Make a no-sew doll sundress

When I was a kid I was always trying to make stuff for my dolls out of things around the house. My Barbie dolls had furniture, clothes and even their own shopping catalog made from recycled cardboard and magazines. So now, with my own daughter, I’m always trying to come up with more fun stuff for her and her dolls that she can help make. Helping that creative sparkle glow a little I guess.

Make a doll sundress
Make a doll sundress

So, the other day we grabbed some scrap fabric and make a cute little sundress. This is for an 18″ doll, but you could make the same thing for any sized doll.

How to make a no-sew doll sundress


  • Scrap fabric (cotton works best – think old pillow case)
  • Fabric markers or paint
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
  • Fabric glue (craft glue will work, it just won’t wash well).
Make a sundress for your doll - add the straps
Make a sundress for your doll - add the straps

Steps to make a no-sew doll sundress:

  1. Cut a piece of fabric approximately 18″ square.
  2. Color on the fabric however you like. Don’t add any extra embellishments yet, you can do that at the end.
  3. Cut a small square in the center of the fabric, this is how you’ll get the dress on the doll.
  4. Glue ribbon on as trim wherever you’d like, let dry. Make sure to include trim around the top of the dress so your straps have a little extra strength behind them.
  5. Add the straps by cutting a small hole on two sides of the front of the dress. Loop the ribbon through and tie off (see image).
  6. Add any extra decorations you’d like. We just colored our dress, but you could add on buttons, gems or other pretty accents.

If you have a bunch of extra fabric, you could make a whole closet full of sundresses for your dolls using this method. Color them, paint them and if you know how to sew, stitch on fun extras. I’ve also made some matching sandals for this outfit using a recycled cereal box and the same ribbon used on the dress. Check out the tutoral on Doll Diaries to make your own doll sandals.

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  1. Michelle says

    This is brilliant!! I’m going to use this as a craft for my daughters Doll/ Tea bday party next weekend. Plan to have the trim and ties ready so they are ready to put on after the color dries!!! Thank you so much for sharing this.

  2. Sarah says

    Hi! Thank you for this fun idea! My daughter and I just made a dress, but I think I cut the square in the middle too large, because the dress hangs down very far in the back… can see the top of the doll’s tights in the back. What are the dimensions for the square you cut out of the middle? Thank you!

    • Jen says

      Hi Sarah, I’m sorry your dress turned out a little too big… the dimensions I used is approximately 2.5-3″ square. It depends on the doll you’re using too. I think ours is a tiny but smaller than a real American Girl doll. I suggest, start small and just cut a little bigger as you need. I’d love to see how yours turns out!

      • Sarah says

        Thank you, Jen! I think part of my problem was that I only put two ribbons on the dress, one on each side of the front of the dress. I added two more ribbons, one on each side of the back of the dress, and then tied them all together and it held the dress up perfectly! Were you putting two ribbons on or four?

        • Jen says

          Hi Sarah, I only used two ribbons and then tied it up like a halter top. Glad you found a solution that worked for you – thank you for sharing the idea!

  3. Carolyn says

    I have just discovered this delightful place, and wish to thank you and everyone for sharing !

    I am 84 years old and still playing with dolls.
    Although severely disabled/handicapped, my life-long love of dolls keeps me busy with whatever I can do within my limitations.

    This darling little no-sew doll sundress is perfect!


    • Jen says

      Thank you Carolyn, I’m glad to hear your’re enjoying the creativity. Definitely take a look at for more great doll ideas!