Making Doll Clothes – #1 Easy Skirt

The first making your own doll clothes sewing pattern is for a doll skirt. This is a simple, full skirt that anyone can learn to sew. This tutorial uses the straight stitch function of your sewing machine.

Making the pattern.
Step 1 – Find the doll you have that needs a nice skirt.
Pick a point on your doll’s waist where you want the doll to wear the skirt.
Now, take your tape measure and measure all around the doll’s waist. (Pictured below on left.)

Step 2 – Keeping a mark on the waist point you picked, now pick a point on the doll’s legs for the length of the skirt.
Measure the distance from the doll’s waist to the point you picked on the doll’s legs. (Pictured below on right.)

Step 3 – Draw your pattern by making a rectangle using the two measurements you just found. The waist measurement for my doll was 11 inches. I want my skirt to be just about knee length and am using 6 inches in height. My rectangle is 11 inches wide by 6 inches tall.

Step 4 – Now we are going to add 3/4 inch to the length at the top for the waist casing and 3/4 inch at the bottom for the hem. Your rectangle should now look like this.

Cutting the pattern and fabric.
Step 1 – Cut your pattern piece if you have not done so already.
Note: If you made this on regular copy paper or tissue paper, cut your pattern out using the paper scissors from the sewing supplies list. If you used Quilter’s Grid or True Grid, use the fabric scissors.

Step 2 – Look at your fabric. Is there a right side up or upside down to the fabric?
Place your fabric flat right side up in front of you.
Then, fold it over to your right just about an inch wider than your pattern piece. Make sure it is folded the same width all the down the fabric.
Place your pattern piece with the left edge on the fold of the fabric.

Step 3 – Pin the pattern piece to the fabric on all sides.

Step 4 – Cut around three sides of the pattern piece leaving the left folded size intact.

Your fabric should now be the same length as your pattern piece and twice the width.

Sewing the skirt.
Step 1 – Pin the back of the skirt together like this. Make sure to put enough pins in so that there are no wrinkles.

Step 2 – Sew the back of the skirt together using a 1/4″ seam.
Remember to stitch in reverse after the first three or four stitches and also at the bottom of the skirt to lock them in place.

Note: If you are not sure where on your machine the 1/4 inch measurement is, you can take your seam gauge and mark a 1/4″ line down the side of the skirt edge and use it as a guide. (For children sometimes it helps them keep a straight stitch, especially when they are just beginning.)

To reinforce the stitches you can do one of these things: Stitch over your first stitching again, Stitch a little closer to the edge near the first stitching, place a zig zag stitch in the seam allowance, or serge it (if you have that option available).

Step 3 – To make the casing for the elastic waist, take your seam gauge and sewing pins over to the ironing board and mark the 1/4 inch mark on your seam gauge like this.

Step 4 – Next, put the top of the skirt around the edge of the ironing board and measure and press all around the skirt at 1/4 inch.

Step 5 – Now, move your seam guage lever to the 1/2 inch mark. Measure and press all around the top of the skirt again at the half inch mark. This time, pin every inch or so to hold the casing in place.

Step 6 – Sew at the very edge of the fold all around the skirt leaving about an inch opening.

I always start about an inch to the right of the seam and then stop about an inch before the seam.

Step 7 – Cut a piece of 1/4 inch wide elastic the same length as the waist measurement from the beginning of the project. (My doll is 11 inches.)

Step 8 – Place a safety pin on each end of the elastic. Next, take one end of the elastic and feed it through the waist casing you made using the opening.

Step 9 – After you have threaded the elastic all the way around the skirt, take the safety pins off (don’t let go of the ends) and place them one on top of the other like this (overlapping about 1/2 an inch).

Step 10 – Sew the two pieces of elastic together and back stitch three or four times to lock them place. (Take the pin out when you sew so that you do not run over the pin. The pin just keeps the elastic in place until you can lower your presser foot onto the elastic.)

Step 11 – Now take your skirt and widen the waist a bit to grab the rest of the elastic into it and sew the opening in the casing shut. You will need to pull on the elastic a bit to get your opening to lay flat.

Step 12 – To hem the skirt, repeat steps 3-6 without leaving the opening for the elastic.

Step 13 – Cut all the loose threads.

Now, look at your masterpiece.
Try it on your doll.

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Making Doll Clothes – Recommended Supplies

The list of sewing supplies to make simple doll clothes for your doll’s wardrobe is very basic. The items listed below are necessary for all of the projects we post. If any additional supplies are needed for new projects/sewing techniques they will be listed at the top of each project.

  • Sewing machine
    I find a way to use my machine on everything I sew. I like to finish projects quickly and the seams are more stable. If you are good at hand sewing, be my guest.
  • Iron and ironing board
    This is for pressing seams, hems, casings, etc. It is also helpful to press manufactured pattern pieces, fabric (after you have prewashed it, etc.). Yes, I am an ironer of everything – but you don’t have to. It will just make your sewing sooo much easier.
  • Tape measure, 12 inch ruler, or yard stick
    These are for measuring for the pattern. The patterns I use will give cutting instructions for basic shapes. You will need the ruler to cut the right size.
  • Paper scissors
    These are for any cutting you do using regular paper. On some of the instructions you can measure the pieces on copy paper and then cut them out.
  • Fabric scissors
    You want to mark and only use fabric scissors to cut fabric. Paper scissors are not as sharp and may give you difficulty cutting the fabric. In addition, if you use fabric scissors to cut paper they will be dull in a short period of time.
  • Sewing pins
    These will be for lining you seams appropriately and making sure they stay together.
  • Pin cushion
    A place to put your pins when they are not in use.
  • Seam ripper
    Because NO ONE is perfect. We ALL make mistakes, have tucks, and skip over instructions. That is part of learning. Do not let it get you frustrated. I own 3 seam rippers myself. I have even worn out a couple of them.
  • Seam gauge
    This is for measuring hems, making casings, and placing marks on fabric pieces.
  • Marking pens, or wheel and tracing paper
    These are for placing pattern marks on fabric pieces.
  • Needle threader – optional.
    But can be very helpful with small needles.
  • Quilters grid or True Grid- optional
    This is a type of sew-in interfacing that has 1 inch squares marked on it like a big piece of graph paper. (They also have a fusible type of quilter’s grid. The fusible type does not mark well. It is for ironing onto fabric or patterns.) Quilter’s grid can be very useful for measuring and drawing the patterns when following the cutting instructions. It is sold by the yard for about $1.99.

This may seem like a long list of supplies. But you can get all of these items, with the exception of the sewing machine and ironing supplies, at your local fabric and craft store in a kit for less than $20.

Here is a list of the basic fabric notions that will be used for most projects.

  • Fabric
    For those who are just learning to sew cotton and quilting fabrics are the easiest to work with. Knits, satins, silks, and thicker fabrics can be harder to work with for beginners.
  • Thread to match fabric
    Cotton or poly-cotton blends work very well. Stay away from glazed cottons because they can be hard on your sewing machine.
  • 1/4 inch elastic
    This is for waistbands, sleeves, pant legs, etc. as the project style recommends.
  • Sew-in velcro
    Sticky back velcro gums up your machine needles, is very hard to get off, and may ruin them.
  • Buttons, lace, snaps, zippers (for more advanced projects).

You can add other supplies that may make sewing more convenient as you feel you are ready. Buying any crafting supplies can easily become overwhelming. This is also very true with sewing and learning to sew. However, as with any other craft, hobby, or sport it is not the fancy equipment that makes a great product. The time, dedication, and effort used is what creates the love of your designs.

Making Doll Clothes – An Introduction

Have you wondered how easy it would be to make your own doll clothes? Are you looking for free doll clothes patterns that have easy directions with clear pictures about each instruction? Would you like to work with your daughter together on projects that are easy to explain – even if you don’t know how to sew yourself?

I have tailored this series on making your own doll clothes for the Mother and/or Daughter who want to design their own clothes, learn more about sewing (or learn to sew), and have fun in the process. All projects will be designed for those using sewing machines. It does not matter what type of sewing machine you have as long as you are happy with its functionality. All of the tutorials will show which machine stitch is needed for each step of the project.

My projects are designed with the beginning sewist in mind. Sewing terms will be explained and shown as if the reader has never heard the term or technique before. I will also give optional instructions for ways of creating truly unique designs and alternative machine stitches that your machine may perform whenever possible.

The first few projects feature extremely easy doll clothes patterns that mostly involve straight stitch functions.
The next few projects will introduce new techniques one at a time. That way you will be able to reinforce what you have already learned as well as increase your knowledge without being frustrated because you can’t seem to grasp one of instructions.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments directly under the tutorial you need help with. I will be answering questions in the comments as well. That way if more than one person has the same question, everyone can benefit from the answer.