Monday, September 4, 2017

Upcycling Doll Clothes From Baby Onesies!!

Greetings and Salutations Doll Friends!

Recently, in one of my favorite doll groups on Facebook, a few people have been posting photos of their upcycled doll clothes projects... I'm not sure if you realize this if you have just recently started reading this blog, upcycling doll clothes was kind of the 'thing' that pulled me into writing this blog in the first place. Doll clothes can be incredibly expesive and I know when my daughter was into them, the idea of spending even $10 an outfit seemed impossible to me! So in my search of other options, I went to Pinterest and found an idea to make doll skirts out of the bottom of a pair of jeans (don't judge the horrible photos in the old blog post... You learn as you go, eh?) The rest, as they say, is history... 

One of the reasons I stopped sewing was, well, as you can see in this post about my Doll Room, you can see my doll closet is stuffed with clothes and that's with all my (I literally don't know how many) dolls all fully clothed. It's madness. A hazard, I suppose of writing a doll blog.... Do I have too many doll clothes? No. I need a bigger doll closet. Yes. That is the answer. *giggles*

So, inspired was I by the people posting thier creations on Facebook group, that I decided to dust off the sewing machine. Then to pull out my mammoth sized "bag-of-stuff-to-be-mad-over" that I've been collecting for, I dunno, over a year (or two?). I'd see something cute and think "that would be so cute as doll clothes!" and into the bag it would go. Let's just say the bag is chocka-block-full-up!! I knew eventually I'd sit down the machine again. My only trouble is that the place I have to sew is our dining room table and I end up making us eat elsewhere when I get on a sewing jag and that's no good either. I need to just set up a little corner of my basement and sew down there. I digress. This weekend, being a long one, I took over the dining room for the weekend and set to sewing! 

Here are a few of the baby onesies I made over into short dresses or shirts. They are all either premie sized or newborn sized. I find any larger and it doesn't really fit like I want in the shoulders and I am too lazy to alter them more than hemming the bottom. Luckily the newborn sized are pretty easy to find second hand. Premie sized? Not as easy and for a pretty one I'll even pay as much as a $1.00. Don't laugh, I basically won't even look unless price is that low... Twice this summer I found a 'stuff a bag for a $1.00 sales where I got like 15 onesies for a $1.00 so... Consider that when you laugh at a dollar being too much money. That's what's so great about making them over, they are easy to find and don't cost much... Also the newborn and premie sizes usually look pretty new because babies grow so quickly, don't they just? 

I love love love the little flowered one with the monkey on it. It was a premie item and I think it was brand new. Isn't it adorable?! The other two are cute too of course but the middle one is my favorite. 

I've gotten better at this making shirts with them than I used to be. I did have sucess when I had a few that were less stretchy knit when I made them into doll dresses.  I am almost too embarrased to post my older one but it'll help you gain courage about sewing too because you'll see it's all a learning process. Right?

All you do is turn the onesie inside out...

This one was a premie onesie.

I forgot to photo the next step, you just get a ruler and draw a line across the bottom so you'll cut strait. (trust me, draw the line! you think you can cut strait until you try it on cloth, I know... I've tried... A couple of times. Because I am stubborn. Haha)

Then iron your onesie. This doesn't sound important but it makes a huge difference. Then I take some seam binding (I like the lacey ones best) and, using binding as a guide, I pin up the shirt hem around it. If that makes sense. 

See how I am tucking the seam binding into the hem as I go? Why do I need the seam binding you ask? Because knits, in my opnion, are the dickens to sew on their own. The binding gives the knit more 'stablity' under the needle. It's still a bit tricky to sew but once you get the hang of it, it gets easier. 

See? Here I am about to meet the ends up in my pinning. Then iron the seam again. work in around the pins so as to not melt their little heads off. (I am not really sure if that would happen but just in case). It helps. Trust me. It's like it makes your fabric behave better if that makes sense. 

Then you sew carefully around, starting a middle of the back of the shirt or dress you're sewing. (I forgot to photo this step with the little monkey shirt) Why the back? Because that's where the seams meet and if you accidentally don't match them up perfecty, at least they are at the back. Make sense? 

Most people are making doll clothes for little girls and I've never heard one complain about wibbly stitching yet. They just love having variety in their dolly wardrobe... So... Imperfections are no big! 

Here is the finished product. I love it. So cute! 

Here is a ballet shirt. 

And compared to a pre-made shirt I took off one of the dolls I was using as a fit doll. The yellow shirt is one from Creatology. They tend to run on the very small size (the dolls are like 17inches even I think) and so you can see where the upcycled onesie shirt is pretty much spot on for size.

Someone in a doll group on Facebook was wondering what to do with the left over bit... So I thought about it all day yesterday and as I was looking at the leftover part of this brown one, all the sudden it hit me. It could be a kerchief for thier hair! Then the outfits would be more of an ensemble with a matching accessory! Not to mention it doesn't end up in landfill! I just trimmed the edges of the elastic 'leg bands' on one side to make the 'strings' and hemmed up the other side so it'd be more finished looking. I think you could leave the hemming off and just trim it too since knits generally don't fray much. I left the snaps on the bottom of the 'ties' because they add just enough length to the tie to make it easy to tie up underneath the doll hair. You can't see them anyyway and they make it easier to tie them, honestly. 

Here is the finishes "kerchief".

And Florence modeling one of the ensembles. This one is a little mini dress. 

Aren't they cute? If I do say so myself.... They are so easy to make though that it feels almost like cheating. 

So find yourself a baby onesie and make your doll a cute new ensemble! 

UPDATE September 30, 2017:

Please note, if you're making the onsies over in the way I described, by inserting seam binding in the hem of the shirt, it makes it really hard to put them on unless you put them on from the top down, not over the head. If that makes sense. The opening to the kneck is super stretchy and so putting them in feet first from the top of the shirt is easiest way to dress them in these tops or dresses. 

Better run!
Have a great day!


  1. You did good job! I keep the doll outfits that you upcyled before and they are meaning to me.

  2. I love to upcycle people clothing into doll items. I have a huge Rubbermaid bin stuffed full of onesies, dresses, sweaters, and other pieces which I just know will be perfect for a future project! By the way, you can buy glass head pins (usually in the quilting section of most fabric stores, but I've seen them in the regular notions aisle at JoAnn's, too) and you can iron directly over them without fear of melting the heads. They are one of my favorite notions. In fact, I got rid of all of my plastic head pins because I didn't want to get them mixed up with the glass ones. Try'll like them!

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