How to Make a Tee Shirt Dress from a Tee Shirt Pattern for Your Doll

If you have a tee shirt pattern for your doll that you just love, it’s so easy to use that same pattern in a new way and make a super cute, tee shirt dress for her!!American Girl dolls in colorful emoji tee shirt dresses

If you want a great selection of hardy knit fabrics, head to your local discount store instead of your fabric store. Shop the women and girls departments for a large selection of leggings! I always buy the largest size they have on hand, since it will provide the most fabric and the most design options.  Shop the end of the season for the best prices!

I found these happy emoji and lacy leggings in the girls section of Walmart. The galaxy print was found in the women’s section and is perfect for Luciana, the 2018 Girl of the Year.  The emoji and lace are capri style leggings, so they didn’t have a ton of fabric, but certainly enough to make 2-3 dresses (or 2 dresses and a tee).  For a grand total of $2.29, that is certainly a bargain!

Emoji and galaxy knit fabric

My dresses were made using the Simple, Sweet Tee pattern by Oh Sew Kat!, but any tee shirt pattern you have will work.  If you have a tee already made, put it on your doll and decide where you want the dress to fall on her leg. Make a note of that measurement.  I decided on three inches from the longer version of the Sweet Tee pattern.

Tee shirt dress tutorial measure your doll

It’s easiest to use the hemmed edges of the pant leg if they are big enough. If you can’t take advantage of the hemmed edge, add 3/8th inch to your measurement for your lower hem.  You can simply lay your pieces down on the pant legs, and measure them to make sure they are the same and cut them out.

pattern pieces and rulers on fabric to make a new pattern

Usually, I like to create new pattern pieces when I do things like this. That way, I still have them for later to use again and don’t have to recreate anything when I want to make another one.  Cut out the back and front pattern pieces, and tape them to a new piece of paper or graph paper.  Using a ruler, simply extend the side edges down the amount you measured in the step above of both the front and back pieces. Create a new hemline and cut it out.

Extra tip:  This pattern has a straight side seam (the hemline is a perfect 90 degree angle to the side seam). Sometimes, if you extend this line down too long, it won’t cover the doll’s bum in back because she is thicker there than at her waist, where the tee usually ends.  After measuring and drawing my new lines, I moved my side seam out 1/2 to 3/4th inch and simply connected this back up to the armscye, giving the bottom edge just a little more room and flare.  With knit fabrics, they will still stretch and work, but having a little extra room ensures a nice fit.  If your tee shirt pattern has a tighter fit, or curves inward, I strongly suggest adding this extra width to the hem to ensure your dress fits.

Maryellen American Girl doll in a knit tank dress

Lay out your pattern pieces on your leggings or fabric.  I used the existing pant hems here.  Cut out your pieces, paying close attention to which direction the fabric goes and where the fold lines end up.  It was kind of a tight squeeze to get the back piece on the child’s leggings, and I put one sleeve on each leg to maximize the fabric I have left over for the next one.   Assemble the shirt according to pattern directions.  For the lacy dress, I left off the sleeves and used fold over elastic using hemming method #1 from the pattern.  For the emoji dress, I used the normal hemming method #3.

Emily American Girl doll in a knit emoji tee shirt dress

And there you have it! A super quick and super easy tee shirt dress from a tee shirt pattern.

American Girl dolls tee shirt dress tutorial by oh sew kat

The Simple, Sweet Tee shirt pattern is available sized for 18 inch dolls, animators, Wellie Wishers, and Bitty Baby in my Etsy Shop.  See more simple sweet tees here and here.

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

Tee shirt dress tutorial for dolls like American Girl by oh sew kat


How to Make a Sparkly, Snowflake Tee Shirt for Dolls (a simple HTV Tutorial)

Add a little bling and a little sparkle to the doll clothes you make!! Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make a sparkly tee shirt like this one.  **This post has affiliate links.

How to add HTV to a doll tee shirt tutorial

  1.  Using your electronic cutting machine software, or using a standard die cutting machine, cut out your pattern from Heat Transfer Vinyl.  HTV is cut from the material in reverse, and then pressed onto the fabric.  If your design is not symmetrical, like a word for example, you need to mirror the image before you cut it out, otherwise it will be backwards on your item.  For these snowflake tee shirts, my design is sized to about 1 1/2 inches and I used silver Heat Transfer Vinyl by Cricut.
  2. Weed the image. This means to pull off all of the vinyl around your design (the negative space) so that all that is left on your clear backing paper is the image that will end up on your tee shirt.  (I typically cut a square around my designs as well, to avoid using more HTV than I need, but to also make this weeding process easier.)  A light pad (or window) can help you see the lines! Use a tweezers, a seam ripper, or other sharp tool to remove those teeny tiny pieces in the snowflake centers (or in letters if you are using a word design) too!  The only thing left on the clear backing paper is what you want on your actual garment.  There may be touches of glitter left on the backing paper and this will not end up on your item.
  3. Position your image onto your shirt and press it with a hot iron or heat press machine for 20-30 seconds. It’s best to use a teflon sheet between your item and the iron, but with HTV, it’s not necessarily required.  The new EASY PRESS by Cricut is a great, new tool for pressing, but a regular iron works just as well, especially because doll shirts are tiny and usually don’t end up being washed over and over like a child’s shirt would be.  Remove the clear, backing paper (it will sort of curl away from your design as it releases it when heated) and discard it.  Let your item cool.
  4. If desired, add to your design with some sparkly crystals to make your design even more unique! Have fun with colored crystals and patterns.  You can purchase them on amazon or at local craft stores.  Depending which type you purchase, some have the glue (called HOT FIX) already on them.  You can use the iron or a hot fix tool to melt the glue and attach them.  You can also glue them right on with E6000 glue (also found at amazon and craft stores).  If you add crystals, be sure that the age of the user is taken into account before you add them.

Add HTV to doll tee shirt tutorial

Have fun making personalized tee shirts for your dolls!

Sparkle snowflake tee shirts for dolls with HTV by ohsewkatHow to decorate a doll tee shirt with HTV (1)

I made the skirts with the FOUR SEASON Skirt pattern and added a few extra crstyals with the E6000 glue to add a little more bling!  Find the free skirt pattern HERE.

How to decorate a doll tee shirt with HTV

I used a CRICUT EXPLORE AIR machine to make these snowflakes shirts. Visit the Cricut website to see more about these innovative machines and products to take your crafting to the next level and beyond!

Sewing patterns to make doll clothes by Oh Sew Kat!

Add HTV to a doll tee shirt tutorial


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