June 11, 2013

::American Girl and/or 18" Doll Dress Tutorial::

I can't stop making these dresses for all the girls I know.  Want to make some too?  Here's how I do it:

Cut one piece of fabric 11" x 26".  Cut two strips of fabric 1 1/2" x 11".  

Lay the fabric out so that one of the long sides (26") is closest to you.  This will be the bottom hemline.

Serge the raw edge of one 26" side and then fold and press it 1/4".  

If you don't have a serger, fold and iron the raw edge over 1/4" and then fold and iron it over again another 1/4" to hide the raw edge.

Sew the hemline closed with a straight stitch.

A second option is to flip the fabric over so that the raw edge is facing down, line up rick rack with the hemline and sew a straight stitch.  It will close the hem and also attach the trim.

Here is what the finished hemline and rick rack look like.

Fold the fabric with right sides together, lining up the two short edges as accurately as possible.

Sew the two short sides together with a straight stitch and a zig zag along the raw edge OR serge them.  Press to set the seam.  You know have a tube.

Pull the tube apart so that the seam is laying in the middle of the tube and press it to one side.

Turn the tube of fabric inside out, smooth out the layers and press neatly. 

Fold the tube in half so that the pressed seam is laying on the other edge of the tube.  There will be four layers of fabric.

Now let's work on the arm holes.

Lay the dress so that the folded edges are on the left side.  You will be cutting out the 2 armholes at one time.


1 1/2 inches straight across the top of the neckline and

 3 1/4 inches straight down toward the bottom hem line.

Line up a small bowl or other circular shape that fits between the two measurements and trace the shape to form a curved line.

You need to make it large enough to fit around the doll's arm.

Cut along the line and discard scrap piece.

Unfold the dress and you should have two armholes on each side of the tube.

Time to finish the armholes.

Take one 1 /12 x 11"strip and fold in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.  Press.

Open it up, fold one edge to the middle and press.

Fold the other edge to the middle and press.

Fold both sides together on middle line and press.

Place the raw edge of the armhole into the folded trim, much like putting a piece of paper into a file folder.  Pin the trim on if desired.

Sew along the edge of the folded trim to attach it to the dress, making sure to completely envelop the raw edge and catch the trim along the back as well.  Adjust as you go along to keep the raw edge from slipping out.

Cut off excess trim.

Repeat on the other armhole.

After both armholes are completed, lay the dress down with the neckline facing toward you.  Press flat with hot iron.

Fold neckline over approximately 1/4".  Press with a hot iron.

Fold neckline over a second time approximately 7/8".   Make sure that the casing is wide enough for a small 3/8" ribbon to pass through easily.

Stitch along the edge of the casing in order to close it.   Backstitch at the edges so as to secure casing.

Repeat on the other side of the neckline.

Thread the ribbon through the neckline on both sides.  Put the dress over the doll and tie a pretty bow on one side.

Got questions?  Leave them in the comments and I will answer them!


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