Scroll down to the second set of bullets for the free PDF sewing patterns.
Today is July 4th, which is our Independence Day, here in the United States, where I live. So today I’m re-posting this very patriotic-style dress, which I made for Kaya, my American Girl doll last year, for the 4th.
I think it’s especially fitting to have Kaya model my July 4th dress with its star-studded T-shirt and its patriotic navy blue jumper-style dress, because Kaya is a Native American doll. In fact, in her backstory, you’ll learn that Kaya is a member of the Nez Perce tribe, which is a local tribe in the State of Idaho (the state in which I live).
If you don’t live here in the United States, you’re probably not aware of the strong role our Native Peoples play in the celebration of our Independence Day. Not only were Native Tribes involved in the American Revolutionary War, which is the subject of our July 4th celebrations, but in modern times, US citizens all across the nation like to buy their celebratory fireworks from Native Americans.
Everybody knows you get the best fireworks on the Rez! (For those of you who don’t live in the US, the “Rez” is the Reservation — lands that have been set aside for Native American tribes, but which have a long controversial history. Please read more about this, so you will know what I’m talking about!)
No matter where you go in the US, the parades always include some Native Americans — including US war veterans — marching in our parades. You can’t celebrate US history without including the very people, who originally lived on and cherished this land.
I have a cousin, named Virginia, who is a member of the Tlingit tribe of Canada, and we grew up together, playing Barbies together. We were close companions both in age and in our love of dolls. Because of our close relationship, I grew up with a significant awareness of the juxtaposition of Native American patriotism toward our country and the gross injustices that have been done to Native Peoples in this country.
All of the Native American people that I know personally are incredible sewists, crafters, and artists. My cousin is no exception. She loves crochet!
Many tribes encourage young members to learn their ancestral arts, and at some Fourth of July celebrations, you can purchase handmade Native American goods like jewelry, leather goods, woven blankets, and quilts.
That’s right! I said quilts!
I went to college with a famous Native American writer, Sherman Alexie, whose mother was a quilter. He dedicated his 2017 memoir, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, to his mother, who loved quilting. I highly recommend this book, if you’d like to learn more about the modern Native American perspective. Just have your box of tissues ready, because like most of Sherman’s work, it wraps you up in an emotional burrito roll that you can’t unwind yourself from until you have a good cry.
Unforgettable. That’s the best way to describe his memoir.
But I digress. This website’s all about doll clothes, right? So let’s have a bit of fun with dolls, shall we?
When I made my American Girl and Madame Alexander swimming videos, I posted them here on ChellyWood.com as “Virginia and Chelly visit the beach” because those are some of the happiest memories I have of playing with my cousin!
In fact, we spent many a 4th of July playing “Native American Barbie” at the beach, in Long Beach Washington, where our Grandpa Wood had a beach cabin.
If you’d like to make the patriotic Fourth of July swimsuit or the nautical shorts and top shown in that “Doll Beach” video, click here.
To make today’s patriotic T-shirt, you’ll want to use some jersey fabrics. I actually used one of my old tee shirts that didn’t fit me anymore and recycled jersey fabric that I bought on Etsy to make my doll’s tee shirt especially earth friendly.
Truthfully, various 18 inch dolls will each fit this pattern slightly differently, and if you wait until the end of your project to measure the straps and mark them for buttons and button holes, I think you’ll be a lot happier with the end product.
If need be, you can always cut the straps to fit your doll the way you want them to, in the final stages. Just remember that you’ll need a half inch seam allowance at the end of each strap, to allow room for making a finished edge to the straps.
If your sewing machine doesn’t have a buttonhole maker, you may want to purchase a button hole attachment for your sewing machine. To cut your button holes, you can use a Clover button hole cutter, but I simply use my seam ripper (AKA unpicker) to get that job done the old-fashioned way.
Today’s free printable PDF doll clothes sewing patterns will fit the following dolls:
- 18-inch dolls like American Girl dolls
- 18-inch dolls like the Adora Amazing Girls dolls
- 18-inch dolls like the Our Generation Journey Girls
- 18-inch dolls like the “My Life As” Dolls
- 18-inch dolls like City Girls from the New York Doll Collection
- 18-inch dolls like Madame Alexander 45 to 46 cm dolls
And here are the patterns and tutorial videos you’re looking for:
- Free PDF sewing patterns for a dress with straps plus a T-shirt to fit 18 inch dolls
- Tutorial for making doll dress
- Tutorial for making the T-shirt
- How to do a whipstitch
- How to sew snaps on fabric
- How to do a backstitch
- How to gather fabric
- How to do a baste stitch
If you don’t like the straps on my American Girl doll’s jumper-style dress, you can make an “alteration,” and in case you haven’t heard, my Creative Spark class, “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” is available on the Creative Spark platform. This class will teach you how to make alterations to the doll clothes patterns you already own.
For any class on Creative Spark, there is no subscription. Instead, you pay one price for easy access to all 40+ videos in that class series, which you can keep going back to, for as long as you like.
There’s no specific time limit to your courses. You can just take your time and learn at the pace that suits you.
Disclaimer/Credit/Affiliate Marketing Link:
To honor the trademark rights of the doll companies mentioned in this blog post, I am including links to their websites here. Please feel free to visit their website and consider purchasing one or more of the dolls mentioned.
American Girl dolls are products offered by American Girl LLC, which holds the registered trademark for them (™). Please visit their website to learn more about their company and its trademarked toys.
Adora Amazing Girls are products offered by Charisma Brands, LLC, which holds the registered trademark for them (™). Please visit their website to learn more about their company and its trademarked toys.
Our Generation Journey Girls are products offered by Geoffrey, LLC (affiliated with Tru Kids Brands and Toys R Us), which holds the registered trademark for them (™). Please visit their website to learn more about their company and its trademarked toys.
“My Life As” dolls are products offered by Walmart, which (although I couldn’t find it specifically listed in US trademarks) probably holds the registered trademark for them (™). Please visit their website to learn more about their company and its trademarked toys.
City Girls are products offered by The New York Doll Collection, Inc, which holds the registered trademark for them (™). Please visit their website to learn more about their company and its trademarked toys.
Madame Alexander 45 to 46 cm dolls were products that were once offered by the Madame Alexander Doll Company, LLC, which holds the registered trademark for them (™). Be advised that at the time of this blog post, they no longer (to my knowledge) offer dolls in that size range; however you can visit their website to learn more about their company and the trademarked toys they are currently offering.