Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Anny's Corner: FREE l8" Doll Pillowcase Dress Tutorial to Fit American Girl Dolls

Anny's Corner
Samantha is Ready for Spring

One of my most favorite things I used to do was to make patterns and create designs for my daughters dolls. Out of necessity, I sewed doll clothing through designer children's shops and craft fairs to help the budget. Now with time and two granddaughters I am returning to my roots.

Last night I created this outfit and with it will begin my creating kidstuff blog.
With all the pillowcase dress tutorials for the wee ones, I thought I would create one that can be made to match for their American Girl Dolls.

I created this for my granddaughters and to share for others to sew for their wee ones. Feel free to share my pattern and tutorial by linking it to my blog and giving me credit out of courtesy.

What do you need?
  • A Fat Quarter from a fabric or craft store
  • 60 inches of 5/6" inch ribbon for the tie strings
  • 3 pieces of decorative ribbon each 18" long
  • Thread
  • Safety Pin for threading the ribbon.
I found this ribbon real of bright color ribbons in the Easter dollar spot at Target this last weekend and each of the ribbon pieces were already cut just the right size for the decorative ribbon.

Making the Pattern
  • Use a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of printer paper
  • Cut a 9 inch wide by 10 1/2 inch long rectangle
  • Measure down 1  inch from the top to mark the top casing fold line (for 5/8 inch ribbon)
  • Measure down 3 3/4 inches down from the top on each side to place a dot to mark the beginning of the side seam.
  • Measure in 1/2 on each side (left and right) to mark the seam allowances.

Cutting the Dress Pieces
  • Prewash the fat quarter and iron
  • Fold the piece of material salvage to salvage
  • Cut 2 of the rectangle pattern pieces
  • Mark the fold line and the side seam markings
  • Do not throw away your scraps set them aside for making Dolly her own matching drawstring bag. I will be posting the Tutorial for this soon. 

Begin Sewing
  • Finish the inside edges of the dress pieces. Use a serger or use a zig-zag stitch on the edges to prevent raveling. Do both sides on the long side of each rectangle.
  • Put right sides together.
  • Pin the left side seam.
  • Beginning at the side seam mark (3 3/4 inches from the top) sew a 1/2 inch seam down to the bottom.
  • Open up the pieces, press open the seam.
  • You now have one piece.

Hemming and Sewing on the Decorative Trim.

  • The pattern allows for a 1/2 inch hem.
  • There are a couple ways to hem the dress. Serge, or zig-zag the bottom edge.
  • Then press and stitch a 1/2 inch hem. Another way is to press 1/4 inches back and then fold it over again and then stitch for an enclosed hem.

Evenly stitch the decorative trim if desired. To get my ribbon even, I used an extra piece of the ribbon between the rows as I stitched them down to use as a guide. That way I had three even rows. To make it easier with matching the ribbon, I just changed the top thread color leaving the bottom thread.

Sewing the Last Side Seam
  • Put right sides together.
  • Pin the side seams together. Begin the side seam 3 3/4 inches from the top of the dress.
  • Sew the seam to the bottom.
  • Press the seam open.

Sewing the Sleeve Openings 
  • The side seams have been pressed back 1/2 inches on each side.
  • Pin 1/2 inches back on each side of each sleeve opening.
  • Sew down one side, turn and stitch across just below the beginning of the side seam and then turn and stitch up the otherside.
  • Do this on both sleeve openings.
Top Casing
  • To finish the edge of the top of the casing, you can either serge, zig-zag or press back 1/8 inches and then fold it over to make the casing.
  • Depending on the size of the ribbon used will determine how wide you make it.  I used 5/8 inch ribbon and folded it back 3/4 inches and sew the casing.

Almost Done, Thread the Tie Strings
  • Cut 2 pieces of 5/8 inch ribbon.
  • I used grograin ribbon and sealed the cuts by using a lighter to seal the edges from fraying. I very quickly, carefully ran them through the flame for less than a second.
  • Using a safety pin on one end, thread the ribbons through each casing.
  • Center the ribbon.
  • Then fold the dress front and back marking the center.
  • Tack down the ribbon at the center to keep from pulling through during play.
Total cost for me to make: $2.98
$.99 for the fat quarter at Joann Fabrics on sale, $1.00 for the decorative ribbon at Target, and $.99  for the 5/8 inch grograin ribbon (1/2 price at Hobby Lobby).

For the cost of a piece of ribbon, decorative trim and a fat quarter this Sundress Pillowcase Dress has Dolly ready for spring. Check back next week for the instructions for making this pillowcase dress with a border instead.