Monday 20 June 2011

Upcycled doll dress - Mini Tutorial

upcycle dolls dress
The photograph above shows the miniature red and white matching school dress I made for my youngest daughter's doll.

My youngest wanted her doll to have a red and white dress similar to the one that she wears for school. These can't be bought in shops, so I set about making one for her.  I found an old school dress which was too small, so decided to use the fabric from this.

Below is a photograph of the dress before I cut it up and the completed dress beside it. I apologise for the fact I didn't iron the dress first.
I started by unpicking all the joins, so I had a collar, 2 straps and 3 pieces of generous fabric. I then found a dress that already fitted the doll and made a rough template for the size of the dress. See an example photo below.

I decided to make the front of the dress by using the front from the original dress.  This was great, because I had the button closing front already completed for me. I simply sewed the spare buttons onto the smaller version, in between the original ones. I only sewed these onto the front for decoration, I didn't make any new buttonholes. I thought it would be to complicated for my littlest to fasten so many buttons!

I sewed the front of the dress to the back of the dress, leaving the armholes and neck line open.  I shortened the neck collar and then reattached it to the dress.  I used the straps to make the short sleeves, I simply attached them to the arm opening. Then with the spare strap I made a simple bow for the back of the dress. See photo below of the back of the dress.
Then with some of the spare fabric I made a strap and attached it to the bottom of the dress. This made it look neat and also match the arms.  When I was putting the parts together, I hand stitched most of them first, and then I went over all the joins with the sewing machine.  This was my preferred method, maybe not the best, but it was quite fiddly doing this with a small dress so I found this way easier for me.

The photograph above shows my youngest holding her doll, both of them wearing their school uniforms.  She was so pleased with her doll's new dress that she took the doll to school to show her teachers.

I had hoped that I would finish this project quickly, but because it was quite fiddly for me, it did take a whole night of working on it!  However, I am very happy with the result, and glad it pleased my daughter.

Linked to:
TipMeTuesdayButton Katie's Nesting Spot
Rhinestone Beagle

Strictly Homemade Tuesday




  1. A great idea to reuse a little dress and your daughter is just adorable! How precious her doll is wearing one of her old dresses. My grandmother made doll dresses to match dresses she made my sister and I. I still have them and they mean so much to me:>)

  2. That's so cute Karima. I love that idea. In fact, I think my daughter may have already beat me to it. She's always dressing up her toys in smaller sizes of her clothing and tightening them up with hair ties or pieces of ribbon.

    Thanks for the tutorial. It's great!

    Anne @ Domesblissity

  3. Hi!
    I used to sew a lot for my dolls and seeing the red dress you made for your little girl brings back a lot of fond memories. I would also love to sew for little girl's dollies..right now she's not too into dollies yet!

  4. that is so cut I wish I was good enough w/a sewing machine to create like that.

    Would luv for our readers to discover this.
    please add it to our linking party here
    Have a great week,

  5. My little girl would love having her and her baby matching. This is too cute. I will have to try it out. I am new to your blog and happy to be a new follower:>

  6. That is a great idea to make a doll dress out of your daughter's old clothes. It gives it double meaning! I love the details you added too!! Great job. Thanks so much for following me and linking up to Strictly Homemade Tuesday. I hope to see you back next week!!

  7. How sweet you did that for your little girl! She will love playing dressup with her doll in her old dress!

  8. These bring back wonderful memories of my grandmother's crafts for my dolls! Thank you for linking to Handy Man, Crafty Woman Wicked Awesome Wednesday!

  9. My eight year old bff forever wore a dress like this today when I came home (their Mum dropped the kids off when I was at work andthe wee man was in bed when I arrived), and I am sort of embarrassed to admit I didn't realize it was a school dress! I complimented my girl on looking ridiculously cute in a dress, and she filled me in. Ouch.
    Anyway, since my first experience with british school dresses is a rather funny one, I shall keep this post for future reference!

  10. How cute is this! I love it, I know my girls would adore cute little dresses like this for their dolls. Thanks for sharing!

  11. That is seriously cute that like. I'm in the middle of crocheting my eldest a dolly outfit and it's taking me forever haha!

    - Ellie @ Mammy Made


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