The other night my daughter asked me to make a her a dress for her Barbie-type doll. It was actually a Cinderella doll. I made one very quickly; with her at my side, watching the process.
I took a piece of scrap fabric (measured for desired skirt length) & sewed along one side with a gathering stitch. After that, I sewed a straight hem at the bottom. I took an old baby sock & cut the bottom off. Then, I sewed it behind the ruffle to form a strapless top to the dress. After that, I sewed a grosgrain ribbon to the waist to cover where the top & the bottom met. I left enough ribbon loose to tie a bow in the back of the dress to close it (teaching tool for my daughter. She’s learning to tie a bow!) I sewed the back of the dress, but left a little bit open near the waist for ease of getting the dress on & off. I used a Barbie doll dress as my guide for how much.
Here’s what we ended up with:
Then, since that went through well, I felt inspired to sew something else. I put my daughter to bed & got to work on a dress for her.
You would start by measuring how long you want the skirt to fall from her waist. If your child is asleep, you can just grab one of their skirts & use that to get your length. To make the skirt poofy, I folded one piece of fabric in half. This made no need for a hem & changed the look a little. The fabric can be as wide as you want the skirt full. Sew a gathering stitch at the top of the skirt.
Next, get a tank top to give yourself an idea of what length you want the top of the dress to be. This is a pillowcase dress type top, so there is a lot of grace to not have it just right. The length is what’s more important. If you add a little length it will cause the shirt to be looser in the front. If it’s shorter, if will lay closer to the skin (flatter). Your choice! Just flip your fabric to the wrong side and make a little tube for the ribbon to go through. How wide you made it will depend on how wide your ribbon is. Made it a little bit wider than your ribbon. Your basically making something like a rod pocket for curtains. Once that is sewn, three your ribbon through it & you can ruching the fabric toward the middle to get the look in my picture. It will remain adjustable .
Next, you will sew the top to your skirt. You will adjust the gathered top of the skirt until the ruffle is evenly placed. Then, sew (wrong side up).
After that, close the seam at the back of the skirt. Use a dress of your daughter’s to see where to stop & leave room for a button, zipper or if it’s just a play dress, you might even leave it open. You could also do velcro, but don’t close it up too much because she won’t be able to get it off!
Lastly, sew a wide ribbon over your seam at the waist to hide your less-than-perfect-sewing. Or maybe yours is more perfect than mine, you might just like the look of the ribbon at the waist. I sewed a tight line toward the very edge of the top and the bottom (on the wrong side. I left plenty of ribbon to tie a big, fancy bow in the back. You might consider tying the bow first before cutting it to be sure you have the correct length.
Pretty easy stuff. The hardest part of these 2 dresses is matching you fabrics/ribbons well. sometimes I finish a dress & think, “This looks ridiculous!” My daughter usually likes it anyway; thankfully.
Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions.