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Ladyfingers - American Girl Knitting Patterns - Handout #1
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Jun 18, 2012 14:24:11   #

Created by Elaine Baker
March, 2011


Use washable yarns for all doll clothes. I have used furry yarns with scattered sequins on some of these outfits and they wash very well. Just take an article of clothing in your hands and hold under the kitchen faucet. If really soiled, use a dollop of dish washing liquid. Squish a few times, then rinse under the faucet until all soap bubbles are gone. Lay on a flat surface on top of a hand towel to dry. Will look as good as new!

When sewing seams for these doll clothes reinforce “stress” areas, I.e. sleeve seams, pants legs, back seam to neckline, hat seam, boot seams, etc. with extra KNOTS spaced up the back, sleeves, pants lags, etc. Make these clothes as childproof as possible. They will be TUGGED on and off by little fingers who are too stubborn to go to mommy for assistance. “I want to do it myself!”

ALWAYS dress the doll feet -first. Watch the doll’s fingers - they will catch on sleeves and snag the yarn - be careful!

ALWAYS include a pair of matching panties for all dresses and skirts. Little girls become upset if their doll buddy doesn’t have a pair of panties to wear with a specific outfit.

When finished playing with a specific outfit, instruct the child to store all accessories; hat, purse, boots, shrug, slippers, etc. under the skirt of a dress or down the front of the neckline if a one-piece jumpsuit or shirt with attached panties. In this way, small items will not get lost and cause tears when a special pair of slippers or a hat cannot be found.

I have found that a large 6-gallon popcorn can is perfect for storing knit doll clothes. The doll will even fit inside when moving to a different location~! Use a plastic kitchen trash bag to line the can, then stack the outfits inside. It’s surprising how many outfits will fit inside a popcorn can. Moths cannot get inside and eat holes in the doll clothes!

Optional: You can knit a corner-to-corner small doll blanket and a small matching pillow to provide a cozy nap time area for the doll.


Materials needed:

Size 6 US straight or circular needles for most outfits

Size 8 or 10 straight or circular needles for full skirts (depending on what you have on hand)

A minimum of four (4) markers: rubber, plastic or metal rings. Or use a plastic drinking straw cut into tiny circles. Keep lots of markers handy - they tend to get lost.

A size D crochet hook for weaving in the ends of a finished garment, and for making a simple chain for a purse handle, or a simple flower on a hat or purse, or a simple chained ruffle around the edge of a skirt, sleeves and/or hat.


Plastic or metal darning needle to sew seams

Optional: a separate small satchel or clear plastic make-up tote to keep all your tiny pieces of equipment needed to make doll clothes, plus a few balls of yarn to have handy if you get a creative idea while riding in the car, relaxing after lunch at work, or waiting for a bus.


With #6 needles, cast on 68 stitches with baby sports weight yarn. Can also use fingering yarn or fine baby yarn.

Knit 6 rows in garter stitch (knit every row).

Next Row: Knit 12, BIND OFF 12 stitches (knit 2, slip left needle under first of the two stitches and draw it over the second knit stitch - one stitch decreased. Knit 1 and draw the second stitch on the right needle over that knit stitch, another stitch decreased - continue until you have decreased 12 stitches. Knit 20 stitches, BIND OFF next 12 stitches, knit 12 stitches.


Knit 1 row.

Note: You bound off 12 stitches to make the strap of the dress on both sides. You cast on 4 stitches for the underarm of these straps. Pull the yarn tightly when knitting the bound off and cast on stitches for the next few rows, especially the stitches next to the sides and body of the garment. You don’t want to leave unsightly holes at the underarm areas!

Knit 1 row, purl 1 row for 10 - 12 rows. You are now at the waistline.

For slightly full skirt, knit 1, knit and increase in next stitch (knit in front and back of the same stitch) - one stitch increased, knit 1, knit and increase across row. (78 stitches on needle).

For a nice full skirt, knit and increase in every stitch across row. (104 stitches).

Work in garter stitch (knit every row) for 25-30 rows. On right side, bind off in knit. (Hold up to the doll to check the length - should be at or near her knees.)

Sew seam up the back. No other seams to sew!

Optional: Work in knit 1 row, purl 1 row for 14 rows, then garter stitch for the next 6 rows. Bind off in knit. Sew seam.

Option 2: Row 1: Knit 1, slip 1 (slip stitch off left hand needle to right needle as if to purl), knit 1, slip 1 across row. Row 2: Purl

OR: Row 1: Knit 2, slip 1 across row. Row 2: Purl.
(This makes a very pretty pattern on full skirts, dresses or pant legs).

Color Options:

Get creative and knit 6 rows in main Color A (red), knit 4 rows in Color B (white), and knit 6 rows in Color C (blue).
To add another color: at the beginning of the row, drop the red, hold a strand of white at the back of the garment and knit across the rows for 4 rows. At the end of 4 rows (on right side), drop the white and hold a strand of blue in the back of the garment - knit across for 6 rows. You will have a few more strands to weave into the finished garment, from all the colors used - but that’s easy to do. Bind off on right side in knit.

Note: Do not try to pick up the red strand and begin to knit another 6 rows after you have completed the blue rows. There are too many rows between the end of the last red row and the beginning of the new red rows. (4 rows of white, plus 6 rows of blue = 10 rows). It is easier to cut the colored strands when you have completed the required rows. Leave a 4-6 inch strand to KNOT, sew that part of the back seam (matching colors) and weave in ends when finishing the garment. Start a new strand of yarn to knit the next red, white and blue sections.

The red/white/blue patriotic dress will be cute to wear on the 4th of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day

For Valentine’s Day, try using 4 rows red, 4 rows of white, 4 rows red, 4 rows white, ending with 4 rows red.

Easter: Use pastel colors: Pastel top down to waist, full skirt with 4 rows of yellow, 4 rows pink, 4 rows lavender, 4 rows mint green, finish with 4 rows powder blue.

Cinco de Mayo: Use bright colors: neon lime green, hot pink, bright orange and bright yellow.

Thanksgiving: Use autumn colors: sage green, brick red/brown, deep gold.

Holidays: There is a terrific yarn called “Garland” that is fuzzy, metallic and sparkles. Comes in bright red, white and variegated red and white. Looks terrific as a holiday dress, hat and purse. For holiday colors use red, white and some green - make it sparkle!


Using same yarn as for dress, with #6 needles, cast on 54 stitches (the circumference for the doll’s head is the same as her waist). Knit 8 rows. Bind off in knit. Sew ends together to form a circle (donut shape). Pull doll’s hair through center of circle and slide up headband to fit around her head and down over her ears.


Same yarn used for dress and headband, with #6 needles, cast on 30 stitches. Knit 12 rows. Bind off in knit and cut a long strand, about 24 inches long to sew the seam and make the purse strap.

Fold the purse in half, from side-to-side. With a darning needle, sew the side and bottom seams, making sure you finish with your sewing strand back at the open top of the purse. You will have to lightly sew through some knit loops on the back side to get to the top.

With a #D crochet hook (or any size you have handy), using the long strand of yarn left over from sewing the seams, work a simple crochet chain stitch for about 40-45 stitches. Knot this chain and bring it across the top to the other side of the purse. Pull remaining thread from purse strap to reverse side of purse and knot securely - remember, make it childproof! Turn right side out and use as a shoulder strap over doll’s head and hanging across her body at her side….OR…wrap strap around doll’s wrist twice - this will keep it from falling off and getting lost
Pink Dress w/white "beads" yarn trim
Pink Dress w/white "beads" yarn trim...
"Velvet" yarn Sundress
"Velvet" yarn Sundress...
Red & White Holiday dress
Red & White Holiday dress...
Jun 19, 2012 06:07:04   #
Thank you so very much.
Jun 19, 2012 06:44:38   #
Thank you very much for the patterns. I will be making them for my Niece for Christmas
Jun 19, 2012 07:06:10   #
Thankyou for your wonderful general instructions and of course your beautiful patterns. Rosemary.
Jun 19, 2012 07:37:55   #
Thank you for your generosity!! They are just adorable and my granddaughter will love them!!!
Jun 19, 2012 07:56:20   #
Love, love your patterns. The designs just delight my granddaughters. Thank you again. MaryMac
Jun 19, 2012 08:22:39   #
Thanks so much for sharing!!
Jun 19, 2012 08:26:21   #
Mevbb (a regular here)
Nice to see the pictures. I am able to save the pattern with the pictures in the app Evernote. Thank you so much for sharing. My grandchildren will love them
Jun 19, 2012 08:34:27   #
Thank you!!! They are beautiful. You are so talented.
Jun 19, 2012 08:39:26   #
Thank you for the beautiful patterns. You are so generous.

Jun 19, 2012 09:47:10   #
thank you. I love your patterns. I am curently making the whole set for the itty bitty baby doll. I will try to get pictures before I give them to my GD. I got the doll and am making the clothes to keep her busy on her first plane trip from AZ to see Grandma and Grandpa in MN. I will be flying all three GD back. Older sisters have made the trip with me many times.
I love your patterns Ladyfingers. You are so generous.
Jun 19, 2012 09:53:17   #
jaml (a regular here)
Thank you so much for the patterns. I love them! Will be making them for my neices for Christmas.
Jun 19, 2012 10:42:00   #
Is this identical to the handout that you e-mailed last year? I love the patterns and I admire your creativity and generosity in sharing.
Jun 19, 2012 12:07:20   #
JoyceinNC (a regular here)
Thanks so very much for your generosity. Love you patterns! Got an 18 in. doll last Friday in the Goodwill Outlet Store (by the pound, the cost was under $2). It is a gorgeous Zapf doll, but it is a little larger than my other 18" dolls. These knit dresses should be great! Many thanks.
Jun 19, 2012 12:17:36   #
JoyceinNC (a regular here)
By the way Ladyfingers- do you have any suggestions for making shoes for these dolls? I have purchased patterns from McCall's, Simplicity, Butterick, and Vogue and had to do a lot of altering. Apparently, this class of doll can have many variations in measurements and still be classified as an 18" doll, in the same class as American Girl. As mentioned above, I just got an 18" Zapf doll. It really is 18" tall, a little bigger around than my other dolls in this class. The surprise is the tiny feet! The shoes I have for my other dolls in the group just fall right off.

Thought of taking a basic shoe pattern, removing the seam allowances, reducing on a copier so that the sole is the right length. Any body tried this? I would appreciate any suggestions!

I agree completely that all dolls need undies, shoes and whatever other accessories we can dream up. I can't understand why doll clothes are not more readily available in the same stores that sell the dolls. What fun is a doll without clothes and accessories?

Thanks in advance, everyone!
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