This fun pattern hack is for the Felicity and Elizabeth fans. Felicity and Elizabeth have been in the vault for many years, but Felicity was re-released for the 35th anniversary of American Girl® along with the other original characters. The colonial duo had a very large collection to include a four poster bed for each, a two seat carriage, and many outfits (especially for Felicity). If your Felicity Merriman doll is a little light on dresses, use this pattern hack to make simple colonial gowns for her or her friend, Elizabeth Cole.
One of the long held questions amongst American Girl® loyalists is why did they make the Elizabeth doll blonde (she’s clearly a brunette in the original books), and where is her iconic yellow dress? (See the illustration in THIS PIN.). Ever since I found Elizabeth in a thrift store, I’ve always wanted to make her yellow dress, despite her long, blonde locks. You can still purchase the Elizabeth books at the AG store and on AD: Amazon.
Easy Pattern Hack: Make a Colonial Doll Gown
Looking at the illustration, the dress will be simple to duplicate using the Oh Sew Kat! Sugar n Spice PDF sewing pattern. Purchase the pattern HERE or click the photo below. The white lace/ruffle on the sleeves is much wider than at the neckline, but you can easily use the same trim for both.
DIY American Girl Colonial Doll Dress Tutorial
Cut the bodice pieces as directed. For the sleeves, round off the top of your pattern piece by about 1/4th inch to give a little less poof to the top of the sleeve. Use a pen and ruler to extend the sides of the sleeve by one inch. Connect the lines to create a new, straight hemline. I just printed a new copy of my sleeve piece, made the changes, labelled it, and put it in with my pattern pieces for next time.
The finished skirt length will be 9 inches. Cut your skirt piece 9 1/2 inches by the Width of Fabric (WOF is usually 42-44 inches). This will make the skirt a little fuller than the Sugar n Spice Dress.
Follow the pattern instructions to assemble your dress adding the lace or trim to the neckline and sleeves as below.
Neckline: Remember that there is a 1/4th inch seam allowance. If your trim is very small, you may lose much of it in the seam allowance so take that into consideration when you pin your trim. After attaching the shoulder seams, carefully pin your lace trim to your neckline (wrong side of trim to right side of bodice.) Baste in place right at the fabric edge and remove pins. With right sides together, pin the lining to your bodice (lace will now be in the middle of the two layers) and stitch. Press to the right side and topstitch. (Optional, if your lace is small and easy to manage, finish the neckline according to the pattern directions, then pin the lace inside the neckline and topstitch in place.)
Sleeves: Add a 1/2 to 1 inch ruffle to the hem of the sleeves before you attach them to the bodice. Depending what type of lace or trim you use, it can be attached underneath, or on top of the hem seam. If you are using a fabric ruffle instead of pre-made trim (like eyelet lace), you want to attach it to the inside of the sleeve.
Colonial Gown for Dolls: Oh Sew Kat! Tutorial
Make a Colonial Doll Dress for American Girl Felicity
Does your colonial doll need a bonnet to match her pretty new dress? Use this easy tutorial to make one from felt. You can also add an apron with this tutorial.
Be sure to visit the Felicity Inspiration page HERE. And find Oh Sew Kat! pattern hacks for other historical time periods HERE or click the character photos below.
I find it so hard to resist all of the cute Halloween fabrics that fill the quilting shops and online fabric stores this time of year. When my daughter was young, we would pick our favorites each year and create a holiday twirl skirt in lots of fun colors, with wide eyed spiders and grinning ghosts. Now just the dolls get to wear fun Halloween themed fashions these days, but the colors are fun to sew and bring a little more fun to the season.
Halloween Fun for your 18 inch Dolls- Easy To Sew!
Grab your favorite Oh Sew Kat! PDF Sewing pattern in your favorite doll size and mix and match your fabrics to create your own one of a kind outfit. Add some fun striped socks (I make mine from dollar store socks) and tennis shoes or boots to complete the look.
Just as every doll top sewing pattern you have can usually be made into a dress, the reverse is true as well. Every dress pattern can be made into a top or shirt. Here are a few examples to use the patterns you have (or choose a new one) in a new way.
Use your Oh Sew Kat! Doll Dress sewing patterns to make cute doll tops too!
Kelly is wearing a cute spring outfit. Her top is made from the Sugar n Spice pattern. Instead of a full skirt, I just made it ruffle sized. Read more details in THIS POST. The skirt is a simple skirt like THIS TUTORIAL.
Easiest Pattern Hack Ever: Make a Dress Pattern as Top for Dolls
In the above example, sewn by my amazing tester, Michele, Leah is wearing a top made from the Oh Sew Kat! Spring Shine Dress pattern. It’s simply the bodice with a little trim at the hem. Cute cute!! Find the pattern HERE. The skirt is made from the Twinkle Twirl Skirt pattern.
Michele also sewed the cute outfit Snow White is wearing below. Her top is made from the Sunshine Dress pattern. It doesn’t matter the doll size, this hack works for every size. Find the pattern HERE.
Use your Oh Sew Kat! Doll Dress Patterns to Make Cute Summer Tops too!
Maryellen is ready to hit the beach!! The Backyard Bibs is my favorite pattern for every season. Shorten the skirt to ruffle length, and look how cute the top is! (The green shorts were purchased at American Girl®.) See more details in THIS POST. I simply made the ruffle even smaller in the patriotic outfit below. Paired with a pair of Bloomer Buddies bloomers and it looks like a bathing suit!!
Make Easy Doll Tops with your Oh Sew Kat! Dress Sewing Patterns
Pam, another amazing tester and photographer, always made the cutest outfits. Here she used the Sugar n Spice Dress pattern and made it into cute tops for Welliewishers 14.5 inch dolls. She paired them with Sixth Grade Skirts and added the pockets as in THIS TUTORIAL. Such cute outfits!!
What other dress patterns will you use to make your doll tops?
American Girl® just celebrated its 35th anniversary, and released their original canon historical characters on a limited basis. (Addy, Kirsten, Felicity, Samantha, Molly, and Josefina.) These characters have been around for years, and each had a pretty extensive wardrobe and accessory collection, but those are all retired now and can be very expensive on the second hand market. The good news is that with a little time, effort and Oh Sew Kat! pdf sewing patterns, you can make your own!
Sewing for American Girl Doll, Kirsten Larson™
Sew for Your 18 inch Kirsten American Girl® Doll
Kirsten Larson™ comes to us from 1854. She’s the “Little house on the prairie” and the “holly hobbie” doll- if you know, you know. Her clothes are simple calicos with growth pleats and high necklines with pinafores and aprons to keep dresses clean during chores. Much of her collection has a red, white and blue color palette- so by sticking with those colors, I can add some mix and match options with her meet outfit pieces. Look for calicos, homespun stripes, and small ginghams. The AD: PRAIRIE DAYS collection by Moda in the Fat Quarter Shop is perfect fabric collection for Kirsten!!
Looking over Kirsten’s wardrobe on google, you notice that most of her dresses are very similar. A basic dress, with short or long puffed sleeves, high neckline, growth pleats and a thin waistband. This blue dress is inspired by Kirsten’s pink spring dress from American Girl®.
Oh Sew Kat! Pattern Hack: Sugar n Spice Dress for Kirsten
Use the Sugar n Spice PDF Sewing Pattern to make Kirsten a new dress for spring!! This basic dress pattern also includes a simple apron tutorial, check THIS POST to see how to make it fit just like Kirsten’s meet apron. Find the Sugar n Spice pattern in four doll sizes HERE. Use the pattern pieces for the basic underdress with a few modifications to make it more historical for Kirsten, although this pattern hack is cute for modern dolls too!
Cut out your pattern pieces. Add 3/4 inch to the length of the short sleeves. (I added 1/4th inch to my blue sleeves, which have a cute, modern look, but for a more historical dress, the sleeves should be longer.) Cut a waistband 1 inch by 14 inches- just trim the end off if there is any extra. Skirt length is 7.5 inches, or 8 inches if you want to add the growth strip. See the tutorial for the growth strip HERE.
Finish the raw edges of the sleeve. I used a rolled hem on my serger, but you can press it up and hem it as well.
Stitch 4 inches of 1/8th inch elastic to the inside of the sleeve hem, approximately 1/4 to 3/8th inches from your hemmed edge. You can use a pencil or marking tool to draw a line to follow if you want. This makes that pretty ruffled sleeve! On the inside of the sleeve, put your elastic on the line to sew, and lower your needle into it. This will hold the elastic tail while you pull the other end “generally” to the end of the fabric (where you want the elastic to end.). Stitch very slowly, pulling the elastic as you go, and keeping it on your marked line.
Follow the pattern instructions to complete the bodice. With right sides together, add your waistband to the bodice. Top stitch if desired. (Of the three AG branded Kirsten dresses I own, none have topstitched waistbands, but it does create a nice, neat finish.)
Gather the skirt, attach it to the waistband, and complete the dress according to the pattern.
This dress looks super cute on your modern dolls as well!
Sewing Doll Clothes for your 18 inch Kirsten Larson Doll
If you visit your local quilting shops- you will find full walls lined with bright rainbows of batik fabric. These fabrics can be a little pricer than the regular quilting cottons, because many of them are specifically dyed. Browse through this section and choose a few to try on your doll clothes. Some are multicolored and some are not, which makes them the perfect solids to use in outfits to make them pop!!
Using Batik Fabric to Sew Doll Clothes to Add Fun and Interest
Joss is wearing the Backyard Bibs made in a colorful batik. I used ribbons instead of straps as outlined in THIS POST. This simple pattern is perfect to highlight the batik fabric’s watercolors. Find the Backyard Bibs pattern in five doll sizes HERE.
DIY Doll Clothes for American Girl Dolls with fun, Batik Fabrics
Some batik fabrics have a defined print, such as this blue and green poinsettia floral of Nanea’s muumuu style dress. I used the Sugar n Spice pattern and THIS TUTORIAL. Find the Sugar n Spice PDF pattern in four popular doll sizes HERE.
Mix and Match Solid fabric with Batiks for Unique Doll Clothes
Ivy’s festive outfit was made with the Playtime Peasant Top and Twirl Skirt pattern. I paired a solid gold top with three different batik fabrics in the skirt. This pattern lends itself beautifully to a quilting precut called a JELLY ROLL. I purchase mine at the AD: Fat Quarter Shop. You can get a full range of colors and prints already cut in long strips to make into ruffled skirts and hems, which can be a big time saver too! Find the Playtime Peasant Top and Twirl Skirt pattern in five doll sizes HERE.
Add Interest to Simple Doll Clothes Styles with fun Batik Fabrics
Is the Easter Bunny headed to your house soon? Dress up her dolls with pretty new dresses for the big day. Oh Sew Kat! offers doll dress sewing patterns in popular doll sizes and you can sew one up in just an afternoon!
Easy Easter Dresses for Dolls: Oh Sew Kat! Sewing Patterns
How about a free skirt pattern? The Four Season Skirt is FREE in 3 sizes. Click HERE to get yours. This skirt is quick and simple and will give your dolly that perfect outfit for hunting Easter eggs.
The Spring Shine dress has pretty flutter sleeves and can be made with or without the button placket. Use your fun prints like these rainbow unicorns (above) or unicorns and castles (below).
Sewing Easter Dresses for American Girl sized Dolls
The Sugar n Spice dress is perfect for Easter and every other occasion. Visit the Inspiration Gallery to see the many ways to sew this fun pattern. The Sugar n Spice pattern is now available for 15 inch baby dolls too! Find the pattern HERE.
The Bloomer Buddies pattern also has a dress option (with or without sleeves) that can be a fancy dress as well, such as Willa’s ruffled dress (Photo by Shirley F.). Find the pattern HERE.
And finally, the newest dress pattern from OhSewKat!- the Summertime Stroll- is perfect ofr your spring dresses too! Find the pattern HERE.
Pretty Spring Dresses to DIY for your Dolls
Be sure to visit the Easter Inspiration Gallery for more ideas for your dolly dresses. Visit OhSewKat on Etsy to find these patters, plus many more, including the BEST DRESSED Bundle to save 15% on three dress patterns.
Does your Kirsten doll need a new apron? Or do you want to mix up her wardrobe a little bit since American Girl® doesn’t offer any clothes for her anymore? Kirsten’s apron (part of her meet outfit) is a simple, quick project you can complete in under an hour. Your modern dolls might like a cute apron too! Have fun with this simple tutorial and use it to expand your Kirsten doll’s fashion wardrobe.
Simple Apron Tutorial for 18 inch Dolls like American Girl®
Make A Simple Apron for your 18 inch American Girl® doll like Kirsten Larson from 1854
Choose lightweight fabrics, like homespun cottons in gingham, stripes, and soft florals. You can make the apron with or without a pocket. You can even check your local thrift shops for men’s shirting to use as fabric.
Make a Simple Apron for Kirsten Larson™, 18″ inch Doll from American Girl®
Cut out three pieces of fabric. For all pieces, you can use a pinking shears for the raw edges, or a zig zag stitch or serger.
Skirt: Cut one rectangle 6 x 10 inches. On one long side and two short sides, press up a slight 1/4th inch, then fold and press up another 1/4th inch. Or use your serger to finish each edge, then press up 1/4th inch and stitch. Stitch these three sides so you have a nice, hemmed skirt. Mark the center of the top (raw edge) of the skirt with a pin. Gather the skirt until it measures four inches. (Kirsten’s actual meet skirt is pleated every 1/2 inch, rather than gathered, but you can do either of course.)
Pocket: Cut a pocket 2.5 inches square. Finish the raw edges, then press in three sides and the top. Sew the top hem in place. Place the pocket’s top right corner about 1.25 inch down and 1 inch to the left of the right side edge on the front of the apron. If you are using a stripe or check fabric, you can match up the lines. Using an edge stitch or top stitch foot, stitch the three sides of the pocket (not the top) in place, leaving the top open. Use a glue stick or scotch tape to hold your pocket in place while you sew or try some thin seam tape for best results.
Strap: Cut your strap fabric 1 inch by 22-24 inches. (You can also use a .25 – .5 inch wide ribbon instead). Fold in each short edge 1/4th inch and press well. Press in half the long way with wrong sides together. Open back out, and press each long, raw edge to meet in the center. Repress along the original center line fold. (Basically like creating bias binding) Mark the center of the strap with a pin.
Assembly: Open the strap and place the raw edge of the skirt inside, with the raw edge up at the center fold line, matching (and removing) the center pins. Continue to place the raw edge of the skirt up against the center fold of the strap, pinning it in place. Make this as even as possible, as you will want to catch both the edges of the strap as you sew it all together. Once the skirt is pinned, you can also pin the rest of the strap edges together if you want to. Stitch the strap close to the edge (like topstitching), from end to end (folding both short ends in), and securing the skirt inside your seam.
Simple Apron Sewing Tutorial for 18 inch dolls like Kirsten
Your Kirsten Larson doll is now ready to do her chores!! Click the photo below to see more Kirsten themed ideas and projects. Find this blue spring dress tutorial HERE.
Does your doll need a new dress? Which doll doesn’t am I right? Oh Sew Kat! has a new value pattern bundle with three styles of dresses for your doll, in four doll sizes.
Best Dresses Doll Dress Pattern Bundle of Three by Oh Sew Kat!
Save 15% by purchasing this value bundle of three print at home PDF patterns that have full color photos for every step in the detailed directions. Each pattern also includes full size pattern pieces that fit your home printer paper (US 8.5 x 11 inches).
3 Doll Dress Pattern Value Bundle from Oh Sew Kat!
This Best Dressed bundle is offered in 3 doll sizes: 18 inch dolls, 16 inch Animators’ and 14.5 inch Welliewishers. There is a similar bundle (one dress is different) for 15 inch Bitty Baby dolls. Each pattern is also available individually. See them all HERE.
Sugar n Spice and Everything Nice: This pattern includes a short sleeve dress with fitted bodice and gathered skirt. Also included are patterns for a no sew tutu, reversible corset, apron, overskirt, and hooded cape so you can make your full imagination’s worth of outfits.
Here are some samples of the Sugar n Spice Pattern. Find a list of Sugar n Spice pattern hacks HERE.
Party Time Peasant Dress: Simple and quick to sew, with an elastic neckline, and contrasting waistband, the Party Time Peasant Dress is perfect for every season. You can make it with long sleeves with THIS HACK for even more options.
Here are a few samples of the Party Time Peasant Dress. Instructions are included for both the solid skirt and the 3 tiered prairie skirt. See more dresses in the Inspiration Gallery.
Easy to Sew Doll Dresses for 18 inch Dolls and other Sizes by Oh Sew Kat!
Sunshine Dress: This a-line dress is simple to sew with three variations to the front: Straight lined center, princess seams, or solid. Use THIS HACK to make it without sleeves for even more options.