Inexpensive Doll Clothing: Transforming a Onesie Into a Blouse

Hey everyone! How’s your weekend going?

I thought I’d do a quick tutorial for you today. I stumbled across this not long ago and thought I would share this time- and money-sharing idea with you. As many of you probably know, I have been working on doll houses for my two grandnieces. They actually brought to my attention the popularity of American Girl dolls – and their less expensive counterparts, such as Our Generation, Madame Alexander, Favorite Friends and so many more – and as far as I am concerned, you are never too old to play with dolls!

For me, playing with dolls really mean making the doll house and furniture and accessories, as well as clothing for my nieces. I have considered doing this for profit, but then, I think once it becomes a “job”, then the fun and creativity goes right out the door. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Today I want to show you how to quickly create inexpensive blouses, dresses and nightgowns from second hand baby clothes. I often wander the aisles of thrift stores and stumbled onto a preemie onesie and though that it looked exactly the same size as my own dolls (I actually have an authentic American Girl doll as well as one knockoff). And it occurred to me that I could save so much time and have something really well made that I could give to my nieces to play with. I love to sew and am an accomplished seamstress, but there is something to be said for making things that will really be played with as opposed to admired. And one niece is almost 10 whereas the other is a bit younger and her dexterity places a lot of stress on her doll’s clothing.

So, after a little trial and error, I figured out the fastest and easiest way to do this. I suggest using either preemie size or newborn sized (0-3 months) for the least amount of alterations. I started with a pretty basic onesie, this one had a cute little collar:


I am a quilter, so I have some tools that are second nature for me to use, but are not necessary. I laid it out flat and then laid the doll on top, this is to estimate the length needed to fit. Remember that you need about an extra half inch for the hem.


Remove the doll and make the cut. Again, I used a rotary to make the cut, but you could just use scissors to make the cut.



Separate the pieces. I tried to think of something to use the bottom of the onesie, but couldn’t come up with anything. If you have ideas, please share them with me! Right now, I am simply going to use them as garage rags.


Now it is a matter of turning it inside out and making a quick hem. I didn’t take the time to finish the edges since the type of fabric it is doesn’t really ravel and I figure that its going to be played with hard and retired early.


By sewing without first pinning, and stretching the fabric as I sewed, the hem ended up almost like a lettuce hem. It was completely by accident, but it is cute.


This onesie was actually a size 3 month size, so it did come out a little large. I thought it would be okay since a six-year old would be dressing her doll with it, so bigger might be okay. If not, I would put a couple of darts in either the front or the back to pull in some of the extra fullness.

So there you have it. I found this onesie for $.97 at a local thrift store. Less than five minutes time in cutting and sewing… can’t beat it. And the sheer number of colors and styles out there are endless. I picked up quite a few of these – in pink, white, blue, yellow, green, even black – so that I can make a quick variety. Pairing them with jeans, sweats, skirts, even leggings. And with built-in closures and the sleeves already done for you, it couldn’t be simpler.

So, I hope this is helpful! Thanks for stopping by. And come back soon!

And keeping making fun and beautiful things, just for the fun of it!


About MacCupcake

Obviously, a big Mac fan (my first Mac was the first Mac) and mother to the most awesome kid in the world. A techno-junkie and self-proclaimed geek... I love anything and everything relating to computers. Addicted to collecting Pyrex! Also love making things and figuring out how to make or adapt existing stuff into something new! Always ready to try something new!

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