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Sewing Doll Clothes for American Girl Dolls | Patterns and Tips

Updated on December 14, 2015
CSBSEWS profile image

I design high quality doll clothes for American Girl Dolls. I have been selling on Line for10 years. See my clothes at CSB Sews on Etsy.

Create a Wardrobe for your Doll

I have been sewing for American Girl Dolls and selling my designs on line since 2006. I wanted to share some of my knowledge and resources so you and your child can create a wardrobe for your doll. Below are some unique pattern resources, all available on-line.and I've included some tips and tricks that can take your efforts to the next level. Plus I've posted two videos to showcase a couple of sewing techniques for doll clothes. and I hope it will encourage you to search for more videos on other sewing techniques. Happy Sewing!

Where can I get Patterns???

If you have an American Girl Doll or another soft bodied 18 inch doll, you or your child may want to create clothes for the dolls. This is a great way to introduce children to design and sewing, and it is also a wonderful way to create gifts for your children, grandchildren, nieces and friend of all of them. Sewing an outfit for your doll starts with have the right pattern. You can shop online or at the local fabric store for Vogue, Butterick, Simplicity or McCalls patterns for 18 inch dolls and find many useful patterns. However, you may find that you want to explore more patterns options to find that "unique" design that's perfect for your doll. Followings is a list of sites offering Doll Clothes Patterns for American Girl and other dolls that are available on-line. Some designs are harder than others to construct, but the information is available for each pattern, Click on the link to visit the sites. Some of these sites offer a free pattern or two for simple doll clothes

If you only have one Pattern Book...

This is my favorite of all the pattern books offered today. I purchased this book when I begin sewing for dolls, and to this day I still use some of the basic pattern pieces. The book includes comprehensive sewing instructions, photographs and, of course, the patterns. None of the outfits are difficult to sew, and each design comes with fabric recommendations.

Pattern Books for 18 Inch Doll Clothes

These books are a great way to obtain many basic patterns. I still use some of the pattern pieces today for my design.. These books have complete instructions and patterns, large photographs and offer helpful sewing tips.

Tips, Tricks and Tools

You can spend a lot of money on equipment to sew for your doll, but most of it isn't necessary. If you have a serger to finish seams, great!! But if you don't, you can nicely finish your seams with a simple zig-zag stitch. Simply stitch next to the seam line, and trim the excess. If you are using a fabric that has a serious "fraying" problem, zig-zag stitch it again after trimming.

If you are just starting to sew (for your doll or otherwise), choose you fabrics carefully. I would recommend starting with a cotton fabric or broadcloth. Because of the popularity of quilting, most fabric stores offer a wide selection of prints and colors in cotton fabrics. Hint: Choose you print carefully - be sure it is the "right size" for your doll. Large prints do not translate well onto 18 inch dolls.

If you are sewing for your doll, or your child's doll, you can use old t-shirts to get the feel of sewing with knits. When you do start sewing with knit fabrics, be sure to get the right needle. Ball Point needles are used for sewing on knits; the rounded tip allows the needle to pass between the fabric threads by separating them. (Using a regular point needle on knit fabric will result in skipped stitches and fabric damage, causing it to curl.)

Fit the doll clothes as you proceed with construction. Soft-bodied dolls, such as American Girl, change shape with age and "hugs". So keep checking on fit as you sew.

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The Basics - Little Tools that Help in Big Way

Finally, there are two tools that I consider "must haves" for sewing doll clothes. If you don't have these basics in your sewing kit, get them right away.

Dritz Loop Turner

I still celebrate the day I discovered this tool!! Turn spaghetti straps, button loops, frog closures, string belts and much more Latch-hook end catches fabric to pull it through bias tubing Made of wire, hooked end grabs and hangs on to fabric as you pull.

Dritz Loop Turner

Dritz Point Turner and Seam Creaser

Point Turner - This little, unassuming tool is the simplest on my list of must haves. Its pointed end is used to poke the corner right side out when turning corners, and its rounded, beveled end smooths out curves and seams.

Quick Sewing Tricks - Video - Sewing pleated ruffles with No Attachment

Creating Embellishments for Doll Clothes - Vidoe - Save money, create your own.trims

My American Girl Doll's Wardrobe

My Doll needs more:

See results

Check This Out!!

If you are interested in making doll furniture and accessories for your American Girl Doll, read my lens "Building Furniture for American Girl and other 18 inch Dolls." Link below in All Things CSB Sews.

© 2013 Carolyn Bennett

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    • profile image

      fran-gold 3 years ago

      Really nice lens Carolyn!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 3 years ago

      For those who enjoy making these tiny garments this will be instructional.

    • profile image

      ColettaTeske 3 years ago

      I haven't sewn any doll clothes since I was a kid. You brought back some great memories. What a great way to encourage a young child to learn to sew. Thank you!

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 3 years ago

      nicely done

    • CSBSEWS profile image
      Author

      Carolyn Bennett 3 years ago from Longview, Washington

      @goldenrulecomics: Thank you.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      Sewing is a skill I wish I had.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      These are very cute and I love your tips.

    • VictoriaHolt profile image

      VictoriaHolt 3 years ago

      This is great. I think I'm going to put your lens here as one of my featured lenses on my Repairing American Girl Dolls lens. Maybe we could help each other out!

    • CharMarie profile image

      CharMarie 3 years ago

      Wow! I love your doll clothes! I wish I could sew! You are so talented! Love your lens!

    • CSBSEWS profile image
      Author

      Carolyn Bennett 3 years ago from Longview, Washington

      @CharMarie: Thank you so much. Wish I wrote as well as you do...love your lens.

    • CSBSEWS profile image
      Author

      Carolyn Bennett 3 years ago from Longview, Washington

      @VictoriaHolt: Thank you, and, Yes, I will add your lens to my sewing lens..

    • shay-marie profile image

      Shay Marie 3 years ago from Southern California

      Man, I always wanted an American Girl Doll when I was a kid. I never got one. (pout).

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 3 years ago

      Really nice lens. I was never very good at sewing. But when I was a little girl, my grandmother taught me to crochet, and I made all kinds of crazy clothes for my dolls.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 3 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I checked out your Etsy Shop. You have some very beautiful and unique pattern designs for the American Girl doll. The 'gardening overalls' are my favorite. I sewed for my kids when they were small, but never for dolls. Takes more patience and sewing talent than I have to work with small pieces. LOL. But I admire your accomplishments and am a big fan of handmade.

    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 3 years ago

      I use to sew for my daughter's dolls, but not anymore. She's grown up and has her own child now. This is a very good resource lens.

    • profile image

      Ibidii 2 years ago

      I love the American Girl's dolls! I bought one for my youngest daughter when they were newer 15 years ago. I made some clothes for her. I need to make some more as they got lost.

      I have made clothes for my two vintage dolls. I will be doing a lens on it. I am not as good as a seamstress as I was in the past as my vision is really low now. I do mostly hand sewing and cloth dolls. Lovely lens! Thank you for visiting my lens today.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 2 years ago

      As popular as these dolls are, you should do quite well! Welcome to Squidoo.

    • scrapquilter profile image

      Myreda Johnson 2 years ago from Ohio USA

      Lots of good information here. I especially like the reviews of the different sources for 18 inch doll clothes patterns. Nice job! I enjoyed reading your lens and I learned from it as well.

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