As implied by the name, baby doll dresses are dress items for adult women designed to look like cute baby doll clothes. Made popular in the 1960s, this dress style usually involves short dresses with empire waists and billowing skirts. Baby doll dresses are extremely versatile, able to be dressed up for formal occasions or dressed down for casual summer activities. To make your own baby doll dress, complete the following instructions.
Find a baby doll dress pattern that you like. You can use one of the free online patterns linked in the Resources section of this article or find a pattern from the popular companies Simplicity, McCall, Vogue, New Look or KwikSew. Choose the appropriate fabric and notions, as described on the pattern package.
Take your measurements with the measuring tape. Make sure to measure your bust, underbust, waist, hip and dress length. Using these measurements, determine which size on the pattern will fit you best. Choose the size that matches the largest measurement you have, then scale down the other measurements on that pattern size. Most commercial patterns come with alteration guides directly on the pattern pieces. Cut the pattern pieces from their paper. If you are using a free online pattern, print the pattern pieces and cut them from the paper.
Pin the pattern pieces to your dress fabric, following all arrows for pattern placement. Transfer all markings on the pattern pieces to the fabric, then cut the fabric for each pattern piece. Pay attention to which pieces direct you to cut one or two layers, and which need to be cut against a fold line.
Remove the pattern pieces from the fabric pieces, and sew the fabric together as directed in your pattern directions. Stitch the shoulders of the front and back bodice pieces together, the sleeves to the body piece, and the side seams of the body piece together. Then stitch the skirt pieces together at the sides, and stitch the waistline of the skirt to the waistline of the body piece.
Hem the raw edges of the sleeves and the bottom of the skirt, turning the edges under and stitching so that they form flat lines. Finish all seam allowances as desired. Add embellishments to the dress, such as a waistband, ribbon at the waist, trim at the hems, embroidery or beading.
If desired, you can make a mock-up, or practice version, of the baby doll dress out of cheap muslin or other scrap fabric before using your fashion fabric.