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Scandinavian Style Embroidered Dress for 18-inch Dolls
This dress is designed to fit 18-inch dolls with a soft body, such as American Girl, Our Generation, My Life As and similar dolls.

We used embroidery designs from the One-Color Scandinavian Motif Set.
A doll in finished off-white dress with red embroidery on bodice, hem and sleeves.


For the dress you will need :
  • embroidery thread, either polyester or rayon , (you choose the color),
  • about 1/2 yard of solid-colored light-weight fabric, such as light-weight cotton, cotton-polyester blend, etc. (we used polyester-wool blend);
  • small amount of lighter weight fabric (we used batiste) for the lining,
  • light-weight cut-away mesh embroidery stabilizer,
  • either sew-on snaps or ultra thin Velcro tape,
  • chalk or disappearing pencil,
  • small rotary cutter or scissors,
  • sewing pins,
  • iron,
  • #12 universal needle,
  • printer and paper.
Patterns:
Download the template file for the dress bodice and sleeve. To open and print the template, which is a PDF file, you will need Adobe Reader or a similar program. Adobe Reader is free to download and install.

Template Download (PDF file)
Print out the templates and cut them out.
Note: Seam allowance of 1/4" is included in the templates.
Bodice and Sleeves:
Embroidery and Cutting:
On the fabric, trace the paper templates of the bodice front and sleeves, but do not cut them out. Choose the embroidery designs and upload them into the embroidery machine.
Stabilize the fabric with light-weight cut-away stabilizer. Hoop the fabric tightly so that the pattern is in the center of the hoop. Align the position of the embroidery. Embroider the design.
Cut away the excess stabilizer. Cut out the front and 2 sleeves
Alternatively, you can embroider the designs on the fabric, then position the paper templates of the front and sleeves on the stitch-outs. Trace and cut out.
Trace the paper template of the back and cut out the back parts.
Use the same paper templates to cut the lining.
Assembly:
With right sides together, pin and sew the shoulder seams. Press them open. Repeat for the lining.
Bodice with sewn shoulder seams.

Staystitch along the armholes of the lining, seam allowance 1/4".
Staystitch along the armholes of the lining.

Clip the curves, take care not to cut through the stitches.
Make cuts along the curves.
Press seam allowance to the back.
Press seam allowance to the wrong side.
With right sides together, pin the bodice lining to the bodice along the neck and back opening.
Pin the bodice lining and bodice together along the neck edge and back opening.

Topstitch along the edges.

Cut the corners and clip the curves, being careful not to cut through the stitching.
Topstitch along the neckline and back.

Turn the working piece right side out. Take your time to straighten all corners and lines. Press.
Turn the right side out and press.

Sleeves
Using the paper template, cut 2 sleeves out of fabric.
With zig-zag, or serger, finish the side and lower edges of the sleeves. Turn the lower edge about 1/2" to the wrong side and press.

Sew 2 rows of gathering between the gathering dots on the sleeve cap at a scant 1/4".
Sleeves with finished edges.

Fold the lining out of the way. With right sides together, pin the sleeve to the bodice, matching the center of the sleeve with the shoulder seam. Pull the gathering threads of the sleeve cap and distribute the gathers evenly.
Pin the sleeve to bodice.

Stitch. Repeat for other sleeve. Seam allowance is 1/4".
Stitch the sleeve to the bodice.
Remove the gathering threads. Clip the curves. Press the seam allowance to the shoulder. Repeat for the other sleeve.
Sleeves stitched to the armhole

With right sides together, fold the lining out of way, pin from sleeve edge to side bottom.
Stitch from the sleeve edge to side bottom. Seam allowance 1/4".

Stitch. Repeat on other side.
Stitch from the sleeve edge to side bottom. Seam allowance 1/4".
Press the seams open.
Fold the edge back and, by hand, stitch in place.
Press the seams open.
Fold the lining to align the sides, right sides together. Stitch the sides. Press the seams open.
Stitch the sides of the lining.

Fold the lining back.
Tuck the seam allowance inside. Handstitch the lining to the sleeve around the armhole.
Tuck the seam allowance of the lining around the armhole and hanstich in place.

Repeat for the other armhole.
Lining on both sleeves is stitched in place.
Finished bodice.
Finished bodice.
Skirt
For the skirt, embroider any of the designs from the One-Color Scandinavian Motif Set in a row, as a border. For the front, we repeated one of the designs 4 times, for the back, we repeated it twice on each part of the skirt's back. If you want a fuller skirt, you can repeat the design more times.

Cut out the front (8" x 13"), and back parts (8" x 7"). Leave the same width border between the bottom edge and the embroidery on all parts.
Using zig-zag stitch or serger finish all sides of the skirt parts.

Sew the sides together, seam allowance 1/4", and press the seams open.

Press the back opening sides 1/4" to the back.
Press the back opening sides to the wrong side.
Sew the back seam from the hem up, leaving about 3" unstitched. Topstitch around the opening.
Turn and press the hem 1/2".
Topstitch around the opening.
Out of the fabric for the lining, cut a piece measuring 8" x 25".
Zig-zag or serge the short sides.
Turn the lower edge/hem 1/4" back and press. Turn again, now 1/2" and press. Unfold.
Align the short sides and stitch together from the hem up, leaving about 3" unstitched. Press the seam open.
The lining of the skirt.
With back sides together, insert the lining into the skirt, match the back openings. Pin together along the upper edge.
pin the skirt and the lining together along the upper edge.

Sew 2 rows of gathering stitches along the waist edge between the back opening edges.
gathering stitches along the upper edge of the skirt.
With right sides together, pin the bodice and the skirt together: fold the bodice lining out of way, match the center of the skirt with the center of the bodice front, match the side seams. Pull the gathering threads and distribute the gathers evenly.
Match the center of the skirt with the center of the bodice front. Pull gathering threads. Pin together.

Stitch together. Remove the gathering threads.
Fold the lining of the bodice back. Fold its raw edge 1/4" to the back side to cover the waist stitches. Baste. Stitch by hand to the skirt.
Fold the lining back over the stitches.

Put the dress on a doll, mark the placement of the snaps. Sew on the snaps.
The snaps are sewn on to the back opening of the dress.

Either by hand, or on your machine, stitch the hems of the skirt and the skirt lining.
Finished dress on a doll.
Have fun!
Finished dress on a doll.

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