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Summer Cap Sleeve, Short Sleeve Dress Pattern
to Fit American Girl Type 18 Inch Dolls



finished view ofcap sleeve dress for 18 inch dolls

18 Inch Corolle doll, Helene, with Floppy

Here’s this pattern made into a lovely outfit by one of our readers: Thank you!

A picture containing green, skirt, fabric

Description automatically generated


Clothes Patterns for 18 Inch Dolls and Bitty Baby

Here are instructions for making short sleeve or cap sleeve dresses to fit 18inch (45cm) American Girl, other American historical dolls, Corolle dolls, Gotz Precious Day Girl Dolls, and dolls with similar body types. The model above is my 18 inch Corolle doll, Helene.

Sewing Directions to Make Short or Cap Sleeve Dresses to Fit American Girl and Similar Dolls

This is a very easy to make dress pattern with just 3 pieces - bodice front, bodice back and skirt. The sleeves are part of the bodice. If making short sleeves use the pattern as drawn. If you wish to make the shorter cap sleeve dress cut the sleeve length by one half inch before hemming.

detail of cap sleeve dress

You’ll need one quarter yard (one quarter meter) of material for the skirt.

For the front and back bodice, you'll need one quarter yard contrasting material.

Also, for neckline facing, you'll need a 10 inch (25cm) long by one inch (2.5cm) wide bias strip.
Pattern pieces for cap sleeve bodice:
The grid is 1 inch (2.5cm) squares. Pattern pieces include one quarter inch seam allowance. You may use the pattern for yourself or gifts but not commercially.


To make your 1-inch square (2.5cm) grid graph paper

First, take an 8.5x11 inch piece of plain paper and draw 1 inch squares - I do this by drawing horizontal lines 1 inch apart down the page, and then vertical lines 1 inch apart across the page.

Next, looking at the .jpg image you want to enlarge, copy what is in each of my squares into your larger squares.

Pattern for cap sleeve bodice

For the skirt, cut fabric 32 inches (78.5cm) wide and 8 inches (20cm) long for skirt to just below knee or 9.5 inches (24cm) long to just above ankle length.

Construction directions

Bodice with Sleeves

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

Using the bias strip sew one long edge to right side of neckline. Clip curves. Fold bias strip to inside of neckline, turning in once and blind stitch to wrong side of neckline.

To finish back seam of bodice, turn in one quarter inch twice on each center edge and hand or machine stitch.

Stitch front to back underarm seam on each side.

Roll in lower edge of sleeves and hem by hand or machine. (I sew sleeve and skirt hems by hand.)

Skirt construction

How to sew bodice to skirt

Sew back seam leaving 2 inches (5cm) open at top of seam to match back seam of bodice. Roll in raw edges and blind stitch hem. (This is for ease of dressing doll.)

Gather the waist seam to match the bodice lower edge and sew skirt to bodice. I make this a half inch seam for both skirt and bodice, because of gathered top edge of skirt at waist, and so bodice and skirt do not pull apart with use.

When dress is completed sew a sticky dot just above waistline and at neckline to overlap bodice back one quarter inch.

Turn right side out. On outside topstitch just above waistline on bodice all the way around.

Just below knee finished skirt length is 7.25 inches (18cm) and finished length ending just above ankle is 9.5 inches (24cm).


A decorative edging stitch looks nice at lower edge of sleeves.


Article and photo credits Susan Kramer


More …

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- Short Sleeve Dress with Circle Skirt

- Cap Sleeve Dress with Circle Skirt

- Cap Sleeve Dress with Gathered Skirt

- Sleeveless Dress with Circle Skirt

- Clothes Patterns for 18 Inch Dolls and Bitty Baby

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Dolls sitemap with many patterns
page created August 12, 2009; updated August 29, 2015; April 12, 2021;April 6, 2022