Life Skills

Sew a Wardrobe for Your American Girl or 18-Inch Doll - 16 Potential Outfits!

In this 4-day boot camp we will sew 4 garment pieces from patterns with a variety of styles. The patterns give the potential to mix and match for 16 outfits for your 18 inch doll. For beginner/intermediate, this is the first in a series.
Karen Highland
194 total reviews for this teacher
13 reviews for this class
Completed by 23 learners
  There are no upcoming classes.

55 minutes

per class

4x per week

over 1 week


year olds


learners per class

per learner - per class

How does aMulti-Daycourse work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

How Outschool Works

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Class Experience

Students will start with an easy pattern and progress to more entailed patterns as we go through the week. These are all basic techniques that are used to sew clothing (for people.) They will learn to properly sew basic seams (bottom up and outside in) and they will learn pressing techniques and seam finishing when necessary. They will learn to sew on a gathered ruffle, and sew a casing to insert elastic. They will learn to sew sleeves and to clip seams. They will learn to hem and will learn several ways to embellish their pieces.
I have been sewing for over 50 years! (Hard to believe). I started with doll clothes when I was eight years old. I had a sewing business for over two decades and have sewn just about everything you could imagine. I love sewing doll clothes. I have a passion for passing on the needle arts to young people and sewing doll clothes is a great vehicle to do so.
Whatever they don't finish in class they will want to finish afterward. They will also need to cut out the garment for the next day to keep to our time schedule. I will show them anything they need to know ahead of time.
* The pdf pattern is in the classroom. Please print it out and have it ready. I often post a video the day before class if I need to explain anything.

1. T-Shirt:  The actual amount of fabric needed is 10 inches by 18 inches, or about 1/4 yard of fabric. I often use a regular t-shirt that I no longer wear, as long as it is not faded or pilled. It can be a woven fabric if you'd like. They can make the sleeves out of a complimentary fabric, but I advise keeping it in the same color family. It is time-consuming and a bit of a pain for sewers to change threads or bobbins during the project. Please do a scrap check if you are using a knit to see if your machine sews well on knits...I've had too many upsets when sewers run into problems with knits. A thick knit usually works better than a thin one, or nylon or other slippery fabric.
2. Pants: Steer clear of something too thick, like denim. Chambray is a better option if you want jeans. It is much easier to work with and still has the desired look. Fabric that measures at least 18 inches by 12 inches. A "fat quarter" works. Otherwise any fabric you have on hand. A woven cotton is best.
3. Simple skirt: a piece of fabric about 8 inches by 16. 
4. Ruffled Skirt:  A piece of fabric 24 inches by 12 inches. This is roughly 1/3 yard. If they use a different print for the ruffle, I strongly suggest it be in the same color family. 

With all of these garments, you'll want to be able to coordinate pants and skirts with T-shirts and blouse. 

* Matching thread for each fabric.  

* Threaded sewing machine with proper tension and properly sized needle. Must have a zig-zag setting. Light weight fabrics will need a size 12 US (80 EU) Medium weight fabrics will need a size 14/90. Heavier weights will need a 16/100. You can get them at if you don't have access to a store, or Amazon, of course.

* Iron and Ironing board.

* Print out the pdf patterns added below. Cut the skirt fabric out before the first class. It is a simple rectangle. I'll post a video showing how.

* 12 inches of 3/8 inch or 1/4 inch elastic each for the pants and the skirts. (36 inches)

* 2 safety pins, 1 inch long.

*  1/2 inch velcro, or any brand hook and loop tape. 6 inches for the T-shirt. Or the stick on tabs are great. They can use snaps if they wish.

* Optional:  Any extras for embellishment...ribbons, lace, appliques, embroidery floss, buttons, etc. We will brainstorm lots of ideas to embellish their clothes. Hand needle may be required for embellishments.
* Optional: Fusible bonding tape is great for ironing on little patches or shapes on doll clothes. Then they stay in place while hand sewing around them. 

Oh yes, bring your dolls!
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
The finished doll clothes will be a treasure to them.
3 hours 40 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 1 - 2 hours per week outside of class.
Parents know their child's capabilities. This 55 minute class is best for students who have a little bit of experience on the machine. I would call them intermediate beginners. It's best if they are familiar with their machine and can re-thread it if the thread comes out, as well as re-thread the bobbin. If they need help getting the machine threaded, then it would be best if parents are there to help if the needle comes un-threaded, or if the machine has any problems. It is very difficult for me to see from their laptop camera and figure out what the problems are, especially since all machines are a little different. Please make sure the machine is working and the tension is right. It can be very frustrating for students when these things aren't working properly.

You will find the directions in the sewing machine guide that came with the machine. Some machines (Singer) have arrows stenciled onto the front of the machine, showing the correct path to threading. 

If you don't have the guide, you can usually get it on the manufacturer website. 

Do a quick test on some scrap fabric to make sure the machine is in working condition. It is very disappointing to a learner to show up to class only to find out that their machine is not working. [insert sad face]

Some Quick Sewing Safety Tips:

Make sure your sewing machine cord is in good shape. 

Keep hair pulled back. 

Unplug machine when not in use.

Don’t sew across pins. As a pin nears the presser foot, stop the sewing machine long enough to remove the pin.

Make sure you’re using the proper needle for the fabric you’re sewing. A needle that isn’t the right size or thickness for the job could end up breaking.

Pay attention to the way your sewing machine sounds. If it starts making strange noises, or seems louder than usual, it might be time to have it checked by a pro.

Make sure there’s enough light. Using a sewing machine in poor lighting can lead to mishaps.


Karen Highland
Lives in the United States
Learning is Natural When You Fan the Flame
194 total reviews
184 completed classes

About Me

I teach Algebra and sewing. I'm passionate about Algebra because I believe it is a fundamental to building the life skills of critical thinking and problem-solving. 

I also teach some life skills classes, various sewing and needlework classes.... 
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