How to Sew Bubble Dress for American Girl Dolls

This has been on my list of things to do since the start of this month and I was even inspire more when I saw the red holiday outfit at AG called Sparkle Party Dress for Dolls. It is basically a bubble dress and it’s one of the easiest things to sew. I know it’s only 8 days to go before Christmas and I might be late from posting this; but on the other hand, there’s still new year, valentine, easter and even birthdays. So let’s just called this dress, a special occasion dress instead of a holiday dress.

Bubble Dress Tutorial

Bubble Dress Tutorial

For this dress, I used only 1/3 yard of woven calico fabric (44 inch wide) and a roll of trim. I got both from Hobby Lobby and they are on sale so I spent less than $4 for everything. I chose this red and white polka dot fabric and a white rose trim with little pearl and lace details on it. If you want to make it more festive, you can choose special occasion fabric such as satin, chiffon and tulle just like the red dress in AG.


1) Start by cutting 2 pieces each of your favorite sleeveless bodice pattern, one for lining and one for the main bodice. If you do not have a bodice pattern, you can use the free Liberty Jane tank top pattern which can be downloaded here. Just make sure you make it shorter by cutting the pattern on the waist area.


2)Sew both sets on the shoulder area to start lining the bodice.


4) With right sides together, sew the pieces together around the armhole and neckline area (starting from the back). The red thread on the photo below indicates where to sew them together. Then clip corners and curves around the armhole and neckline area for a smooth and nice finish when you turn the fabric to the right side.

7)Turn the fabric to the right side and sew on the side seams and finish the edges with zigzag stitch (or serge). After it’s sewn on the sides, measure the width of the whole bodice to determine how wide the lining for the bubble skirt will be. In my case, it’s 13 inches. I decided to add about 1/4inch more as allowance for zigzag stitch to finish the edges.


7) Set aside the bodice for now and work on the skirt. For the lining, the height will be 6 inches and the width is 13 1/4 inch (which is the width of my bodice above with 1/4 inch added to it). For the main skirt, the height is also 6 inches but the width is longer which can be 26 inches – 30 inches. In my case, I used a 30 inches width.


8)Gather the main skirt on both the top and bottom edges until it’s the same size as the lining. With right sides together, sew the lining to the main skirt on the bottom part. Turn to the right side and finish the edges. (If you want complete instructions for the bubble skirt, please go to this link – BUBBLE SKIRT TUTORIAL – but make sure you use the measurement I posted here if you are going to make a bubble dress).


9) With right side together, sew the bodice to the bubble skirt.


10) Then finish the side and back seams and sew a velcro for closure. Add a trim on the waistline for a dressy look.



And there you go, you have a pretty bubble dress for your American Girl Dolls. This is very easy and simple to make, I am sure you still have enough time to make it for the holidays.

If you enjoy my tutorial, please LIKE, PIN or SHARE.

32 Responses to How to Sew Bubble Dress for American Girl Dolls

  • Carol (Skippysmom) says:

    Wow, this is really pretty and you make it look so easy to put together. Thanks so much for sharing the pattern and techniques. I can’t wait to try it. Even if I don’t get it done for Christmas, it is a timeless design that will work all year long. Thanks again.

  • Bibi says:

    Thank you for sharing, I love this pattern,

  • Angela says:

    Love this pattern!!! Is there anyway you could make a tutorial for a matching one for girls? Specifically 5t?! 😉

    • len says:

      It should be the same method for girls, just trace a tank top that best fits her as a pattern for the top. And them for the skirt, a 30-40 width would make a very nice gather.

  • Jessica says:

    Lovely dress! I will definitely be making this one soon!

  • Margie Bohall says:

    such a nice dress and sooo nice of you to share the idea. My granddaughter will LOVE it (and so do I!) Thanks again for sharing. I am looking forward to sewing it.

  • Karie says:

    I love this festive red bubble dress, and want to make one of a lovely little girl. Do I have to use the same fabric for the lining, or can I use a light weight cotton? Thank you for sharing. Plan to visit Hobby Lobby this week. Question is…Do I send it now, or save it for the holidays?

  • cynthia dishman says:

    Where do you sew the tulle and what length do you cut it?

  • cynthia dishman says:

    Where do you sew the tulle and how long do you cut it?

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  • Amber says:

    This is really prettty, thank you! 🙂 I made a pink shimmery one for my Rebecca doll!

  • Motorcycle Oma says:

    I’ve bought some purple satiny material that I’m going to try to make this weekend with my granddaughter so her Maplelea doll – Cindy – has a new dress for Christmas.

  • Janice Brown says:

    I really like the pattern and instructions. I am going to make the dress on Monday. Thanks so much.

  • Jill says:

    Love the picture of this dress and want to make it now!! I follow the whole tutorial till I get to ‘finish the back edges’. I have watched the video for the skirt a couple of times and it is easy to finish the back because it has elastic at the waistline will allow it to stretch to fit on the doll so the edges can be sewn together from waist to hem.
    I imagine, because I don’t have an AG doll yet – it is in transit, the dress needs at least some of the skirt to open to allow it to come on and off the doll so I don’t know what to do to neaten the open part of the skirt back. Or do I just serge the edges and fold them over like I would the bodice??

  • Twila says:

    Super cute! But I’m with Jill, not sure how to finish off the back skirt portion of this dress. Was going to make this today, but don’t want to cut it out only to add to my ever growing Mt. UFO! 🙂 Thanks so much for the pattern & tute, so nice of you to share!

  • Susan says:

    Made this today. Was very happy how easy it was. Thanks for the instructions. Just wish I could have posted a picture of my finished dress.

  • Pala says:

    Really darling dress! Your instructions are clear and concise.

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  • Melissa says:

    A tip for making a bubble skirt… cut your main fabric piece 1″ longer than your liner fabric. This way the gathered bubble part will hang over the hem (don’t iron it) and no visible seam shows.

  • Ann-Marie Pineo says:

    Was wondering if someone could tell me how much they took off of the tank top pattern for the bodice of the dress, trying to make one for a friends daughter but I don’t have access to a doll to do any measurements.

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  • Your instruction will help any person even a beginner to sew a beautiful dress that will please your child.

  • Scarlett says:

    Will you please make a bee costume.

  • To be honest, I don’t like to make things with my hands. It takes a lot of efforts. But sewing a dress for a doll is another thing. Let me give it a try.

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