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One of my favourite ways of using up the small fabric scraps leftover from other projects is by making things for my little girl. And often, she loves a matching dress for her fashion dolly. So in this post I will show you how to make a doll summer dress for a Sindy or Barbie – with my free pattern!
Make A Doll Summer Dress – Free Pattern For A Sindy or Barbie Doll
When I was little, Sindy was my fashion doll of choice. And she was also my first voyage into home sewing. My mum had a sewing machine, and I tried to make some dresses for Sindy, with little success.
As my little girl has grown, she has inherited some of my old doll collection, including some of my old Sindy dolls. And she loves it when I make her a dress, and make a matching one for her doll.
I was getting tired of making simple bandeau dresses, and so decided to draft my own pattern. And have decided to share it with you!
This easy step by step sewing tutorial will have you creating your own doll couture in no time!
You will need
- Fabric – I had this lilac cotton
- Matching thread
- An erasable fabric marker pen
- Scissors and pins
- A sewing machine
- An iron for pressing, and
- A sew on press stud fastener / kam snap fastener or similar
- My free Doll Summer Dress pattern
I have chosen a medium weight cotton to make this today. Sewing doll dresses is a fiddly business, with tiny seams. If you made this in a silky or fabric that frays, I would certainly advise that you overlock/serge or zig zag stitch the edges of each pattern piece before starting.
Cut out the Dress Pattern template and use it to cut out your dress fabric pieces. I like to mark the bodice up using the heat erasable pen before cutting out the neckline area. The two triangular markings on the bodice are darts, and the extra notch is important for making the neckline of the dress.
Also mark the bodice darts on the reverse of your fabric.
Make The Bodice
Sew each of the 2 darts by folding from the tip of the triangle to the edge of the pattern pieces so that the marked lines meet, then sew along the line to the tip. Backstitch at each end. ( Just like a normal dress dart but in miniature!)
Press each dart away from the centre. And while you are doing this, press a seam allowance of about 5mm at the top and bottom of the bodice piece, and also press a 5mm seam all around the inner curved area.
Sew these seams into place.
Finally, fold over the free ends onto the front darted bodice end.
And sew with a 5mm seam allowance down each of the two curved sides created by doing this.
Turn the resulting piece the right way out and give it a press. The bodice is finished.
Onto the skirt.
Fold your fabric piece right sides together. Sew the short ends together, but leave a gap of about an inch (2.5cm) at the top. Backstitch at the start and finish.
Press open the seam allowance and press open the part of the seam left unstitched too
Sew a line of stitching around the unfinished part of the seam to secure it.
Finally, press a hem at the bottom of the skirt of about 5mm and secure this with a line of stitching to finish the hem.
Attaching the bodice to the skirt
Using a very large stitch length, sew a line of large tacking stitches around the top of the skirt, keeping long start and end threads. Do not backstitch!
These threads can be pulled to gather the skirt up before attaching it to the bodice. Basically just gather the skirt up as far as it will go!
With the skirt right side out, place the bodice over the top wrong side out, so that the dress pieces are right sides together. Match up the skirt end to the corresponding bodice end, and pin all the way around until you are happy.
Using a 1cm seam allowance this time, sew the bodice to the skirt.
(Tips: I like to use plenty of pins, and even though you shouldn’t, this is the only time I might try to sew over pins – beware though -this can damage your needle or even your machine, so i cannot be held responsible if you decide to do this too!
Another tip: If you are a beginner, you may want to baste/hand sew/tack with large sewing machine stitches when doing this step for the first time. Then ,make sure you are happy with the finished attached bodice before going over your stitches again. That way, if you make a mistake it is easier to unpick!)
I also like to sew and pin to the inside as this gives me a better result, but do what works for you!)
Once you are happy with your bodice placement, you may want to trim the seam allowance. And I like to add some stitches to the free ends of the inner seam, just to keep it secure.
These stitches will possibly be covered by the fastener at the next step.
And finally, add a fastener of choice to your almost finished dress.
For Sindy, I find that the best placement for the fastener is just above the waistline of the dress where the bodice and skirt meet. However Barbie is a little smaller in the waistline, so you may need more overlap and to position the fastener slightly higher.
And you have a finished dress!
Go and make it in all your littlest fabric scraps. I had a tiny piece of this Liberty Betsy left, and was just able to get a dress from it.
Do you think that you will have a go at this pattern and make a doll summer dress? Are you a Sindy or a Barbie fan? Which one wins for you and why?
My go to little girl dress pattern is the Geranium by Made By Rae. See why in this post.
Id love to see your doll couture! Do comment on here or find me on my social media channels to show me.
And please do pin this post for later.