Saturday, March 31, 2012

How to recycle an infant top into a doll's Spring Dress

   I made this dress from an infant's summer top. A few alterations later... it is now a dress for a doll! I used mostly hand sewing for this project, using the sewing machine only for the side seams. Not one piece of fabric was waisted making this project! And since this was a thrift shop find, it only cost $1.00 to make!

This is the halter top I started with, in size 18 months.
A back view of the top.

  1) I started by pinning the top onto the doll to see how I wanted to alter it. I thought one way would be to keep the neckline as is and change the placement of the armholes. However, I decided that it would be easier and look better to do as a "mock wrap". This way I kept the armholes as is and was able to keep the full sweep of the original hem.

   My original plan was to make the straps crisscross in the back as shown here. I still wasn't sure if the shoulders would lay right this way, so I decided to wait and see before I made the final decision.

   2) I started by cutting a small snip, about 3/8" long, at the point in the center front tip of the v-neck. I then turned back each side of the neck edge based on the first pinning I did on the doll. I hand sewed this in place along the neck edge and most of the way the way down the straps (I knew that I wanted to use the ends of the straps for a bow later so I left a portion unsewn for now.

When I did both sides it looked like this.

  3) Next I pinned the overlap that created the "mock wrap" look. I hand sewed this in place on both the inside(as shown) and on the front along the lace trim edge only.
4) Next, I put the dress on the doll inside out and pinned the sides as shown.
5) I tapered the side seams so that at the bottom I used the original ruffle and side seam (see above).

      6) I turned the dress right side out and tried it on the doll. At this point I decided to keep the dress as a halter style and tied the straps at the neck to see how long the straps needed to be, and marked the length with a pin. Allowing for a seam allowance, I cut the ends of the straps off and set aside the extra pieces for the bow. 7) Next I finished sewing the straps; turning back the raw edges of the ends and folding the straps in half the rest of the way and sewing in place.

  8) Sometimes the design process changes direction several times along the way, I try to keep this in mind as I am working. At this point I thought I might like to keep the bow with rounded on the ends and use the rounded end of the original tie for one side and sew a rounded finish for the other side.

  9) The above photo shows the two pieces I used for the bow. On top is the main part of the bow and on the bottom is the piece I used for the center of the bow. I folded the bottom piece in half lengthwise and wrapped around the center of the bow and sewed in place on the back side of the bow.

   To help me decide whether to keep the bow rounded or to make the bow have straight ends, I took a photo both ways so that I could compare. I decided that I liked the straight sides better. 

10) I sewed the bow into place all around.

So here she is... ready for Spring and Easter egg hunts!

Thanks for visiting, I hope I have inspired you to try a dress for your own doll!

Creatively yours,

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  1. so cute.. I love reading the process of how you did it..

    1. Thanks, Kath! I think that the process is half the fun!

  2. Another pretty creation -- love your blog -- new follower here!

    1. Thank you for your kind words! And thanks for following!

  3. I must be more awake to these treasures! Thanks for the wake up call ♥

  4. Wow another darling idea. Wow thank you so much for showing us how you make things so inexpensive. This is such a blessing for us who don't have much creative expertise. God bless you.

    1. You are very welcome! Thank you for your kind words!

  5. Happy that there are others out there who take the time to create doll clothes from upcycled clothing. The Thrift Shops are full of gently used clothing. I have been using this source for years. It is fun to get the juices flowing and satisfy my shopping urges at same time. You have some wonderful creations! Thanks for sharing!