You may remember that my (Jessica's) daughter got her own American Girl doll for Christmas this year! Both of us were super excited, and personally I could not wait to get sewing on some doll clothes! I made her 48 pieces of doll clothing for Christmas (you can see a bunch of them here), and of them all, this winter princess dress is her very favorite. I think she tore Marie-Grace's official dress off as soon as she opened the box so she could put this dress on her.
I mean, what little girl could resist? The white fur, the sparkly pink velvet, the jeweled belt...it was the "fanciest" dress of all according to my daughter. And the best part? I refashioned a baby dress, some none of those complicated intricate details of the dress were sewn by me!
I started with this dress that I bought at the thrift store for $0.99. Now even though this particular dress came from a thrift store, these kinds of holiday and seasonal dresses are all over the place on clearance right now so you should be able to find one like it. Just make sure that the back has a zipper or button closure.
This one is a winter/holiday dress, in a baby's size 3-6 months. It was made of this fantastic stretchy sparkly pink faux velvet and fake fur trim. Not my favorite combo, but you know who loved it? My daughter!
Here's how I refashioned it into a winter princess dress:
1. Try the dress on your doll to get an idea of how long it will be. Try and choose a dress that isn't longer then floor length on your doll. Usually anything 3-6 months and smaller works great.
2. Cut the sleeves off the dress.
3. Try your dress on your doll again, this time you'll be measuring where to take in the sides.
4. Pin the sides of your dress in along your doll's waist. this will make a doll sized bodice. You can also pin up the shoulder seams if you need them to be shorter (which I did).
5. Take your dress off the doll, and make sure all of your pinned sides match at the seams and aren't wrinkled. Now is also the time to cut off the ties if you dress has them. You'll put them back in later!
6. Now you'll cut off the excess on either side, but don't sew the sides up yet! Leave yourself about 1/4 inch for seam allowance.
7. Take the sleeves you removed and try them on your doll. They will likely need to be taken in along the arm and shortened at the shoulder. Pin them to mark where they need to be taken in while still on the doll.
8. Take the sleeves off your doll, and check to make sure the places you pinned match and aren't wrinkly.
9. Cut off any extra fabric on your sleeve, leaving about 1/4 inch seam allowance.
10. Cut arm holes from your bodice, and cut down the shoulders to shorten them. Pin the new shoulder seams together.
11. Match your sleeve up with your new arm hole, to make sure they're about the same size.
12. Sew your shoulder seams closed. Because my dress was made of such a stretchy fabric I used a zig zag stitch.
13. With the right sides together, begin to pin your sleeve into your shoulder seam, making sure that the sides match up at the front and back.
14. Once the sleeve is completely pinned in, this is what it will look like.
15. Pin in both sleeves, then lay out your dress to make sure that the sleeves are even!
16. Sew in both of your sleeves, once again I used a zig zag stitch.
17. Now you can finally pin up the sides of your dress, all along the side and the new sleeve seam.
18. Pin both sides carefully, making sure as you go that you don't need to make any last minute adjustments.
19. Now is the time to insert the ties if you had any, just pin them back into the side seams of the dress at the waist.
20. Sew along each side, then turn inside out. You're done!
Here is the finished dress finished and turned inside out:
Marie-Grace had a really good time modeling her new dress. And I'm pretty sure my daughter hasn't taken this dress off of her since these pictures were taken either. I'd say that's pretty good for $0.99 and an hour of work!
I feel like these instructions were maybe a bit confusing, so if you have any questions please feel free to email us and I'll try my best to answer them!
If you loved this doll refashion, you can also check out our tutorial for making an American Girl doll skirt with only one seam! Or you can crochet a doll scarf or doll leg warmers. Can you tell what I've been busy doing lately?