These outfits came about completely by accident. They don’t even need a tutorial or pattern hack. I simply used pieces from two different patterns together to make a new outfit.
I was making a doll skirt from my Everything Nice pattern. (The Everything Nice pattern is the accessory pattern that is sold bundled with the Sugar n Spice dress.) . It is a quick little skirt, attached to the waistband, with an open back. It was designed to give “dress up options” to the princess themed Sugar n Spice Dress. In order to check my hook and loop tape placement, I grabbed the closest doll. It was Melody, and she was wearing a Sunshine Dress I made for THIS post. The dress seemed tight enough for my test, so I did not remove it. As I stood back to check the skirt fit, I realized that by simply using two of my own patterns, I could create a similar look to Melody’s fancy dress or the popular overskirt fashions of the late 50s and early 60s.
Next I went to my fabric stash- and found some navy fabric to match one Sunshine Dress I’d already made…and chose some creamy, dreamy roses fabric for the other one.
This dress is the Sunshine Dress sewn with the princess seams option. The Everything Nice overskirt fits perfectly over it- open it in the front or in the back! Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Find the Sunshine Dress HERE.
What other patterns can be used together to provide more value for your time sewing and money spent? Share in the comments below. Make a 50s or 60s inspired dress for your dolls today by checking out these other pattern hacks here and here!
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. 😉
Use the Sunshine Dress PDF sewing pattern by Oh Sew Kat! for BeForever Julie Dolls.
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, 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.
The Sunshine Dress, with its three variations and classic A-line look, can easily be adapted to look like it came from the 60s era with just a few minor tweaks to the pattern.
Make a 60s style dress for your Melody doll with this Sunshine Dress pattern hack.
I used this photo for inspiration to make my Melody her vintage 60s dress. Click here to see Melody modeling View A (without any changes, just a retro feeling fabric.) Based on the photo, I am using View C, the princess seamed option with just a few minor changes.
This dress is made from the Oh Sew Kat! Sunshine Dress pattern. Click the photo to visit my Etsy Shop to purchase it. 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.
Raise the neckline by a quarter inch or so. Don’t forget the lining piece too!
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 the right look for the era.)
To make the pocket flaps: Cut a piece of paper 1 1/2 by 1 3/4th inches (This is the 18 inch doll size.) Fold it in quarters and round the corners. Open it back up and cut it in half the short way, so you have two pocket pattern pieces.
4. Trace two flaps onto the wrong side of your fabric, leaving at least 1/4th inch all the way around. (I probably cut mine a little close in this photo.) Pin two layers together right sides together, and stitch exactly along the drawn line, leaving a small opening to flip it right side out. Carefully cut out the pocket with a 1/8th inch edge border all the way around it. Press your seam line, clip the curves, and flip it right side out. Press well. Do your best to make both pockets look the same. Slip stitch the opening closed if needed. Top stitch around the bottom, curved edge if desired.
5. Put your dress on your doll and pin or tape the pockets in place. (I use transparent tape to hold them on, so they don’t shift as I sew. The tape tears easily away from the stitching when I’m done.) . Very carefully, top stitch along the top of the flap to attach it to the dress, being careful not to catch the back of the dress under your seam. If you prefer, you can stitch the flap on by hand.
Sixties Fashions for 18 inch dolls with sewing patterns by Oh Sew Kat!
One final note. I do not profess that this dress is 100% historically accurate. I saw an image on Pinterest and used my own pattern to duplicate it. However, in the world of child’s play, “close enough” is usually enough to save Mama a few dollars at the American Girl Store if you have a young friend pleading for Melody Ellison 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 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. 😉
The Sunshine Dress pattern is simple and stylish- there are so many different ways to sew it up for your dolls. Currently available in 3 doll sizes, it’s a must have for your dolly wardrobe. 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 send me an email with where and when you purchased it and I will send you the update.
Read on to see some simple sundresses made from the Sunshine Dress pattern for Melody.
Here, I used view A (solid front) and THIS TUTORIAL to make a sleeveless version that is perfect for Melody Ellison, the BeForever character from 1964. This dress started as a pair of shorts of my daughter’s! The bold print was perfect for the simple front of the Sunshine Dress. A little accent bow completes the look.
Here are a few Sunshine Dresses with some fun fabrics! This simple dress will be perfect for all of your dolls.
Elastic headbands for dolls also make great belts!!!
Find more ideas for the Sunshine Dress pattern here and here.
Every doll loves a special new nightgown to wear on Christmas Eve. Here I’ll show you a few changes you can make to the basic SUGAR N SPICE dress pattern to create this pretty, flowing gown for your doll.
Make a Clara inspired Nightgown from the Nutcracker for your 18 inch doll
Fold your fabric in half. Decide how wide you want your center placket and place the bodice front piece that distance from the fold. My placket is about 1/2 inch wide, and the pattern piece is placed 1/2 inch from the fold. Cut one. *Note: On this sample, I cut the neckline about 1/4 inch higher than the pattern piece. Be sure to cut the lining to match this exactly if you want to do this too. I did not make any changes to the back bodice piece.
Cut an additional bodice front and two bodice backs as directed by the pattern for the lining. Do not add the extra width to this front.
On the wider front, fold the fabric wrong sides together. Stitch a seam at 1/2 inch (the measurement from step 1) down the middle of the piece, from the neckline to waist. Open out the placket and press it flat.
If you want to add trim or lace to your placket, put it under the edges, then top stitch. Otherwise, just top stitch each edge down.
Assemble the bodice as the pattern directs.
Use the same sleeve as the pattern you are using. (always). Measure down your doll’s arm and decide where you want the finished length. Then add 1/4 th inch and cut your new sleeve. *Tip: Print and cut an extra page that has the sleeve piece on it. Ignore the other things on the page, and measure and draw out your long sleeve and cut it out. You will now have it to use again! My measurement was 1 5/8th inch longer, measured at the outside edge of the pattern piece (not the center). Just extend the lines of the sleeve down to this new hemline.
To add a ruffle to your sleeve hem, cut two additional strips. I cut mine 1 1/2 x 10 inches. Hem one long edge of each one. Gather the unhemmed long edge and attach it, right sides together, to the bottom of the sleeve. If you have trim, baste it on the sleeve piece before you attach the ruffle, so it is sandwiched in between.
Follow the pattern directions to attach the sleeves.
Cut the skirt to 7 inches by 28 inches and the ruffle ruffle 3 1/2 x 36 to make your gown look like mine. Note: I normally cut the skirt for this pattern at 33-36 inches because I like them full, but this time, I wanted to conserve my expensive trim, so I went with 28 inches. The ruffle will make up for the fullness. To make the gown a little closer to floor length, use 7 1/2 x 33 inches for the skirt and 3 3/4 x 44 inches for the ruffle.
Zigzag or serge one long edge of the ruffle. Press up 1/4th inch and stitch hem in place.
Baste optional piping or trim to the raw, bottom edge of the skirt. Turn to right side. Do not top stitch until after you attach the ruffle. Gather and attach the skirt as directed in the pattern. Top stitch at the bodice.
Gather and attach the ruffle. Topstitch.
Continue with the pattern directions to finish the back edge and attach the hook and loop tape.
Add buttons or bows to your placket for a final touch.