Designing for Dolls Part 1: Customizing Doll Clothes/Five Ways

There are endless ways you can take something plain and make it your own. Whether you want to dress up a purchased item, or sewing one yourself, some are as simple as adding a bow to a bodice; others can be more complex, depending on your needs and your mood.

Here are Five Ways:

  • Glue Dye Resist
    Among the many ways you can customize your own fabric, this is one that you might even try with your kids. Apply glue to your fabric, let dry, dye. This pretty design found at Sew Like My Mom
american girl doll faux batik fabric glue resist technique

Glue on fabric before dyingamerican girl doll skirt fabric glue resist technique

Fabric after dying

  • Machine Embroidery
    Some of us have fancy embroidery machines; others of us, like me, don’t. But most modern sewing machines do offer embroidery stitches, as mine does. You can use some of the decorative stitches to outline a plain neckline, or hem, like this dress by  Sewsnbows.

american girl doll dress machine embroidery

  • Lace Overlay or Tier
    Before attaching the skirt to a bodice, add a layer of lace to the skirt – either the same length or shorter to create a tier, like this dressby Beary Basics found at  Zulily.

american girl doll dress

  • Add a Bow
    Simple yet effective. Add a pretty bow in the same or contrasting fabric to the bodice of a dress. This lovely doll dress found on  Pinterest 

american girl doll dress

  • Paint with Crayons
    Another fun project that could include the kids. Similar to the glue resist method, this technique involves using melted crayons applied to fabric. You can paint a design or, as done here, make polka dots using the eraser of a pencil. More info on this clever technique at Willowday.

using crayon to dye fabric dying fabric

How have you customized your own doll clothing?


6 thoughts on “Designing for Dolls Part 1: Customizing Doll Clothes/Five Ways

  1. Thank you for your kind words about my striped dress with the front bodice bow. It was created in the early days of my business when I knew much less about “branding!” The dress is a (heavily) modified version of a Liberty Jane pattern and was sold through my Etsy shop ( Those who are interested in purchasing patterns from Liberty Jane or Forever 18 Inches can find them by visiting

    Kind regards,


  2. Pingback: Designing for Dolls: Customizing Doll Clothes Part 2/Three Ways | Doll Things – for Girls & Dolls

  3. Pingback: Designing for Dolls: How to Make a Bow-Sleeve Tee & Free Pattern | Doll Things – for Girls & Dolls

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