Springtime Belle Fashion Doll

Springtime Belle Fashion Doll

By Marsha Greenberg
Continued Instructions from Issue 148 May/June 2013

An assortment of colorful embroidery flourishes on the hem and hat of this doll ensemble, rivaling real blossoms. Marsha Greenberg is no stranger to making doll clothes. She’s fashioned hundreds of little outfits, many of which are featured in her book Hankie Couture (Running Press, April 2011). Here, she offers a pattern for dolly’s most special occasions. With the diminutive size of the garment, you can afford to use the very best fabrics available.

Where to find it…
Doll dress and hat patterns are provided on the pullout centerfold of the May/June 2013 issue (#148).

What you’ll need…


  • Doll dress and hat are provided on the pullout centerfold (issue 148)


  • 1-3/8 yards silk chiffon (you will be using two plies) OR 1 yard other fabric (using only one ply)
  • ¾ yard cotton batiste for lining
  • ½ yard of 60- or 72-inch-wide lightweight white tulle for petticoat


  • Two snaps for the dress, size 3/0
  • 4-1/4 inches of 1-1/2-inch-wide elastic for petticoat waistband
  • 150 – 200 small white pearls
  • 35 – 40 faceted Austrian crystals – Fuchsia – less than ¼ inch


  • Small embroidery hoop
  • Contrast thread for basting
  • 60 to 80 wt thread to match chiffon
  • Size 65 or 70 machine needle
  • Silk ribbon embroidery needles (#24 tapestry or chenille for 7mm, #26 tapestry or chenille for 2mm and 4mm)
  • Blue wash-away marking pen
  • Sharp fabric cutting scissors (a variegated blade is best on silk)

Silk Ribbon
NOTE: Marsha used River Silks and The Thread Gatherer brands, but you can use any brand in these common colors.
You will need the following list of colors in size 7mm and 4mm:

  • white
  • fuchsia
  • variegated blue
  • variegated green
  • variegated fuchsia
  • variegated blue
  • variegated teal
  • hunter green
  • dark green
  • You will need these colors in just size 4mm
  • gold
  • grape
  • pink
  • purple
  • fuchsia
  • yellow


How to make it…

Marsha used two layers of chiffon for the dress, shawl and hat and a lightweight cotton for the lining. If you choose to make your dress using fabric other than silk chiffon, you would only need to cut one layer of fabric and one layer of lining to complete the dress and hat.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you use silk chiffon, you must baste the two pieces together before you begin any cutting or sewing. This fabric can get a little slippery, so take your time. Start with the skirt and hat pieces: Place the skirt and hat pattern to the two plies of silk, but do not cut. Use a basting thread in a light, contrast color to outline the skirt and hat pattern. Allow large margins (several inches at least) around the skirt and hat pieces to create plenty of room for the embroidery hoop. After this step, you can separate the skirt from the hat pieces to embroider each individually. After all of the embroidery is complete, cut out around the pattern. After you cut out the completed, embroidered pieces, baste the two plies together around all the edges of the other pieces and cut them out.

Tulle Petticoat

  • Cut one top tier strip from tulle 5 x 44 inches
  • Cut two middle tier strips from tulle 5 x 44 inches
  • Cut three bottom tier strips from 5 x 50 inches

All seam allowances are ¼ inch.


  • There is only one piece to the bodice (no front and back). This piece wraps around the doll’s torso and has no side seams.
  • Stitch darts in bodice front, press toward center. Repeat for lining.
  • With right sides together, baste chiffon bodice to cotton bodice lining (fig. 1).
  • Make a small clip in center front point of bodice seam allowance. Turn bodice right side out and press gently.


  1. Fold ruffle strip in half lengthwise wrong sides together (do not press). Stitch each end ¼ inch. Turn right side out and press ends and along center crease.
  2. Machine stitch two rows of gathering thread in ¼ inch and 1/8 inch from raw edges. Gather ruffle strip to fit one curved edge of shawl piece ending ¼ inch from each edge (fig. 2). Pin and baste ruffle across shawl edge.
  3. Fold shawl in half lengthwise right sides together with ruffle sandwiched between layers; stitch seam (fig. 3). Notch seam if necessary and turn right side out. Press.
  4. Fold shawl in half widthwise right sides together, and stitch short ends together. Pull bobbin thread to gather seam to finish 3/8 inch (fig. 4).
  5. Flip ruffled edge of shawl down to right side along fold like indicated on pattern and steam press lightly (fig. 5). Set aside.

Click to enlarge


  1. Sew narrow ruffle strips end-to-end to create one long strip. Fold in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Stitch two rows of gathering stitches ¼ inch and 1/8 inch from raw edges. Start and stop gathering stitches ½ inch from raw ends.
  2. Prepare wide skirt ruffle in same manner.
  3. Gather narrow ruffle to fit bottom edge of skirt with right sides together. Baste in place.
  4. Gather wide ruffle to fit over narrow ruffle, right sides together. Baste, then stitch ruffles to bottom edge of skirt (fig. 6). Overcast seam. Turn seam up and press gently on wrong side toward top of skirt.
  5. Stitch two rows of gathering stitches ¼ inch and 1/8 inch along waist edge of skirt. Start and stop stitches ½ inch from back edges.
  6. With right sides together, gather skirt waist to fit bottom edge of bodice. Pin and stitch waist seam. Stitch another row of stitches 1/16 inch from first row of stitching within seam allowance. Trim seam allowance close to second row of stitches. Overcast or zigzag seam to prevent fraying if necessary.

Click to enlarge




  1. Turn ¼ inch on each long edge of cummerbund strip. Press.
  2. Gather short ends with small basting stitches. Gather each side to finish 3/8 inch wide. Place cummerbund over dress and gently pin back edges to dress bodice, tucking raw ends under. This is a tight fit, so try dress on your doll. Carefully hand stitch in place at back bodice edges (fig. 7).

Finishing Dress

  1. Stitch center back seam of dress skirt, stopping at double notches at back.
  2. Try dress on doll and mark and sew snaps in place (one at waist, one at upper edge of back bodice.)
  3. With right sides together, fold bow strip along foldline. Stitch ends and long edges. Leave a 2-inch opening in long edge for turning (fig. 8).
  4. Trim seam, turn and press. Slipstitch opening closed.
  5. Fold bow in half and mark center (middle). Make a knot in your thread and hand-gather across center of bow (fig. 9). Gather tightly and knot end.
  6. Make a knot in your thread and hand gather along lines on each side of center as indicated on pattern (fig. 10). Gather tightly and knot end.
  7. Bring gathered sections together at center and tack in place by hand.
  8. Sew bow to bodice back. Embroider “Woven Wheel,” silk ribbon, flower in center of bow (see detail photo).
  9. Attach shawl to bodice at center “V” by using only a few small stitches. Try on doll for placement. This will slip over doll’s shoulders.
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Tulle Petticoat

  1. Petticoat is made up of three tiers with an elastic waistband at top. Sew both middle tier strips end-to end to create one long strip. Repeat for three bottom tier strips.
  2. Run gathering stitches in top edge of top tier, middle tier and lower tier by machine basting ¼ inch and 1/8 inch from one long edge. Start machine basting stitches ¼ inch from each end.
  3. Gather top edge of bottom tier (3) to fit onto bottom edge of middle tier (2). Place edge of tier (3) a generous ¼ inch over bottom edge of tier (2) and zigzag to join.
  4. Gather top edge of tier (2) to fit bottom edge of top tier (1). Overlap and zigzag as before.
  5. Gather top edge of top tier (1) to fit elastic strip. Overlap and zigzag as before.
  6. With right sides together, sew center back seam of tulle. Do not sew elastic ends together. Instead, overlap elastic ends ¼ inch and zigzag together.

Important: Regardless of whether you are using silk chiffon or another fabric for your hat, cut the lining out of self-fabric, not lining fabric, as it will show underneath.

  1. Stay-stitch ¼ inch along inner curved edge of hatband. Clip to stitching (fig. 11).
  2. Stitch center back seam of hatband to form a ring.
  3. With right sides together, sew band to crown (fig. 12). Hint: This is a very tight fit. Use pins to mark center of crown and center of hatband. Match cente,r using pins as your guide. Trim seam allowance to 1/8 inch. Press seam toward band.
  4. With right sides together, sew center back seam of hat brim and hat brim lining.
  5. Fold hat ruffle strip in half lengthwise and press. Unfold and stitch ends together to form a ring. Fold and run gathering stitches in raw edges. Draw up gathers to fit brim outer edge. Baste ruffle to brim with raw edges even.
  6. Place lining over brim with ruffle sandwiched between layers. Stitch outer edge with right sides together. Trim seam to 1/8 inch; notch curves. Turn right side out. Push seam out to form a neat donut shape and press seam well.
  7. Stay-stitch ¼ inch from inner circle edges. Clip seam around entire inner circle.
  8. Press under hatband edge ¼ inch. Center hat crown over brim. Align seams of brim to band. Be sure that you are covering up all clips you made around inner edge. Blind-stitch in place by hand (fig. 13).
  9. To make inner hat lining: follow steps 1-3.
  10. Press raw edge of hatband lining under ¼ inch.
  11. Turn hat inside out and push out crown and band. Center hat lining over crown and band. Pin and then sew lining by hand over seam along fold edge to enclose seam. Use small stitches and be careful not to let stitches show through to right side. Turn right side out.
Click to elarge

Click to elarge



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