Sew a wrap-around skirt for your doll, following these simple instructions @ #FreeDollClothesPatterns #DollClothes

In this image, we see the Chelly Wood doll (actually a Spin Master Liv doll wearing a grey dyed wig, blue glasses, a long-sleeved white shirt with black printed flowers, and a pair of black pants with white Mary Jane shoes) holding up the Simplicity 8281 fashion doll sewing pattern, which was published in 1977.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

The image above shows the Simplicity 8281 vintage sewing pattern from 1977. I’ll be using this pattern in a tutorial I plan to post this Thursday on my YouTube channel, teaching you how to organize and archive your vintage patterns. As you can see in the photo below, this pattern was definitely in need of some help:

This is a photo of a torn doll clothes pattern. The dolls on the cover (wearing examples of the handmade doll clothes you can sew using this pattern) look a lot like a traditional blond Barbie doll, a Tiffany Taylor or Cher doll, and a Farrah Fawcett Barbie doll. Their heads are cut off by the tear in the pattern's yellowed envelope, but two brunette Quick-curl Barbies are also pictured on the original pattern.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

The Simplicity pattern 8281 for Barbie, Quick Curl Barbie, the Mego Cher doll, and the Farrah Fawcett doll was one of my most beloved doll clothes patterns that I sewed back in my pre-teen and teenage years. Even as a young girl, I was a very accomplished sewist, and I found this pattern to be quite simple and fashionable for its time (it was published in 1977 by Simplicity).

Well recently a follower contacted me with the question, “Do you have a pattern for a wrap skirt for American Girl and Wellie Wisher?”

In response, I let her know that, unfortunately, I do not have a wrap-around skirt for that size of doll. However, wrap-around skirts are super easy to make! I knew this because in my youth, I’d made dozens of them using the Simplicity pattern 8281!

Here’s a close-up of the Barbie-sized wrap-around skirt found in this Simplicity pattern 8281 that I loved so much when I was growing up:

In this photo, we see a close-up of the wrap-around or "wrap skirt" that's offered on the Simplicity 8281 sewing pattern for Barbie dolls and similar sized fashion dolls. The doll wears a green floral wrap skirt that is dotted with pink flowers. Her pink raglan-sleeved shirt has short sleeves and side darts. The doll wearing the outfit appears to be a brunette Quick Curl Barbie doll because her hair is shorter than usual with a roll of curled hair near the doll's jawline. A purple arrow points at the A-line style wrap around skirt.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

The one in the simplicity pattern actually uses snaps instead of a waistband that ties, but it seems like today we’re more likely to see the waistband-that-ties type of wrap-around skirt. So in keeping with the modern fashion, I offered up my instructions for making a more modern “wrap skirt” with a tied waist.

So without further ado, here are my directions, as I shared them with the follower who requested one such pattern:

Measure a length of fabric that equals the waist measurement of your doll plus 1/2 of that measurement. So for example, my Hearts for Hearts Girl doll’s waist measures 15.2 cm. Half of that would be 7.6 cm. So my total for a waist and a half would be 15.2 + 7.6 which equals 22.8 cm, so I would want to cut my skirt 22.8 cm long at the waist.
As far as the length of it from waist to, say, the doll’s knee, you’d want to measure your rectangle of fabric to include a seam allowance for the hem, plus whatever the length of your doll is from waist to knee. For my Hearts for Hearts Girl, that’s about 9 cm + another cm for the hem, which equals 10 cm.
So if I were making a wrap-around skirt for my Hearts for Hearts Girl (which is very similar in size, by the way, to a Wellie Wisher), then I would cut my fabric 22.8 cm long and 10 cm wide, in a rectangular shape.
Next, I’d take a piece of double-fold 1/4 inch bias tape and wrap it around the doll’s waist twice, then tie it with a little bow. This will give you an estimate for how much bias tape you’ll need at the top of your wrap-around skirt.
Sew the bias tape to the skirt (I have a tutorial on bias tape if you need any help), leaving equal lengths of bias tape at each side of the rectangle (like a T-shape with a very fat middle and a skinny top). Wrap the skirt around the doll, deciding where you would like to position a hole in the skirt, to string the bias tape through, from the wrong side to the right side.
Mark where you want to sew your hole, and use a buttonhole stitch on your sewing machine, to create a hole through which to thread the bias tape.
Wrap the skirt around your doll, threading one of the bias tape ends through the buttonhole, and join the two bias tapes in the middle (usually at the front of the doll) with a pretty little bias-tape-bow.
Now if you follow my instructions to make a wrap-around skirt, it will look a little different from the one pictured in Simplicity pattern 8281 because it uses a rectangle rather than an A-line shape for the skirt, but it will likely get the job done.
The photo shows a close-up of the cover of a Simplicity 8281 fashion doll clothes pattern. The following outfits are pictured in the artwork shown here: View 1 is a wedding dress with ruffle and veil; view 2 shows a floor-length cape with lace trim; view 2 also shows a tank top with layered long skirt; view 3 shows the same tank top with a pair of pants; view 4 shows a cottage core style dress with a ruffle and short, strappy bodice; view 5 shows a wrap-around skirt with a raglan-sleeved dressy shirt that has side darts; view 7 shows sweat (athletic) pants and an athletic jacket with collar; and view 6 shows a long-sleeved T-shirt with a vest and gaucho pants (referred to on the pattern as "culottes").
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Before I end this blog post, let me also mention that this is EXACTLY the type of thing I’ll be teaching you in my Creative Spark class, which is almost ready to publish. In fact, I’ll be meeting with my Creative Spark editor some time this week to discuss pricing for the course, as well as promotions.

If you haven’t heard about my Creative Spark class yet, this video will give you a little insight into what it will offer. The skirt section of the course, in fact, is one of the most extensive lessons, although I will not be covering wrap-around skirts at all. But waistbands? Yep. Length and fullness of skirts? Oh yeah!

You won’t have to wait much longer before you can sign up, and I’ll let you know more right here, on and on my YouTube channel, just as soon as the class is available on the Creative Spark website for you to sign up.

Now let’s wrap things up regarding Simplicity pattern 8281 and how you can get your hands on one. Most of the commercial patterns I display and talk about here on are also available for sale on eBay. However, if you’ve never purchased a pattern on eBay before, it’s a good idea to read the article I wrote called, “Tips for Buying Used Doll Clothes Patterns on eBay.” It will save you time, money, and will likely prevent buyer’s remorse.

And by the way, if you use the links I’ve provided to make your eBay purchase, this website will receive a small commission, which helps fund the website, so I can continue to provide you with all the free patterns and tutorial videos offered here.

Thanks to Donna, who used my contact form to submit the question that inspired today’s blog post.

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Chelly Wood and the website are not affiliated with the pattern company or companies mentioned in this blog post, but Chelly finds inspiration in the doll clothes designed by these pattern companies. To purchase patterns from Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue, or other pattern companies shown and discussed in this blog post, please click on the links provided here. These links below the “Disclaimer” section do not help raise money for this free pattern website; they are only offered to give credit to the company that made these patterns.

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