Sew a Doll's Dress
Even dollies deserve a change of outfit sometimes, especially with a change of weather. What fun it is for children to get them dressed up for different occasions, and even more fun for them to make the outfits themselves!
I'm very proud to say that this blog has been entirely led by my 11 yr old daughter, inspired by a few of the sewing projects she's done at school. She's made it as simple as possible to make it easier for younger children.
You will need: Fabric, Card or Paper, Pencil or Tailor's chalk, Scissors, Pins or Safety pins, Needle, Thread
1. Lay your doll onto your piece of card or paper and draw a rectangle around the torso. It will need to be a fair bit wider than the doll to leave room for the stitching and the depth of the body, including the head so that the dress can be pulled over.
2. Cut out your rectangle.
3. Use it as a template for the size of fabric you need, drawing around it with a graphite pencil or tailor's chalk.
4. Cut out two rectangles from your fabric.
5. Lay one piece of fabric on top of the other, with the two 'outsides' facing each other.
6. Pin them together so that they stay in place when you start sewing.
7. Just before you start sewing make sure that you have marked on the fabric where the arm and neck holes on the dress will be, so that you don't sew them up! (You may need to measure round your dolly again, if you didn't do it whilst drawing the rectangle).
8. Start sewing from the bottom of one of the long sides. My daughter looped round and round the fabric but I'm sure running stitch would work just as well.
You'll need to stop before the top, leaving enough space for the doll's arm to get through, and then sew a little on the sides of the neck line for the shoulders.
9. Turn the pieces of fabric outside in to hide the stitching, and reveal a shift dress for your doll!
Now, remember when we said about making sure you can pull the dress over the doll's head? We learnt that the hard way! Poor Dolly, her new dress didn't fit her!
But, my daughter remembered that a doll she had made herself in school was a different shape and that it would fit her, so it all worked out alright in the end.
We made another, bigger dress for Dolly the next day.
The dresses we made weren't perfect, and without hems they may not last that long, but it was wonderful to see the confidence and speed with which my daughter knocked them up, and how quickly the dolls were ready for their summer tea party.
If new ones need to be made soon then that's more practice for our little tailors, with patience for more detail perhaps growing as they get older. The important thing is that they feel that sewing is something that's accessible to them.
What was really nice for me to see, as my daughter seems to be reaching an age where she is growing out of role play, is that crafting gave her another way to engage with her well-loved dolls.
If you would like to find a doll that can be as well loved as ours you may find one in our Soft Dolls Collection.