Oct 012012
Two piece Tankini and Lacy Camisole with matching Undies

Tankini or Underwear, this easy pattern will make both. Like most dolly mommies I hate having naked dolly bodies everywhere I look. Now they can all be modestly covered while they await their fashions.

When I designed this pattern I had a few special requirements. First it had to be made from woven fabric, not knit fabric. I’m not especially handy at sewing knit fabrics and I wanted a pattern I could make time and time again, to me that meant it had to be made from simple woven fabric. Next it had to be easy for girls to put on and take off of the dolls all by themselves. Some underwear is fiddly for young girls to put on their dolls by themselves. I wanted this pattern to make child-friendly underwear because mastering the skill of dressing and undressing a doll is good for a child’s self-esteem and also good for a busy mom’s harried schedule. Thirdly, I wanted as few number of seams as possible, to make the sewing quick and beginner-friendly. Finally, the underwear had to be modest, but attractive and look like something that girls wear themselves. It took a bit of work, but I was pleased with my results.

The pattern I came up with fits Springfield Collection dolls perfectly. If you’re dressing an American Girl doll you may need to adapt the pattern slightly for their larger waists. The underwear only has two side seams. The leg openings can be finished with a narrow hem or the raw edges can be zig-zagged and then covered with lace or rick-rack. The elasticized wasitband can be finished with a simple casing or the elastic can be stretched and sewn into place. I tried my hand at illustrating the steps of applying the elastic and y’all will have to tell me what you think of it. Do the illustrations make it easier to understand the 2 techniques or harder?

The camisole is one I designed years ago for smaller dolls and have sized it up and down many times for different types of dolls. This is the first time I’ve made it for 18-inch dolls and I was very pleased with the results. The camisole uses short lengths of lace or rick-rack for the shoulder straps. The top and bottom edges are zig-zagged and then covered with pretty trim. It closes in the back with Velcro or snaps.

After making the pattern a couple of times I realized that in different fabric it would make a great swimsuit, so I gave it and try and the results were excellent! Just a change in fabric and trim makes the underwear into Beach Wear!

Free Underwear & Tankini Swimsuit Pattern

PDF file
Closeup of Undies
Front of undies
Back of undies
Front of swimsuit bottom in underwear fabric and in swimsuit fabric.
The swimsuit pattern also makes good underwear, and the elastic might
be easier for beginners. The legs can be decorated or simply hemmed.
Back of plain underwear and swimsuit bottom

For fabrics, I found that lightweight cotton worked best for the underwear. I used bleached muslin and a thin floral print on white background. They both turned out nice. For the Tankini I used a slightly thicker fabric. The pink one pictured was made from a quilting-weight fat-quarter. The pattern used less than half a fat-quarter, so you could get at least 2 sets of underwear or two Tankinis from one fat-quarter. I think a gingham swimsuit with white rick-rack would be very cute and it would have a retro 1950’s feel to it. Out of all the underwear I made, I admit that I liked the simple white ones the best. You could get really fancy with the undies and camisole if you wanted too, making them into something with more of a lingerie feel. In this case I would use white satin with white lace. Or even lightweight pink satin or cotton with white lace would be cute and stylish while being kid-friendly.

As always, if you make this pattern for your own dolls please share your results in the comment section. If you have photos you’d like to share, let me know and I’ll help you include them if I can.


Official set supervisor, Mr. Poe.

  12 Responses to “Make It Yourself Monday: Undies & Tankini Pattern”

  1. Just wanted to say hello and thank you for the pattern! I can’t wait to try it out myself (and Mr. Poe is very cute!). I am new to your blog and really enjoying my stay here!

  2. Hi mrsmarks, nice to meet you. It’s always great to get a new reader. If you make the pattern I’d love to hear how it works out for you. Mr. Poe is my sweet lovey baby and also my monster brat. We have 4 cats, but Poe is the one who has claimed me and helps me with all of my projects. There’s something about the dolls that compels him to participate. Thanks for stopping to visit!

  3. Maggie, how do these dolls compare to Tolly Tots?
    I am working on making clothes for my Tolly doll, and looking for another one, and right now am using American Girl patterns.
    I am also looking at making clothes for Groovy Girls dolls.


  4. Hey Melly, I don’t have a Tolly Doll, but I do know that Springfield Dolls are very similar in size to American Girl dolls. The older AG dolls are a wee big chubbier, but for the most part their clothing and shoes are interchangeable. If AG patterns fit your Tolly girl then these probably will too. In a few days I’ll be posting a lot of links to free AG patterns online. You might find something helpful there. Also I’ll be posting more of my own patterns over the next few weeks and months.

    As for Groovy Girls I havne’t a clue. There is one lady on Ebay who makes her own patterns for Groovy Girls and sells them. I have made her patterns for other dolls and they are always very good; easy to use. Do a search on Ebay for Groovy Girl Patterns and see what you find. That’s the best I know to recommend.

    Good luck with your sewing, let me know how it goes.

  5. Finally got it made, thank you for sharing this pattern with all of us!


  6. Oh So Cute! Mrs Marks I am delighted!. Can I share the picture on my blog? Please let me know. I love the trim you used, is it narrow cluny lace or is it braid? And the little headband is perfect! Thanks so much for sharing this 🙂 🙂 :-)!

  7. Thanks SO much for your patterns. They are great!!

  8. Where is the pattern. I know how to sew.

  9. Click on the large bold print underlined words.

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