Make a No-Sew Doll Sari
Creating a Sari for an Antique Toni Doll
I want to make an Indian sari for my vintage Toni doll. Just like a little kid, I want instant gratification. I want a sari for her now. There is no pattern for me to cut out and I will use supplies that I already have on hand.
No trips to the store. No sewing. I'll look for ways to make this international costume for her. My first task was to find instructions online for how a sari is worn. Fortunately there are great YouTube videos explaining this.
I found some lovely dolls dressed in saris and they can serve as inspiration as I make a similar sari for my own doll.
Get Ideas for the Sari from These Photos
My Sister Wearing a Sari
View My Pinterest Pinboard for Examples of Saris
How to Drape a Sari
Videos Explaining How to Wear a Sari - Step-by-step explanation on how to drape a sari
Video Tutorial for Wrapping a Sari
A Lovely Doll with a Traditional Costume
Take a look at this doll's costume. You'll see in the video and in my instructions below how to create this look with your own doll and a scarf.
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How to Drape and Wear a Sari
- How to Wear a Saree / Sari - Draping Saree, The Trad...
Though Saree (otherwise called as Sari) is a traditional dress of women in India, it is one of the sexiest dress, which shows a woman gracefully and elegantly, if draped properly. The sad thing is, now even Indian girls are turning allergic to Saree.
Make the Top for the Doll Outfit
Making the Top to Wear under the Sari - Modeled by my Toni doll
Notice in all the photos of saris that they have a short sleeved, midriff baring top. My goal was to make one without having to sew.
For free fabric, I started with a discarded shoulder pad that I'd removed from a dress. Normally, I would have just tossed it out, but had the inspiration to convert it to a top for the doll's Indian costume.
Steps for Making a Doll Sari - Photos by Virginia Allain
- I started with some material (previously a shoulder pad from a dress). Measuring it on the Toni doll, it was long enough to serve as the top. This would probably not be large enough for an American Girl doll.
- I cut a slit up all the way up the middle and across the bottom to make an upside down "T" opening. Then I removed the padding from inside the shoulder pad.
- Cut a short slit to make armholes for the doll. Tuck the rounded bottom up underneath to form a straight line. You can glue that if you want.
- The top fits snugly, similar to the tops seen in photos of a sari. This one doesn't fasten in the back, as it will be covered by the sari. You could sew a snap on it if you wanted to close the back.
Video for Draping a Sari - How to Pleat It
You Can Buy a Doll Already Dressed in a Sari - These dolls available from Amazon
This Red Sari Is an Example of What You Can Make - This fits an American Girl doll
This is about the same size as the Toni doll that I want to make a sari for. I like the simple draping on this one which is easy for a child to put on the doll.
Make the Petticoat for the Doll Outfit
Making the Underskirt for the Sari
Making the Petticoat - The petticoat is worn under the sari
- The petticoat should go from the waist to the ankles. It should fit tightly enough at the waist that you can tuck the sari into it.
Here's what I'm using for the doll's petticoat, a lightweight sock with a fairly tight knit. Check the slide show above to see the example.
- Try the sock on the doll to mark or pin the length you want. Make it a little longer than you think you'll need as you can turn it under at the waist. Cut off the excess at the bottom.
Drape and Attach the Sari for the Doll Outfit
Choose a Scarf to Use for the Sari
Wrapping the Sari on the Toni Doll
I'm using a silky scarf for the sari. Look for one with a smaller print or gold threads running through it.
- Start in the front and tuck the sari into the waist of the petticoat. Continue around the back of the doll. The bottom of the sari should touch the floor.
- When you get to the front again, fold the material in accordian pleats. The top of the pleats is tucked into the waistband. If it doesn't want to stay in place, you can resort to safety pins. In several of the videos, the ladies pin their saris.
- Take the loose end of the scarf and drape it from the hip up across the chest and over the shoulder. It should hang down about to the knees in back.
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Silk Scarves - In Case You Don't Have One
Sari fabric comes in many colors and patterns. Silk is the best for this doll's outfit as it drapes beautifully. Nylon scarves just don't wrap in the same way.
Silk or Nylon Scarf?
Actually long silk scarves can be quite expensive. If you don't have one on hand, use rayon or nylon. They don't drape quite as well as silk but are certainly more affordable for making the doll saree.
You can find them sometimes at Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Look around at yard sales too for the right kind of scarf.
Since I had many scarves to accessorize my suits when I was a librarian, I found plenty in my own closet. Since the scarf is not cut or damaged in making the doll's sari outfit, you can use one for the doll and later return it to the closet for wearing.
A Lovely Scarf to Make a Doll Sari
My Toni Doll in Her Sari
© 2012 Virginia Allain