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.
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.
- 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!
- 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 here. If 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.
- 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.) .
- Optional: Add lace (again by hand?) around the neckline.
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. 😉
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.