Basic Dress Pattern for American Girl Dolls

basic dress patternAmerican Girl doll clothes can be tricky. Buying clothes from their official website can be fun, but pricey! Man, they can really get you with all those adorable little accessories. Everything is so small and cute…and expensive! The off-brand ones you can buy at the store don’t always fit right, and can still cost you a pretty penny.

Now that I have a little girl who is interested in all things American Girl, I have given her a doll I triumphantly discovered at a garage sale for 25 Cents, as well as the doll my parents purchased for me as a child. I have a new appreciation for all the little dresses my mom spent hours sewing. She had said no way was she buying all of Felicity’s outfits for 20+ dollars a piece. Instead, we got a pattern for historical doll clothing at Joann’s and I picked out the fabric that best matched  each of Felicity’s gowns. I am still pretty impressed to this day, at my selection in fabric!

Now, for the first time, I am pulling out the very pattern my mom used years ago, to create some dresses for my daughter. I tend to be lazy and slightly rusty when it comes to sewing, so I’ve sought to recreate a pattern that is basic and versatile.
This pattern will take some basic sewing skill, but let me remind you, I am pretty basic when it comes to sewing! If I can do this, so can you!



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Here’s my lazy way of finishing off the back of a dress: I left it open all the way down, instead of messing with zippers or Velcro (which could still be added or used with this pattern) I simply added ties to pull it closed with a bow. My ties were strips of fabric I had sewn together, but ribbon works just as well as seen below.
1/4″ Seam Allowance
Hem the bottom of the skirt, then baste the top to gather it together
(pictured below)
For the top: cut 2. Position pieces with right sides facing together. Sew all the way around, leaving the bottom open so you can turn it right side out. After turning it right side out, sew under arm areas together, then flip so the seem is now on the inside. This is probably the easiest part. Once the top is done, gather the bottom so it matches up in width from one side of the top to the other (one side of the back opening to the other). Line bottom up with the top so right sides are facing in and each side of the bottom lines up with the top to create an opening all the way down the back of the dress. Sew together top and bottom, with right sides facing together, and bottom flipped up over the top, so that after you sew it together, you open it up and the seems will be hidden! Since this is a very basic pattern, I am trying to provide basic instructions, but you may want to check You Tube for beginner sewing lessons if this concept does not make sense.

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    • says

      Thanks so much. This means more than you can know. I have lots of Barbie patterns, but found out last minute granddaughter is getting the American Girl Doll. Limited budget, already had barbie matching outfit cut out. There is no way I can buy outfits on SS.

  1. says

    You’re bringing back sweet memories of when I sewed doll clothes for my own little girl way back when. The basic dress also reminds me of a dress I sewed for myself in home ec class back in the 60’s. Thanks for sharing this great tutorial. I am now selling American Girl doll clothes in my etsy shop and a good basic dress pattern is always appreciated.

    This is the link to my shop if you’d like to take a look at my “Basic Dress”:

  2. sande cross says

    thank you so much for sharing this pattern; i am a “seasoned” (old) seamstress with hundreds of patterns collected for all kinds of dolls, but i really enjoyed this one, with no shoulder seams! made turning the bodice right side out so easy!! i’m making the pattern as part of a sew-along on the SGOT American Girl Yahoo group, and it turned out beautifully!! thank you and God bless you!! sande

  3. says

    I just had a question with the pattern. The pattern for the bottom skirt page 1 has a place where it says center fold. Then to cut 1 on the fold. What does all that mean? Thanks! Jessica

    • says

      Hey Jessica! That simply means, because you want the skirt nice and full, you fold your material in half and line the side of the pattern that says “center fold” up with the edge of the folded fabric. You cut out 3 sides so you can open it up and the skirt will actually be twice as wide as the page. Does that make sense? Another way to do it would be to print two of those pages out and tape them together so it is twice as long. Now there is no need to fold fabric or cut on the fold, you have one long piece you will be cutting out. Hope this helps!!

  4. says

    I so enjoy making doll clothes for my granddaughters AG dolls (18″ and Bitty Baby). I buy baby and girls clothes at local thrife stores and cut them to make the doll’s clothes! I use the trim, logos and accents. I have a sweater that I needed advice on cutting down for a doll outfit. Thanks for the directions of Sweater Outfit you gave.

  5. says

    Thank you so much for posting this. My daughter has been begging to get clothes for her AG doll, but they are not in my budget. I really appreciate you generously posting these patterns. I will be making this dress today!

  6. Anonymous says

    I made this dress with my daughter today. It was her first sewing project and definitely will not be her last! It only took us about 2 hours with a few breaks here and there. Thank you for making such a fun and simple dress! We will be making the PJ’s tomorrow.

  7. says

    I am so grateful for this post! I was going to go measure the doll and make my own, but this saves so much time and the need to do math hahahah. My only question is – do your patterns include seam allowance? If so, is it 1/4″ or 1/2?

    • says

      I’m so glad you found us and that this was helpful! Hey, we’re all about saving time and less math lol! Yes, the pattern does already include seam allowance, just cut out the exact size of the pattern and I believe I used a 1/4″ Hope that helps!

    • Anonymous says

      Sarah, are you sure about the 1/4″ seam allowance? Any variation would make a big difference in fit, and I have no doll here to try it out on. Thanks!

  8. says

    This is really a sweet and versatile pattern! Thank you so very much for sharing it for free. I am making AG clothes for our pastor’s granddaughters for Christmas. This will be perfect, as well as a few others on your blog. Many blessings to you for sharing! xx

  9. Anonymous says

    My mom and I are looking for patterns for her to make for my daughter’s doll. Thank you so much for posting these. I wish I could make them with her. We had another idea for fabric: Find a top or outfit on clearance–buy 2 if possible. Then you can use the second one for a matching doll outfit. Thrift store is a great idea. We cannot usually find duplicates, there though. Thanks again for al the free downloads.

  10. Anonymous says

    Hello! Thanks so much 4 the pattern. You mentioned in one of your comments u have some tutorial videos on you tube. Can u please post the adress here, i just couldnt find it. Im a begginer sewing and it woul be really heplfull. Thanks again!

  11. Anonymous says

    Hello. I love your dress pattern but I have a 27inch doll. Do you have any patterns for a larger doll? I would appreciate your help. Joyce

  12. anonymous says

    Hi, I’m trying to make this dress but I don’t know what fabrics to use. Does it matter or does it have to be a specific kind?

  13. Barbara Matthews says

    The dress is pretty and I would love to make it, but I have only one question; how much yardage do you need to make this dress?


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