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Altering My Patterns to Make Baby Doll Clothing Part I

I receive a lot of pleasure from doll pattern making. One nice surprise has been the e-mail friends that I have made over the years. One lovely lady that I am corresponding with has a personal doll ministry. She buys, dresses, and makes dolls all year to give to various charities serving children.

She has been frustrated lately while trying to come up with a pattern for a group of cherubic baby bath dolls that she wants to dress. When I agreed to try to adapt some of my patterns to fit the doll, she generously sent me a doll to work with. I have a much easier time altering patterns, if I have the doll in front of me. Of course the doll will be donated to a Christmas toy drive.

As soon as I started working with this doll, I realized a problem with the way dolls are sized. On Amazon this doll is described as an 8 inch doll. I measured her as a 9 inch doll.

The variation in height is not only problem with trying to select a pattern to alter to fit this doll. Compare the bath doll with my 7½ inch Florabunda.


The two dolls may be close to the same height, but the difference in width makes them very different sizes.

I decided to look at an easy pattern for an eighteen inch doll. The Summer Top pattern from my book Learn to Sew for Your Doll,  is an easy pattern and about the right length for a dress for my bath doll.

Compare the Summer Top  to the sundress pattern for Florabunda.


If the only factors to consider were height and width, I could choose between shrinking the width of the Summer Top or increasing the width of the smaller sundress. The arm opening of the large pattern is very different from the opening of the small one . If you compare the arm size of the bath doll to Florabunda’s arms, you can see that I need a larger arm opening for the bath doll. I decided to use the Summer Top pattern.

To determine how much to decrease the width, I measured the bath doll across the shoulders and measured 3.5 inches.


I decided to make my pattern about 6.5 inches wide. It will be gathered at the top to fit the doll’s 3.5 inch shoulders. Because my pattern is cut on the fold, I divided 6.5 in half to alter the pattern. AltPat2

For this simple dress the back will be cut from the same pattern. The entire front or back pattern looks like this:


Follow the directions for the sundress or summer top to use the new pattern.


In my next blog, I will discuss making a diaper cover using the shorts pattern from Learn to Sew for Your Doll.


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