A Dress for All Seasons
This pattern allows you to create a pretty dress that can be adapted to just about any holiday. It’s all a matter of what fabric you use. You can create an Angle, fairy, princess or angel dress.
You will need a fabric for the underdress and tulle for the sleeves and overdress.
Download the 18 in American Girl Type Doll for princess, angel, fairy and witch pattern. Then, cut out the pattern. Next, lay the pattern out on the material you will be using for the underdress and cut out the pattern. (The skirt, bodice front, bodice back and neck facing.) For the neck facing, you can cut the fabric and fold it over in an unused portion (as shown in the picture), so you don’t need to use additional fabric. (Notice you don’t use the sleeve pattern for the under-fabric.)
Next, you will need to cut out the tulle overdress. (Use the skirt, bodice front, bodice back and sleeve.) You don’t need to cut the facing out of the tulle.
Carefully apply something like Fray Stop or Fray Check around the edges of the underdress. The tulle doesn’t need to be treated because it doesn’t fray.
Doing this step next may seem a little odd to people who have been sewing for a long time, but for the beginner it might be easier to hem the skirt while it is still not gathered. This skirt has a very narrow hem because I wanted to fit the pattern on 8 ½ by 11 inch paper. Turn the bottom of the skirt up 1/8 of an inch and then turn it up another 1/8 of an inch and pin. Press the folded hem. This will make it easier to sew.
Using the hem stitch, hem the underskirt. It would make it look better if you ironed the hem flat.
Pin the tulle overskirt (pretty side up) to the underskirt (pretty side up). Gather the top of the skirt using a running stitch about 1/8 inch from the edge). Make your stitches about the size of a grain of rice.
Pin the tulle to the bodice parts together. (Make sure the right side (pretty side) is up and the right side (pretty side) is up on the tulle. This will be on the outside of the dress.
Pin the shoulders together and sew using a running stitch. The seam should be about ¼ of an inch.
Now, press the seam flat.
Next, pin the facing to the bodice neck. Right side to right side. (Pretty side to pretty side.)
Using a running stitch, sew the facing to the neck with ¼ seam.
Clip around the neck making sure you do not clip all the way to the seam.
Fold the neck facing over and press down.
Next, we will work on the sleeves. Tulle doesn’t unravel, so you don’t need to fold the top edge over to protect the edge. Put the material right side (pretty side) down on the table. Then, turn up the bottom of the sleeve about 1 ½ to 1 3/4 inches. Make one row of stitches (using the running stitch) about 1/8 inch below the top edge. The second row of running stitches should be about ½ inch below the top row. (The elastic should be ¼ inch elastic.)
I cheated and used a sewing machine to save time, but it is done equally as well using a hand sewn running stitch. Now, about 1/8 inch below the top edge of the sleeve, sew a running stitch.
I cheated again and used a machine, but hand sewing works just as well. (I was just trying to save time.) Make sure there is a knot in the end of your thread. Gently gather the sleeve by pushing the material along the sleeve. Keep doing this until the top of the sleeve is about the same size as the armhole in the bodice.
Fit the gathered sleeve to the armhole in the bodice. Pin the two together right side to right side. (Pretty side to pretty side.) Try to make the gathers as even as you can across the armhole. You might have to work with it to get it even.
Using a running stitch, sew the sleeve to the armhole.
Now, do the other sleeve the same way. Cut 2 pieces of ¼ inch elastic 4 inches long. Put a small safety pin in the end of a piece of elastic. Then, work the safety pin between the 2 rows of stitches. If you need an illustration go to the post “We Finally Got Our New Dresses” and scroll down. (The pictures will have a green background so they are easy to spot.) These pictures will show you how to gather the sleeve on the elastic.
Run a few stitches at the ends of the elastic on both sides to hold the material and elastic in place.
Clip the edge of the armhole to allow the sleeve to bend more easily. Now repeat these steps for the other arm.
Fold the bodice so that the front and back bodice are lined up. Then, line up the edges of the sleeve and pin in place. Use a running stitch, sew the 2 sides of the bodice together with a ¼ inch seam. Your row of stitches should end up looking a little like an “L”. Do the same thing to the other side of the bodice.
You need to clip the area where the bodice and sleeve come together. Clip once in the bend in the “L”. One or 2 clips on each side of the first clip are enough.
Gather the skirt by pulling the fabric along the thread in much the same way as you did for the sleeve. Try to gather the skirt to the same length as the bottom of the bodice. Now pin the bodice and the skirt together right side to right side. (Pretty side to pretty side.) Try to make the gathers even.
Using a running stitch sew the bodice and the skirt together.
Once that is done, measure 4 inches down from the top of the neck and sew the tulle together using a running stitch and a ¼ inch seam.
Now measure 4 inches down from the neck on the underskirt and sew a ¼ inch seam.
Use the fastener of your choice. You can even use self-adhesive Velcro dots if you want. But, I would still put a couple of stitches in them to hold them better. I like snaps the best, so that is what I used.
Now, put the dress on the doll and make sure the skirt of the dress is even all the way around. Then mark the bottom of the tulle skirt. Carefully, cut off the extra.
You’re Done!!! Here is what you can do with the dress.
So precious! Fantastic instructions and wonderful pattern. The girls look adorable! ☺☺☺