How to cut out a Barbie doll clothes sewing pattern PART 1 (How do you read a pattern envelope?) @ #SewingTips #DollClothesPatterns #ChristmasCrafts

The image shows a woman who is bent over a cutting mat with large doll clothes patterns laid out on the cutting mat. Above her it says, "how to cut doll clothes sewing patterns". There's also a small pink stamp overlaid on top of the image, which says, "reading the envelope" and the texts on either side of the woman say, "special thanks to the mom who reached out to me for help" (left of the image) and "I hope you get to read today's blog post" (to the right of the image).
Please visit for free printable sewing patterns for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

First, I want to thank a woman who contacted me quite some time ago, asking me “How do you even cut out a Barbie doll dress pattern?”

Her daughter wanted to learn how to sew Barbie clothes, but the mother had never learned to sew. I wrote her question in my ever-growing booklet of doll clothes pattern requests, and when the time was right (about three weeks ago), I started working on this week’s blog posts, to answer that question for anyone who needs it answered, out there in Cyberspace.

Also, on my cousin’s advice, I’ve started filming and uploading YouTube #Shorts to my YouTube Channel, ChellyWood1. In today’s #Shorts video, I show how to cut out a Barbie doll purse, using the Simplicity 7601 purse pattern.

This week’s series of blog posts will break the process of pinning and cutting a doll clothes pattern, into several carefully explained steps.

For this series of blog posts, I’ll be using Simplicity 7601, a Barbie pattern that was published in 1991, for all of my examples and visuals.

The image shows Simplicity 7601 Barbie doll clothes sewing patterns (published in 1991). View 1 shows a white ball gown made of shiny fabric like satin. view 2 shows a pink satin shorter evening dress. View three shows a peach colored satin gown with tiny silk flowers sewn directly onto the dress and the blond Barbie modeling the peach colored satin dress also has a shawl draped over her shoulders. View 4 shows a sequined dress (quite long) with boa trim. View 5 shows two barbies. One wears a purple coat with purple pillbox cap. Her dress is pink to match her purse. The other Barbie wears a pink coat and hat with a purple purse and dress. In view 6, two Barbies model the same strapless swimsuit, but one is white and the other is black. In view 7, a Barbie models a baby doll style short pajama nightgown. The image is copyrighted 1991 by Mattel.
Please visit for free printable sewing patterns for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Okay, so let’s talk about how to cut out a doll clothes sewing pattern.

The first thing you should do is study the whole envelope that your pattern comes in because there may be special cutting instructions. At the very least, the pattern should give you some idea about how much fabric is needed for your doll clothes.

Most pattern envelopes will divide the patterns or sets of patterns, into the various views shown on the front of the envelope (look above). So on my Simplicity 7601 pattern, the coat, hat, and purse are listed together with a shift-style dress, in View 5.

See how the list starts with the specifications for View 1 and moves through all of the different views to View 7, which is a baby doll pajama? Let’s see if we can find View 5 in the list on the back of the pattern envelope, below:

Here we see the back of Simplicity doll clothes pattern 7601, which shows how to make several dresses and a coat with hat and purse for Mattel Barbie dolls.
Please visit for free printable sewing patterns for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Okay, but what does it say for View 5? Here’s a closer look:

This is a zoomed-in image of the back of the pattern envelope for Simplicity barbie doll clothes pattern 7601. It describes how much fabric will be needed to make several items of clothing, but a purple arrow specifically points to the information for "View 5 shift, coat, hat, and bag." The instructions for this item are stated thus: "shift and bag one fourth yard or .20m; coat and hat one fourth yard or .20m; thread to match each, one small snap."
Please visit for free printable sewing patterns for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

The pattern maker suggests that you will need one-fourth of a yard or two-tenths of a meter of fabric. If you live in the United States, we use the old yards-and-feet imperial measurements when sewing.

When I visited France in 2015, I did purchase some fabric at a craft store, but I can’t remember how we talked about the cut of fabric. For those of you who live outside the US, can you let us know how you order your fabric? Would you say twenty centimeters, or would you say two tenths of a meter, when you ask someone to cut you a swatch of fabric? I’m curious! So please DO leave a comment!

It also says you’ll need one small snap. People who are new to sewing won’t know how small the snap needs to be, or even where to find them. So here’s a quick guide to doll clothes snap sizes:

The arrow on the left points at the card of large black snaps. On top of this arrow is overlaid the numbers 1 followed by a forward slash mark, followed by a zero. There's a yellow arrow pointing at the medium sized snaps in the middle, and its arrow has the number three-forward-slash-zero overlaid on it. the card on the right has the tiny snaps on it; they are silvery colored and the number on this arrow says four-slash-zero.
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.

As you can see, size 1/0 is a bigger snap than size 4/0. That, alone, can be a little confusing, so let me help. The bigger the doll you’re sewing for, the bigger snap size you’ll need.

I usually recommend snap size 1/0 for 18 inch to 28 inch dolls. I recommend sizes 2/0 and 3/0 for dolls in the 10 to 15 inch doll size range (including Barbie) — but sometimes I use size 4/0 if I have a very narrow closure area. When I’m sewing for dolls that are smaller than 10 inches tall, I typically use size 4/0 snaps.

And those links will help you find where to buy them, but if you want to purchase a packet of snaps with all four sizes on it, just get a variety pack. That way you can experiment with the different sizes as you learn.

The image shows a purple, white, and turquoise colored infographic with the title "Buyer's Gide" at the top, and the following elements listed within the text boxes of the infographic: buttons, snaps, ribbon, elastic, labels, zippers. The watermark says "ChellyWood" to remind you that you can get lots of doll clothes sewing advice and free patterns at
Please visit for free printable sewing patterns for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

The “SHOP” page on my website offers links to all kinds of doll clothes sewing notions, to help you locate whatever tiny buttons, snaps, zippers, or other notions are called for, on your pattern envelopes.

Some pattern envelopes will also suggest what types of fabrics to use. For example, the back of your pattern envelope may suggest flannel, jersey fabric, satin, felt, denim, tulle, or cotton. The easiest to work with is felt or cotton, in my opinion. But oddly enough, this Simplicity 7601 Barbie pattern doesn’t suggest a specific fabric.

In this image, we see three swatches of fabric from the FabScrap unboxing video: upper left is a piece of deep purple satin with large spots of darker embossed satin. Below that is a swirl of purple swimsuit fabric with a barely-visible wave pattern in tiny print upon the fabric. Then to the right of both of these fabrics is white cotton jersey with a lavender stripe running through it, and dancing all across these stripes are pastel colored donuts covered in frosting. Yum!
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.

In that case, I would recommend using cotton or felt because they’re easy to sew.

Another thing that many pattern envelopes will include is the amount of fabric needed for fabrics that have a nap or for fabrics that don’t have a nap. If you’re new to sewing, that “nap” business probably sounds like a foreign word, right?

There’s a lot to learn, with regard to nap, and I’ve already written about 1000 words in today’s blog post. So I think I’ll break this lesson into several blog posts to avoid overload of information!

Tomorrow I’ll continue this “How to cut out doll clothes sewing patterns” series with the next step in the process.

Feel free to leave questions about reading the back of your patterns in this blog post’s comments section.


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.

To read more about my free sewing patterns and tutorials, please visit the “Helpful Tips” page.

For my free doll clothes sewing tutorial videos, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, ChellyWood1.

Maybe you already own some great commercial patterns, but you really wish you could alter them to look just a little different. If so, my Creative Spark class, “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” may be just what you need to make your commercially designed patterns into the pattern you see in your imagination.

Are you worried that you won’t have time to take a course in doll clothes pattern alteration? You’ll be happy to learn that, for any class on Creative Spark, you don’t have to follow a schedule. Just sign up when you’re ready.

It’s a one-time fee for the course, and there’s no specific time limit to finish your course. You can just take your time and learn at the pace that suits you. So please go have a look at my paid courses on Creative Spark, using this link.

Disclaimer/Credit/Affiliate Marketing Link:

* earns money by linking to JoAnn Fabrics, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other online affiliate programs. Links provided above may be affiliate links. For a full list of my affiliate programs, and to understand how cookies are used to help this website earn money, please see my “Privacy Policy” page.

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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