When I started sewing for dolls I didn’t even understand that things like patterns existed. After a few years of muddling about on my own I discovered that library books had patterns and that these patterns could be used to make doll clothes, usually much fancier than the items I had managed on my own. When I started using patterns I found a whole new world of fashion for my dolls. I could hardly fathom the avenues of discovery opening before me. After a couple of years of learning to follow patterns I realized that if I could find a pattern for a specific type of garment, I could make that garment for my doll. It was like inventing the wheel and the light bulb, all in one afternoon with my sewing basket.
My earliest avenues in sewing were accomplished with a needle and thread. I spent an entire decade learning all about how to use that needle and thread to make all kinds of doll clothes. It was slow going, but extremely accurate and it gave me a clear understanding of clothing construction. Learning to sew doll clothes was the best primer possible for learning to sew people clothes.
Since patterns were such an eyeopener for me I am eager to share them with others. Below you’ll find a selection of free patterns that are available online.
American Girl Playthings offers all PDF versions for the original Pleasant Company historical patterns for Addy, Samantha, Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten and Molly. They are found on the Doll Dress Pattern Page. I’ve made several of these and they seem to fit Springfield Dolls very well.
InfiniteFreedom.com provides a very nice dropped waist dress pattern in American Girl size on their Free Pattern & Sewing Challenges page. I’ve made this pattern several times. It goes together quickly and fits Springfield dolls nicely.
Sewing.org has lots of free patterns. On their Dolls & Toys page they offer 3 free PDF patterns to fit American Girl dolls, including fancy collars, a bib collar and a gorgeous Spring Dress. A good pattern for basic panties is included in the Spring Dress pattern set.
Liberty Jane patterns provides a free pattern for a Drawstring Dress. I haven’t made any LJ patterns yet myself, but I hear rave reviews of them. They have other free patterns too including a t-shirt, polo shirt and swimsuit. They also offer free patterns for other 18-inch dolls including Carpatina and BFC Ink.
Sew Like My Mom has a free pattern for the sweetest, prettiest summer dress. She calls it the Katie Dress in honor of her niece. This dress has a sleeveless bodice, pleated skirt and for a designer touch an underlay of either rick-rack or piping. It closes in the back with a zipper. Melissa is a talented seamstress with a great imagination!
Carpatina provides a pattern for this cute Summer Dress. it’s sized for Slender Body Carpatina or Magic Attic dolls, but they provide instructions for enlarging it for chubby Springfield Dolls or AG dolls.
YouCanMakeThis.com has several free downloads for 18-inch dolls. Most of them are based on the Twirls for Girls pattern. You must sign up to gain access to the downloads, but there’s little trouble in that. The patterns are very well made and the instructions are a delight to behold. There are also Halloween and Christmas variations available for free download. These skirts would be a great way to use up scraps of fabric.
Piecelove.net (don’t you just love that name, I want to turn that name into a cuddly blanket and crawl under it during a snow storm) Has an adorable dress that I call a Tulip dress because the skirt of the dress looks like upside down tulip petals to me. This is a great pattern for using up small scraps of fabric, of which I have an ever growing, overflowing box full. The instructions are as beautiful as the dress. Shannon is terribly talented and kind enough to share her projects with the rest of us.