Make a No-Sew Doll’s Sundress

Easy Craft – Making Doll Clothes without Sewing

I bet you have all the supplies on hand to make this easy doll’s sundress. No need to get out the sewing machine or even the needle and thread.

If you have scissors, glue, an old short-sleeved shirt, and some double-stick tape, then you are ready to start making a doll dress. Some rickrack or trim adds a nice touch or some paint but those are optional.

SUN DRESS CLIP

This outfit is perfect for your doll to wear around the patio this summer or use for a cover-up for her swimsuit at the beach.

Steps for Making a No-Sew Sundress – for a Doll

For this project, you are repurposing the sleeve from a short-sleeved shirt.

  1. Find a shirt that you don’t mind cutting up. This one was stained, so it was headed for the rag-bag. This is a cotton-poly blend that shouldn’t fray much. That’s good as we don’t plan to do any hemming.
  2. Cut the sleeve off a short-sleeved shirt. Do this by cutting outside the seam where it was attached to the body of the shirt. Trim closely to the seam. Cut along the seam under the arm to end up with a flat piece like this.

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  3. Position the doll in the sleeve with the longer part in front. Wrap the material around the back of the doll. You want some overlap (1/2 inch or 1 inch). Cut off the excess. Since this is a sundress, it is backless.
  4. Add any trim and decoration that you want for the dress. Here I thought about making it with a sailor theme to use an odd piece I’d been saving. It would have looked good with blue rickrack trim.IMG_7671_edited-1
  5. Using a good craft or fabric glue, secure the decorations in place on the doll’s sundress. Most glues dry clear, so don’t worry about excess glue.
  6. I used a strip of velcro to hold the back of the doll’s sundress in place. The velcro had the sticky back so I just applied it firmly to the fabric.

    PROBLEM: the velcro is bulky so doesn’t look the way I wanted. I’m going to replace it with some double-sided carpet tape that I have. It is heavy enough to stick firmly and can be unstuck to change the doll’s dress. The carpet tape is much thinner and will not look lumpy. You could sew some small snaps to hold the back together.

  7. Cut some rickrack to use at the top of the dress. It needs to be long enough to easily tie behind the doll’s neck. Glue the tie to the dress. Make sure the glue is quite dry before the dress is worn.IMG_7683

Add a Special Touch to the Doll Dress

with a Painted Design

I chose to add a sun graphic to the sundress for the doll. First I practiced on a scrap of fabric to see what my design might look like. You can search online for ideas for your design. I just used my imagination.

The paints I used are leftover paint-by-number oil paints. You can often find these cheaply at yard sales. Special paints just for fabric are available too. Put a sheet of newspaper under the fabric before you paint. Sometimes the paint soaks through and could stain your work table or counter.

Lots of Choices for Fabric Paints

Use these to make summer designs on the doll’s dress. You can paint flowers or starfish or rainbows. Use your imagination.

Fabric Paint 3D Permanent 24 Colors Set Marker Pens Style vibrant color textile paints dye for Fabric and other usesFabric Paint 3D Permanent 24 Colors Set Marker Pens Style vibrant color textile paints dye for Fabric and other usesView DetailsBest Fabric Markers (PACK OF 24 PENS) Non-Toxic - Machine Washable Paint - Perfect for Writing on Clothes, Clothing, Jeans, Pants, and ShirtsBest Fabric Markers (PACK OF 24 PENS) Non-Toxic – Machine Washable Paint – Perfect for Writing on Clothes, Clothing, Jeans, Pants, and ShirtsView DetailsAdd dimension to your paint - Tulip 35148 Party Dimensional Fabric Paint (20 Pack)Add dimension to your paint – Tulip 35148 Party Dimensional Fabric Paint (20 Pack)View Details

Here’s How I Made the Doll Sandals

The doll wears flip-flops with her sundress.

Find a scrap of packing foam. Cut it to fit the shape of the doll’s foot. I painted it with the oil paint to match the decoration on the doll’s sundress. You could also glue the matching rickrack around the base of the sandal and across the strap. These don’t stay on very well, so not very practical for an active doll. The straps can be glued to the base or attached with straight pins (if only for display or for an older child who won’t be sticking themselves).

Toni doll in sundress

Would You Like a Doll Like Mine? – She’s a Toni doll from the 1950s

These can be pretty pricey on eBay but keep checking and you can find one at a good price. I was really lucky and found mine for just $30. Usually, they go for more than that.

Best of luck with your bidding. Toni dolls come in several sizes and with blonde, brunette and other colors of hair.

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