Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Build a bear dress tutorial

My daughter got her first build-a-bear on her birthday.  Build-a-bear is all about the clothes so I knew some more clothing options were necessary.  I took a build-a-bear shirt 
(we don't have a dress at the moment) and made a template.  
After some thought and some tweaking, I am pleased with it and am sharing it here.  
You can use this tutorial to make a dress like this.  

36"x14" piece of fabric
18" x 6" fabric for the lining
18" x 2" fabric for the band (or ribbon)
3" of velcro
I don't how to upload a pdf to ensure the size is correct, so make sure it's correct when you print it.  The fold part of the template should be 3" tall.


Pin the template to your main fabric and cut it out.  Do the same with the fabric you're using for lining.
After you cut out the two pieces of fabric, pin them together like this.

You will sew everything except the bottom and the top of the shoulders.  


 Flip that right side out (make sure you poke all of the corners out) and iron it.  Iron the bottom hem of your skirt piece as well, and the band if you are using fabric.  I folded the fabric of the band so it overlapped in the back.  My final band is about 7/8" wide.  Hem the bottom of the skirt as well and place the band aside. 

Do a very loose straight stitch across the top of the skirt part and do not back stitch.  You're going to hold the bottom thread in your hand and gather the fabric until it is bunched up and matches the length of the top.  After that, pin the pieces together so the raw edges will be on the outside of the outfit.  They'll be covered up with the band later.  Sew the top and skirt together. 

Pin your band to the dress, making sure to cover the raw edges.  Sew the edges of the waist band in place.  It helps to give your child a lot of stickers to keep them occupied. 

It doesn't matter what side you sew the velcro on to, but make sure you place the pieces in a way that will allow the dress to close.  I prefer to place the scratchy side underneath the fabric and let it stick out.  The soft piece of velcro is placed on the underside of the other side of the dress and sewn in. 

All that's left now is the shoulders.  With the dress inside out, pin them together.  Then sew them and cut the edges with pinking sheers or serge (tight zig zag stitch) them. 

Your dress is done!  

Here is another one I made with a ribbon instead.  

Let me know if you have any questions!


  1. Thank you for sharing such a great pattern and tutorial! I've been searching for free patterns for making Build-A-Bear clothes and have so far been shocked to find none. I can't wait to print out the pattern and get started.

    1. Please link a picture of your finished dress. I'd love to see it!

  2. Replies
    1. I think the easiest way is to right click and save the image.

    2. Did you download the template for us to print, or just the picture of it above? If not, could you give more measurements.....the width of the bottom, the width of the straps, the depth of the armholes?

    3. I am not versed in blogs and don't know how to add a file other than a picture. You should be able to right click the image and save it though. Paste the image into word and make sure the marked edge is exactly 3". Everything else will be the right measurements if that one is 3". Sorry I can't be more help!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks for an excellent idea. Have made it and it looks great .

  5. is there a video to show how to do the skirt part? id really love to make this for my daughter!

  6. Hi Jaci! I've been using your pattern to make my daughter's bear dresses for a while now, it's so easy and works great! I did want to make a PDF version to save time though, so I went ahead and uploaded it to my blog. I linked to you of course :) Thanks again for this great tutorial, if anybody wants a printable PDF it's here:

    1. Thanks so much for the PDF. I don't know if I would have been able to figure this out otherwise. Going to try to adapt this for my "My Child" doll which is similar to a Cabbage Patch doll.

  7. I had success using "save as image" and then printing at 150%. Looking forward to trying your pattern.

  8. Thank you! I've made this maybe 5 times in the past two days.

  9. Thanks for the pattern, I know that this is from a few year ago. I'm trying to make a princess dress for my granddaughters teddy bear. Have you made one and would you be willing to share?