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Spring Flowers Folk Style Skirt and Top for 18-inch Dolls
Welcome to our sewing and embroidery tutorial for crafting a Spring Flowers Folk Style Skirt and Top for 18-inch dolls. In this tutorial, we'll guide you through the steps to sew an ensemble embellished with machine embroidered blossoms. Follow along as we combine folk style with a touch of springtime, making your doll's wardrobe bloom with creativity. Let's dive in and bring this adorable outfit to life!

These skirt and top are 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 Flower Border Set.
A doll in finished skirt and top with embroidery on bodice and skirt.

For the skirt and top you will need :
  • embroidery thread, either polyester or rayon (choose colors you like);
  • about 1/2 yard of solid-colored light-weight fabric, such as light-weight cotton, cotton-polyester blend, etc., (we chose off-white 100% cotton);
  • small amount of colored fabric for the hem trim and waistband ;
  • light-weight cut-away embroidery stabilizer,
  • either sew-on snaps or ultra thin Velcro tape,
  • chalk pencil,
  • small rotary cutter or scissors,
  • sewing pins,
  • iron,
  • #12 universal needle,
  • printer and paper.
Download the template for the top. 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.
The Top:
For the top we used the corner design from the Flower Border Set.

Stabilize a piece of fabric with light-weight cut-away srabilizer. Hoop tightly and embroider the design.
Position the paper template of the front over the stitch-out. Trace with the chalk pencil.
Cut it out. Press. Cut away the excess stabilizer around the embroidery.
Use the paper templates to cut out all parts of the top.
All parts of the top cut out of fabric.

With face sides together, pin and sew the shoulder seams. Repeat for the lining. Press the seams open.
The top and its lining stitched at shoulders.

With face sides together, pin the top lining to the top along the neck, back opening and armholes.
The top and lining pinned together face to face.
Stitch along the edges: back opening, neckline, armholes.
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, back and 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 top and lining to align the sides. Pin. Stitch. Repeat on other side. Press the seams open.
Fold the top and lining to align the sides.

You can either fold the hem of the top and lining 1/4" to the wrong side, press and topstitch, or finish the hem with a colored trim.
The top with unfinished hem.
Out of colored fabric, cut a strip 1" wide and 1/2" longer than the hem of the top. Zig-zag or serge one of the long edges of the strip.
With right sides together, pin the strip to the lower edge of the top, with the short ends of the strip protruding past the top by 1/4".
The colored strip pinned to the hem of the top.

Stitch. Fold the short ends back and press.
The strip is stitched to the top, the short ends pressed back.

Unfold the strip, press. Fold it to the lining. Press.
The strip folded to the lining and pressed.
Topstitch the strip in place.
The top with the finished hem.
Put the top on your doll to mark the placement of the closure. Sew on either snaps or ultra thin Velcro tape.
The Velcro tape attached to the back opening.

Finished top on a doll.
Feel free to make your skirt longer or shorter, fuller or more straight. Here are the general directions on how to sew it.

First of all make the embroidery using the light-weight cut-away stabilizer. We embroidered one of the borders from the Flower Border Set in vertical lines with 2 1/2" space between the embroidery.
When the embroidery is done, cut out the skirt panels. We used 2 panels, each 15" long and 6 1/2" wide. We left a 1" margin under the embroidery and 2" margin over the embroidery.
Panels of the skirt.

Out of colored fabric, cut 2 strips measuring 3" x 15. Stitch each of the strips to the lower edge of the embroidered panels. Press the seam down to the colored strip.
the colored strip is stitched to the lower edge of the embroidered panel.
Using zig-zag stitch or serger finish the short sides of the skirt parts and the long edge of the colored strip.
The short sides and the colored strip edges are finished with surger.
With right sides together, align the panels and sew the short sides together, seam allowance 1/4", leaving about 2" unstitched at the waist line. Press the seam open.

Fold the colored strip onto the wrong side so that the finished edge of the strip covers the seam. Press.
Topstitch the hem in place.
The hem folded and pressed to the wrong side.

Sew 2 rows of gathering stitches along the waist edge starting and finishing 1/2" from the short sides.
2 rows of gatering stitches along the waist edge of the skirt.

Measure the waist of your doll. My doll's waist is 11 1/2". For the waistband I cut 2 strips 6 1/2" long and 2" wide. Finish one long side of the strips with zig-zag stitch or surger.
2 strips of colored fabric for the waistband.
Working with one panel and one waistband strip at a time, right sides together, match the center of the unfinished edge of the strip with center of the skirt panel. Pull gathering stitches on the skirt to fit the belt, leaving 1/4" of the belt at each end. Pin in place.
Pin the waistband strip to the skirt panel.
Stitch. Remove gathering threads.
The skirt and belt stitched together.

Fold the belt strip right sides together lengthwise and sew each end with 1/4" seam allowance.
Stitch the waistband short ends.

Cut the corners.
Cut the corners.
Turn the belt right side out. Press. Pin.
Turn the belt right side out.

Sew the finished edge of the belt over the seam allowance by hand or topstitch.
Sew the pressed edge of the belt over the seam allowance.

Put the skirt on the doll to mark the placement of the closure.
A skirt on the doll.

Stitch a closure of your choice in place.
Pieces of ultra thin Velcro tape stitched to the belt.

Have fun!
Finished folk style skirt and top on a doll.

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