Note: Parts of this post first appeared 9/25/15.
Half the fun of making dolls is making outfits to fit their personalities. My handmade dolls are dressed to reflect an earlier era, one that included elegant dresses, hats and stockings. Because they love clothes I imagine these dolls would enjoy switching up their look for fall.
Here's how I changed their clothes to reflect the season. Scroll down for a free coat pattern! Shopping for a doll to dress up? See my dolls in my Etsy shop, PinkGingerKitty.
My DIY doll clothing includes:
A short red felt jacket (bolero), a purple woven dress (a sleeve from a thrift shop sweater), a beaded stretchy bracelet, a pink felt long jacket and assorted hats. Lucy, the doll with the orange hair, demonstrates how you might use these pieces:
These clothes work for my handmade dolls with bodies that are 14" at sitting height. If your doll is smaller, you can modify the style accordingly.
Below: Lucy and Myrtle wearing a black felt coat and hat, and then a pink felt coat and gold hat. Lucy is wearing a dress made from a sweater sleeve with armholes cut in it. The raw edges will not hold up to rigorous play but it works fine for gentle play and display. The sleeve came from a thrift shop sweater that cost 99 cents.
The jacket is a modified "T" shape, made from felt so there's no hemming needed. A grosgrain ribbon ties the jacket shut. For the bolero shape, just shorten the top and bottom of the pattern.
My pattern is hand drawn just like the ones I use myself when I make my doll clothing. You will need a 36" x 12" piece of felt to make this jacket: one back solid piece and two front "halves" that will fold back from the center. If you are not sure if it will fit another type of doll, try making a muslin version first and then adjust the fit. You will also need about 18" of grosgrain ribbon for the belt tie.
Cut out the pattern, pin it to your felt and cut out the two front pieces and one back piece. Pin front left side to back. Sew in place along shoulder to sleeve edge and then sleeve edge down side to bottom of coat. Leave open the sleeve end. Pin right side of coat to back and repeat. Snip a tiny notch were the sleeves turn the corner towards the bottom of the coat to ease movement. Turn coat right side out and slip on your doll. Turn out the lapels and turn down the collar at the back of the doll. Tie coat closed with grosgrain ribbon.
The bolero jacket was inspired by a piece of red felt that was wide and short. It fit the width of the back of the jacket pattern but not its length. I cut off the top of the collar and the bottom length of the coat pattern to make this cute jacket. My pattern indicates the places to cut if you want to try this look also. No belt is needed for this jacket.
Try your hand at accessorizing with scraps of fabric tied as neck scarves, hair bows or silk flower pins. My shop has doll hats and accessories if you'd rather leave the sewing to me. Chelsea and Poppy are wearing felt jacket and hat sets from my shop, seen below.