How to Make Clothes for Your Doll

Four Methods:Easy Doll Dress (Sewing)A No-Sew Shirt or DressPaper ClothesA Line Knitted Doll's Dress

Whether your doll just needs new clothes or the old ones have fallen to pieces, it's fun to make your own doll clothes. There are many ways to do this, depending on your craft skills and medium of creating. A few of the possibilities are presented here.

Method 1
Easy Doll Dress (Sewing)

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    Lay your doll on a piece of newspaper about the length of her in each direction.
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    Draw two neck straps coming up from her shoulders.
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    Draw two rectangles going out under her arms to her side. This is her skirt and should fit around her when cut.
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    Cut the pattern out.
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    Try the pattern on your doll to make sure it fits.
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    Fold the pattern in half and trim until it's even.
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    Fold fabric in half.
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    Pin the pattern to fabric with sewing pins.
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    Trim fabric around pattern.
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    Sew only back of pattern. Make sure to backstitch so it doesn't fall out.
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    Do not sew neck strap. This will make it difficult to dress your doll.
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    If you do not know how to sew you can use a hot glue gun. Have your guardian help.
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    Slip the outfit onto your doll and tie the neck straps around the back of her neck. Doesn't she look beautiful!
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    Add lace at the bottom, ribbon around the waist. Whatever. These can be glued on your outfits using hot glue guns.
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Method 2
A No-Sew Shirt or Dress

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    Locate a sock that is the width of your doll. If it stretches to the doll's width, that's great.
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    Cut off the toe and heel part of the sock. Slip the remaining sock over the doll to test for fit.
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    Mark the bottom of the shirt or dress. Use a fabric marker or similar to do this. For a shirt, this will be around the waist; longer for the dress.
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    Remove the sock from the doll. Cut along the marked line.
    • If you are concerned that the sock may unravel, you can hem it. But then it won't be no-sew! You could paint invisible nail polish along the edges to stop fraying.
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    Add any decorative elements as wished. Glue on fabric patches, sequins, buttons, a fake pocket, etc.; anything really that will jazz up the outfit. Fabric glitter or fabric paints can produce great effects.
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    Place the shirt or dress back on the doll. She's now ready for play again.

Method 3
Paper Clothes

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    Measure the doll's size. Measure both length and width of the doll's body. Write down the measurements.
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    Draw a basic dress, shirt or pants pattern on a piece of plain, patterned, or other nice paper. Draw it to the measurements and keep it very simple. Most importantly, it should be at least 1 inch/2.5cm bigger than the measurements, to allow room for moving and joining. You need a front and a back for the complete outfit.
    • You can even make newspaper or recycled gift wrap clothes. It really depends on what you want. Just note that newspaper print can rub off on dolls, which might spoil the doll.
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    Cut out the clothing pieces. Glue or staple them together along the edges, leaving the head hole, arm holes and base of the shirt or dress open; or the leg holes and torso hole open for pants.
    • It is often easier with paper clothes to attach the pieces while on the doll. It's only paper and you can rip it off when you're finished with and start a new one later. It depends how careful you want to be.
    • If you want to reuse the paper dress or top, consider making tabs that open along one side; these tabs should open to allow you to remove the clothing with ease.
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    Decorate the clothes. Glitter glue, paint, pencils, etc. are ideal for jazzing up the clothing.
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    Try the clothes on. Experiment with different kinds of paper and different ways of producing the paper clothing; there are some good ideas in Japanese origami books for paper clothing that you might like to explore further.

Method 4
A Line Knitted Doll's Dress

A bit more work but if you can knit, this is a pretty result. This dress is suitable for a 35.5cm/14 inch doll; you can make size adjustments if you're a savvy knitter.

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    Use good quality yarn. You'll need approximate 2 25g balls of yarn, no. 5 (US)/9 (UK)/3.75mm needles, 2 tiny buttons, needle and thread. A crochet hook is also needed if you're finishing off the neck in crochet.
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    Knit the front first. Cast on 47 stitches (sts) and work 3 rows in moss stitch. Then:
    • 4th row –– Purl (P), include 1 st at end of row, 48 sts.
    • 5th row –– * Knit (K) 2 together (tog), K 12, K 2 tog through the back loop (tbl). Repeat (rep) from * to end.
    • Rows 6-8 –– Work 3 rows in stocking stitch (st st).
    • Row 9: –– K 2 tog, K 10, K 2 tog tbl. Rep from * to end.
    • Rows 10-13 –– Rep these 4 rows, continue to decrease (dec) sts, knitting 2 sts less between each dec sts. The last row will therefore be: * K 2 tog, K 2, K 2 tog tbl; rep from * to end, 12 sts.
    • Row 14 –– Work 1 more row on st st without shaping.
    • Row 15 –– K 3, increase (inc)in next st, K 4, inc in next st, K 3 sts.
    • Next and alt rows –– P.
    • Next row –– K 3, inc in next st. K 6, inc in next st. K 3 sts.
    • Next row –– K 3, inc in next st. K 8, inc. in next st. K 3 sts, 17 sts on needle.
    • Next row –– P.
    • Next row ––Cast on 3 sts. K to end.
    • Next row –– Cast on 3 sts. P to last 2 sts, K 2. Work 10 rows st st without shaping. Keep the 2 sts each end in garter stitch for sleeves.
    • Shape neck –– K 8 sts, cast off 8 sts, K 8 sts. Work 2 rows on these last 8 sts.
    • Next row –– Cast off 4 sts. P to end.
    • Next row –– K. Cast off remaining sts.
    • Join the wool to the other side and work to correspond. Cast off.
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    Knit the back next. Work in the same fashion as the front until you reach the P row following the waist increases have been completed 18 sts. Then:
    • Next row –– Cast on 3 sts. K 12 sts. Turn.
    • Next row –– K 2, P 8, K 2 sts.
    • Next row –– K.
    • Repeat these 2 rows 5 times.
    • Next row –– K.
    • Next row –– Cast off 4 sts. P 6 sts. K 2. Work 2 rows on these 8 sts, keeping the garter stitch border at the edge of the sleeve.
    • Next row –– Cast off 4 sts. K to end.
    • Next row –– P. cast off remaining stitches. Join the wool to the other side to correspond.
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    Prepare the dress pieces for your doll. Place both pieces on an ironing board. Place a damp cloth (such as a face washer) on top of each piece. Iron flat using a heat appropriate for the yarn you've chosen (cooler is always best).
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    Remove the pressed pieces from the ironing board. Stitch the side and should seams of the dress together. If possible, complete the neck with a row of double crochet (it looks nice and finished).
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    Make button loops at the back of the dress. Stitch on the buttons in the corresponding positions.
    • Loops can be made by crocheting or simply by twisting yarn and sewing or tying in place.
    • Press tabs or Velcro can be used in place of buttons if preferred.
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    Fit the doll. Place the dress on the doll. Stretch as needed into shape. Done––she should be finely dressed in a sweet A-line knitted dress now.


  • You can use old t-shirts, soft woven blouses or shirts, or even a facecloth for fabric clothing.
  • Glue sequins, beads, rhinestones, and other little "do-dads" to the doll's clothes to make them more exciting.
  • The knitted dress can look even prettier if you use braid or ribbon to finish off the neck, sleeves and hem.
  • Be creative and adjust any of the patterns (once you've gotten the hang of making one).
  • For smaller dolls, baby or toddler socks would work best.


  • Remember that some dark-colored fabrics can bleed onto your doll and leave a permanent stain, so check your doll often for ink or dye stains!
  • Take appropriate precautions when using sharp objects or hot items such as the glue gun.
  • In method 1, do not sew neck strap together. It will make it hard to put over doll's head.
  • Children should be supervised when using sharp objects, sewing machines or glue guns.
  • When using pins, keep your fingers well out of the way.

Things You'll Need

Method 1:

  • Sewing machine or hot glue gun
  • Sewing pins
  • Pincushion
  • Newspaper
  • Scrap fabric

Method 2:

  • Sock
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread (optional) or invisible nail polish (optional) for hemming
  • Decorative items such as fabric paint, fabric glitter, buttons, ribbons, sequins, rhinestones, etc.

Method 3:

  • Scrap paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Stapler
  • Markers etc. for decorating

Method 4:

  • 2 x 25g balls of yarn/balls of wool (color of choice)
  • Knitting needles no. 5 (US)/9 (UK)/3.75mm
  • Needle and thread
  • Tiny buttons
  • Crochet hook

Article Info

Categories: Dolls and Doll Houses | Sewing Toy Clothing