Making a simple dress, Meka Dress #1

July 16, 2016

I made a pattern for a simple dress and bloomers for my doll Meka and thought it would be fun to share the process of how I put it all together. I hand sew everything, since I can't manage using a sewing machine on something so small, so maybe this'll be helpful for people like me or people that don't have a machine.

The pattern is free for anyone that wants to use it. From the measurements the dress may also fit pukipuki, petite blythe, lati white, and other similar sized tiny dolls.

sewing supplies used for making a simple dress and bloomers for my Meka ball jointed doll
Tools and Materials
  • pattern
  • scissors
  • fabric marker or pencil
  • needles
  • fray check
  • fabric glue
  • thread
  • fabric
  • a bead or button
  • elastic or string
Download the Pattern
Image file   OR   PDF file
The file is sized for A4 paper, 300dpi, and there is a little ruler so you can check the size after it's printed.

Notes about the supplies I'm using:
I have a fabric marker with disappearing ink but it's fine to use just a normal pencil or pen.
If you're using elastic cord in the bloomers you'll need a needle with an extra large eye. Otherwise you can just use embroidery thread to make a drawstring and just use a normal sewing needle.
Frey check is optional but recommended.
For the fabric glue I strongly recommend getting a small needle tip applicator bottle that you can transfer the glue into. This helps me a lot to avoid getting glue everywhere.
The fabric I'm using is cotton, like the kind most often used for quilting, but you can use whatever you have or want to use.

Let's get started!
trace the pattern, then cut out the shapes, then seal the edges with fray check
  First off trace the pattern shapes onto the fabric and then cut them out.
Next use fray check on on all the edges and let them dry.

fold and glue the edges
  Now time to fold and glue some of the edges as is indicated by the dotted line on the pattern. The folds only need to be about 1/8 inch or as small as you can manage.
  I leave the bottom edge of the shirt part and the waistline of the bloomers unfolded until after they are stitched.

sew the top part of the dress
  Time to use the needle and thread! Stitch the sides of the shirt together using a whip stitch. Because the edge has been folded you should be able to make a very small seam that is still quite strong. My seams here are only about 1mm. I start at the bottom of the shirt and work up while trying to remember to leave arm holes.
  After you finish stitching tie the thread in a knot and double check to make sure the dolls arms fit through the holes. Then fold the bottom edge and secure it with more fabric glue.

add the skirt to the top part of the dress
  To add the shirt part to the skirt first I use some more glue to tack the apron into place so that I don't have to worry about it sliding around. Then use 3 drops of glue to tack the skirt onto the bottom of the shirt. I use one drop on both ends in the back of the dress and one in the middle on the front. Again this glue is just to help hold everything in place while the skirt is being sewn onto the shirt.
  I then use a back-stitch to sew the two parts together. The skirt will need to be gathered a little as you stitch but it's not anything that needs to be done too precisely. Just try to make sure the thread is going through both the skirt part and the shirt.

make a button loop so the dress can close in the back
  The dress is almost finished! The last thing to do is add a way for it to close in the back. How I like to do this is with a button loop.. or bead loop, since a round bead can function like a button for dolls. First sew the bead into place. Then make a loop with thread large enough to fit over the bead and try to secure it by tying a knot.
  Now to make the loop stronger use a buttonhole stitch around the loop. This part can be fiddly but with practice it does get easier. When the loop is finished tie it off and celebrate. Woohoo! The dress in done!

sew the bloomers together
  To sew together the bloomers start by folding the pant leg in half and use a whip stitch to sew up to where the legs should meet. Do this for both pant legs. Then join the two pant legs together and continue stitching up. Once they are all sewn together fold and glue down an about an 1/8 inch around the waistline for a hem.

finishing the dolls bloomers
  Then go around the top of the waistline with a blanket or buttonhole stitch. This will hold the hem down and also give a place to run thread or elastic through. When I add the elastic I like to try the bloomers on the doll before I tie the elastic in a knot to make sure that the bloomers aren't too loose or too tight.
  I then add more elastic to the bottom of the pant legs and again try them on the doll to test fit before finishing with a knot.
the simple doll dress and bloomers all finished
porcelain bjd, Meka, in her finished dress and bloomers

  Next just turn the bloomers right-side-out and try the whole outfit on.
  I would normally wash the clothes once they're all finished to help the fabric lay down a little better and be less stiff. and of course it's always nice to just have clean clothes, even for dolls.

All done!

You can add additional embellishments or leave it as is. This pattern is pretty basic so you could easily modify it if you wanted. I make a lot of these little dresses without the apron and it would be pretty easy to add sleeves. Just have fun with it!

So that's it. If you made it all the way through then thank you for reading and I hope this can be helpful or at least interesting to someone.

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