Both adult doll collectors and parents whose children have American Girl dolls shop for doll clothes to keep their doll looking her best.
However, with the dolls costing $100 and over each, it makes sense to be curious about ways to save cash on purchasing accessories for them.
What if there was an easier and cheaper alternative to buying from the American Girl doll store?
It’s actually possible to make many popular styles of doll clothes at home, some even with things already lying around the house.
That’s right, you don’t have to spend a fortune on new attire for your littlest pal. You can create some stunning pieces with a little ingenuity and a few minutes of your time!
Want to find out how? Here are some fun ideas for making American Girl doll clothes.
Make an American Girl Doll Tutu
Most doll clothes collections have the one item every doll needs to feel like a princess: a tutu.
This DIY uses a free doll clothes pattern.
Materials needed: A piece of tulle large enough to double up around the doll’s waist, 14 inches of elastic, sewing machine, ribbon (optional).
- A piece of tulle large enough to double up around the doll’s waist
- 14 inches of elastic
- Sewing machine
- Ribbon (optional, three-eighths of an inch wide)
Step 1. Preliminary Cut and Measure
Cut the tulle to a shape that is 14.5 inches by 58.5 inches. If using the optional ribbon, stitch the ribbon onto one edge of the tulle.
To make a circle, sew the fabric’s two ends together.
Step 2. Sizing Down
Open up the circle and fold, keeping the raw edges together.
Fold in half again, and pin along the double folded edge. As a guide, it should now be 3.75 inches wide.
This should lay neatly together since it will be the elastic casing.
Step 3. Creating the Elastic Casing
Stitch along the double folded edge, giving the seam a good quarter-inch leeway. Don’t stitch all around, but leave an opening.
Take the elastic and attach a safety pin to one end.
At the point where the opening is, unfold the skirt and thread the safety pin and attached elastic through the hole.
Thread all the way through and then pin the ends of the elastic together.
Step 4. Finishing up
Size the tutu on the doll for a perfect fit. Once this is done, sew the elastic together and trim off any extra.
Straighten out the layers of the skirt and use a top stitch on the opening of the casing to close it.
The gorgeousness of this tutu comes from the four layers of fabric, making it fluffy and full.
No-Sew American Girl Doll Clothes
For kids or adults who can’t sew, it’s still possible to make beautiful and unique doll clothes.
It may be surprising, but one of the little-known ways to make doll clothes is to use an item of clothing everyone has already: a sock!
- One athletic sock
- A pair of scissors
- Stickers or crystals for added embellishment
Step 1. Finding the Perfect Sock
In this case, the more patterned or colorful the sock, the better. This is a fun use for socks who have lost their partners or an old faithful that has begun to show signs of wear and tear. Just look for any holes and be mindful of loose stitching.
For a perfect look, however, purchasing a new pair of socks is a good idea.
For winter clothing, the thicker material of an athletic sock makes an outfit that looks like it will keep the doll warm and toasty. It could also serve as material for a hat or scarf.
Step 2. Cutting the Sock
The three clothing items that can be made here are a skirt, scarf, and hat.
There are a couple of ways to use the different parts of the sock. One way is to use the foot of the sock for the skirt.
Cut off the toe end of the sock. The stitching is a guide but as this rolls up it does not have to be perfect since this will be the waist of the skirt, which is is not usually visible.
The next cut will be where the leg part of the sock begins. This is the hem of the skirt and can be rolled inwards so any raw edges are hidden.
Step 3. Creating the Three Outfit Pieces
The toe end becomes a beret, the foot part is the skirt, and the leg piece is a long scarf.
Step 4. Dressing the Doll
Put the skirt on the doll and roll up the hem.
Due to the stretchy material of most athletic socks, the shape holds well, but for a stubborn edge, use hem tape to pin it down.
Fold the scarf around the doll’s neck and pop the beret on at a jaunty angle.
Step 5. Adding the Finishing Touches
For a unique outfit that’s all the doll’s own, add accessories in the form of stickers or tiny gems to bling out the pieces.
One example is using crystals or winter-themed snowflakes. If it’s holiday time, a mini Christmas tree sticker is an eye-catching piece to put on as a brooch or focal point of the beret.
To complete the outfit, make a simple pair of shoes using duct tape.
An Easy T-Shirt Hack for Dolls
There’s an easy way to make doll clothes that is both eco-friendly and doesn’t take a lot of labor, and it’s so simple it’s mind-boggling. This is to use baby onesies to create doll t-shirts.
The onesies are perfect because they already have prints that are doll-sized, and the envelope folds make it easy for a child to get the shirt on and off without help.
- A new or used baby onesie
- An iron
- A pair of scissors
Step 1. Sourcing the Onesie
Thrift stores are the best place to get a onesie that can be upcycled, but of course, if there is newborn clothing lying around the house, that can be used too.
A onesie for up to a three-month old should be a perfect size. Just be careful about food or other stains!
Step 2. Ironing and Measuring
Iron the onesie flat, then measure about seven inches from the shoulder. Be mindful of the graphic, which is usually close to the neck area.
It’s best to measure long since the jersey fabric these are made from will roll.
Step 3. Cutting and Going
Using the measurement mark as a guide, cut straight across, and voila! An easy t-shirt ready to pop onto the doll is created.
American Doll Tote Bags
As every girl knows, no outfit would be complete without a cute bag to match. This is an easy sewing project for beginners, both large and small.
- One sheet of printer paper
- Ribbon for tote straps
Step 1. Cutting and Measuring
Use the printer paper for the bag’s pattern, cutting in half to get the right size and placing it on fabric.
Cut out the fabric to the size of the pattern.
Step 2. Hemming and Sewing
Hem one of the long edges of the fabric. An adult can fold the raw edge under twice, but for a child, a simple single fold should be enough.
Cut the ribbon for the tote bag’s straps. A good guideline is to keep each piece between 7 and 9 inches.
The ribbons are pinned on the top edge that has been sewed. Pin onto the “wrong” side of the fabric since they should not be visible from the outside of the bag.
To help show where they should be, fold the ribbons in half lengthwise and make sure they match.
The next step is to sew the ribbons in place over the hem stitching.
Step 3. Final Step
Fold the tote in half, keeping the pretty side of the material together so that you are looking at the inside of the fabric. Then sew down the side and across the bottom to close it up.
And that’s it! Any raw seams can be trimmed now with a pinking shears or small nail scissors. Clip the inner corner and turn the bag inside out.
Ready to DIY?
This is just a start to the hundreds of ways a doll can be dressed up. Play around with patterns, colors, and styles for an individual look and feel free to get your children involved in the process as well!
Check out more inspiration on doll clothes for American Girl dolls today!