Tips for Beginners- Learning to Sew

sewing doll clothes beginner tips

I posted the following question on my facebook page:

Oh Sew Kat! patterns are designed with the beginning sewist in mind. What is one tip you would give to a young or new sewist who is just starting out in making doll clothes?

Readers from all over posted their tips if you are new to sewing- whether it’s doll clothes or other sewing projects, these few things will help get you off to a great start!

  • Jenny:  Go slow and read the pattern directions. Read them twice before even beginning your project. Nothing has to be perfect. If you don’t like your creation, put it away for a day or two and then come back and look at it. You might be surprised that you now like it!!
  • Anneke:  I never expect a planned pattern to come out as it should. My advise would be go with the flow. Let the fabric tell you what it wants. Sounds hazy and dreamy (which I am NOT) but that’s the way it works for me. I have no technical advice all. But before I start I do sit down read the instructions. Toss them aside and have FUN
  • Cindy:   Press, press, press
  • Deirdre:  Don’t be afraid to rip out a seam and sew it again, the truth is even experienced sewers have to do this at times.
  • Bee:  Read through all of the pattern first before you get started.
  • Julie:  Iron as you sew.
  • Barb:  Take your time. Read the instructions completely before you start and follow each one in order.
  • Jeanna:  Always double check your seam allowances as you go. Nothing worse than making an adorable outfit only to have it be too small 😫
  • Karen:  My advice is (and I really should take my own😂) that perfection, although nice…it isn’t necessary. Enjoy the process of making something cute. It took me ripping apart a genuine cabbage patch outfit to make a pattern to realize this! It was terribly sewn from the factory.
  • Nina:  Learn your sewing machine inside and out. Practice the threading pattern so it’s easy enough to do in your sleep!
  • Gail:  Turn on the iron before you turn on the machine. Sew a seam press the seam. Sew a seam press the seam. Every time!
  • Julie:  Have fun with it!! Really, doll clothes take such a little bit of fabric, if you make a mistake, you haven’t wasted a lot of fabric. Just toss it and try again! That takes the pressure off to be “perfect” and makes it so enjoyable 🙂
  • Paula:  Use good quality fabric. It may be tempting to use lower quality fabric to try it out, but it is much harder to sew on.

You probably see a few themes emerging here … read all the directions before you start and to press every seam.  But the themes of “you don’t have to be perfect” and “have fun” are obvious too! If you are just starting out learning to sew, doll clothes give you such a low cost way to jump in the pool and start to swim.  Enjoy the process and know your skills will build with every stitch!

Join the conversation on Facebook!

Sewing patterns for dolls list of Beginner Tips

What tips would you add to this list?

Sewing for dolls? Find an assortment of over 50 digital patterns to print on your home computer in my Etsy Shop and start sewing today!

Sewing patterns to make doll clothes by Oh Sew Kat!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Boardwalk Boutique Sewing Pattern for Dolls

Spring has arrived, which means that summer is just around the corner! Your dolls will be cute and cool in their Boardwalk Boutique Halter Top and Capris!  Or maybe try something new and stitch it up as a simple sundress!  Enjoy these simple variations of this popular pattern.

3 american girl dolls in halter tops

This pattern is so quick to sew, you can easily make up one or two in a naptime!  The easy elastic back and elastic pull on pants help little hands dress their own dolls. With fabric or ribbon ties, you can make up a set with a fat quarter of fabric.  Here are a few ways to stitch up your Boardwalk Boutique.  (Don’t forget, this pattern is available in 4 sizes!!!)

Nanea is ready for the beach.  I cut this yellow top off the center fold, to have extra fabric to make a little, center pleat. The extra fullness in the top is cute!

Nanea American Girl doll in halter top and blue tennis shoes

Have fun with ruffles!! Cut the longer top version and add a very tiny or very wide ruffle.

two american girl dolls in halter sundresses

Cut the longer top version and leave off the ruffle.  Add some pretty trim for a sporty sundress!

redhead american girl doll in halter top sundress

Use pretty eyelet lace to make the back look special!  Find the full TUTORIAL HERE.

American Girl Doll in Halter Top with lace back

Double your ruffles and make it a maxi dress!! Find the full TUTORIAL HERE.

Julie doll in long, floral maxi halter dress

Or simply try the halter top with something different on the bottom. Here, Maryellen is wearing the standard halter top with the shortie length bloomers from the Bloomer Buddies pattern.

Maryellen American Girl doll in flamingo halter top

How will you make your Boardwalk Boutique for your doll this summer?  See more Boardwalk Boutiques here and here.  Find the pattern for bitty baby, animators’, and wellie wishers in my etsy shop.

Logo Sewing patterns to make doll clothes by Oh Sew Kat!

Boardwalk Boutique Sewing Pattern for dolls

3 american girl dolls in halter tops

 

Summer Fun with the Sandbox Shorts Pattern

How about some cute shorts for summer!! The Sandbox Shorts pattern from Oh Sew Kat! has lots of options to keep your dolls cute and casual through the summer months.  Download the file and print the pattern pieces on your home printer.  You’ll be ready to sew today!!  This quick pattern stitches up in 90 min to two hours.  Have fun!!Sandbox Shorts Sewing Pattern for doll clothes

Use THIS TUTORIAL to move the pockets to the inside!

shorts for dolls sewing pattern

Also available here for Wellie Wishers dolls!

easy to sew shorts pattern for dolls

Princess dolls need cool clothing too!  Click HERE for the Animator sized pattern.

Sandbox Shorts for Disney Animators dolls

Don’t forget the Bitty Baby and Bitty Twins! Find their sized pattern HERE.

Sewing Pattern for Bitty Baby dolls

Who will you sew a cute pair of shorts for?  Find these patterns and many more at http://www.etsy.com/shop/ohsewkat.  See more Sandbox Shorts in the Inspiration Gallery.

Logo Sewing patterns to make doll clothes by Oh Sew Kat!

Oh Sew Kat sewing patterns wellie wishers american girl animators wellie wishers

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.

Logo Sewing patterns to make doll clothes by Oh Sew Kat!

Julie American Girl doll halter sundress 70s style

 

 

The Four Season Skirt: The perfect doll skirt for any season

four season free skirt pattern for dolls

Easy to sew without any patterns pieces, the Four Season Skirt is the only one you need all year long!  This pattern is FREE when you sign up for my email list in 3 sizes (WellieWishers, American Girl, and Disney Animators).  Add tulle, make it longer, try some lace… it’s perfect for every occasion!!

Winter:

Sparkle snowflake tee shirts for dolls with HTV by ohsewkat

Spring:

Oh Sew Kat wellie wishers american girl pattern-4-6

Summer: (add a reversible POPSICLE TOP!)

OhSewKat Four Season Skirt pdf doll pattern-17

Fall:

Oh Sew Kat doll skirt pattern Four Season Skirt

Get your copy of this FREE easy pattern in 3 sizes and see even more ideas to make it HERE.  How will you make your Four Season Skirt?

Logo Sewing patterns to make doll clothes by Oh Sew Kat!

Wellie Wishers Wee Wardrobe

Wellie Wishes dolls Willa Ashlynn CamilleThese adorable outfits were made as a special order for a good friend to give as a gift.  She gave me a price range, and let me decide what I would make.  I love to sew that way!  I don’t know the child, so I thought a few pieces that mixed and matched together in different ways might be a good place to start.

My favorite pattern for all dolls, but especially the Wellie Wishers, is the Party Time Peasant Dress.  This dress lets me use three different, cute fabrics at once and is now available in 5 doll sizes!

Doll dresses for wellie wishers sewing patterns

I wanted to make two tops and two bottoms.  The tops I chose are the Playtime Peasant Top (purple), the reversible Popsicle Top (pink stripes and puppies).

The two bottoms I decided on are the Four Season Skirt, and Sandbox Shorts with contrasting pockets.  Between these four pieces, the lucky, little girl can make 6 different outfits!  Because I used fat quarters, I still have enough of each color that I could make another set.  Inexpensive fat quarter bundles from Walmart and other craft stores like Hobby Lobby are great for these kinds of projects!

sewing patterns for wellie wishers doll clothes

 

I hope the little girl enjoys her new doll clothes! I had fun making them for her!  Find the link for the free Four Season Skirt pattern by clicking HERE.

Logo Sewing patterns to make doll clothes by Oh Sew Kat!

 

 

 

Sewing Pattern Bundles from Oh Sew Kat!

DIy doll clothes bundle discount by oh sew katDid you know that I offer selected Oh Sew Kat! patterns in a bundle discount?  If you are new to Oh Sew Kat! patterns (welcome!), my pattern bundles are a great way to start your collection.  These bundles are available exclusively in my Etsy Shop and are currently available for 18 inch dolls such as American Girl® dolls, Animators’ Dolls by Disney, and 14.5 inch dolls such as Wellie Wishers and Glitter Girls.

Click here to see all of the bundles available.  I currently offer bundles around four basic themes:  Basics, Summer, Holiday, and Back to School in a few doll sizes.  Leave a comment below and tell me what other types of bundles you would like to see!  It’s probably time for me to put together some more options!


 

Sew Basic:  This 3 pattern bundle for the WellieWishers dolls offers the first three patterns I created for this size.  It includes two tops and two bottoms.  The reversible Popsicle Top, the easy to make Sixth Grade Skirt, and the most popular Boardwalk Boutique Halter and Capri (can also be made into a sundress!) patterns will give you lots of pieces to mix and match if you are just starting out sewing for this sized doll.

Oh Sew Kat sewing patterns for wellie wishers

 

 


 

Sounds of Summer Bundle:  This bundle offers the short and sassy fashions to keep your doll cool and stylish all summer long with four patterns to mix and match.  Pair the reversible Popsicle Top with the Sandbox Shorts or the ruffled capri pants from the Boardwalk Boutique pattern.  The Sunshine Dress has three variations and also looks cute without sleeves as seen in this tutorial.   The Halter Top in the Boardwalk Boutique makes a cute sundress too!

summer clothes sewing pattern bundle for doll clothes

 


 

Back to School Bundle: This bundle offers the long pants and the long sleeves basics your doll will need to head to school in the crisp, fall air with 4 popular patterns.  The Playground Pants, and Sixth Grade Skirt provide the basics to pair with pretty School Bell Blouses (two styles).  The School Dance dress has three variations for even more options to sew!

Doll Clothes Sewing Pattern bundle by OH Sew Kat

 


 

Holiday Bundle:  This bundle offers 4 patterns.  I put these four patterns together to make an “essential” wardrobe for someone who wants to give a doll a basic wardrobe.  It includes pajamas, a dress, a skirt, a blouse, a halter top, and capri pants, all of which can be mixed and matched in to make so many different outfits.  See THIS POST for a trio of outfits I made that inspired this bundle.

Sewing patterns for American Girl dolls bundle


 

I’d love to hear what bundles you’d like to see in my Etsy Shop.  Maybe multiple sizes of the same pattern? Maybe bundles of tops and bottoms, or a set of three dress patterns?  Pattern bundles are offered in select sizes as described, and there are no substitutions of the selections.

Logo Sewing patterns to make doll clothes by Oh Sew Kat!

A few Easter Dresses for your Dolls

Here are some more pretty Easter dresses to inspire your sewing as we get ready to leave March behind and head right into April and spring!! Soft pastels and bunnies are in season!

These dresses were made using the Sugar n Spice pattern. Find it in three sizes on Pixie Faire, Etsy, You Can Make This, and also Craftsy.

I used THIS TUTORIAL to make the plackets on the bodices before I attached it to the lining. For both dresses, I moved the fold line over 3/4th inch and added trim before I topstitched it down.  Try ric rac, lace trim, or piping.  Do not add anything to the bodice lining piece.  I suggest that if your bodice with the placket seewn doesn’t match the lining exactly, simply trimb it to fit. (The lining is the true bodice size.)

American Girl Dolls in pastel Easter dresses

Find the Sugar n Spice pattern here.  The pink ruffled trim is Strawberry Slush ruffle elastic trim from Stampin’ Up! It’s not attached to Emily’s waist, I just added it on top like a belt and couldn’t really decide which way I liked it better, flipped up or down.  It was the perfect color!!

Emily American Girl Doll in blue Easter bunny dress

This bunny face print is just so much fun!!  I wanted to bring out the black face accents, so I chose a black gingham to accent it.  I love black and white with pops of color!

American Girl doll in Easter bunny print dress

I had a few different fat quarters that a friend picked up as a surprise for me at Walmart and it was fun to mix and match the prints.  My girls are ready for Easter.  Are yours?

American Girl dolls Easter Dresses

 

Sugar n Spice Dress for Wellie Wishers and Hearts for Hearts (available as dress only, or bundle file)

Sugar n Spice for 16 inch dolls like Disney Animators

Sugar n Spice for 18 inch dolls like Our Generation and American Girl dolls

See more ideas to use your Sugar N Spice/Everything Nice pattern HERE!!

Sewing patterns for dolls

 

Jumping Jack Outfit for Dolls

Jumping Jack sewing pattern for dolls (3)

The Jumping Jack Jumper sewing pattern is a great value.  It includes three patterns:  long sleeve knit shirt, wide leg shorts, and a reversible, open sided, jumper that buttons to the shorts or is held on with a belt for a fake dress look. You doll goes from casual to cute in just a few minutes!Jumping Jack sewing pattern for dolls in blue fox fabric

Jumping Jack 1970 inspired doll outfit sewing pattern (3)Jumping Jack 1970s outfit jumper sewing pattern by Oh Sew Kat!

This pattern is also available for smaller dolls like Wellie Wishers and Glitter Girls.Jumping Jack Sewing patterns for doll clothes by OH Sew Kat!Two dolls in blue Jumping Jack outfits

Find both sizes in my Etsy shop and sew up a Jumping Jack outfit for your doll today!  Visit and follow my JUMPING JACK idea board on Pinterest.

Logo Sewing patterns to make doll clothes by Oh Sew Kat!

 

Easter Dresses for your Dolls

Wow, is it me or does it feel like Easter is early this year? I was happily sewing shamrocks and then I looked at the calendar! Yep, Easter is in just two weeks!! If we blink, we just might miss it.  I wanted to share a little Easter inspiration if you are looking for something to fill a special someone’s Easter basket.

These dresses were made using the Sugar n Spice pattern. It’s available in three sizes (so far!) on Pixie Faire, Etsy, You Can Make This, and also Craftsy.

Easter dress sewing pattern for dolls by oh sew kat

Each season you can use the same dress- just add a different overskirt!! Isn’t this Henry Glass fabric just perfect for dolls?  Here I used the green and yellow dresses. But click HERE to see the Valentine version over a white dress.

Doll dresses Easter by oh sew kat sewing pattern

 

Easy doll dresses by Oh Sew Kat sewing patternsEaster Dress Sugar n spice sewing pattern for dolls (2)

Choose a few solid colors and stitch up the Sugar N Spice dress.  Use your specialty fabric for a cute overskirt- a skirt and waistband…so quick and easy! Don’t forget the rest of the accessories included in the Everything Nice pattern or the Bundle (18 inch size).

Here’s the green dress again! With this pattern, I use the same dress over and over.  😉

sugar-n-spice-dress-sewing-patterns-for-dolls-1

 

Sugar n Spice Dress for Wellie Wishers and Hearts for Hearts (available as dress only, or bundle file)

Sugar n Spice for 16 inch dolls like Disney Animators

Sugar n Spice for 18 inch dolls like Our Generation and American Girl dolls

See more ideas to use your Sugar N Spice/Everything Nice pattern HERE!!

Sewing patterns for dolls