Toni’s Sari – Part II

In the earlier post, I showed examples of saris and created the base part for her outfit. Today, we’ll complete her Indian outfit. The whole costume is no-sew.

Which scarf will she choose?

Silk or Nylon Scarf?

Sari fabric comes in many colors and patterns. Silk is the best for this doll’s outfit as it drapes beautifully. Nylon scarves just don’t wrap in the same way.

Actually, long silk scarves can be quite expensive. If you don’t have one on hand, use rayon or nylon. They don’t drape quite as well as silk but are certainly more affordable for making the doll saree.

You can find them sometimes at Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Look around at yard sales too for the right kind of scarf.

Since I had many scarves to accessorize my suits when I was a librarian, I found plenty in my own closet. Since the scarf is not cut or damaged in making the doll’s sari outfit, you can use one for the doll and later return it to the closet for wearing.

Videos Showing How to Wear a Sari

Step-by-step explanation on how to drape a sari

Wrapping the Sari on the Toni Doll

I’m using a silky scarf for the sari. Look for one with a smaller print or gold threads running through it.

  1. Start in the front and tuck the sari into the waist of the petticoat. Continue around the back of the doll. The bottom of the sari should touch the floor.
  2. When you get to the front again, fold the material in accordian pleats. The top of the pleats is tucked into the waistband. If it doesn’t want to stay in place, you can resort to safety pins. In several of the videos, the ladies pin their saris.
  3. Take the loose end of the scarf and drape it from the hip up across the chest and over the shoulder. It should hang down about to the knees in back.
Toni wearing her sari.

Toni Wears a Sari

Creating a Sari for an Vintage Toni Doll

I want to make an Indian sari for my 1950s Toni doll. Just like a little kid, I want instant gratification. I want a sari for her now. There is no pattern for me to cut out and I will use supplies that I already have on hand.

No trips to the store. No sewing. I’ll look for ways to make this international costume for her. My first task was to find Youtube instructions for how a sari is worn. This makes it easier for visual learners.

I found some lovely dolls dressed in saris and they can serve as inspiration as I make a similar sari for my own doll.

 CARPATINA Indian Sari, Shoes and Jewel Outfit Only Fits 18CARPATINA Indian Sari, Shoes and Jewel Outfit Only Fits 18 Barbie in India New Visits Ajanta CavesBarbie in India New Visits Ajanta Caves Around the World 15Around the World 15 Indian Barbie (Design and Color May Vary)Indian Barbie (Design and Color May Vary) Barbie Kelly In India (Color and design May Vary)Barbie Kelly In India (Color and design May Vary) Barbie Princess of India Dolls of the WorldBarbie Princess of India Dolls of the World Madame Alexander 8Madame Alexander 8

Look further for photos of saris to get ideas. Pinterest works great for this. They are all so beautiful that it made me even more eager to create such an elegant outfit for Toni. There were even some instructional graphics on how to wrap the fabric.

Pinterest sari doll
I found lots of pictures of saris on Pinterest.

Making the Top to Wear under the Sari

Notice in many of the photos of saris that they have a short-sleeved, midriff-baring top. My goal was to make one without having to sew.

For free fabric, I started with a discarded shoulder pad that I’d removed from a dress. Normally, I would have just tossed it out, but had the inspiration to convert it to a top for the doll’s Indian costume. My Toni is the smallest size, so this might not work for a larger one.

  1. I started with some material (previously a shoulder pad from a dress). Measuring it on the Toni doll, it was long enough to serve as the top. This would probably not be large enough for an American Girl doll.
  2. I cut a slit up all the way up the middle and across the bottom to make an upside down “T” opening. Then I removed the padding from inside the shoulder pad.
  3. Cut a short slit to make armholes for the doll. Tuck the rounded bottom up underneath to form a straight line. You can glue that if you want.
  4. The top fits snugly, similar to the tops seen in photos of a sari. This one doesn’t fasten in the back, as it will be covered by the sari. You could sew a snap on it if you wanted to close the back.

Make the Petticoat for the Doll Outfit

Making the Underskirt for the Sari

  1. The petticoat should go from the waist to the ankles. It should fit tightly enough at the waist that you can tuck the sari into it.
  2. Here’s what I’m using for the doll’s petticoat, a lightweight sock with a fairly tight-knit. 
  3. Try the sock on the doll to mark or pin the length you want. Make it a little longer than you think you’ll need as you can turn it under at the waist. Cut off the excess at the bottom.
toni sock sari
Turning a sock into the petticoat for a sari.

To be continued in a 2nd post

Toni – Disco Girl

You may think of Toni as more of a “little girl” but she likes to splash out now and then in a more grown-up outfit. Her costume for today takes us back to “Saturday Night Fever” with a glittering disco ball throwing light patterns on the dance floor.

To create her dance attire, I started with a stretchy headband. One part was wrapped around her middle to make the skirt and the other part looped around her neck and midriff.

Here’s the back view. It didn’t have enough solid material to sew a snap on the back. A hook-and-eye might have worked if I’d had one. Not wanting to sew her into the outfit, I just secured the back with a bobby pin.

The stretchy fabric gives a little peek-a-boo effect and I bet she was the queen of the disco with this skimpy dance dress. I even made matching boots for her to wear with it.