How-to: No-Sew American Girl Doll T-Shirt

You might think that you have to sew to be able to make cute American Girl doll clothes, but you don't! Make this no-sew American Girl Doll t-shirt.

You might think that you have to sew to be able to make cute American Girl doll clothes, but you don’t! Here’s how to upcycle yourself a no-sew American Girl Doll t-shirt.

The T-shirt that my kid’s American Girl doll, Penny, is wearing above didn’t require me to sew a single stitch. All I had to do was cut one straight line, and I think it turned out as cute as if I’d sewn the entire thing by hand.

The secret?

Baby onesies.

Newborn babies are longer than American Girl dolls, but are pretty similar in size around the waist. The graphics on a baby onesie are also already automatically sized to look natural on a doll T-shirt (you can read my rant about how to correctly size prints for doll clothes here). And onesies utilize envelope folds, which I think make the shirt even easier for a kid to put on her doll than a shirt with a Velcro back is.

So go to the thrift store with your kid, and have him choose some onesies that he likes. If you’re buying any brand other than Gerber, buy a newborn size (look for “NB” on the label). Gerber sizes tend to run a little small, so you can get away with buying a size 0-3 months or a newborn size in Gerber. In these photos, I’m using a 0-3 months Gerber onesie that we just picked up at Goodwill, and if you turn your head and squint, you can *maybe* see that the armscyes are a little large on Penny, but otherwise I think it’s sized well.

One protip about shopping for baby clothes: be VERY mindful about stains. Your doll doesn’t want to wear a T-shirt with a poop stain all up the back, right?

You might think that you have to sew to be able to make cute American Girl doll clothes, but you don't! Make this no-sew American Girl Doll t-shirt.To turn the onesie into a T-shirt, iron it flat, then measure down anywhere from 6″-7″ from the shoulder–use that leeway to make sure that the graphic will fit and look cute. Don’t forget that this jersey knit will eventually roll a bit, so when in doubt, measure a little long.

Cut straight across the onesie at your mark, and hand off that brand-new American Girl doll T-shirt to your kid!

My kids only have American Girl dolls in the 18″ format, so while I know, for instance, that this trick doesn’t work with our Waldorf dolls (Waldorf dolls are too small, sigh…), I don’t know how well it works with other 18″ dolls. If you try it out, Comment and let me know!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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  1. Love the thirt idea. Another use for baby items from resale shops is for making 18 inch doll clothes and accessories because you can quite often find items that have smaller fabric prints.

  2. I make these shirts all the time now…I use long sleeve and short sleeve. Thank you for the tip on Gerber! I have two Our Generation girls and the older one is a bit bigger in the shoulder area and these shirts fit great. I do “hem” mine…that is I use a zig-zag stitch and pull the shirt edge to create a lettuce edge. I also cut the snaps of the bottom part, seam the bottom at the crotch and add elastic and a casing to the top and they make the cutest boy shorts!
    http://trailerparkcouturenc.blogspot.com/2016/09/a-little-onesie-upcycle.html

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