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
Reversible Doll Dresses with the Sunshine Dress PDF Pattern by OhSewKat
The Sunshine Dress is a great “go to” pattern for a basic dress, with or without sleeves. It has a loose fit so it’s great for dolls that may be older or different brands.
Make your doll a reversible Sunshine Dress for summer
When you make an item reversible, take the extra time to put the fabrics with wrong sides together and ensure that each one can’t be “seen” from the other side. I try to choose lighter prints for the insides of my dresses and I usually choose fabrics that have a few coordinating colors.
To make your Sunshine Dress reversible, start with THIS TUTORIAL to make the sleeveless version. You do not need the bodice lining pieces. I used the simple front for Joss’ dress, but you can use any of the options in the pattern. Complete the front first.
Use two fabrics and make two versions of the dress, one for the outside and one for the inside. Sew the shoulder seams and the neckline as stated in the pattern. Sew the armholes, and the hem. Turn the dress right side out, and press well.
You now need to complete the side seams. You will be sewing the lining and dress together, with right sides together. The front will be sewn to the front, and the lining will be sewn to the lining. (This is the same method I use in the Popsicle Top pattern). You will not be able to sew the entire seam. Try to get at least one inch of the lining, then over the seam, down the front, and then over the seam again to the lining by at least one more inch. Once you do that, you can pull the sides into place, and the gap should pretty much close up. You can handstitch the gap closed, or you can “stitch in the ditch” along the seam with your machine. Attach the hook and loop tape as usual.
Make a reversible dress for your 18 inch doll with the Sunshine Dress sewing pattern.
Use Fold Over Elastic to make an easy, slip on belt or headband as seen in THIS TUTORIAL to complete your outfit. Find the Sunshine Dress pattern in 3 sizes HERE.
There are so many ways to change up your sewing patterns to create your own unique doll clothes. One of my favorite fashion features is to add a pocket (or two) to a simple garment. Some of my patterns include pattern pieces to add a pocket (HalterAlls for example) but any square or circle scrap of fabric can work too.
My Oh Sew Kat! Testers love pockets too!! Michele is my pocket QUEEN! Pam, Sophie, and Shirley also add stunning accents to outfits with their pockets. Be inspired to try a few pockets on your next outfits.
Joss Kendrick™, the 18″ doll of the year for 2020 from American Girl® is a surfer girl and a cheerleader. She has a pair of pajamas that are simply a pair of pants with a tank top. Use this tutorial to take the Simple Sweet Tee shirt pattern by Oh Sew Kat! and with a few adjustments, make your Joss doll some cute tank tops for bed, or cheer practice, or just to play on the beach!
Make a cute tank top for your 18 inch doll with the Simple Sweet Tee Shirt pattern from Oh Sew Kat!
Method 1: Simple Tank Top
Supplies Needed: Simple Sweet Tee pattern, ruler, knit fabric, fold over elastic (8.5 inches). Print out the Simple Tee Shirt pattern pieces- front and back. Do not cut them out. Always check the one inch box to make sure you printed correctly, even if you have used the pattern before.
Measure up 1/2 inch from CF and make a dot. Measure up the neckline seam line (dotted line) two inches, and make another dot. Connect these two dots with a tiny amount of curve. From the second dot, make a straight line down to the armsye corner. Cut out your new pattern piece.
Flip the front pattern piece over onto the back and trace the new armseye, extending the top edge (CB) up one half inch.
Cut out the two pieces from your fabric, with the front on the fold as before.
Fold each armseye in 1/4th inch and stitch in place. This fabric is a pair of girls’ leggings I bought new at Kohl’s. It’s got a lot of stretch to it so I used wonder tape and my walking foot to make the sewing easier.
With RST together, stitch the side seams.
Cut 8 inches of 1/2 inch fold over elastic. This will form the neckband, connecting the sides in the process. Find the center of your elastic and pin it to the right side of the center of the shirt. (Follow the instructions in the Simple Tee pattern for the elastic- start with wrong sides together, then flip to right side and topstitch.) . Leave a gap of 3/4 inch between front and backs for the shoulders.
Fold the elastic to the outside and top stitch in place. The ends of the elastic will hang off either end by about 1/2 inch. Steam the elastic if it stretched out when you sewed it.
Finish the back seams, trimming off excess elastic.
Fold up hem by 1/4th inch and stitch in place.
Try the top on your doll and attach the hook and loop tape to both back edges as directed by the pattern.
Method 2: Contrasting Trim
Another variation would be to sew the side seams first, and then either fold the armseyes in as one long seam, or even add fold over elastic to each side of the armseyes for more contrast. Then add the neck elastic to cover the edges. You will need about 6 1/2 inches per side of FOE plus 8 inches for the neck.
If you plan to use this method, add a little bit of a curve to the under arm portion of your pattern, so you won’t have such a severe “V” to add the elastic to. Cut 1/4 inch off the center front and the center back lines. (If you fail to do this, the top will be too wide. (Ask me how I know… you can cut the center line and add a seam to make it the right size, like I did. I then covered it with ricrac to hide the seam before adding the neckline elastic.)
Sew side seams and press open
Cut Fold Over Elastic to two 6 1/2 inch pieces. Following the method in the Simple Tee pattern, attach the wrong side of the elastic to the wrong side of your top, fold it over along the fold line, and topstitch from the right side.
Add the neckband in the same manner, with 8 inches of Fold Over Elastic. Start pinning at the middle of the top with the middle of the elastic and butt the FOE edges right next to each other, without a gap. Stitch as above and trim off any extra at the edges.
Finish the back edges and add hook and loop tape according to the pattern directions. Press up 1/4th inch at the hem and stitch.
Make Joss a cute tank top with thise easy Simple Sweet Tee Pattern Hack
With Oh Sew Kat! pdf sewing patterns, it’s SEW easy to take a basic peasant top, and step it up with a cute, neckline ruffle. You will love this simple technique to take a plain peasant top from fine to fabulous!
Add a ruffle to the neckline of a peasant top for a whole new look!
You can make a thin ruffle, or let it be a little wider and add your own unique flair to the peasant tops you sew.
It’s easy to add a ruffled neckline to a peasant style doll top
Adding a sweet ruffle to your pattern is simple. Follow the steps in this tutorial, and read more in THIS ONE. You can use this technique on tops, dresses and skirts! (See a tutorial to add lace between the layers of a skirt here, and sign up to get the skirt pattern FREE right here!
Add a ruffled neckline to your Playtime Peasant Top for Dolls
Use lace as a ruffle! Lace is available in so many sizes and colors! It’s usually already gathered, so it will ruffle up even more. This is the Party Time Peasant Dress on Bitty Baby. You can use this technique with every doll size.
Make a simple top spectacular with an easy neckline ruffle.
Read more about Maryellen’s stunning fall top in THIS POST. Find the Playtime Peasant Top (long and short sleeves included!) HERE.
Use this easy hack for tops and dresses too! Nanea’s muumuu is an easy variation of the Playtime Peasant Top. With an easy added neckline ruffle and simply extending the top length down to floor length you can make a beautiful Hawaiian dress in a very short time! Find the full tutorial HERE.
Make 50s style Fashions and Outfits for your 18 inch Doll.
Maryellen Larkin and her family are glad WWII is over and everyone is hopeful about the future in 1954. She loves pretending to be a 50s movie star and playing the jukebox at the diner with family and friends. Use Oh Sew Kat! patterns to stitch up 50s style outfits for your Maryellen doll and her friends.
Ad: Want to learn more about Maryellen’s adventures? Find Maryellen’s stories by Valerie Tripp HERE and at the American Girl stores.
Use Oh Sew Kat! patterns to sew 50s outfits for your Maryellen Larkin Doll.
Do you want to make Maryellen a new outfit? Try these twists on patterns from Oh Sew Kat! Find all of these patterns in my Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/ohsewkat.
With Oh Sew Kat! pdf sewing patterns, it’s SEW easy to take a basic skirt or dress pattern, and step it up with a cute ruffle at the hem. This is also a great trick for any time a dress or skirt turns out shorter than you’d like it to be.
Add a lace or ruffled hem to your Doll Dresses and Skirts
Use lace as a ruffle! Gathered lace is absolutely the easiest way to add a pretty hem to your skirt or dress. Attach the lace when you create the hem, so the ends will be finished in with the back edges for a clean look. Look for lace in different colors for even more options!
Another easy way to add a ruffle is to purchase trim that is already gathered. This polka dot trim was quickly added to the Sixth Grade Skirt with almost no work at all! It looks so sweet! Find more information on how to do this in THIS POST.
It’s easy to add a ruffled hem to a peasant style doll top Dress
Nicki’s dress was made using the Playtime Peasant Top. I cut the top as usual, but instead of hemming it, I added a small ruffle. Read more, and see more photos in THIS POST.
Adding a fabric ruffle is also very simple. Figure out how wide you want the ruffle when it’s done (usually 3/4th to 1 1/4th inch depending on doll size.) You can also shorten the skirt by this same length to keep the finished length the same- but sometimes a ruffle is the perfect solution if a doll skirt ends up too short for your liking.
Double this number and add 1/2 inch for your seam allowances. This will be your WIDTH. Cut the length one and a half to two times as long as the skirt. The longer the length, the more ruffled your hem will be. Fold your fabric with wrong sides together the long way and press. This pressed side becomes your bottom hem. Gather the raw edges and attach to the hem of your skirt with right sides together. Easy peasy, right?
Any skirt or dress can have a ruffled hem. Be creative and mix and match your fabrics. Visit the Inspiration Gallery for even more ideas! Download and sew these easy sewing patterns from Oh Sew Kat! for your dolls today!
This month, Kat’s Pattern Pick of the Month is the SUNSHINE DRESS. This pattern is available in three sizes (18 inch, 16 inch animators, and 14.5 Wellie Wishers) and as an a line short sleeve styled dress, it offers lots of options to sew it up in different ways for your dolls.
Easy Pattern Hacks for the Sunshine Dress Sewing Pattern by Oh Sew Kat!
Click on each link below to go right to the instructions for the Pattern Hacks.
Make historical fashion outfits for your BeForever Character dolls with Oh Sew Kat’s Sunshine Dress pattern.
Nanea’s muumuu dress was part of a four part series of blog posts in adapting Oh Sew Kat! patterns to make Hawaiian inspired fashions. Find the MuuMuu tutorial HERE and see more ideas for Nanea HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Sewing for BeForever character Nanea Mitchell? Try these twists on patterns to make a variety of Hawaiian themed dress from Oh Sew Kat! patterns. Find all of these patterns in my Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/ohsewkat.
Sew Hawaiian themed doll clothes for Nanea with easy sewing patterns from Oh Sew Kat!
Sewing for BeForever character Julie Albright? Her stories are set in 1974 and she has some groovy fashions! Give your Julie a personalized 70s themed wardrobe with these twists on PDF sewing patterns from Oh Sew Kat! Find all of these patterns in my Etsy Shop.
Make a 1970’s themed outfit for your 18 inch American Girl doll.
What other Oh Sew Kat! patterns might work for Julie outfits? Visit the Julie page of the Historical Fashions gallery for more ideas. See more sewing ideas for the BeForever characters like Melody and Maryellen too! Comment below with your ideas!
Visit & follow my 1970s doll fashion PINTEREST Board for more ideas. Pin these images to save them for later!