Sew a Barbie Movie gingham doll dress

by Claire
Barbie in pink dress

The new Barbie Movie is taking the world in a storm of pink! The movie costume designs are a candy store of fabulousness with a serious vintage vibe, which I love. With inspiration taken directly from Barbie’s extensive wardrobe, the Barbie Movie outfits are iconic. So instead of spending a lot of money on buying the Movie dolls (confession – we did buy the Pink Western Barbie) I thought I would hack and create some sewing patterns to re-create some of the outfits, starting with the pink gingham dress (my favourite outfit). Follow this tutorial to sew your own Barbie Movie gingham doll dress. There’s a link to my YouTube video at the end of the post.

This post does contain some Esty affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission.

What you need:

  • Pink gingham fabric with small squares 4-5mm (1/8″)
  • Matching pink or white thread
  • Approx. 30cm length of matching gingham ribbons in both 5mm and 1cm widths (for straps and belt)
  • Matching pink gingham ribbon bow (or make one using the 5mm ribbon)
  • White netting/ tulle for underskirt
  • Pearl seed beads (for belt and necklace)
  • Jewellery headpin (to thread beads onto for buckle)
  • 2 poppers/ snaps
  • Beading elastic for necklace
  • Fray check/ fray stop liquid

How to make the dress

To work out the best patterns for making a ‘movie accurate’ gingham dress, I ending up making three versions! The Mattel doll version (below) has a box pleat skirt with a fitted bodice and bias cut belt (going diagonally). The movie costume dress is slightly different as the belt not on the bias. The pattern is designed to fit a Made to Move type Barbie.

Make the bodice

To make the bodice download the pattern here:

Cut out the paper pattern pieces and pin to your fabric. The fabric will need to be folded – the front of the bodice is cut on the fold and then you pin the back panel pattern and cut through both layers of fabric. Make sure that the checks on the fabric are aligned so that they are vertical. Mark the position of the bodice darts (the triangle shapes) onto the front and back panels with a removable fabric marker or fabric pencil. Apply fray check/ fray stop to all the raw edges – I found that the gingham frayed a lot so this really helps. It also means that you don’t need to finish any of the seams.

Sew the darts in the front and back bodice panels – to do this you fold the fabric (right sides together) and sew from the point of the triangle to the edge of the fabric. This helps to give the bodice the right shape. Press.

Next, sew the back panel pieces to the front panel – one each side (forming the side seams). Press the side seams flat.

Fold the top of the bodice over by 0.5cm, press and top stitch. Bodice completed.

Make the skirt

To make the skirt I used the 10th Anniversary Medium Girl pattern from Requiem Art Designs – it’s free when you buy another pattern. I also got the Country Classic Summer Dress pattern as it also has a Barbie Movie vintage vibe going on. I’ve not tried it yet as my list of ‘to do’ projects is too long! I did try and work out how to calculate box pleats but gave up!

You can get the pattern from Etsy when you buy another one:

The pattern piece you will use is called ‘1-Piece Skirt’. Cut out the fabric and mark where the pleats go – this is important.

Use fray stop/ fray check on the raw edges. Press a hem at the bottom of the skirt and topstitch.

Then sew the pleats together – BUT – only sew down a small amount – about 0.5cm. Repeat until all of the pleats are sewn.

Press the pleats flat.

Make an underskirt

Cut a piece of tulle/ netting the same depth as your hemmed skirt and twice the width. Sew two rows of gathering stitches at the top. Pull the underneath threads and gather to the same width as the bodice.

Attach the skirt to the bodice

Place the bodice on top of the skirt, right sides together (the bodice will be facing down) and tack together by hand. If there is excess skirt fabric (width) then trim both sides evenly.

Pin the gathered underskirt to the skirt (so it’s on the inside) and sew through all three layers to attach the skirts to the bodice. Press the bodice up.

Finishing off

Fold the dress in half lengthwise and sew the back seam – stopping about 2cm below the waistline.

Sew poppers/ snaps at the top of bodice and at the waistline, folding the fabric that will be on top inwards before you attach the popper/ snap. Make sure it is a snug fit by marking where you want the other half of the popper/ snap to be before you sew it.

Cut 2 lengths of thin ribbon. Seal the ends with a flame (adults only) or fray stop. Place the ribbons on front bodice and mark positioning. Then hand sew ribbons to front. Repeat at back.


To make the belt buckle, thread beads onto the wire headpin. Bend so it is the height of the wide ribbon and approx. 0.5cm wide. Keep bending to form a rectangle. Bend the end into a small loop and loop around the end of the headpin. Glue to secure in place. Wind thread around the middle of the buckle (vertically) and knot to secure. Thread the ribbon so the wound thread is at the back. Add a couple of stiches to secure.

Thread beads on elastic and knot to make a necklace.

P.S. If you want your own matching dress check out this gorgeous replica from Enchant Me Cosplay

Claire x

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