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Christmas or Festive Short Sleeve Dress Pattern
to Fit American Girl Type 18 Inch Dolls


The link takes you to another Precious Day doll available at Amazon.com
18 inch Gotz Precious Day doll, Emily

American Girl doll
18 inch American Girl doll, Gwen

Clothes Patterns for 18 Inch Dolls and Bitty Baby

Dolls & Costumes Website
Susan Kramer

Here are instructions for making short sleeve Christmas or festive 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 on the left is my 18 inch Gotz Precious Day doll, Emily. And the model on the right is my American Girl doll, Gwen.

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, and as much pre gathered lace, and embroidered ribbon.
Pattern pieces for short 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.

Try printing out the pattern pieces to see if they stay 1 inch square:

dress pattern for 18 inch dolls

dress pattern for 18 inch dolls

Skirt Pattern
Cut fabric 32 inches (80cm) wide and 8 inches (20cm) long for skirt to just below knee or 9.5 inches (24cm) long to just above ankle length. You'll need 32 inches of pre gathered lace to sew on at hemline.

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, and one-fourth yard (one-fourth meter) white or contrasting material for skirt front pleat.

For the front and back bodice you'll need one-fourth yard contrasting material. Also, to finish, you'll need 10 inches (25cm) of half inch (1.25cm) gathered lace for the neckline, and 1 yard of one-fourth inch (6mm) satin or cross-grain ribbon for the waistline and front tie.
Pattern pieces include one-fourth inch seam allowance.

Cut a 10” (25cm) long by 1” (2.5cm) wide strip on the bias of dress material to finish neckline.

Bodice Sewing Instructions

neckline construction

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

Baste right side of lace to right side of neck opening.

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. Follow photo to sew ribbon on finished neck edge.

To finish back seam of bodice, turn in twice on each center edge and hand or machine stitch to make a ¼” hem. Overlap waist edge ¼” and tack together.


sleeve and bodice of Christmas, festive dress

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

Gather along lower finished edge of sleeve, (I use quilting thread for strength) just loose enough to slide over doll’s hand and lower arm; about 5 inches (12.5cm).

Along armpit edge gather sleeve with basting stitch just inside the one-quarter inch line to fit armhole and with right side of sleeve facing right side of front and back bodice (which are just joined at shoulders and now lay out flat) stitch together with one-fourth inch seam. Clip curve. Repeat for other sleeve.

With right sides of sleeves and bodice facing, sew together sides of bodice and underside of sleeves at the same time. Repeat on other side.

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).

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.


Article and photo credits Susan Kramer





Ebook and Paperback Patterns:


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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Medium Doll Clothes with Full Size Patterns
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Dolls sitemap with many patterns
page created August 12, 2009; updated September 25, 2020