My daughter asked for Elsa and Anna dresses for her dolls for Christmas. Nice thought, except the only place I know of that sells the dresses is build-a-bear and those are too big for Stella. I decided to work from scratch and see what I could come up with. These are my daughter's Christmas gifts, so she hasn't seen them yet, but she's going to be delighted!
Modeling these are Baby Stella boy and the original Baby Stella.
I later added a printed iron-on to the Anna dress for the design on the top. I'll take more pictures after Christmas :)
In the meantime... tutorial!
First, I used a piece of paper to make a dress top for the dolls and fitted it to them. I kept experimenting until I got what I felt was the right size. Then I traced and cut that template out of card stock and made one a 1/2" wider for the two back pieces.
I used the templates to cut out one front piece and two back pieces. Then I pinned those pieces down on a another piece of fabric and stitched them together, except for the bottom edges (to allow for flipping). I find it easier to do that than to line up two pieces. After sewing, cut off any excess and flip right side out.
Lay the back pieces so the arm holes will be together. Then pin and sew.
For the skirt, I estimated on width so I'm not sure how wide it really was. I would estimate about 20" but a good rule of thumb is to make it 2.5x the length of the fabric you're attaching it to. So if my bodice piece was 10", 25" would be a good width for the skirt. I wanted the skirt to be 7" long, so I cut the fabric to 7.5" to allow for seams.
I used my serger to seal all 4 edges (I forgot to do the side seams until later... whoops!) and to gather the top. If you have a serger, I HIGHLY recommend figuring out your gathering stitch setting. It saves so much time and gives a perfect gather.
Then I flipped the non-gathered edges in and sewed them up so they wouldn't be seen.
At this point, you should have a bodice and a skirt, ready to be sewn together.
Pin the middle of the bodice to the middle of the skirt and then pin to the edges. I pin the bodice slightly below the serged edge to make sure it won't show after being sewn together.
Stitch together slightly below the serged stitch. Sew with the gather side up to prevent any excess fabric being sewn incorrectly.
Now the dress is mostly done. It should look like this.
Add velcro to the bodice on the back edges. I typically use the harder side face down so it will not catch on things if the velcro isn't lined up perfectly. I use the softer side facing out. Sew the velcro in place and try the dress on the doll.
I made straps ahead of time, but they are basically just a tube of fabric about 1/2" wide. With the dress on the doll, pin the straps in place.
Take the dress off the doll and sew the straps in place. I cut off the excess and zig zag stitched the ends of the straps so they wouldn't fray.
Stitch up the back of the skirt to about 1.5" below the bodice. This isn't an exact science, but the more space you leave, the easier it will be for your child to dress the doll.
Here is the finished dress!
I totally winged the cape, and although it turned out okay, it's definitely not tutorial worthy.
As for the Elsa dress, I made it the same way. I happened to have some teal shiny netting fabric so I used that layered over baby blue. For the cape, I had another scrap and cut it in a cape shape. Then I sewed it to the back of the dress and cut a slit about 5" long to allow for dressing and undressing.
I'm so pleased I was able to make these, and look forward to many more doll dresses in the coming years.