Making a Doll Outfit from Fleecy Fabric

Use Inspiration to Make Doll Clothes with Kids.

Designing outfits for a doll is fun and can be an inexpensive activity with a child or grandchild. It’s likely that they have a doll already. You probably have many of the basic supplies for making the doll clothes. You just need various fabrics, a needle and thread and a pair of scissors.

This page is to get you thinking about what to make for the doll to wear. You won’t need a pattern, just your imagination and some time. Let’s get started making doll clothes.

Let the Material Spark Your Ideas

for making a doll outfit

These fleecy scraps were saved from an old raincoat lining. They were going to become cleaning rags until we decided to make a doll outfit from them.

Drape the doll in the fabric and consider what you can make. My first thought was a floor-length wooly coat and a matching hat. There wasn’t enough fleece to make the back of the coat though or sleeves.

Here we try some brass buttons that had been saved. The look is sort of a Dr. Zhivago or cossack style.

Another idea was to make old-west chaps for the doll. It was easy to find a photo on the internet showing what the chaps would look like. The one below is from our family photo album. We didn’t have a cowboy hat though to complete the look.

vintage postcard of jesse mcghee in cowboy outfit
My great-uncle Jesse was not a real cowboy even though this outfit looks pretty authentic.

The next idea was to make a fleece vest. This would require a minimum of sewing and the fleece wouldn’t require hemming. Keep in mind the skill level of the child making the doll clothing.

Play around with some ideas for finishing the project. Cut the pieces needed from the fabric after measuring them against the doll for size.

Turning Fleecy Fabric into a Doll Outfit

Photos by Virginia Allain

fleece for a vest for a doll
These 3 pieces of fleece are enough to make a vest for a doll. The larger piece is the back. The button will fasten it in the front.

The Finished Doll Outfit – Fleecy vest with a red evening skirt

The final outfit ended up being for evening wear. The skirt is simply a scarf folded in half over a rubber band.

  • Slip the rubber band on the doll at the waistline.
  • Drape the scarf over it.
  • Pull it around to form a complete skirt front-and-back.sabrina in red dress and fleece vest

A Sewing Machine for the Young Seamstress – to learn to sew doll clothes

You can hand-sew the pieces together, especially for a simple vest like the one here. It also makes a good project to learn how to use a sewing machine. Of course, a child needs close supervision working with sharp items like scissors, needles, and the needles of a sewing machine.

NEX Sewing Machine Children Present Portable Crafting Mending Machine with 12 Built-In StitchedNEX Sewing Machine Children Present Portable Crafting Mending Machine with 12 Built-In StitchedView Details


More Ideas and Patterns for Doll Clothes

G Is for Gail Martin – Toni Doll Dressmaker

My mother, Gail Lee Martin, applied her creative skills to make dresses for my sister’s Toni doll. This was many years ago when we faced a bleak Christmas. All the gifts that year were homemade. Homemade with love.

She used remnants left from sewing clothes for her six children and from making curtains for the drafty Kansas farmhouse we lived in.

toni doll in green dress
This is my sister’s Toni doll with a dress made by our mother. The hat came from Colonial Williamsburg years later. (photo by Karen Kolavalli)
If you’re old enough, you might remember the Toni doll made by Ideal in the 1950s. The one shown here is my sister’s Toni doll. She named her Belinda.
The Toni doll promoted Toni hair products and the doll had hair that could be styled. Some were ruined when their young owners gave the doll a haircut. Belinda never suffered that indignity and still has her original hair.

Over the years, she did lose part of her eyelashes from one eye and most of the pink in her cheeks was scrubbed away over the years. Somehow she broke the tip off of one finger. Perhaps we dropped her on the sidewalk in a moment of carelessness.

My mother made some old-fashioned dresses for Belinda that have sort of a literary flair. The green dress above makes me think of Jane Austen’s Regency fashions. There’s a blue plaid one that makes me think of Dr. Zhivago and another that reminds me of Scarlett O’Hara’s green dress in Gone with the Wind.

The red dress shown below gets displayed every December as Belinda dresses for the holidays.


Below is Belinda in the blue dress my mother made for her. I think it gives her a Lara from Dr. Zhivago look. Mom didn’t have any patterns to make the dresses, she just measured and cut and sewed to magically produce a doll dress. It was a secret, so she had to work at odd times on the clothes to have the wardrobe done by Christmas.
Toni doll in blue plaid dress
Toni doll (Belinda) in her blue plaid dress made by Mom.

That was the Christmas that we were all making presents for each other. Can you imagine helping six children make gifts for each other? Where did she find the time to fashion all these outfits for Belinda?

I liked this blue dress a lot, but she also had a Cinderella-style dress of off-white brocade trimmed with lace. That was made with the remnants from our living room curtains.

Belinda the Toni doll
Toni doll under the Christmas tree in her new dress made by Gail Lee Martin.

Here’s Toni in Her Dress Made by My Mother

Sorry, Sis, for showing you in your hair curlers. There’s the Toni doll under the Christmas tree. She’s wearing the ivory satin dress with lace overskirt that Mom made for her. It’s a beautiful outfit that Marie Antoinette would have been proud of.

Did you have a Toni doll? What doll was your favorite?

(This post was cross-posted from my mother’s memory blog: Discovering Mom)