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Pleated Skirt & Bodysuit
to Fit American Girl 18 Inch Dolls,
Gotz Precious Day, and Similar Full Body Dolls



18 inch American Girl doll in pleated skirt and blouse
18 inch American Girl doll in pleated skirt

18 inch American Girl doll in blouse / bodysuit
18 inch American Girl doll in blouse /bodysuit



Clothes Patterns for 18 Inch Dolls and Bitty Baby



Dolls & Costumes Website
Susan Helene Kramer


Here are instructions for making a pleated skirt to fit 18inch (45cm) American Girl, Gotz Precious Day, and other 18 inch full body dolls with similar body types.

The bodysuit can be used as a blouse. I like using a bodysuit with skirts as you don't have to worry about the blouse lower edge coming out of the top of the skirt, especially with active play. It is always a neat appearance. The bodysuit pattern is on another page: click here.

The skirt and blouse /bodysuit look nice in contrasting fabrics. I trimmed this bodysuit with lace around the neck and front placket edge. Both blouse / bodysuit and skirt are washable cotton fabrics.

Supplies needed:

Pleated Skirt:
- One quarter yard (one quarter meter) of material.
- One sticky dot for back skirt closure
- Thread to match. I use a single strand of quilting thread and sew doll clothes by hand.
Blouse / bodysuit:
- One quarter yard (one quarter meter) of material for the blouse/bodysuit.
- Two sticky dots for front shirt and back shirt closing,
(no buttons for kids doll clothes, please).
- Thread to match. I use a single strand of quilting thread and sew doll clothes by hand.
- Lace for neckline or other trim as desired.

Pleated Skirt Construction:

Front of pleated skirt showing box pleats showing box pleats and placement of straps:

front of pleated skirt

Back of pleated skirt with placement of shoulder straps and showing placket opening:

back of pleated skirt

The skirt does not have pattern pieces, rather the pieces are cut to these dimensions from your pressed fabric:

Skirt: The finished body of the pleated skirt is 5.5 inches (13.75cm) long. Add a half inch top hem under waistband and half an inch to turn up a quarter inch lower edge hem twice.  So, cut the skirt 6.5 inches (16.25cm) long and 22 inches (55cm) wide to make the sharp box pleats as shown in the photos.

Waistband for 14 inch (35cm) long finished waist, one half inch (1.75cm) wide:
Cut a 2 inch wide strip 16 inches long, fold in half lengthwise and press, then fold in sides to middle on wrong side and press. Fold in ends one quarter inch and press. Now using the skirt material divide up and form the pleats, then neatly press. I made 5 box pleats on this skirt with one in center front. It will take some fenagling to get them divided evenly. Baste the waist seam to hold them in place. Then sew on the waistband. Then sew back seam but leave the top 2 inches (5cm) open for ease of dressing. Roll and blind stitch those seams. Lower hem - fold up twice one quarter inch and blind stitch in place. Sew sticky dot to hold waistband closed.

Shoulder straps can be used or not; I like them as they add more interest to the skirt. The finished length of each shoulder strap is 8.5 inches (21.25cm).  The finished width of each strap is 1 inch (2.5cm).  Cut 2 strips of fabric 2.5 inches wide (7cm) wide, and 11 inches (27.5cm) long to allow for hemming each end and overlapping under waistband slightly. Turn in the long raw edges one quarter inch each and stitch edges closed. Align your straps, pin in place when the skirt is complete and on the doll to make placement adjustments, or sew the straps on with an inch (2.5cm) space front and back so the finished length is 8.5 inches (21.25cm).

Blouse / Bodysuit Pattern and Sewing Directions are here.

Article, pattern dimensions and photo credits copyright 2010-2014 Susan Kramer






How to Sew Cloth Dolls and Costumes plus Traceable Patterns
Book by Susan Kramer
How to Sew Cloth Dolls and Costumes by Susan Kramer

Medium Doll Clothes
with Full Size Patterns

Ebook by Susan Kramer
Medium Doll Clothes with Full Size Patterns - ebook by Susan Kramer

Baby Christening Gown
E-pattern by Susan Kramer

E-pattern of Christening Gown


Royal Smocked Dress Pattern for 18 Inch Dolls

18 page Ebook of full size pattern pieces and instructions

inspired by dresses of Princess Charlotte of the UK


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Dolls sitemap with many patterns
page created December 22, 2009; updated November 21, 2014; April 12, 2021