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Make a Little Black Dress for a Doll

Updated on April 12, 2015
Toni Doll in Black Dress
Toni Doll in Black Dress | Source

As I declutter my clothes closet and dresser drawers, I find items that aren't suitable for donating to charity. The clothing might be faded, had stains or the elastic lost its stretch.

Some of these can find new life as doll clothes. Think of it as free fabric and one less trip to the store for material to make outfits for the doll.

For the project today, I'm converting a sports bra into a dress for my vintage Toni doll. The instructions for the fascinator hat and for the purse are shown below too.

Project Summary

Time required: 30 minutes

Difficulty: medium

Cost: Free


  • Sports bra of any color/fabric (for the dress)
  • Black netting (for the hat)
  • Miniature silk rose (to decorate the hat)


  • Scissors
  • Glue Gun
  • Clamp or Clothespin

Fabric from a Sports Bra Gets Turned into a Doll Dress


1. This sports bra lost the stretch in its elastic. Since it is useless for wearing as a bra, it's going to become a short dress for the doll.

I do hate to throw anything away, so repurposing the fabric like this keeps me from being a hoarder or from contributing to overflowing landfills.

Picture the Doll Dress

This shows the part of the bra used for the front of the dress. Allow extra fabric when cutting, so you have enough to wrap around the back of the doll.
This shows the part of the bra used for the front of the dress. Allow extra fabric when cutting, so you have enough to wrap around the back of the doll. | Source

The Sports Bra for Converting into a Doll Dress

Champion Women's Absolute Workout Sports Bra, Black, X-Small
Champion Women's Absolute Workout Sports Bra, Black, X-Small

You probably have some of these tucked away in a drawer. Check the elastic. After a number of years, they lose their stretch and aren't very useful as a bra.

Then you can convert it into a doll dress or a doll swimming suit or something.


2. Arrange the material around the doll in various ways to see how it drapes. for this dress, I decide on an off-the-shoulder look that will use about 1/2 of the bra. I cut away the part that I don't need. The size of the doll determines how much material is needed.

I didn't take a picture of this preliminary step, so look at the finished dress to see the part that I decided to use.

3. Use hot glue to overlap the material for the hemline. I held it together while it sealed using clamps from my husband's workbench. You could use clothespins or hold it together by hand, if you have the patience.

Handy Things to Have for This Project

Surebonder HE-750 High Temperature Professional Glue Gun - 80 Watts
Surebonder HE-750 High Temperature Professional Glue Gun - 80 Watts

Regular glue just doesn't hold up for doll clothes that will get played with. So, I use a hot glue gun.

If you are doing this project with a child, supervise this part carefully. It's easy to burn yourself with the tip of the glue gun or if you drip the hot glue on your skin.


4. Since the sports bra is stretchy, I'm gluing it together right on the doll. It will stretch for removal later.

Here I hot-glued the shoulder strap to the back of the dress.

5. Here I've applied the glue up the back of the dress. Then I pressed it to the other part and held it until it sealed.

This project isn't very fancy. It provides a dress for the doll for play or for display. Hopefully no one will examine the seams and critique my work.

For play purposes, it needs to be sturdy enough to put on and take off. For display purposes, I only care about how it looks from the front.


6. Here's the doll in her finished dress. The netting came from a fruit bag and I used it for creating the hat and also a purse for the doll.

(instructions for the hat are just below)

Steps to Make a Doll Hat from Netting

7. To complete the outfit, I made a hat called a fascinator. I used a mesh bag such as oranges come in. I arranged it to form a half-veil, then bunched the rest to create drama on top. This was stapled to a small piece of leather (part of an old black leather golf glove). The excess netting was cut off and some miniature roses tucked in.

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Tell me about the doll that you want to make a dress for...

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      pretty easy sewing project, might try for my teddy

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      So inventive! I remember making doll clothes for my daughter's Barbie doll from cloth scraps. Great tutorial.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 3 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi I love this do it yourself, it great that you reused the bra, netting and old glove. Love how this turn out, your doll is all dress up in a LBD and you did not have to buy any thing to make it. Cool lens, thanks for sharing.