Thursday, September 29, 2011

A "Back-to-School" Outfit.

September is:
Back to School!

Back to School-
It's that time of year again!
Why not go back in style?
A fun outfit, a colorful back pack, and everything on your school supply list!
(For your doll of course!)

Her Back to School Outfit:
Long sleeve tee-made from a long sleeve onesie size 18 months from thrift shop- cost to make- $1.00.
Corduroy Skirt- made from one pant leg of a worn out and outgrown pant of my daughter's size 6x- cost to make-  FREE.
Quilted Ruffle Vest- made from my daughter's outgrown favorite vest, size 6- cost to make- FREE.
Leggings- made from a discount store-bought ladies cables socks- cost to make- $1.00.
(purchased boots)

Long Sleeve Tunic Top:
I started with this Onesie in size 18 months. I liked this one because it had a small pattern, a nice neck detail and colors that looked like fall and were suitable for a young girl.

First, I cut along the seams to make it easier to work with.

Top of photo- Next, I took the front panel and folded it in half lengthwise and pinned my pattern( I made my own, but you can use a store bought pattern as well, mine finishes to a 7 1/2" total length) so that I could use the front neck trim from the onesie for the doll's top.Then, I cut it out leaving the center fold intact.
Bottom of photo- I also,  folded the sleeve in half lengthwise and pinned my sleeve pattern so that I did not need to allow for a hem because I made use of the hem that was already there. I did this for both sleeves and cut them out.

To get the top easily over the doll's head you will need to add a hook-and-loop closure to the back. To do this, you will need to add a center back seam. This did not allow enough room for me to use the back neck trim. So I decided to add that later, and cut for a neck seam allowance.

Next, I added the hook-and-loop closure to the center back seam edges at the top. I cut the hook-and-loop pieces to 1/4" wide and 4" long.
Then,  I cut the neck trim from the back of the Onesie into a long strip and cut in half.  I used the front piece as a guide, and pinned the neck trim to the back pieces so that it would match with the front. I hand sewed the neck trim to the back  pieces.

Next, I sewed the center back seam with a 1/4" seam and turned back the left side and tacked in place. Then I left the right side flat and tacked back the trim that hung over the edge so that it was flush with the edge of the right side.

This shows how the closure looks on the inside.

Next, I sewed the back pieces to front piece at the shoulder seams.
I hand sewed rather than machine sewed, the sleeves to the armhole seams so that I had more control.
Then, I sewed the underarm and side seams. I hand sewed the hem at 1/2".Total body length is 7 1/2".

Finally, I added a piece of  fun velvet flower-shaped trim that I had left over, and tacked this by hand.

Super Easy Corduroy Skirt:

I started with a pair of  worn-at-the-knees and outgrown pants of my daughter's.
Make sure that the pant cuff opening is at least 7 1/4" wide.

Next, I measured and marked 5 1/4" up from bottom edge of pant leg, and cut.
Make sure that front and back match along edge!

Then, as shown in photo, I turned back 3/4" and pressed it toward the inside of skirt and edge stitched it all around.
Next, I finished the top edge of the skirt, I used a stretch zig zag stitch, but you can finish the edge any way that works well for you.

Next, I made the casing,  sewing a straight stitch 1/2" from edge.
Leave about 1/2" not sewn to insert elastic

Here I have added the 1/4"wide and 13 1/2"long piece of elastic through the casing and pinned the ends together with about a 3/4" overlap.
Try on the doll for fit and adjust if needed.

Once the elastic is the right fit sew the overlap together and finish sewing the casing.
Now you may be finished, or you can add some fun detail like I did...

I used the same flower-shaped trim from the top but cut so that I had 2 flower pieces. I sewed the flowers down with a mini button that I had. So cute, and now it really matches with the top!

All finished!
Think about how cute this could be if you used a pant that had great embroidery on the leg.
So now, when your daughter wears out the knees in her pants she can have cut-off shorts AND her doll can have a skirt, too!

Quilted Ruffle Vest:

This is the vest I started with. It was a favorite of my daughter's and it had some really cute details that I thought would work well for a smaller version.

On the back it had a cute ruffle yoke detail that I thought would be great to work with.

I cut out the front pieces separately using my own pattern.
 You can also use a purchased pattern and adjust following my directions.
Lay down pattern so that it does not include hem allowance.
 Place center of front pattern over the center of the zipper teeth.
Also, since I used the existing zipper, I taped the zipper pull to the bottom of the front.
This is very important!
If you cut the zipper and the pull is up too high you will lose it and won't be able to get it back!!

Check your placement carefully, and then cut out carefully through all layers.

Cut out the other front side carefully through all layers.

Then I zipped the two front pieces together and taped the top of the zipper to keep the zipper pull in place.
Since I wanted to use the ruffle detail on the back like the original vest, I folded the back lengthwise at center back, and placed the front piece up to it, so I could decide where I wanted the ruffle to fall on the back. I also lined up the quilt stitching lines with the front.

Since I am not working with the existing hem on the back like I did with the front, I will have to allow for a hem. Pin pattern in place and cut carefully through all layers.

I unzipped the zipper again an re taped the pull in place.
 I then sewed the shoulder seams right sides together and through only the outer layer.
Next, I sewed the side seams also only through the outer layer.

Then I pinned the back hem to match the front hem and hand sewed the lining layer at the shoulder seams, side seams , armholes, and hem at back.

The zipper facing seemed too wide for the doll sized vest so I folded it in half and hand sewed it back.

Next I cut out two collar pieces cutting through all layers.
I kept the batting on one piece and removed the lining.
On the other piece, I used only the outer layer.

I attached the collar at neck seam using the piece with only the outer layer and the poly filling.

Next I sewed with right sides together, the second collar piece and sewed along the outer edge only.
The zipper teeth must be sewn inside of the collar!

Next I turned the collar right side out and pinned into place.

I hand sewed the collar on the inside.

The finished front of vest!
Looks like a mini version of my daughter's vest!

Here is how the back looks!
Same back ruffle as the original!

So cute!

Cable Knit Leggings:
I started with a pair of ladies socks that I bought at a discount store for $1.00. The socks had a 6 1/2" cuff height.
First I measured 9 3/8" from edge of cuff and cut off the toe along this line.

Next, I cut along the edge of the sock that has the heel.
The heel will become the crotch for the leggings.
This is how the piece looks opened up.
Do this for both socks.
Next, I pinned one piece to the doll with the right side facing the doll.
Then I did the same for the other leg.
Next, I pinned along the heel of the sock to create a crotch.
I sewed the inside leg seams, and the crotch seam, and trimmed away excess fabric to 1/4" seam.
Finish seams with a stretch stitch.
Turn right side out.
Fold top of legging to inside waist by 1/2" and sew a 3/8" casing, leaving a 1/2" opening for the elastic.
Insert a 1/4" wide and 13 1/4" long braided elastic through the casing.
Try leggings on the doll and adjust the elastic length as needed.
Sew elastic ends together and finish sewing the casing seam.
The finished leggings!
I think that patterned, striped and novelty socks could be really fun, too!
Just remember that the sock will be used upside down!
I'm sure that I will be making more of these!

Coming Soon: Backpack and School Supplies:


  1. I've been sewing since age of 10 so I don't always learn something new! Your use of your daughter's vest is so clever, I'm really impressed. I often bypass ideas with separting zippers because the cost for small ones is so prohibitive, and you have to order them online, etc. This is awesome! I will be looking for these on my thrift store jaunts. Thanks for great posting, and good tips such as taping down the zipper pull. Kudos!

    1. Thanks Janie, for your kind words! Sewing zippers and hems are my most dreaded details, so if I can find a way to work with existing zippers and hems I am happy!

  2. I'm so impressed with your creativity and skills! Is there any chance you could share your patterns? I know nothing about pattern-making and would love to make an outfit like this for a Christmas present!

    1. Thank you! I am right now in the process of making some pdf patterns that will be available for purchase- very soon (I hope!). So keep a look out for them!

    2. My etsy shop is now open for business and I have a Backpack and Lunch Bag pattern for sale. I hope to add more patterns after the Holidays. Please check it out!

  3. Wonderfully clever repurposing of clothes, I'm in awe :)

    Please consider turning of the captcha word verification for posting comments. It's terribly frustrating:(

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you like my ideas.
      Sorry about your frustration with the captcha word verification, I will look into it! I always appreciate both positive and contructive feedback!

  4. It seems like you have a pattern for the top that you always use. Are you able to share that with me?

    1. Hi Karyn,
      Actually I make a new pattern for each project I do. I am in the process of making some patterns available for purchase in my etsy shop :
      I also know that Liberty Jane Clothing offers a free t-shirt pdf pattern, you may want to check that out!

  5. Fabulous use of used clothes. I am in awe of your creativity. Thank you for sharing what you did with the Onsie, Pants, Vest and socks. I have made short sock, knee socks, but never considered leggings. Thank you for showing how you did it. I have used regular doll clothes patterns, but also have made my own. I can't wait to try this out. I volunteer for a thrift store and I will definitely be looking for these items to try your ideas.

  6. Just discovered your blog via Pinterest. Your repurposing is very clever and creative. I've been making doll clothes since I was a little girl and I love to repurpose thrifted items. Visit my my reuse of a little girl's pageant dress to an AG pageant dress and my other several that I did for one of my grandaughter's AG dolls.

  7. Wow, you are amazing! I just discovered your blog through Pinterest. I can't wait to read more.

  8. Jacket is adorable and what a great way to utilize an existing zipper which could easily be a major cost factor. Thanks for sharing. Love your blog. found this post on PIN