Doll Clothes Patterns: Sewing Look Alike Outfits

Doll clothes patterns and patterns for real girls have one big difference. Dolls are small and girls are big.

If you’re sewing matching outfits for your special girl and her doll, you want to make them look as much alike as possible. But, since girls are so much bigger than their dolls, you have to adjust the proportions. For example, if you plan to use a patterned fabric, the pattern on the doll’s dress should be much smaller in proportion than the pattern on the girl’s dress.

Girl-sized fabric:

Say you want to use a flowered print. If each of the flowers on the fabric you’ve selected for the girl are about the size of the girl’s hand, then you’ll want to find a matching fabric for the doll with flowers about the size of the doll’s hand.

Doll-sized fabric:

It’s easier than you might think. A good place to start is with cotton quilting fabrics. These fabrics are often designed as coordinated groups, with the patterns in different proportions so they’ll look great when used together. Other fabric lines produce coordinates, so the smaller-sized print can be used as trim on the finished garment. But instead of using it for trim, the smaller-sized print is the perfect fabric for your doll clothes patterns.

Girl-sized fabric:

Doll-sized fabric:

For a quick-and-easy solution, start with gingham checks or striped fabrics. Both patterns come in a wide range of colors. These classics have been around forever, so they’re easy to find in most fabric stores.

Girl-sized fabric:

Doll-sized fabric:

While you’re at
it, don’t forget to adjust the proportions of the trim and notions you use on both dresses. If the girl is 2 or 3 times taller than her doll, and the girl’s dress has a 1-1/2 inch wide ribbon belt, the dolls belt should be about one-half to one-third as big, or 3/4 to 1/2 inches wide. It’s not an exact science. Just ‘eyeball’ it, and do what makes sense visually.

The same rule applies to flower trim, ruffles, lace, etc… and especially buttons.

If you use solid colored fabrics, you won’t have this problem. But, you still may need to adjust the weight of the fabrics you use. Because the doll is so much smaller than the girl, select lighter weight or softer fabrics for the doll clothes patterns than you select for the girl’s patterns, so your doll’s dresses won’t look too stiff.

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15 Responses

  1. AJ Van Wallendael Says:

    Hello Peggy,

    This is just what I am looking for for my nieces. A million thanks!


  2. Sara Campbell Says:

    Hi! I just taught my 10 yr. old to sew this weekend, she is so excited. We plan to try your rag scarf. Would you put me on your mailing list? I’d love the hobo pattern if I may have it. :)

  3. admin Says:

    Hi Sara,
    The next blog post will include the instructions for downloading the HOBO BAG pattern. Check back next week. You’ll be able to join the list.

  4. Brenda Says:

    Thank you for sharing your fun ideas. I have five granddaughters to sew for. We love finding fun things to do with our dolls. We have miniature tea sets and have small books for our “library”.

  5. Cecilia Says:

    Thanks! Different size gingham–my next girl/doll clothes project.

  6. June Kelly Says:

    Hi I am looking for white fur or feather trim I can use on doll clothes. Do you know where I can get it? Thanks June Kelly

  7. admin Says:

    I saw some white feather trim recently. It looked like tiny fur. I think it was at Michael’s Crafts in the fabric department. I almost bought it myself.

  8. AJ Says:

    Hey Peggy,

    I love the tunic dress and polo shirt, it looks just like something in my closet! I cannot wait to get started!


  9. Mags Says:

    Hi Peggy,
    Last summer I rescued Felicity Merriman from the bottom of a junked toy box at a yard sale, half naked and scruffy but not damaged.
    I really want to make some outfits for her and also for my new baby Kaya due here next week, have you got patterns for those dolls please?

  10. admin Says:

    My patterns fit all of the 18-inch American Dolls. You’ll notice the doll wearing the casual outfit is Kaya, like your doll.

    My designs are contemporary styles, like today’s girls wear. I don’t have any historic patterns.

  11. diana Says:

    My 9 year old daughter received her first American girl this weekend! She’s so excited but wants look-alike clothes, which we’d like to make together. where can I find patterns like that? thanks a million!

  12. admin Says:

    Click on the link below to see a new book written about how to make look-alike outfits.

    If you can’t click on it, copy and paste it into your browser’s address bar.

  13. Alexandra Says:

    Thanks a million for this!!!

  14. Leslie Says:

    Love the Hobo Bag and the money is great. My granddaughters love me to make clothes for their dolls, so keep the ideas coming, please. Any actual patterns for matching clothes for girls and dolls? Need help with that!!

  15. admin Says:

    Patterns for matching clothes for girls and dolls are coming. I’m just not sure when.

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