Doll Sewing Series #6: Sew a pretty Spring dress for Barbie/Sindy dolls

by Claire

The sun is shining (finally), the cheery daffodils are out and tiny fresh green leaves are starting to appear on the bare trees. It must be Spring arriving after a long grey, wet and cold winter. It’s time to update your doll’s wardrobe with a splash of pretty pastel colour and get those Spring vibes rolling ready for photoshoots with lots of flowers in the background! My Doll Sewing Series posts are all about inspiration and tips to help you sew for your dolls. In this post I’ll be reviewing a Simplicity doll sewing pattern to show you how you can sew a pretty Spring dress for your Barbie or Sindy dolls.

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The Pattern

The doll sewing pattern I’ve used to make this dress is Simplicity 4702 ’11 1/2″ doll clothes, it’s an empire line dress with a gathered lace neckline and short skirt. As well as this dress, the pattern includes jeans, several different tops, an evening dress, a tracksuit and a skirt suit – so you get a lot of outfits to make. I’ve only tried this one so far! I’ve included links below to buy the pattern in paper form or pdf from Etsy, or it’s also available from Hobbycraft. I’ve used various Simplicity doll clothes patterns over the years and they have clear instructions and comprehensive pattern markings.

Sewing pattern and fabric cut out ready to sew – don’t forget to transfer pattern markings to your fabric.

The fabric

I’ve used Liberty Tana Lawn Ffion for this dress. I love Liberty fabric for dolls clothes as the small prints so work at a small scale. The Tana Lawn is a lighter weight than quilting cotton fabric, which makes it perfect for sewing doll clothes as it’s less bulky.

TOP TIPS: I use fray stop on the raw edges of the fabric before sewing, as it stops it fraying. Make sure you press the seams as you go for a neat finish.


The sewing part

The sleeves have elastic threaded through a casing. A top tip is to use a very small safety pin to thread your elastic through the casing. I sewed the ends of the elastic by hand as it was too small for my sewing machine.

Threading elastic through the sleeve casing.

After you’ve made the sleeves, they are attached to the bodice front and back. You need to be careful to sew the right seams together here.

Joining the front and back bodice to the sleeves.

The neckline has lace around it, which is pretty, but a bit tricky to sew – tacking it helps so don’t skip this step. The neckline has a facing which is sewn on after the neckline has been gathered. I sewed it from the inside of the bodice, to avoid catching the sleeves.

Bodice before adding lace – side seams have been sewn.
Lace tacked to the bodice.
Gathering the bodice neckline
Adding the neckline facing.

I found it easier to topstitch around the neckline by hand, this helps the facing lie flat inside the bodice.

The finished bodice.

The bodice is gathered at the bottom to fit the skirt, which is quite fitted.

Skirt and bodice ready for joining.

The finished dress

The verdict?

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Skill level: Intermediate – there are some tricky elements to this pattern which a beginner may find hard. Have patience and it’ll turn out well!
Overall: A good pattern for making pretty spring or summer dresses for your dolls. As it’s empire line, it would also work for period style dresses, with a longer skirt added.

For more doll sewing inspiration check out these Posts and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook for new sewing patterns and crafts!

Claire x

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