Most of the dolls I find at the local thrift stores are naked. I bring them home, give them a spa treatment, and sew them a pretty, new dress. Lately, I've been wanting to try making a simpler dress other than my standard go-to, which is sleeveless sundress with a full, gathered skirt. While I think it's very pretty and feminine, it does take a lot of time to gather and sew the skirt, make the placket, and add the hem band trimmed with rick rack. And since I always have an over-abundance of naked dolls on hand and limited sewing time, I decided it's time to maybe find a simpler dress. Enter Simplicity 8314:
When I first saw this pattern, I knew I wanted to give it a shot. The short pantsuit and geometric block dress in the big picture did nothing for me, but the sleeved blue dress and white dress with red contrast looked really cute!
Now, I am a child of the late 60's to early 70's, and I cringe when I look at the photos showing what my mother used to dress me in back then. So. much. polyester. And bold, floral prints. Not all of it was bad, but that time period is not my favorite for fashion! However, I could tell that this pattern had great potential.
I promptly pulled out several coordinating prints from my never-ending stash of fabric and whipped out these, four dresses:
Didn't they turn out so sweet? Simple yet feminine. I chose to make View C (bottom right corner). I omitted the sleeves to make it even simpler. Other changes I made were to lengthen the dress by 1", omit the facings and instead completely line the dress, and hem the bottom with bias tape. I hate neckline/armhole facings, so completely lining the dress made perfect sense to me. Plus, it gives the dress a nicer weight and feel, and hides all of the exposed edges. Since the front of the dress is made up of a center front and then side panels, I constructed the front first, ironed it nicely, and then used this as a pattern for my front lining piece.
18" Madame Alexander modeling the adorable owl print on an orange background. She happens to also be wearing a white blouse underneath the dress which makes it look like this dress has sleeves and collar. But it doesn't.
Close-up of the fabric:
18" Madame Alexander ethnic doll. I love this blue and yellow combination.
Another 18" Madame Alexander with probably my favorite of the four dresses. I just think the brown and pink combination is so pretty.
The back of these dresses is nice and simple. I closed them with Velcro. If I was making these dresses for my own dolls, I would either make buttonholes or use snaps. But since I'm trying to keep them simple, Velcro was a good choice.
18" Our Generation "Hair to There" Doll. This is a special edition Target doll, because she has hair that reaches the ground and a knob in her back which can let out or retract the three braids that come out of the top of her head. While I think that some of these dolls are pretty, I don't like the way their upper arms are shaped. They remind me of body builders! But they are a nice alternative for little girls who may want an 18" doll, but aren't quite mature enough for an expensive American Girl.
This dress, the way I made it, has only 4 pattern pieces: The center front panel, side panels, back, and front tab. Very simple. I hid the hem stitching with rick rack sewn on top. In conclusion, I highly recommend this pattern!