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Two-Color Summer Dress for 18-inch Dolls
These summer dresses fit 18-inch dolls like 18-inch dolls with a soft body, such as American Girl, Our Generation, My Life As and similar dolls.
For both dresses we used the embroidery designs from the Folk-Style Floral Motif Set.
The patterns and instructions for the dress are in this tutorial.

2 dolls in finished dresses with embroidery

For each dress you will need :
  • embroidery thread, either polyester or rayon , (you choose the color),
  • 1 fat quater each of 2 solid-colored light-weight fabrics, such as light-weight cotton, cotton-polyester blend, linen, etc., (we used royal blue and ivory cotton);
  • small amount of lighter weight fabric (we used batiste) for the lining,
  • light-weight embroidery stabilizer, like no-show mesh,
  • either sew-on snaps or ultra thin Velcro tape,
  • chalk and graph pencils,
  • small rotary cutter or scissors,
  • sewing pins,
  • iron,
  • #12 universal needle,
  • fray check glue,
  • printer and paper.
Download the template file for the dress. 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.
4 sheets of paper with print-outs of the dress template.
Trace the pattern of the front on the fabric. Mark the position of the embroidery. We used paper print-outs of the designs. If you cannot make the print-outs, use rectangles of paper of the same size as the designs.

Stabilize the area. Hoop tightly and embroider the design(s) of your choice.
Cut away all excess stabilizer close to the stitches.
Cut the pattern out.
A stitch-out of rectangular design from the set.

Position the paper templates on fabric. Trace and cut out.
Sew the front parts together.
Cut-out of the front.

Press the seam open.
Back parts of the bodice.
Place paper templates on the stitch-out in mirror image.
With right sides together, pin and sew the shoulder seams. Press them open. Repeat for the lining.
Staystitch along the armholes of the lining.
Bodice with sewn shoulder seams.
With right sides together, pin the lining to the dress along the neck, armholes and back opening. Match the showlder seams.

Stitch along the edges.

Trim corners and clip curves being careful not to cut through the stitching.
Pin the bodice lining and bodice together along the neck edge and back opening.

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

With right sides together, fold and match the underarm seams. Pin all along the dress and the lining sides. Stitch. Repeat on other side.
Stitch the sides of the lining.

Press the seams open.
Tuck the seam allowance of the lining around the armhole and hanstich in place.

Finish the raw edge of the hem and lining with serger or zig-zag stitch. Put the dress on a doll to check the length. We folded the hem 1/2" back. Press. Sew in place by hand.
Close-up of the yellow skirt with short organza overlay.

On the doll, check the position of the closure. Sew ultra-thin Velcro tape, or snaps, to the back.
Parts of the yellow skirt, cut out of fabric.

Have fun!
A doll in pink dress with embroidered organza overlay

Back to Folk-Style Floral Motif Set.
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