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Cocktail Dress for 18-inch Doll
These two outfits, a dress and a folklore blouse, are designed to fit 18-inch dolls with a soft body, such as American Girl, Our Generation, My Life As and similar dolls.

For both items we used embroidery designs from the Gerbera Daisy Set.

For the blouse we used the patterns from the Two Folk Blouses for 18-inch Dolls.

The patterns and instructions for the dress are in this tutorial.

2 dolls in finished outfits with embroidery on bodice, sleeves and skirt.

For the dress you will need :
  • embroidery thread, either polyester or rayon , (you choose the colors),
  • about 1/2 yard of solid-colored light-weight fabric, such as light-weight cotton, cotton-polyester blend, silk, etc., (we used black polyester silk);
  • nylon mesh and lace trim in matching colors if you want to make an underskirt for the dress,
  • small amount of lighter weight fabric (we used batiste) for the lining of the bodice,
  • light-weight no-show cut-away mesh embroidery stabilizer,
  • one sew-on snap,
  • chalk or graph pencil (depends on your fabric),
  • small rotary cutter or scissors,
  • sewing pins,
  • iron,
  • #12 universal needle,
  • fray check glue,
  • printer and paper.
Two dolls in embroidered dress and blouse.

Download the template file for the bodice of 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.
For the bodice we used one flower design, for the skirt two flower design from the Gerbera Daisy Set.

With a chalk pencil, trace the paper template of the front on the fabric. Mark the position of the embroidery. Hoop tightly and embroider the design.
Double check the pattern outline with the paper template, correct, if needed. Cut the front piece out.

Cut away all excess stabilizer around the embroidery as close to the stitches as possible.
Trace the front pattern on the lining fabric and cut out.
Trace and cut the back of the top and lining fabrics.
Pieces of the bodice - top and lining fabrics.

Sewing the Bodice:
With right sides together, pin and sew the shoulder seams on the bodice and the lining.
Bodice with sewn shoulder seams.

Press the seams open.
Press the shoulder seams open.

With right sides together, pin the bodice lining to the bodice along the neck, back opening. and armholes.
Pin the bodice lining and bodice together along the neck edge, back opening, and armholes.

Stitch along the edges, seam allowance 1/4".

Cut the corners and clip the curves, being careful not to cut through the stitching. Trim the seams to 1/8".
Stitch along the neckline and back, and along the armholes.

Stitch along the neckline and back, and along the armholes

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 the bodice and lining to align the sides. Pin. Stitch. Repeat on other side. Press the seams open.
Set the bodice aside for the time being.
For the skirt, we used the two-flower design. We embroidered 4 designs on each panel, front and back. Cut away the stabilizer close to the stitches.

Cut out front and back panels, each 6 1/2" wide and 13" long. Take care to leave an equal distance from the sides to the embroidery on both panels.
2-flower design embroidered on the front and back panels of the skirt.

On the back panel, find and mark the center on the upper edge.

Out of the main fabric, cut a piece measuring 2" x 3". Finish the raw edges on both long and one of the short sides. Fold the piece lengthwise and lightly press to mark the center.

With right sides together, pin the plank to the back panel, match the centers of both parts.
Place the plank over the center of the back panel.

Stitch down about 2" and 1/8" from the center of the plank, turn, stitch about 1/4", turn, stitch up 1/8" from the center and 1/4" from the first stitch line.
Stitch the plank to the center of the back panel.

With a pair of sharp scissors, cut through both layers along the center, stop 1/4" before the horizontal stitches. Cut to the corners.
Cut through the plank and back panel of the skirt.

Turn the plank to the back of the panel, press. Topstitch around the opening.
With zig-zag or serger finish the short sides of the front and back panels.
Sew the sides together. Press the seams open.
Finish the lower raw edge. Fold it 1/2" back and press.
Stitch 2 rows of baste stitch along the upper edge.
Pull the gathering threads. Fold the lining out of the way. With right sides together, pin the skirt to the bodice, match the side seams on the skirt and the bodice, distribute the gatherings evenly. Manually baste the skirt and the bodice toegether. If you do not plan to make the underskirt, stitch the skirt to the bodice now.
Baste the skirt to the bodice.
baste the skirt to the bodice.
Underskirt (Optional)
For the underskirt, we used red nylon mesh and black lace trim. Cut a piece of tulle measuring 6" x 25 1/2" and the same length of lace.
Tulle and lace trim.

Stitch the lace to the lower edge of the tulle piece. Stitch 2 rows of baste stitch along the upper edge - 1/4" from the edge and a scant 1/4" from the edge.
Stitch the lace to the lower edge of the tulle.
Pull the gathering threads. Distribute the gathers evenly. Pin the underskirt, with right side down, to the bodice, over the main skirt.
Pin the underskirt ,with right side down, to the bodice
Stitch both skirts to the bodice. Remove all baste and gathering threads.
Stitch both skirts to the bodice.
Fold the lining of the bodice back. Fold its raw edge 1/4" to the wrong side to cover the stitches. Baste. Stitch in place by hand.
Fold the lining back over the stitches.

Turn the right side out. Put the dress on a doll, mark the placement of the snap.
Chck the position of the snap.

Sew on the snap.
Sew on the snap.

Sew on a snap.
Have fun!
A doll in the finished black dress with embroidery.

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