Copyright 2004 Maria Vowell
It doesn't matter what type or size doll you have, you can easily design your own doll dresses following a few simple steps.
This article explains how to make a basic dress, that you can then use as either a sundress, or that you can crochet dainty ruffles on for a more elegant fashion.
First you will want to grab your doll, a crochet hook, some yarn, a pen and a notebook. As you crochet, you will want to make sure that you write down all of your stitches so that you can save your design in writing.
First crochet a simple chain until it's long enough to reach comfortably around the neck of your doll. I usually crochet my chains to be long enough to just reach around the width of the neck, then I add 3 extra chains to give enough room for it to fit neatly without being too tight.
Next, crochet 2 singles stitches in each chain, and there you will have your basic neck.
Now, place your neck on your doll, with the ends being centered in the back, and mark the stitches right underneath the arms by inserting small bits of yarn into the stitches. These can be removed once your arm loops are crocheted.
Double crochet to where the arms should be (the area you marked with your bits of yarn), and then next make a chain using the number of stitches marked previously with your bits of yarn. Now add 4 or 5 more chains to give a bit of extra room for the arms.
To gauge if you have enough chain stitches, you can pin the chain in place in the last stitch not marked for the arms, and see if the "loop" slides onto the arm easily.
Once you've gauged your chain, then double crochet in the next unmarked stitch to close the "loop" onto the neckpiece.
Now double crochet to the next arm area, and create a chain with the same number of stitches as your previous chain, close that loop as well, and then double crochet to the end of the neckpiece.
Now chain 3, turn and double crochet one row, while adding the same number of double crochet stitches onto the "loop" as you had for number of chains.
Chain 3, turn again and double crochet to right underneath the arm. If your doll has "breasts" then you will want to place your bodice on your doll, and mark the stitches that lay right over the dolls "breasts".
Note: If your doll does not have breasts, then just double crochet across.
Now double crochet to the "breasts" section of the bodice, and based on how large your doll is you will need to add a few double crochet stitches in the breasts area.
Typical fashion dolls only need to have 3 double crochet stitches added, in one stitch over the breasts.
Whereas larger dolls may need to have 6 stitches added into 2 stitches.
To determine how many stitches to add, crochet 3 double crochet stitches in the first stitch you marked, try the bodice on the doll and see if it fits comfortably. If it appears to be too tight, just add 3 more double crochet stitches into the next stitch, and so on until it fits well.
Double crochet to the next breast area, repeat the increased stitches, then double crochet to the end of the row.
Chain three, turn and double crochet back to the breast areas, DECREASE the same number of stitches to form the "cups" and double crochet to the end of the row.
If you have a rather large doll, then you will want to do a row of double crochet stitches before you close the "cups" to make sure that the cups fit snugly.
Chain three, turn and crochet one more row of double crochet stitches.
Now try your bodice on your doll, pinning it closed in the back, to make sure that it fits snugly.
If it fits, you've done a great job and can continue to the skirt. If it seems to be too tight in some areas, you will need to unravel and start again increasing stitches in those areas.
Once you get used to using this method, you'll find that you won't have to unravel as often as you may when you first start designing. If you do need to unravel, don't get upset. You're just now learning something new, and as with everything that you learn, practice makes perfect.
Once you have a snug fitting bodice, you will need to determine what type of skirt you would like to make.
First, do rows of double crochet until you get to where you would like the waist of your skirt to be.
Once your bodice is the desired length, then you will want to double crochet in each stitch across. This makes the waste form outward to fit over your dolls hips.
Now you can begin designing your skirt. If you want a skirt that flairs, then do a row of three double crochet stitches in each stitch across. If you want a tighter skirt, then do a row of one double crochet stitch in each stitch across.
Chain three, turn and double crochet in each stitch across. Now you can close your skirt into a circle by joining the edges together with a single stitch. Try your bodice on your doll again to make sure that it will pull onto the doll snugly then complete your skirt by crocheting it to the desired length.
Once you skirt is completed, you will have completed your basic dress. You now have a wonderful dress, designed completely by you, and as you can see it wasn't hard at all!
You can add sleeves by joining your yarn into the arm loops, and crocheting ruffles around the edges.
You can also add ruffles into your skirt.
Once you get better at designing the basic dress, then you can use other stitches to make fancy details and patterns in your designs.
Ad ruffles or single stitches around the neck for collars, or sew beads onto the necks for a decorative edging.
Before long you'll be designing your own doll dresses like a professional in no time!
Don't forget to always write your instructions down, and for ways to profit using the patterns you design then please visit the following URL to obtain your copy of "Profitable Crafts ~ Consignment Sales And Getting Your Projects Published".
Maria Vowell is a published designer that has crocheted since she was 11 years old, who has successfully mentored literally hundreds of crafters, both online and off, and who has over 13 years experience at designing her own crochet patterns. Ms. Vowell also provides a series of manuals to help other artisans and crafters profit from their arts & crafts related sales. Learn more at: http://www.daintywork.com/crafts/volumes.htm