The Katie Dress Pattern

October 7, 2010

My oldest niece turned 7 in August and decided that for her birthday she wanted an American Girl doll. I wanted to help celebrate her great new doll and thought clothes would be the perfect gift. What does a girl love more than clothes? Well, after looking around at the price of American Girl doll clothes, I decided to make my own.

An Internet search for patterns left me empty handed. Nearly everything I found was for knit or crochet and I don’t do either. So I bought my own AG knock-off doll, got out a tape measure and some paper and got to work. Before I knew it I was sewing dress after dress! I have a gazillion more ideas for clothes and I can’t wait to turn them into patterns to share!

So to honor my sweet niece, I named my first dress pattern after her. This is The Katie Dress!

As a kid, I hated that my doll clothes closed with velcro. After a few weeks they were always gunked up with cat hair, doll hair, fuzz, and whatever else found its way to the velcro. So I wanted to create clothes that had real world methods of closure. So, The Katie Dress has a zipper back!

And sweet rick rack details.

Or, if you prefer, piping!

These dresses are amazingly simple to construct. Each one took me about an hour and used leftover scraps of fabric! I hope you’ll enjoy making them as much as I do!

To print the pattern pieces correctly, set your margins to 0 and print. There is a 1″ by 1″ square on each piece to verify your pages printed at the correct size for an 18″ doll.

CLICK HERE to download the free pattern!

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77 Responses to “The Katie Dress Pattern”

  1. Katie said:

    This is just in time! My friend JUST asked me last week if I’d be willing to make her daughters sme AG clothes from Christmas. I told her I would get back to her if I found anything online. Now I can say yes. You’re fantastic! Thanks! DO you plan on posting anymore patterns??

  2. Melissa said:

    I do, Katie! I’m going to email you about it to see if you’d be interested in helping me with them! :)

  3. Kim said:

    Please include me in your future A.G. Doll clothes making. My mother and I plan on making oodles of clothes and accessories for Christmas this year.

  4. Emily said:

    YES! YES! YES! Thank you so much for doing this and posting the pattern for us. I am also making AG doll clothes for my niece for Christmas but am having a hard time finding patterns online. I can’t wait to see what other things you will post!!! :)

  5. Cheryl said:

    I love this dress. I would love to see more, I would also like to see patterns for AG Bitty Baby. (They are hard to find too)

  6. Jerri said:

    I love the idea of the zipper! Easy for little hands and no velcro. Your pattern is beautifully drawn and written, I’ll definitely be making some of these for Christmas. How exciting that you plan on sharing more! Thank you!!

  7. Jennifer said:

    This is one of the best explained tutorials for a doll dress I have seen! Thanks! Now I have to dig out my stash and start on one.

  8. Daphne said:

    Yaaayyy, thanks so much. this tutorial is beyond awesome. Please feel free to email me if you need any more testers. thanks again.

  9. Lila Jo said:

    I am super excited to try this pattern! Thanks so much for sharing, my little one has been begging for new doll clothes!

  10. Doll Craft Roundup said:

    […] The Katie Dress Pattern at Sew Like My Mom […]

  11. Emily said:

    This is SOOOO CUTE!!!!! Thank you so much! My girls will love this.

  12. Catherine said:

    Yay! So happy to find this. My daughter has an AG doll and I just got a sewing machine. Been looking for patterns too. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Olga said:

    It’s brilliant, thanks a lot! I agree that zip closures are much nicer, I also use them for dolls’ dresses instead of velcro.

  14. Kim said:

    I just made this one as a Christmas gift for my niece, It was such a great tutorial! I went to your Etsy shop to buy your other dress pattern as well.


  15. Kaylee said:

    LOVE this!!! I’ve been looking for dress patterns online and couldn’t find many! This is beautiful and I would love to see more patterns like it!!

  16. 18 Doll Clothes said:


    Nice dress, People will so happy to get online shopping of these dresses. about doll are celebrate her great new doll and thought clothes would be the perfect gift. Thanks…..

  17. Shari @For the Little Doll In Your Life said:

    I have to admire anyone who can just get their tape measure out and “wing it.” Bonus points for putting in a zipper too (I myself have a zipper phobia). These came out very cute. Sticky velcro can be a problem, especially around doll hair. That’s why Emily Rose @Home doll clothes all have a patented velcro that is designed to not stick to anything other than itself.

  18. Jenny said:

    This is so cute! I’m definitely using this for my daughter’s dolls. So far I’ve only made p.j.s, but they sure are cute1

  19. ginny said:

    i am having a hard time printing to scale. mine printed a little smaller than 1″. You say to set your margins to 0, but how do you do that with a pdf?

  20. Doll Clothes Galore!! | Sew Like My Mom said:

    […] August, my oldest niece decided she wanted an American Girl doll for her birthday. I made the Katie Dress for Katelyn, and gave her 2 dresses in different styles. She was in heaven. Her sisters anxiously […]

  21. Puppenkleid | Erstlingswerke said:

    […] Puppenkleid […]

  22. justjayma said:

    I love this little dress! I wish I could make it in my daughter’s size, too!

  23. karen said:

    Very cute! I wish I had a pattern for little girls as well! What a great present to make for my neice and her doll for Christmas!

  24. Julie said:

    Thank you for this! I will make this x2 for my 2 daughters for Christmas presents. I am thankful you are kind enough to share this…there are no free patterns out there for 18 inch dolls! Thank you and will you post more? Best Regards, Julie

  25. Julie said:

    I found another cute 18 inch doll dress – free pattern!

  26. Diana said:

    I love the pattern. However the pattern is in blue ink. I only have a black and white printer and am not able to print the pattern out. Is there a way to change the ink color on the pattern to make it easier to print. Thank you

  27. Melissa said:

    You can choose to print in black and white (or gray scale) in MS word under the Print menu. That should print the image for you. Let me know if it doesn’t and I’ll see what I can do!

  28. Jen said:

    I tried to make this dress, and I am wondering if the seam allowance is included in the pattern? Or do I have to add that myself? Not sure what I did wrong, but the side seams are more to the front than the sides.

  29. Hartley said:

    This is so adorable! I would LOVE to make a matching one for my little girls (2,4). Any chance you have made a big girl pattern??

  30. tonyasrb said:

    The zipper is a great idea. I have a hard time finding velcro that is the same quality the AG store would use. What I find is always stiff and doesn’t look great on the finished product.

  31. shannon said:

    We have decided to do the same for Christmas 2012. Would love some additional AG doll patterns for the nieces. Thanks, love your blog!!!

  32. Jodie R said:

    What a cute simple dress. I like how you can change the looks just by piping it.

  33. Laura said:

    I would love to see more patterns. My daughter is planning a AG birthday party where we hope the girls can sew an outfit for their doll. I am searching for cute fun patterns that beginners can do. This dress is so cute!

  34. Doll Clothes: Reversible Gown for an 18 Inch Doll « Sabia Lane said:

    […] reversible gown is adapted from the Katie Dress Pattern from Sew Like My Mom. The bodice piece was enlarged to fit an Our Generation Doll which measures wider through the chest […]

  35. Colleen said:

    Thank you for this pattern! I adapted it as a reversible gown. (Apologies, opted for hook and loop to make it serve double duty.) For the reversible option one side is fine for any date while the opposite side has holiday specific ribbon trim. Image at

  36. Jill @ A Mom With A Lesson Plan said:

    Beautiful and might just be the perfect project for my daughter and i to tackle over spring break!

  37. Violet said:

    WOW! This pattern is amazingly detailed! My daughter asked for and received an American Girl doll for her 7th birthday as well! I promised to make her doll some new clothes this week adn this is just great! Thank you!

  38. Pamela said:

    This dress is SO unbelievably cute, I would love to make it for my 2 year old daughter and her doll. I am a beginner though and up until now have made stuff according to patterns / tutorials. What is the best way to scale something up or adjust to fit different measurements?!?!?!

  39. Doris Wilson said:

    Are the seam allowances included in the pattern???? OR do we need to allow extra on all pieces?

  40. Amy said:

    What happened to the .pdf instructions? The link is dead. I have the pattern pieces but not the instructions and I’m too much of a beginner to feel comfortable just working from the pattern pieces.

  41. Melissa said:

    Hi Amy. I’m sorry you’re having trouble with the instructions. I tried on several different computers and was able to download them on each one. If you’re still having trouble please shoot me an email and I’ll reply with the .pdf attached.

  42. Julie said:

    Love this!! For my own Katie’s 7th birthday (!) she got a “BFC INK” doll which is like a cross between a Barbie and AG doll–thinner, plastic body, teenage body type, and heavily jointed; BUT an 18″ doll like AG. She also got her first sewing machine and I made a binder full of illustrated patterns (all tucked into plastic sleeve page protectors). I put this one in there with no hopes of her being able to make it herself but after making it myself last night I think she might! It’s so much easier than I expected! I made hers out of some scrap seersucker to match a dress her Grandma bought her. I had to adjust the bodice a lot which means the skirt would have been a bit too wide, but I did a gathered skirt rather than pleated. I can send you the PDF scan of the adjusted bodice if you want to offer that, too.

  43. Julie said:

    Me again: she did the dress herself! I did the zipper and top stitching but she did the rest. It came out lovely! The blog links to the photo.

    I also scaled it up to her size and she made her own, too (again I did the zipper and top stitching). For hers I did the bodice with the front and back separate to save a little wasted fabric. Not a big deal when it’s a few inches for a doll, but it made the size 6x version hard to cut without losing a lot of fabric.

  44. Nancy said:

    I am sending you my pinterest link so you can see the beautiful dress I made with your pattern. I used Stampin’Up! fabric since I am a demonstrator. Thank you so much for sharing!

  45. Kathy said:

    My granddaughter will love this! My daughter crochets beautiful dresses and sleepmasks etc for her AG dolls. She has just started trying her hand at sewing. This will be great for her to try!

  46. Don said:

    Thank you for sharing this pattern, I loved it (I hate Velcro too!)! I used it as a basis for nightgowns for my daughters’ AG dolls (modifying it a bit) here: yesterday (pictures should be up today, probably before you read this but if not, check back). Now I want to actually make dresses from it :)

  47. Julie said:

    Fabulous, Trank you so much for Posting.

  48. Liddie said:

    I am new to sewing and so far I have finished two of these lovely dresses. Using this pattern has allowed me to try several techniques that I would not otherwise try like putting in zippers and pleats and adding embellishments. To a beginner, and I mean beginner, this is a huge accomplishement. Thanks to your step by step tutorials, you have demystified a lot of things a beginner should know. Thanks and I will definitely use more of your patterns in the future.

  49. Laurie said:

    I just made a similar dress today from a free pattern but yours is better. The one I used had 3 pieces for the top. Once I sewed the two back pieces to the shoulders of the front piece, i wondered why that wasn’t all one piece. I see that’s what you did, so now I feel smart! Will be using your pattern and playing around with all the possibilities. Thank you!

  50. Joyce said:

    I don’t understand the 1″ by 1″. Does that mean that what I print is not the size I need for the doll?

  51. Melissa said:

    It’s a scale measurement. When you print, that square needs to measure 1″ by 1″. If it does, the pattern pieces are the right size.

  52. Joyce said:

    Thanks so much–just hadn’t heard that but I’m new at getting patterns from the computer.

  53. lynne said:

    That little dress is so cute! Thank you for the great tutorial. What size zipper did you use?

  54. Melissa said:

    I think it was a 9″ zipper. But the length doesn’t matter, you can use any size zipper and cut off the excess.

  55. Holly said:

    Wow, this is great! My girl and I just finished up a little 4th of July dress for her dolly, and it turned out splendidly. Thanks for putting your pattern out there for us to find. :)

  56. Pat said:

    Love this pattern, but I had trouble turning the top inside out. What am I doing wrong?

  57. Brenda said:

    Wonder if snaps would work, or if I would need to make the top piece bigger in the back. I love Babyville plastic snaps, so easy!

  58. Dalençon Colette said:

    Cette est très jolie. J’adore le petit croquet qui réhausse la couleur de la robe. Merci pour ce partage

  59. Achieving Hero Status (i.e. Sewing American Girl Doll Dresses) | The Craft Prowler said:

    […] American Girl dolls. I wanted something simple that I could finish in a week, and the Katie dress at Sew Like My Mom fit the bill. I decided to do four dresses–two for each girl–in case any one dress was […]

  60. Naomi said:

    I can’t thank you enough.
    So beautiful
    So easy
    So cheap to make
    and for free!!
    Thankyou for the joy you have brought to me and my two daughters

  61. Ericka Austin said:

    Hi, thank you so much for this pattern. I have just finished making a halloween witch outfit with it. I adapted it slightly because my daughter likes a velcro fasten. It’s a brilliant dress pattern. Thanks again.

  62. Meggin said:

    Thank you so much for this pattern! I have used it multiple times for gifts and it has saved me so much money! And it’s quality made with the top stitching and zipper. Thank you!

  63. Nickie Pleuler said:

    Thanks so much for sharing this pattern with us. My granddaughter is 5 years old and just starting to actually put clothes on her dollies instead of taking them off! She asked me to make her some doll clothes for Christmas. Perfect timing.

    Nickie Pleuler

  64. Bonnie Anderson said:

    Thank you for the wonderful pattern! It was so quick and easy.

    I used the piping version. When putting in the zipper, I realized that the piping created too much bulk at the waist. I used tweezers to pull some of the piping out of the enclosing fabric and snipped off about 1/2 inch. This reduced the bulk so that the zipper went in more smoothly without destroying the colorful effect of the piping.

    I then did the same thing to the piping trim at the bottom.

    When turning the top, I use a good sized safety pin. I attached it to the fabric that is most distant from the shoulder and then pushed the safety pin through the shoulder. It gave me something to hold on to and was a great way to pull the rest of the fabric through. I still had to tug a bit but I didn’t need to use anything to push it.

  65. Melissa said:

    Thank you for these tips, Bonnie!

  66. Mary H. said:

    I downloaded your pattern and instructions some time ago. I’m just now getting around to cutting out the Katie dress. The instructions say to use a 1/8 inch seam. Is that correct? It seems like such a tiny seam allowance. Just wanted to check if that is correct or a typo. Thanks.

    Mary H.

  67. Melissa said:

    Yes Mary, 1/8″ is correct! Happy sewing! :)

  68. Karin said:

    I love the idea of zipper instead of Velco!! Am going to make several for my granddaughters!!!!

    I appreciate your sharing the free pattern!!!

    Many thanks!!

  69. Patti Beckner (pattibeckner) | Pearltrees said:

    […] The Katie Dress Pattern […]

  70. Jenn said:

    I just finished making your pattern. It’s the first doll pattern I’ve tried and it came out just beautiful! It’s so well written and easy to follow. Thanks for sharing it!

  71. dresses « MyBlog said:

    […] […]

  72. American Girl September Outfit | The By Kids for Kids Blog said:

    […] tank top was made with the dress pattern here.  I excluded the skirt and lengthened the bodice about an inch at the bottom.  It attaches in the […]

  73. greta said:

    I really like this idea

  74. Susan said:

    Thank you so much for the pattern. It is just so cute and seems nice and easy for my granddaughter to sew.

  75. Christine said:

    This pattern was so easy, and the results were great! I have adapted the pattern in various ways to create a different look (ie: shorten or lengthen the hem, added a ruffle around the bottom hem, gathered the skirt instead of pleats, added sleeves, raised the neckline, eliminated the zipper in the back and put buttons up on the shoulders……etc) Thanks so much for this versatile pattern.
    My granddaughter loves her new doll clothes,and so do my nieces!

  76. 9 Clothing Patterns for Dolls - Plushie Patterns said:

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  77. Breanna said:

    Love it so much

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