Gathering Threads

Free Dress Pattern for 18″ Knit Doll

Posted by on Aug 11 2011, in Sewing for Children, Tutorial

OK, succumbed to buyer’s impulse on Friday and picked up a wonderful knit doll from our local toy shop, Citizen Kid.  It’s not far from our house, so the boys always have to stop by and ‘ad-mire’.  Ellie turns three later this month and I thought she would enjoy the doll that I found for her birthday.

It’s made by a French company, Blabla.  Very charming, whimisical designs and since they’re knit, really, really soft and squishy.

The dolls are sold au naturel, except for a very cute pair of ruffly knit knickers (no ruffle on the boy dolls).  Then you get to choose their clothes and darling little knit accessories separately.

Except holy expensive clothes, Batman!  They are lovely outfits and I really appreciate that they’re made in an ethically sourced manner, but when I saw how much they wanted for what amounted to a pillowcase dress that’s about the size of a handkerchief (seriously, about the same as what I’d spend on a real person sized dress!), I knew I’d be heading home to the sewing room, to whip something up for a heck of a lot less.

Since I had my scraps right at hand, I decided to make a doll sized version of the AS&E dress I just finished and thought I would share the pattern for the dress, since I couldn’t find any existing pattern that would fit this particular doll.

You can download the PDF of the 18″ Doll Dress with Apron by clicking here.  Feel free to share the link with friends, but don’t repost or resell the pattern and always credit my website.


1/4 yd brown fabric with small print

1/6 yd turquoise fabric

6″ x 7 1/4″ scrap gold fabric

6″ x 4″ scrap bird print fabric

45″ 1″ wide multi-coloured bias binding

brown sewing thread

dark blue sewing or embroidery thread

2 1″ pieces of velcro

3 blue doll-sized buttons


sewing machine

80/11 universal machine needle

sewing scissors

measuring tape

pencil or marking tool

6″ x 24″ quilted ruler (optional)

rotary cutter (optional)

rotary cutting mat (optional)


All seam allowances are 1/4″ unless otherwise stated.

1.  Print the pattern pieces and cutting directions.  Cut the front and back bodice, skirt and sleeves from the brown print fabric.  Cut the collar, lower skirt band and sleeve cuffs from blue fabric.


2.  Using a water glass, coaster or other circular object, round the bottom corners of the apron and apron pocket.

3.  Bind the upper edge of apron pocket with the bias binding using your preferred method, so that it has a finished width of 1/4″.  Trim bias even with pocket.

4.  Pin the pocket to to the apron and baste together inside the seam allowance.

5.  Bind the outer edge of the apron with bias binding, stretching the binding smoothly around the rounded corners.


6.  If you do not wish to have a contrasting band around the edge of your collar, skip to step 8. Pin a length of bias binding RS together around the upper collar, shaping it around the curves.  Stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

7.  Fold the binding in half so that the raw edges meet.  Press smooth.

8.  RS facing, sew upper and lower collar together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Stitch again 1/8″ outside the first row of stitching.  Trim very close to second row of stitching.

9.  Turn collar RS out and press.


10.  Place one side of the velcro on the RS of the back bodice, 3/8″ from top of neck edge.

11.  Stitch a small rectangle to secure, making sure that you are stitching at least 1/8″ from the fold line.  Trim velcro close to stitching.

12.  Repeat with the matching piece of velcro.  When the back bodices are laid flat, both pieces of velcro should be on the same side of the fold.

13.  Sew front bodice to back bodice at shoulder seams.  Repeat with front bodice lining.

14.  Pin collar to neckline, aligning at CF.  Collar pieces should end at least 1/4″ from back bodice fold line.  Stitch, easing collar as you sew.

15.  With RS facing, fold bodice lining to cover bodice.  Stitch along neckline, following existing stitching line.  Turn RS out and press neckline.

16.  Overlap back bodice opening 1/4″ at bottom edge.  Baste bodice and bodice lining together around lower edge and the arm scyes. Treat bodice as one layer from this point.


17.  Sew flat sleeve to bodice, easing the curve to fit.

18.  If desired, stitch a row of decorative stitching along the cuff, 3/4″ from top edge.

19.  With the RS of the cuff facing the WS of the sleeve, sew together along bottom edge of sleeve.  The cuff will extend past the side of the sleeves.  Do not trim yet.

20.  Open out the cuff and press the seam allowance up towards the shoulder.  With the RS of cuff facing up, understitch.

21.  Press under seam allowance on upper edge of cuff 1/4″.  Fold cuff to RS and topstitch cuff to sleeve.  Trim cuff to match sleeve.

22.  RS facing, sew the underarm and bodice side seam in one pass, pivoting at the inside corner.


23.  Sew the short ends of the skirt together, finishing the raw edges with a zig-zag stitch or overcasting.

24.  Sew the short ends of the skirt band together.  Press seam allowance open.  Fold band in half width wise, WS facing.

25.  RS facing, sew band to bottom of skirt.  Overcast or zigzag seam allowance.  Press seam up towards skirt.

26.  Finger press the skirt and apron to find the CF of each.  Align the CF and baste the apron to the skirt, RS up.

26.  Run two rows of gathering stitches around top of skirt and apron.  Pull gathers to fit skirt to bodice.

27.  RS facing and matching the skirt seam with the back bodice overlap, stitch.  Press the seam allowance  up towards the bodice.


30.  Sew three small blue buttons to the back bodice, spacing them evenly.  Dress your doll and enjoy!


  • This is so cute Claire!! Thanks for the free pattern. You are so smart – creating your own!