I am excited to share with you today about some fun pattern hacks that I’ve made to the Girl’s 90s dress by Ellie on Mac (#aff links). I changed the patterns to make a girl’s nightgown and a matching stuffy nightgown set with speed in mind (for a quick, last minute gift idea). At the time that this post was published, the doll pattern is not yet available but will be coming soon. I will go back and add a link to this post to share when the doll 90’s dress version is released.
Not only is this gift set quick to make but it is also cheaper than buying a girl/doll clothing sets at the store. The matching sets that I have seen have been quite expensive. Typically when I sew it is not to save money. I enjoy sewing for the creative process, to customize sizing, and also to enjoy fun fabrics. I was so excited with this project to find that it is quite cheaper (and more fun) to make yourself!
Fabric Requirements (for the dress versions):
I technically made two nightgowns and two stuffy nightgowns for this project but the changes were the same for both of the two sets. I omitted the following pattern pieces (shown below with a line striked through):
- Front Bodice Outer
Front Bodice Inner
- Back Bodice Outer
Back Bodice Inner
- Front Skirt
- Back Skirt
- Sleeves – Long
The skirt front and back pieces do not have a shorten/lengthen line marked (as adult patterns tend to include). I drew a horizontal line on the front skirt and back skirt pattern pieces. I added 5″ of paper in between the skirt pieces to lengthen the dress by 5″ (and transform the dress into a nightgown).
I did a rolled hem edge at the following locations (for a faster make):
- Sleeve cuffs
- Bottom skirt edge
I serged the inside seams for a clean finish.
I like to add size tags to kids clothes (for future reference). In this case I added the size tag to the side seam so the tag wouldn’t bother the child’s neck. The size tag shown in the photo was given to me by Dutch Label Shop. You can read my review of their labels in this post for reference.
One exciting option with doll clothes sewing is that you can make them with such small amounts of fabric from your stash/scraps. For this project I only needed a scrap of fabric 21″ x 6″. I used a standard sewing machine for this project (not a serger). I found with wee details in the pattern pieces, it was easier for me to use a stretch stitch on a standard sewing machine.
The 90’s dress doll pattern is sized for an 18″ doll (commonly used with an American Girl doll). I knew that in this case I would be sewing for a smaller stuffy but wanted to first sew the doll dress as is, at the 100% printing scale.
As you can note from the above photo, some modifications were needed to fit the nightgown to the stuffy. I decided to resize the pattern at a smaller scale. I initially referenced this blog post for doll pattern resizing tips:
I measured the horizontal distance across the neckline for the 18″ doll dress dress and compared this same dimension on the smaller bunny stuffy (comparing the bunny’s neckline). I decided to print the dress at a 44% scale.
As you can see from the following photos, some changes needed to be made to the pattern with this version but this scale is much closer to match the bunny sizing.
The bunny’s arms are inverted (the hands are larger then the bicep areas) so I made a mod to the sleeve, to widen the width of the sleeve to 1″ (referencing the doll pattern printed at a 44% scale).
I needed to lengthen the skirt for the stuffy (as I did for the child’s pattern). I added 2″ to the skirt length. I also widened the A-line detail to make sure the nightgown had some ease in the skirt (and wasn’t too tight as shown in the previous fit photo).
To help speed up the sewing process, I didn’t use sewing pins when cutting out the fabric for the stuffy pattern pieces. I held the pattern piece up to the fabric and quickly cut out the pattern piece with fabric shears (as shown in the photo below).
There is a velcro detail included in the back bodice pattern piece (in the doll pattern). As I was using a stretchy rib knit fabric for this project, I folded over this portion of the pattern to omit this section and take out the seam allowance.
There is also a pattern bundle set that includes the Ladies 90’s dress pattern with the Girls version (for more fun pattern matching options).
Let me know if you get a chance to try this pattern set or have other favorite tips to speed up last minute gifts to sew.