Fiesta Skirt for 18″ doll using fat quarter

Fiesta Skirt for 18 inch doll using a fat quarter of fabric-- A Pinch of Joy

Fiesta Skirt for 18 inch doll using a fat quarter of fabric-- A Pinch of Joy

A brief visit to Mexico a couple of years ago gave us the opportunity to see some spectacular traditional Mexican dancers.   I have some pictures but they are all a blur because of the speed and intricacy of the dances.  One set was particularly eyecatching because of the beautiful full dresses worn by the women.  The Fiesta Skirt is modeled after those dresses.  Each tier is double in fabric to the one above it — a lot of swirl!  A fat quarter from the quilter’s corner of your favorite fabric store will yield one two tiered skirt.
        Cotton fabric usually comes in 45 inch widths. If you buy a quarter yard you end up with a skinny piece nine inches wide by 45 inches long.  Instead:  Cut a yard from the bolt, then divide that yard into fourths.  Each quarter is 18″ by 22.5 inches.   That’s a fat quarter!  Much more versatile than the skinny quarter yard.  

Fiesta Skirt 1 -- A Pinch of Joy

Make the bottom tier of the skirt first.  Cut two pieces from the 22″ length of the fat quarter.  Each piece is 5 1/2 inches wide.

Fiesta Skirt 2a -- A Pinch of Joy

Place right sides together and stitch the two pieces together along the 5 1/2 inch side.

Fiesta Skirt 2 -- A Pinch of Joy

Make a 1/4 wide hem on the other two ends.  For doll clothes, I do not trim selvages.  Just fold over once to make the 1/4 inch wide hem and stitch.  For most sewing projects,  do not include selvages when cutting patterns.  Selvages may shrink, causing puckering. They may lay differently than the rest of the fabric, causing it to pull.  Selvages may have extra bulk which will effect the final appearance.  But on doll clothes, using selvages allows you to save time and to squeeze the most use from the smallest piece of fabric.  There’s a time to break the rules — and making doll clothes for play is one of those times!  If you are  making those $900 dresses that sell on eBay for collectors  — that’s a whole ‘nother stratosphere!   

Fiesta Skirt 3 -- A Pinch of Joy

Hem the bottom by turning the fabric up a quarter inch, pressing as you go. Turn over another quarter inch, pressing again.  Stitch near the folded edge of the hem. 

Fiesta Skirt 4 -- A Pinch of Joy

Set stitch length for a long basting stitch,  Leaving a long tail of top and bottom threads, stitch near the top edge of the skirt.  Cut thread leaving another long tail.  Gently pull of the top thread to gather the fabric.  Work from both ends, alternating, to keep the gathers even.  Set aside.

Fiesta Skirt 5 -- A Pinch of Joy

Cut fabric for top tier. 

Fiesta Skirt 6 -- A Pinch of Joy

Cut two pieces 14 3/4 inches long and 2 3/4 inches wide.

Fiesta Skirt 7 - A Pinch of Joy

Stitch the two pieces together and hem the short ends.

Fiesta Skirt 8 -- A Pinch of Joy

Pin the hemmed and gathered bottom tier to the top tier, gently working fabric so that gathers are even across the entire top tier  and the ends match.

Fiesta Skirt 9 - A Pinch of Joy

Stitch gathered bottom tier to flat top tier.  It will look like the skirt above.  Set stitch length to long basting length and sew along the top tier, leaving two to three inches of thread on each end.  This will be used to gather the top tier and fit it to the waistband.

Fiesta Skirt 10 -- A Pinch of Joy

To make waist band, fold fabric in half.  Measure from the fold 5 3/4 ” and mark the spot.  The width of the waistband is 1 1/4 inches.  When you unfold the fabric, you should have a piece that is 11 1/2 inches long and 1 1/4 inches wide. 

Fiesta Skirt 11 -- A Pinch of Joy

Fold waistband in half and press to form crease.  Fold up 1/4 inch on the long side of the waistband and crease with iron.  You can finger press the folds.  Ironing is more precise, easier to follow the ditch for stitching and much faster.  I place a cutting board on the counter with a folded, heavy towel on top for pressing while sewing small items rather than setting up the ironing board. 

Fiesta Skirt 12 -- A Pinch of Joy

Gently work gathers along the gathering thread, working from both ends.  Evenly distribute the gathers and fit the top tier gathers to the waist band, pinning in place. Leave a quarter inch of the waistband beyond the gathered tier on each end.   Stitch on the long crease to create a quarter inch seam, keeping gathers uniform and straightened as you sew. Sew across the short ends of the waistband, using the quarter inch you left on each end of the waistband to the seam. Fold on the center crease,  pinning the waistband in place.     Stitch across the bottom of the waistband. 

Fiesta Skirt 13 -- A Pinch of Joy

Add hook and loop fastener to both sides of the skirt.  The top (loop)  is sewn on the inside of the skirt and the bottom (hook) is sewn on the outside of the skirt as shown. 

Other 18″ doll projects:
       How to Make a Parka for 18 inch doll with pattern
       Sleeping Bag for 18 inch doll
       Jacket, Hat and Scarf from Dollar Store purchase  with jacket pattern
      Pillowcase Dress for 18″ Doll with pattern
      Party Dress for 18″ Doll

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How to make a parka for 18″ doll

How to make a Parka for 18 doll -- A Pinch of Joy

How to make a Parka for 18 doll -- A Pinch of Joy

We visited Alaska a couple years ago.  Along the way we visited a replica of a native village where high schoolers demonstrated the ways of their ancestors.  I was fascinated by the clothing.

Native Alaskan fur coat -- A Pinch of Joy

It was a very warm day in June when this beautiful young lady modeled this very warm and very heavy fur coat.  It was fully lined, long and fitted at the sleeves, all of which help hold the heat — good for cold weather.  The hood is weather protective but also is made very full.  The fullness combined with the length of the coat helps make the wearer more visible in the snow and also larger in appearance so smaller predators will leave them alone.  The boots are broad to make walking on /in snow easier.

As soon as I saw this, I knew what my next American Girl sewing project would be!  Clothing styles are a fun way to help children relate to different places and different cultures. I bought the reindeer antler buttons at a gift shop during our trip.  Shortly after we returned home I found this faux suede embroidered in bright colors at JoAnns.  Down a different aisle was faux furriness for the lining. Perfect for a coat intended for actual play!

Your hooded coat can be made of any fabric you choose and lined with any appropriate fabric. Some possibilities would be wool with a silky lining, quilted nylon with matching lining, denim with faux fur or anything else your imagination creates!

Parka Pattern for 18″ Doll — A Pinch of Joy

Cutting out the parka -- A Pinch of Joy
Cut the coat shell according to the pattern.  Adjust the lining pattern according to the fabric chosen.  I wanted the white fur to make a fairly large edging that showed on the outside along the bottom and up the front.  the lining was also bulky so I opted to skip lining the sleeve and instead handstitched the lining to the shell around in the inside of the sleeve opening.  It needed to fit snugly under the doll’s arm so I followed the pattern to the notch and then cut the lining about a quarter inch wider.  This left enough ease in the fabric so that it did not pull and let the finished garment hang smoothly. Note: If you don’t want the lining to show on the outside, and it has no significant thickness,  cut it according to the pattern.

Not only did I skip the lining in the sleeve, I laid the pattern so the edge of the sleeve was on the selvedge. No folding or hemming.  Not usually recommended in fine sewing — but this is a doll garment intended for playing.  Shortcuts are good!

Parka for 18" doll -- A Pinch of Joy
Steps in construction:
1. Sew outer garment at shoulders, with right sides of fabric together.
2. Stitch gathering thread into sleeve top between notches, leaving a long thread on each end.  Gently gather sleeve until it fits in armhole and matches notches on garment.  Stitch sleeve in place around armhole.
3.  Place right sides of garment together and stitch side of garment and sleeves together in one continuous seam. Repeat for other side.
4.  Add hood to neckline with right sides of fabric together, matching notches.  Stitch.
5.  Repeat for lining.  Omit step two if you are not adding bulky lining to sleeves, and only stitch sides of lining.
6.  Place lining inside the coat with insides together and so that seams are aligned with like seams.  For bulky or fur lining, hand stitch the lining in place.  For thin lining  fold both the coat and the lining in about one fourth inch, press and then top stitch together.

Parka fastener for 18" doll -- A Pinch of Joy

Stitch button in place.  The ones I used were about 3/4″ in diameter.  Cut a piece of thin elastic long enough to slip over the button easily and add a quarter inch for stitching.  Fold in half and stitch in place opposite the button.  Add a second button about 1 1/2 to 2 inches below the first.  I have not made this with a zipper and the pattern may require some modification.  You are on your own for that!

Native Alaskan Coat -- A Pinch of Joy

Back of the inspiration coat.

Native Alaskan Coats -- A Pinch of Joy

A couple more Native Alaskan coats.

Other 18″ doll projects:
Sleeping Bag for 18 inch doll
Jacket, Hat and Scarf from Dollar Store purchase  with jacket pattern
Pillowcase Dress for 18″ Doll with pattern
Party Dress for 18″ Doll
Fiesta Skirt for 18″ Doll made from a fat quarter

I’m so glad you stopped by today!   Be sure to follow A Pinch of Joy so you don’t miss a thing! 

Subscribe by email  on the sidebar  or follow on Facebook, RSS feed, bloglovin’  twitter  and check out my  pinterest boards.   If you found this helpful or inspiring please share below!  Your support of A Pinch of Joy is  appreciated!


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How to make a bandana dress — tutorial

How Make a Bandana Dress -- A Pinch of Joy

How Make a Bandana Dress -- A Pinch of Joy
Bandana dresses are another version of the pillowcase dress — but faster and easier!  They’re really cute, too!  Bandanas are available in so many great colors and fun designs.   I picked this classic design for the tutorial, but setting on my sewing table are polka dot, plain, chevron and party print bandanas.  Can’t wait to make them into cute  dresses!  

A bandana makes the perfect sized dress for a toddler.  The dresses are about the equivalent of a 24 month or size 2.  They are full and loose around the body which any mom knows makes the size matter less.   The ribbon ties make the arm holes  adjustable so the bandana dress fit is even more forgiving.  Growing girl just means add tights under the shorter dress and, eventually, the dress becomes a top with jeans or shorts.   Big bang for the time and bit of money! 

How to Make a Bandana Dress -- A Pinch of Joy
For each dress you will need two bandanas and ribbon 2 1/2 yards long.  I found my bandanas at Hobby Lobby for 99 cents each.  The ribbon just happened to be on sale at fifty percent off — about $2 for 5 yards.  Grosgrain ribbon is the sturdiest ribbon and always looks good.  I got some 1 inch wide ribbon and some that was 1 1/2 inches wide for statement bows.  I don’t try to match the thread with the color of the bandana, but generally use what I have on hand.  For this I used a cream white thread that blended with the cream pattern and the light blue. 

Printing at top
There will be printing on one end of the bandana.  That end will be the top of your dress.  This end will fold down to make the casing for the ribbon so it won’t show on the finished dress.  Plus, the bandanas are NOT square so be sure both bandanas have the printing at the top before you cut the armholes.  Don’t ask me how I know that, but it might be related to how I know what time Hobby Lobby closes on Saturday evenings!  

 Cut Armholes -- A Pinch of Joy
I like the pillowcase dresses with armholes because that reduces the bulk and allows freer movement for the wearer.  For a one inch wide ribbon, measure in two inches from the edge of the bandana at its printed top, then measure four inches down.  Make sure the bottom of the  line is also 2 inches from the edge of the bandana.  Mark with pins or pencil and then curve the marked corner to make a J shape.  If you are using a ribbon 1 1/2 inches wide, make the downward line 4.5 inches long and two inches from the edge. These measurements are very forgiving so if you feel you need to adjust for your child, do so. I’m making several dresses so I made a paper pattern.  That way I don’t have to measure every time — just match the edge of the paper to the edge of the bandana and cut. 

How to Make a Bandana Dress -- A Pinch of Joy
Pin the two bandanas together with right sides facing each other.  If you can’t tell right side from “wrong” side, look to see which way the hem is rolled.   Where you see the edge is the inside of your garment, so pin it facing outward to sew.   Begin pinning at the bottom to make sure the edges meet perfectly and end at the armhole.  If things don’t quite match at the armhole after stitching you can trim the fabric so it does match.  Repeat on the other side.   **Off topic — but its weird that the very same countertop looks so different in these pictures! 

Stitch bandana dress -- A Pinch of Joy
Stitch each side, beginning at the bottom.  The hem is about half an inch wide.  If you are a beginner and seams are a little wobbly, you can cheat.  Use a wide presser foot,  a multipurpose foot which is probably the one already on your machine.  Place the fabric under the presser foot so the edge of the rolled hem is right next the edge of the presser foot and keep them hugging each other as you sew.   If you are making a dress for a slender child, you can also make the side seams wider so there is not so much fullness in the finished dress. 

Clip Curves -- How to Make a Bandana Dress -- A Pinch of Joy
Next step is to finish the armholes.  You can use bias tape for this step.  I prefer to just turn the fabric and hem.  The secret is to clip the fabric right at the curve on each side of the armhole.  Just a little cut about one fourth inch wide.  This will allow the hem to lay flat.  If it doesn’t, make another clip, same size, on the curve.

6Hem Armhole
Turn the raw edge of the armhole in about one fourth inch and then fold again about one fourth inch.  Pin to hold the fabric in place.  Stitch, removing pins as you go.  Repeat for the other side.  The folded part of the hem will be on the “wrong” side of the fabric. 

To make casing -- Bandana Dress -- A Pinch of Joy
To make the casing for the ribbon, fold over the top of the dress to the inside.   Remember the printing?  That’s where you are making the folds.  For a ribbon one inch wide, fold over one and a half inches. For a ribbon one and a half inches wide, make the fold two inches. The extra half inch gives you room for stitching and for gathering the fabric on the ribbon. Stitch along the bottom fold all the way across.  To make the dress more sturdy, do a backstitch of about three or four stitches at the beginning and the end of the fold.  This will keep the fabric from tearing or coming loose with wear.  

  If you plan to make several bandana dresses, it is worth making a cardboard template to make the folding faster and more even.   Take the back of a cereal box or a piece of cardstock and draw a line across at 1  1/2 inches from the edge (or 2 inches).  Lay the template on the fabric and fold the fabric over to meet the line.  Adjust the fabric so the fold comes right at the edge of the template on the inside of the fold and the end of fabric is on the line.   To make things even faster, press the fold before removing the template.  Makes it easier to pin and reduces the number of pins you need. 

 push ribbon through casing using safety pin -- A Pinch of Joy
To push the ribbon through the casing use a large safety pin or diaper pin.  I cut two and a half yards of ribbon in half, using 45 inches for each casing.  You can see on the finished dress that is generous, so you can adjust your cut if you need or if you don’t want the long ribbon ends.  Use a bit of fray check or super glue or clear fingernail polish on just the tips of the ribbon to stop fraying.   Scrunch the fabric on the safety pin, then pull on the pin while smoothing the scrunched fabric over the ribbon.  Easy peasy! 

9Stitch down middle of casing
When the ribbon is pulled through, match the ends so an equal amount of ribbon shows on each side.  Find the center of the casing and stitch across it as shown — once forward and once in reverse.  This prevents the ribbon from being pulled out accidentally. 

Bandana Dress
And you are done!  Some little girl will have a sweet summery dress! You can leave your Bandana Dress plain as I did or your can add pockets, ties, ruffles and so much more.   Check out my Pillowcase Dress Board on Pinterest here for inspiration!

Edited to add:  I’ve received some questions about using bandanas and thought you might like the answers as well: 
I washed the bandanas before making the dresses to make sure they didn’t shrink and to remove the fold marks.  The bandanas seem to hold up well to regular washing.  I found the classic bandanas and the darker colored patterns — like the polka dot — were better quality fabric than the ones with white backgrounds. 

You can make this dress with regular fabric.  Bandanas measure 20 inches by 21 inches with the longer measurement making the dress length.  You will have to make two adjustments to the measurements.   Add an extra half inch to the top measurement to allow for turning the unfinished edge under when making the casing.   Add allowance for a hem at the bottom of the dress — about an inch for the hem and a half inch for turning under the unfinished edge.  See my earlier post How to Make a Pillowcase Dress for more information

A Pinch of Joy: How to Make a Pillowcase Dress

How to Make a Pillowcase Dress

I’m so glad you stopped by today!   Be sure to follow A Pinch of Joy so you don’t miss a thing! 

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