sunshine Dress sewing pattern for 18 inch dolls

  1.  Raise the neckline by quite a bit- I used almost a half inch for the 18 inch size doll. Don’t forget the lining piece needs to match too!
  2. Skip the top stitching after assembling the dress front.  It would be covered by the trim. If you want your trim to disappear into the seam at the shoulders (and not go down the back), you need to add it over your seams before you stitch the front to the backs as I did hereIf you want the trim to go over the shoulder and down the back, it will be attached after the dress front and back are joined but before you do the hem.  I just attached mine to the front (to conserve my trim mostly).  Add the daisy trim with transparent tape to ensure you have the look you want; you can follow the seam lines if you have them, but if you don’t, put the trim where you think it should go. Stitch in place.  I used a machine and just carefully stitched down the center of my flowers.  You can also add your trim by hand.  If the trim was wider, or for a real girl and would be washed, I would put a row of stitching down each side to hold it securely.
  3. 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 right look for the era.) .
  4. Optional:  Add lace (again by hand?) around the neckline.

70s daisy dress for Julie Albright American Girl DollSewing Patterns for Julie doll by Oh Sew Kat

One final note.  I do not profess that this pattern is historically accurate.  I found an image on Pinterest and used my own pattern, which looks very similar.  However, in the world of child’s play, “close enough” is usually enough to save you a few dollars at the American Girl Store if you have a young friend pleading for Julie Albright 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 doll 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.  😉

Sewing patterns for DIY Doll clothes 70s fashion

PLEASE NOTE:  The Sunshine Dress has been updated since it was first published. The current version has Copyright 2018 on the bottom of the cover page.  If you are unable to get the updated copy from where your purchased it (download it again from your Etsy or Craftsy account, or find the link in the update email from Pixie Faire), please contact me at ohsewkat@gmail.com with the details of where and when you purchased the pattern and I will get you the updated copy!

See other ways to make clothes for Julie here and here, and more ways to sew the Sunshine Dress here.

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How to Sew a 60s Sunshine Dress for Melody

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.

Melody doll 60s doll dress sewing pattern

I used this photo for inspiration to make my Melody her 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.

Melody doll in diy doll dress 1960

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.

Sunshine Dress sewing pattern for 18 inch dolls

  1.  Raise the neckline by a quarter inch or so. Don’t forget the lining piece too!
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.

tutorial photos to make faux pockets on doll dress4. 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.

pockets for 60s variation of the Sunshine Dress5. 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.

Melody doll in green dress with fake pockets

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.  😉

See more ways to sew Oh Sew Kat! for the BeForever Character dolls here and visit the Sunshine Dress Inspiration Gallery here.

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Fan Feature: Disney Animators’ Outfits

I love getting emails or seeing posts of the amazing outfits you all make with my patterns. I was blown away by these outfits that Michele Anderson sewed and shared.  I hope you enjoy them too!  I love the entire ensemble!!

Here is Snow White. She is wearing a Sunshine Dress (made into a top- so cute!) and the capris are from the Boardwalk Boutique pattern.

Disney Animators dolls sewing patterns

Ariel is wearing a Sugar n Spice Dress with the reversible corset.

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Anna looks so sweet in her Sugar n Spice dress. And that purse is adorable!!

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Merida is dressed in a sundress made with the Boardwalk Boutique Halter Top.  The contrasting ruffle looks great with her hair!

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And here is Belle, in her Boardwalk Boutique outfit.

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Thank you so much for sharing, Michele!!  It’s so hard to pick a favorite!

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Which one do you like best?  Find these patterns for Disney Animators, along with patterns in other popular doll sizes in my Etsy Shop.

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Step it Up: How to Make a Lace Backed Halter Top with Boardwalk Boutique

Every little girl loves lace and roses! This tutorial will show you how to take the Boardwalk Boutique Halter Top up a step with a pretty, lace back.

Grace Thomas Doll in lace backed Boardwalk Boutique Halter Top

Start with the Boardwalk Boutique sewing pattern.

Doll clothes boardwalk boutique sewing pattern by oh sew kat

Choose your lacy trim. I use pre-gathered lace because it’s already got a pretty, hemmed edge. When you buy it, buy as wide as you can.  Smaller dolls will use smaller trim. If you use eyelet or lace fabric, simply follow the directions as written.  Use these few changes to add the lace trim to the back of your halter top.

Carefully remove the stitching of the top of the lace trim with a seam ripper. If you lace trim is much wider than the pattern piece, you can cut it off. As you can see in the photo below, my trim was just a little shorter than my pattern piece (no need to turn up the 1/4th hem at the bottom) so I knew my top would be just a bit shorter than the pattern.) . Iron your trim and cut it the right size based on the pattern piece.  Cut out your front, facing, and ties (or ribbon).

lace trim and sewing pattern pieces

Construct the front of the halter top according to the pattern directions, to include the back elastic casing and elastic.  You will have to hem the front piece before you attach it to the back.  Determine how big this hem needs to be based on the lace back piece as seen in the photo below.  Serge or zigzag the front hem, press up, and stitch in place.  With right sides together, sew the back to the front on each side.

Lace doll top instructions by ohsewkat

It’s kind of hard to photograph these dolls’ backs.  🙂

American Girl Doll in Halter Top with lace back

Try this simple hack of the Boardwalk Boutique Halter Top for your dolls!  See more ways to sew this pattern here and here.

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18 inch doll with lace halter top

Step it Up Series: Boardwalk Boutique Ruffle Maxi Dress

Make a cute sundress with the Boardwalk Boutique sewing pattern from Oh Sew Kat! Choose one ruffle or two with this easy tutorial variation (pattern hack).  This look is perfect for American Girl doll, Julie Albright, a character from 1974.

Julie American Girl doll halter sundress 70s style

Start with the pattern.  This tutorial shows the 18 inch doll size, but it can easily be adapted to any of the five doll sizes this pattern is offered for.

Doll clothes boardwalk boutique sewing pattern by oh sew kat

Cut out the Boardwalk Boutique top, using the “cut here to add ruffle” line.  (If you use the pattern piece with the extra inch, your sundress will have a little longer bodice, I’ve sewn it both ways! Just make sure you shorten the hem by an inch or so if you are making the double ruffle/maxi version.)

I put an existing top on my doll and used a ruler to decide how long I wanted the dress to be.  You can also lay the pattern piece over your doll.  Cut one or two ruffles.  For 18 inch dolls, the top ruffle measures 3 1/2 by 24 inches. The bottom ruffle measures 4 1/2 by 36 inches.  These measurements can be whatever you like to create a longer or shorter sundress.

Grace Thomas American Girl Doll in floral sundress

Assemble the halter top according to the directions up to the side seams.  Stitch both side seams.  (Note: The directions say to stitch only one side, in order to attach the ruffle/hem flat and then sew up the side seam.  You can certainly use this method for the maxi dress, but with longer ruffles, the following method of attaching ruffles in the round may produce a better hang on the longer dress.)

Ruffle Prep:  With right sides together, stitch the short ends of each ruffle together, making each one into a circle.  Press seams open.  Serge or zigzag the hem edge of your bottom ruffle.  Press up 1/4th inch and stitch.  Mark both ruffles into equal fourths with pins or other markings, with one mark being on the seam line.

Ruffle strips for .a doll sundress

Mark the raw edge of your halter top in fourths with pins.  Put one in each side seam, and one at center front and center back.

Halter Top with pin markings to attach ruffle

Increase your stitch length and stitch two rows of gathering stitches along the top edge of the top ruffle, starting and ending at the seam.  With right sides together, place to the top inside the ruffle, match the four pins or markings, and pull up the gathering threads to fit the ruffle evenly to the bottom edge of the halter top.  Line it up so the seam is at the center back.  Pin the gathers in place, and using a regular stitch length, stitch the ruffle to the halter top.  Remove the gathering stitches.  Serge or zigzag your seam allowance and press it towards the halter top.  Top stitch from the right side of the ruffle.

Attach (Optional) Bottom Ruffle:  Increase your stitch length and stitch two rows of  gathering stitches along the top of the bottom ruffle, starting and ending with the seam.  With right sides together, match the four pins or markings, and pull up the gathering threads to fit the top of the bottom ruffle to the bottom of the top ruffle.  Line it up so the seam is at the center back.  Using a regular stitch length, stitch in place.  Remove the gathering stitches.  Serge or zigzag your seam allowance and press it towards the top ruffle.  Top stitch from the right side of the ruffle.  Ta da!! Beautiful!

Julie doll in long, floral maxi halter dress

Have fun with this new sundress for summer doll fun!!

Brown hair american girl doll in floral sundress

See the INSPIRATION GALLERY for more Boardwalk Boutique outfits.

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Julie American Girl doll halter sundress 70s style

 

 

Who wore it best? Bloomer Buddies Springtime Fun Outfit for Dolls

Who wore it best Bloomer Buddies doll clothes

Ready for some Springtime Fun?  Today you choose the look! Who wore it best? Kelly or Harper? This easy, breezy outfit is perfect for the early days of spring!  The pretty dress pairs up with some longer bloomers to add a little warmth and cartwheel protection. This tunic length top and knee length bloomers were made using the BLOOMER BUDDIES sewing pattern which is also available for 16″ Animators and 14.5 inch Wellie Wishers dolls. Find the pattern here.

Kelly: (Truly Me #63)

American Girl doll Bloomer Buddies Sewing Pattern

Harper: (Truly Me #25)18 inch doll clothes sewing patterns

Harper rocked the sunglasses.  Kelly wanted to try it as a dress, but it was too short.  (This is the tunic length- the dress length option is perfect). We had to quickly add a blue hem band to make it work.

18 inch dolls sewing patterns by oh sew katAmerican Girl doll dress sewing pattern

So what do you think? Who rocked the Bloomer Buddies better?  Harper in her shades, or Kelly in her cute dress? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Visit my ETSY SHOP and find this and other patterns to download and sew today!

See more Bloomer Buddies Dresses here and here.

Sewing patterns for dolls

 

Who wore it best Bloomer Buddies doll clothes

 

Santa Outfit for Dolls: Jumping Jack Pattern Hack

Jumper santa outfit for dolls by Oh Sew Kat!

Make this cute Santa dress for your doll with the new Jumping Jack 3 in 1 Jumper Set pattern.

1970s doll clothes sewing pattern ohsewkat

This is barely even a hack to the pattern.  The only change I made was I added white cuffs to the sleeves (and made the neckband white as well.) Be sure to subtract the cuff width (plus 1/4 inch seam allowance) from the sleeve length when you cut out your turtleneck shirt.  I also recommend sewing the buttons on before you sew your jumper together so you won’t ruin the reverse of your jumper.  These belts, made of fold over elastic, can also be used as headbands!

Doll clothes for 18 inch dolls by Oh Sew Kat!

The best part is that it’s reversible! I put a red heart fabric on the back so it can go from the Christmas holiday right to Valentine’s Day.

18 inch doll clothes sewing patterns by Oh Sew Kat!20171025-IMG_2482

Find the pattern here and check back in January for the Wellie Wishers size!  See more Jumping Jacks here and here.

Sewing patterns to make doll clothes by Oh Sew Kat!

 

 

Step it Up Series: Sugar N Spice Peplum Top for Dolls

Take your patterns to the next level when you step up the Sugar n Spice Dress to this cute, peplum top!

Sugar n Spice Step it Up Make a Peplum Top by oh sewkat

This cute little top is easy to sew from the Sugar n Spice Dress pattern.  Buy it in my Etsy shop. The pattern bundle also includes the dress up accessories! This pattern is also available sized for WellieWishers and Animators Dolls.

 

Make your dress into a Peplum Top with this easy variation to the pattern. This tutorial assumes you have a basic knowledge of sewing.  Please refer to the pattern instructions for more detail, as well as the pattern pieces.

  1.  Cut out your pattern pieces and fabric for the bodice, lining, and sleeves.  Add 1/2 to 3/4 inch to the bodice if you want the peplum to sit below the waist.
  2. Instead of a wide skirt piece, cut a shorter skirt piece as the peplum.  For the 18 inch doll size, I used 2 1/4 inches by 28 inches.  The longer your peplum, the fuller it will be.  For the 14.5 inch Wellie Wishers dolls, I cut peplums at 2 1/2 by 15 inches (ladybug) and 1 3/4 inches by 17 inches (holly).
  3. Follow the pattern directions to make the top, using the peplum piece instead of the skirt piece.

Peplum Top for Dolls Sugar n Spice Sewing PatternOh Sew Kat! Sewing Pattern Make A Peplum Top from Sugar n Spice Dress Pattern (4)Oh Sew Kat! Sewing Pattern Make A Peplum Top from Sugar n Spice Dress Pattern (5)

Enjoy these amazing photos by Pam Ray of Amy Violet’s, who made the cutest peplum tops for her Wellies and sells the outfits in her shop. Each set is paired with a Sixth Grade Skirt, with the added pockets as shown in THIS TUTORIAL.  She also used THIS TUTORIAL to add the front placket with a little lace!  Nice touch!  I just love to see how others stitch up the patterns I created.

Doll top tutorial by OhSewKat

 

Sugar n Spice Peplum Top with Sixth Grade Skirt 5

Have fun sewing up a cute top with Oh Sew Kat’s most popular (and versatile) dress pattern, Sugar n Spice and Everything Nice!  See the Inspiration Gallery for even more ideas to use your pattern!  Thanks for stopping by!  Use the links below to share this tutorial with your friends!

Sewing patterns to make doll clothes by Oh Sew Kat!

Peplum Top for dolls Tutorial by Oh Sew Kat!

 

Step it Up Series: Simple, Hawaiian MuuMuu for Nanea with the Sunshine Dress Pattern

You can create a beautiful Hawaiian dress for your Nanea (Na-nay-uh) doll or one of her friends from almost any dress pattern you own.  Use this quick tutorial to take the Sunshine Dress to a Hawaiian Muumuu.  Here is the 4th dress tutorial!

Hawaiian Dress sewing tutorial for dolls

Part Four! The Sunshine Dress.

Hawaiin Dress for dolls like Nanea Sewing Pattern by OhSewKat

 


If you look closely, you will find the fabric is what really makes your doll’s dress look Hawaiian.  Your Nanea or her friends will be thrilled with this modern take on a simple Hawaiian Muumuu dress.  I chose a bright, orange floral print.  Be sure the flowers are not too large for your doll, but with dresses like this, almost anything can work.

Doll sundress Hawaiian inspired doll dress 

First you will need the pattern.  Click the image below to go to  my Etsy Shop. (This pattern is also available for Animators and WellieWishers.) Sunshine Dress sewing pattern for 18 inch dolls

Step 1.  Choose your sunshine dress pattern view (Princess seam, solid front, or straight seamed front) and cut out all of the front, back and lining pieces as directed by the pattern.  No sleeves are needed.

Step 2.  Cut a strip of fabric to add to the hem of the dress as the ruffle.  I used 2 1/4 x 33 for a shorter, more modern look.  Traditional muumuus probably have a longer ruffle (3 x 33 inches).  Finish the bottom hem of the ruffle, by pressing up 1/4 inch and stitching in place.

Step 3.  Complete the Sunshine Dress according to the pattern instructions making it sleeveless, as seen in this tutorial here.  Add the ruffle to the bottom edge and top stitch. Do not finish the back edges yet.

Make a Hawaiian dress for your doll

Step 4.  Choose your trim to add to the neckline and hem.  I used a cute, gathered ribbon trim I had on hand.  Add your trim around the neckline and hemline, leaving a bit hanging over the back edge.  You can stitch in in place by machine or by hand.  Finish the back edge as directed by the pattern , catching trim ends.  If you don’t have trim you like, you can also make your own with fabric or ribbon. Create a fabric tube, or choose a wide ribbon and gather it down the center to create a ruffle.

Make a Hawaiian dress for Nanea tutorial

Share your Muumuu with me on facebook and instagram!

Nanea's dress tutorial by Oh Sew Kat!

Harper and Nanea are ready to dance the hula at a luau!

sew a hawaiian dress for dolls**This tutorial, or pattern hack, assumes you have a basic knowledge of sewing, and is designed to show you how to make a few changes to the Oh Sew Kat! Sunshine Dress pattern to create a new look.  Please see the actual pattern for pattern pieces and more specific, step by step instructions.  See many more ways to make the Sunshine Dress in the Inspiration Gallery.

Tutorial to make a hawaiian dress for dolls

See more 3 tutorials to make Hawaiian inspired fashions from different patterns HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Sewing patterns for dolls

Hawaiian Dresses for dolls by Oh Sew Kat!

Hawaiian sundress for Nanea tutorial by OH Sew Kat

 

 

Sewing for Nanea: Make a Hawaiian Muumuu with the Bloomer Buddies Pattern

The doll world is falling in love with the newest BeForever character from American Girl, Nanea Mitchell.  She lives in Hawaii in the 1940s. You can purchase her fancy Holoku Muumuu dress from American Girl, but she also needs some dresses for every day! This tutorial shows you how to take the Bloomer Buddies pattern and make her a dress for every day!

Sewing patterns for Hawaiian dresses for dolls

Part Three:  Bloomer Buddies!Sewing patterns for Nanea Hawaiian Dresses by ohsewkat

Here’s a super, simple way to make a pretty, Hawaiian dress for your doll from the Bloomer Buddies Sewing Pattern by Oh Sew Kat!

Sew a dress for Nanea Tutorial for dolls

You will need the Bloomer Buddies pattern, which you can purchase and download in my Etsy Shop by clicking the image below.   Cut out the pattern pieces for the dress option with sleeves.

Sewing patterns for 18 inch dolls by OH Sew kat dress and top and bloomers

Step 1. Pin your pattern pieces to your fabric.  Add one inch to the dress length of both the front and back pieces before you cut them out. Assemble the short sleeve dress according to the pattern instructions, but do not sew the hem. Don’t put any pleats in the sleeves so they have an open look.

Step 2. Cut a strip of fabric, 2 1/2 inches x the width of fabric. (This means your strip will be 40-45 inches long.). Finish one edge with a zigzag stitch or serger, and press up 1/4 inch.  Stitch the hem in place.

Step 3.  Gather the ruffle’s top, raw edge, and with right sides together, pin, then stitch it to the hem of your dress.  Top stitch from the front if you like. Complete the dress as directed by the pattern.

 

Nanea floral dress by oh Sew Kat

Nanea and Maryellen are ready for some hula lessons! (See how to make Maryellen’s purple muumuu here.)

Bloomer Buddies muumuu by oh sew kat

Easy to sew Hawaiian dress for dolls

Hawaiian dresses for dolls sewing patterns

Make more floral Hawaiian dress with tutorials here, and here.

Find the Bloomer Buddies Pattern for 18 inch Dolls, 14.5 inch WellieWishers, and Animators in my Etsy Shop.  See more ideas in the Inspiration Gallery and here in this blog post.  Did you enjoy this post? Share it on facebook, twitter and pinterest from the links below!  Thanks for stopping by!

Ohsewkat pdf sewing patterns for dolls

Hawaiian Dress Sewing pattern for dolls by ohsewkat