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Sleeveless Dress Pattern with Tiered Skirt
to Fit American Girl Type 18 Inch Dolls


(intermediate sewing level)

Description: The link takes you to another Precious Day doll available at
18 inch Gotz Precious Day doll, Emily, with Floppy

Description: American Girl doll
18 inch American Girl doll, Gwen, with Floppy

Clothes Patterns for 18 Inch Dolls and Bitty Baby

Dolls & Costumes Website
Susan Kramer

Here are instructions for making sleeveless Christmas or festive dresses to fit 18inch (45cm) American Girl, other American historical dolls, Gotz Precious Day Girl Dolls, and dolls with similar body types. The model above on the left is my 18 inch Gotz Precious Day doll, Emily. And the model on the right is my American Girl doll, Gwen.

Important Note
: my Corolle doll (not shown) has fabric and vinyl arms  so this dress is not the best for her. Check to see if your doll's fabric body portions will be covered by the dress. As you can see my Gotz and American Girl dolls have vinyl arms so the dress covers all their fabric skin.


You’ll need one half yard (one half meter) of material for both under skirt and top skirt. Of course you can sew the dress with just the longer skirt and leave out the shorter top skirt.

For the front and back bodice, including lining, you'll need one quarter yard contrasting material.
Pattern pieces for sleeveless bodice:
The grid is 1 inch (2.5cm) squares. Pattern pieces include one quarter inch seam allowance. Try printing out the pattern pieces to see if they stay 1 inch square:

You'll need to cut a bodice of good fabric, and one for bodice facing.

You may use the pattern for yourself or gifts but not commercially.

Description: bodice back

Description: bodice front

Under Skirt Pattern
Cut fabric 32 inches (56cm) wide and 8 inches (20cm) long for skirt to just below knee or 9.5 inches (24cm) long to just above ankle length.

Top Short Skirt

Cut fabric 32 inches (56cm) wide and 5 inches (20cm) long.

General Sewing Instructions

Here are instructions for making dresses to fit 18-inch (45cm) American Girl Dolls and other American heritage dolls.

You’ll need one half yard (one half meter) of material for the dress.

For the front and back bodice you'll need one-fourth yard contrasting material. Also, to finish, you'll need one-fourth inch (6mm) satin or cross-grain ribbon for the waistline.
Pattern pieces include one-fourth inch seam allowance.

Bodice Sewing Instructions

With right sides of back and front bodice facing, sew together at shoulders and at underarm seams. Press open.

Repeat for bodice lining.

Place good side of bodice facing raw side and sew all edges except waist seam.

Final step is to sew front and back bodice together at side seams by butting seams and blind stitching together.

Examine this photo for help:

Description: dress detail for slim specialty doll; photo credit Susan Kramer


Skirt Construction

Gather waist of both under skirt and shorter top skirt and lay top section over bottom section, matching seams at waist. Turn lower edge of bodice under 1/4 inch and baste over gathered skirt sections. Hem lower edge of skirts. Stitch together back seam of skirt to within 2 inches of waist and leave open for ease in dressing doll.

Finishing Details

For one version of this dress I braided together 3 ribbons and stitched to dress waist over waist seam:

Description: waist trim detail

Below, I added satin ribbon trim to the lower end of each skirt section:

Description: satin ribbon trim

Close back with velcro dots.

Article and photo credits Susan Kramer





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Dolls sitemap with many patterns
page created October 28, 2010; updated November 7, 2014