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How to Sew a No-Pattern Bubble Skirt for American Girl Dolls

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This bubble skirt doesn't require a pattern, and it fits 18-inch dolls like these American Girls.

This bubble skirt doesn't require a pattern, and it fits 18-inch dolls like these American Girls.

Sew a Cute, Easy Bubble Skirt for 18-Inch Dolls

My daughter looks very cute in her bubble skirt, so I thought of sewing one for her doll, too. I looked at her skirt and figured out how it's sewn. This is my own take on it.

I am not an expert sewer; in fact, I am just beginning to sew, so I try to make everything as easy as possible. I had so much fun doing this skirt that I actually sewed four of them! I just wanted to share it with you all AG doll lovers, and I hope you like it.

Below, first you'll see my original tutorial, followed by an updated version that uses less fabric and elastic. Try one or both of them!

Materials for the bubble skirt.

Materials for the bubble skirt.

Materials

  • 30 inches long x 9 inches wide fabric (cotton, chiffon, sheer, etc.) for the skirt
  • 13 inches long x 2.5 inches wide matching or coordinating fabric for the waistband
  • 14-inch wide elastic
  • Pins
Fold the fabric.

Fold the fabric.

Step 1: Fold the Fabric and Sew a Casing

  • With right sides together, fold the longest side of the fabric in half as shown in the photo above.
  • Sew a casing at the bottom of the fabric by stitching a 1/4 inch seam from the edge of the folded part.
Use a safety pin to guide the elastic through the casing.

Use a safety pin to guide the elastic through the casing.

Step 2: Feed Elastic Through the Casing

Above is a photo showing the elastic casing that was created at the bottom of the skirt.

  • Feed the elastic through the casing using a safety pin.
  • Place the elastic all the way to the other end.
Adjust the elastic accordingly.

Adjust the elastic accordingly.

Step 3: Pull and Adjust the Elastic

This is how it looks like after feeding the casing through the elastic. Make sure that you pull the elastic and adjust accordingly. I suggest securing the ends of the elastic with safety pins so you do not lose it inside the casing. In the photo, I am showing it to you with the fabric on the wrong side.

Fold in half.

Fold in half.

Step 4: Fold the Fabric in Half

Now, open the fabric wide, and with wrong sides together, fold the fabric in half as shown in the photo. You are now hiding the casing and the fabric is now on its right side.

Pull the loose thread to gather the fabric.

Pull the loose thread to gather the fabric.

Step 5: Sew and Gather the Fabric

  • Set your sewing machine to its longest stitch and sew 1/8 inch from the edge of the fabric as shown in the photo.
  • Gather the fabric by pulling the loose thread. You can check videos online on how to gather fabric.
The length of the skirt should be the same as the waistband.

The length of the skirt should be the same as the waistband.

Gather the fabric until its the same width as your waistband as shown in the photo above.

Pin and sew on the waistband.

Pin and sew on the waistband.

Step 6: Sew on the Waistband

With right sides together, sew the waistband and skirt together. Stitch 1/4 inch seam from the edge. I suggest you secure it with pins and remove it as you sew.

Cover the sewn part by folding the waistband.

Cover the sewn part by folding the waistband.

Step 7: Fold the Waistband

This is how it looks like after sewing them together. Fold the other end of the waistband 1/8 inch from the edge and turn to the other side to cover the sewn part of the skirt.

This is the finished waistband.

This is the finished waistband.

Step 8: Finish the Waistband

  • Finish the waistband by top stitching on the right side.
  • Pin it so as to hold it in place.
  • Feed a 10 1/2 inch elastic through the casing. Make sure you attach safety pins on both ends of the elastic so you will not lose it inside the casing.

The photo above shows the finished waistband.

This is the inner side of the skirt.

This is the inner side of the skirt.

Step 9: Complete the Seams

This photo is showing the inner side of the skirt.

  • Match the back seam and sew a 1/4 inch seam to finish the skirt.
  • Flip over to the right side, and it's done.

Watch a Video Tutorial

I also posted a video on YouTube on how I did it. Check it out below.

Updated Tutorial: Less Fabric and Less Elastic!

I noticed that this tutorial has been pinned more than 2,000 times—wow, thank you. With that, I decided to post an update of this tutorial; this time, it uses less fabric and elastic, so I would say it's more economical.

Here are the materials for the new version.

Here are the materials for the new version.

Fabric and Elastic Measurements

  • Main Fabric: 5" in height and 30" in width
  • Lining: 5" in height and 14" in width

Option 1

  • Waistband: 2 " in height and 14 inches wide
  • Elastic: 10 1/2 inches long elastic

Option 2

  • Elastic Waistband: 1-inch wide elastic (11 inches long)
Gather the fabric.

Gather the fabric.

Step 1: Gather the Fabric

Gather your main fabric until it's the same width as your lining (14 inches). You can find a lot of tutorials on YouTube on how to gather fabric.

Sew together the fabric and lining.

Sew together the fabric and lining.

Step 2: Sew the Main Fabric and Lining Together

With right sides together, sew the main fabric and lining together at 1/4 inch seam allowance. This seam will be the bottom of the skirt.

Turn over and gather.

Turn over and gather.

Step 3: Turn to the Right Side and Gather

  • Next, after sewing the bottom, turn the fabric to the right side.
  • Then, gather the top edge of the main fabric until it's the same size as the lining.
  • Once gathered, baste the main fabric about 1/8 inch from the top to the lining to keep them together.
Next, attach the waistband following one of the methods below.

Next, attach the waistband following one of the methods below.

Step 4: Attach the Waistband

There are two options for attaching the waistband.

Option 1 (Instructions Above)

First, you can follow the same instructions above (the first tutorial) on how to attach the waistband.

Option 2 (Instructions Below)

Second, you can attach a 1-inch wide black elastic. If you prefer that, you can continue to the next step.

Sew the back seam.

Sew the back seam.

With right sides together, sew the back seam at 1/4 inch allowance.

Attach the elastic waistband.

Attach the elastic waistband.

  • Sew the black elastic together at 1/4-inch seam allowance.
  • Divide the elastic into quarters and mark with pins.
  • Divide the skirt into quarters and mark with pins.
  • Now, pin the skirt and elastic together on the marked areas and sew together to finish.
Here's the finished skirt!

Here's the finished skirt!

More Free Sewing Patterns for American Girl Dolls

Comments

vidalianana@yahoo.com on July 28, 2016:

When I pulled this tutorial up I got a message saying, "You should never see this page. Contact Hub...)

layla on April 18, 2015:

thats cool

Dottie B. on March 27, 2015:

I just have a small suggestion in order to keep the skirt a fluffy "bubble". Line the inside of the "bubble" with netting to keep the skirt from being compressed when not on a doll. This would work especially well on fabrics with a softer hand, but also would add body to heavier fabrics such as cotton, brocade, etc. Happy sewing! Dottie B.

LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on February 28, 2013:

so amazed by people who have this kind of talent. great job.

malenk (author) from Chandler, AZ on February 02, 2013:

It's optional to put the elastic at the bottom. I made an update of the tutorial which uses less elastic and less fabric.

Edie on January 08, 2013:

Why do you need to use elastic for bottom of bubble skirt? Could you not pull it out before stitching up back seam? Could you use twill tape instead or seam tape? thanks

Frances on September 23, 2012:

I'm going to try this! :)

Amie on June 22, 2012:

Thank you so much for posting this. I love this skirt and I'm going to try it. I watched the video too. So awesome!! Thank you!

malenk (author) from Chandler, AZ on March 23, 2012:

Sorry for the delayed reply...Just fill the bottom all the way through and you can determine how long you want it.

terlyart on March 10, 2012:

How long is the elastic for the bottom of the skirt?

Hanna on February 28, 2012:

I going to try this. SOOO Excited!!