Dollheart-esque Fullset Dress Outfit for Ball Jointed Doll (BJD)




Introduction: Dollheart-esque Fullset Dress Outfit for Ball Jointed Doll (BJD)

About: I make stuff. It's what I do.

The title is weird, I know... It uses a lot of BJD-ese but I just didn't know what else to call this thing. I made this instructable for the "I could make that" contest, since I'm constantly saying that about doll outfits that I can't afford. This isn't a replica of any particular outfit, but it's somewhat inspired by this outfit and these ones from Dollheart. I didn't want to do a replica for several reasons; firstly, it'd be near impossible to source all of the little trims and stuff to make it identical, secondly, I don't think it's right to wholesale rip off someone else's design, and thirdly, because that would be boring :P It's also somewhat based on an 18th-century french aesthetic, though I make no claims whatsoever to historical accuracy on this one. 

This is a rather long instructable which includes pretty much every thing the doll is wearing except the wig. It even includes the shoes which you can't even see in 99% of the pictures I took >.< I tried to make this more of a general "how to make a dress fullset" tutorial rather than a "how to make this exact dress" tutorial, because I'm pretty sure a lot of people out there think making an exact replica of someone else's dress is boring too. I guess I should note that I'm not a professional tailor by any means (which will be blindingly obvious to anyone who is an expert ^.^;;). I'm more of a jack of all trades, flying by the seat of my pants crafter who makes things up as I go along... I think it turned out OK though.

Here's an attempt at a materials list. I might have forgotten some. The basics for the outfit only cost ~$30 or so, though there were a few things I already had. Saved a lot on fabric by hunting the remnant bin, and a lot on ribbons and trim by shopping the dollar store...

Dress Materials
Fabric - probably between 1/4-1/2 yards of one color and 1/2-1 yard of another for an SD sized doll. That's a 60cm tall or 1:3 scale doll for those who don't speak the BJD lingo.
Cellophane & Masking Tape for making the pattern.
Tulle/mesh for petticoat - I used rolls of tulle from the dollar store, one roll is 5 yards I think. I could've used less, and had slightly less poofy petticoats.
Tiny eyelets and thin ribbon for the lacing.
Various ribbons, trims, imitation pearls, thread, lace etc. These are all optional (aside from thread...) and variable depending on how you want to decorate the dress.

Hat Materials
Fabric - scraps from the dress, basically.
Card stock or poster board
Feathers, silk flowers and/or ribbons for decoration.

Necklace Materials
Stretchy bead stringing cord. Mine was transparent.
Small beads or imitation pearls. Seed beads are a good size.
Super glue.

Shoe Materials
Fabric - More scraps from the dress
Thin cardboard
Craft foam in black or brown (for the sole of the shoe. Leather or suede would also work)
Decorations such as flowers, plastic gems, beads, false pearls etc.

Sewing Machine (somewhat optional, but it'd save you a lot of work)
Needle & Thread
Glue Gun
Knitting Needle
Eyelet setting tool (you can sometimes buy packs of eyelets that have the tool included)

And here's kind of a table of contents so you can skip ahead if you want:
Part 1: The Dress. Starts at Step 1.
Part 2: The Petticoats. Step 7.
Part 3: The Hat. Step 8.
Part 4: The Necklace. Step 9.
Part 6: The Shoes. Step 10.

Step 1: Dress Part 1: Bodice Pattern

Here's an easy way to make a custom bodice pattern for a doll.

1. Cover the doll's upper body in cellophane to protect her from getting tape stickies all over her.

2. Make her a "vest" out of tape by taping it to the cellophane. Try to do it in kind of a neat and regular pattern. It's not really vital to do it neatly, but it helps to get your seams lined up if it's symmetrical, and you don't want it to be super lumpy or anything.

3. Draw the edges of the bodice and seam lines you want your bodice to have on the tape vest. You may want to do some research to find out where the seams lie on the style of dress you want to make. Be VERY CAREFUL not to accidentally draw on your doll with a non washable marker like a Sharpie. Seriously. It doesn't come off.

4. Cut along one of the seams with small scissors to remove the vest from the doll. Again, be really careful! don't scratch that resin!. Then cut out each piece of the vest along your edges and seam lines.

5. Flatten the pieces out. You may have to add some darts (darts = little v shaped cuts in a pattern which will be sewn together later. They aren't cut as v-shapes, rather you make a single cut where your pattern won't flatten out and then flatten it out into a v-shape) to make the pieces lie flat. You can see I've done it near the bust on mine since Miya has a lot of boobage.

6. (Optional) Trace the pieces onto paper leaving a small seam allowance around them. I recommend doing this, even though I was lazy and didn't do it myself, I just skipped right ahead to cutting fabric...

7. Cut the pattern out of fabric making sure to leave a seam allowance around the pieces. I cut 2 sets of the pattern, so that I could use one as lining. One of my center-front pieces I cut in a contrasting fabric for decoration's sake.

Step 2: Dress Part 2: Bodice Decoration & Construction

Here's how I did the decorations for the front of the bodice. You can of course do whatever you want, like using contrasting fabric, lace overlay etc.

1. Take a piece of ribbon just a bit wider than the front piece of the bodice and gather the middle of it.

2. Thread some fake pearls onto the thread and wrap it around the front of the gather, then secure this by sewing back through the ribbon.

3. Make 2 more of these, and then sew the resulting pearl-ed bows onto the center front piece of the bodice.

This is how you make the actual bodice:

4. Sew the bodice together at the seams, right side to right side. Optionally, sew another set together to use as a lining.

5. Iron the seams flat. Technically, you could skip this. I really don't recommend it though, because it really helps the bodice to lie properly, especially in small scales

6. If you're making a lined bodice, sew that to the other bodice, right side to right side again. Leave either the neck or bottom and the armholes un-sewn so that you can turn it back right-side-out.

7. I also added some lace with thin brown ribbon threaded through along the edges of the front panel. This is of course optional and you can decorate as you like.

8. I pleated a ribbon around the neck opening. I would've used lace if I hadn't been running out >.< again, decorate as you like.

Step 3: Dress Part 3: Sleeves

1. Cut out sleeve pieces. It's hard for me to explain how I pattern these exactly, other than to make them the length that I want them (about elbow-length in this case) make sure there's enough to go around the doll's arm (with seam allowance as well) and curve the top of the sleeve for the shoulder.

2. Sew on any lace or contrasting fabric to the cuff (I did 2 layers of lace with a bit of contrasting fabric in between) before sewing your sleeve together into a tube. This is especially important when working on doll clothes, unless you don't mind sewing all your trims by hand because it's too small to go through the sewing machine :P

3. Fold your sleeve piece in half so the right sides of the fabric are together and sew it into a tube.

4. Turn the sleeve right-side-out.

5. Take a right-side-out sleeve, and put it inside an inside-out bodice and then sew the sleeve on. You will most likely need to do this by hand unless you are very skilled with a sewing machine and very patient.

6. Repeat for the other side.

Step 4: Dress Part 4: Over-gown Skirt

I actually made the petticoats before I did this part, but in the interest of keeping parts together and not jumping around, I'm going to put it after the over skirt part. Doing the petticoats first might help because it would let you see how poofy they're going to be and adjust accordingly, but it's probably fine either way.

1. Cut a piece of fabric for the over skirt. This piece can be many different shapes depending on how you want your dress to look - mine is a rectangle with 2 rounded corners about 2/3 of the way from the doll's waist to her ankles. You could also use a straight rectangle of any length between a couple inches to the full length of the petticoats, or you could use 2 pieces so that it actually opens fully in the back instead of just loosening to let the doll in (doing so would probably make the dress a lot easier to put on).

2. Because I'm using only one piece, there's going to be a bit of extra fabric in the back so that the doll can slip through before the dress is laced on. Just so there's no gap in the back of the bodice, and so that the back side of the eyelets don't scratch the doll, I sewed a little flap of fabric onto the center back where the opening will be.

3. Decorate as desired. In this case, I used a long strip of the same fabric pleated around the edge. I'm going to add a bit more decoration in the next step.

Step 5: Dress Part 5: Extra Decoration

I made some little round lacy ribbon decoration thingies (great name, I know >.<) by the following method (this is one of those things that's probably easier to understand by looking at the pictures than reading it...):

1. Sew a piece of lace into a circle by gathering the top.

2. Fold some ribbon over three or four times to form a bow, and sew that to the center of the lace circle.

3. Fold a piece of wide ribbon over itself and then gather the center with thread to make a bow (this is basically the same as the ones for the front of the bodice, except using a folded over piece of ribbon rather than just a flat piece).

4. Thread some pearls onto the thread and wrap that around the bow center, then sew the bow to the lace circle.

5. Use some thread to gather up part of the edge of the over skirt, and secure it into a little gathery poofy bit...

6. Sew the lacy circle ribbon thingie over the gather. I forgot to get a close up picture of this...

Step 6: Dress Part 6: Eyelets & Lacing

1. Make a hole for the eyelet. I do this with a knitting needle, and I really recommend using some kind of needle or awl rather than trying to cut a hole with scissors; if you cut the threads, the hole tends to expand over time and your eyelet can fall out. You might have to tug your needle around from side to side to expand the hole a little.

2. Put the eyelet in the hole. You will have to push it and wiggle it and shove threads out of the way on the back side. Try not to cut the threads unless you really have to to get it in there.

3. Place your setting tool over the eyelet, put it on a hard surface that you don't mind denting (don't do this on your table :P) and give the tool a couple light taps with the hammer. Basically, follow the instructions on the packet of eyelets.

4. Repeat for the rest of your eyelets.

5. Thread a ribbon through to tie it up, and try it on the doll!

Step 7: Petticoat(s)

1. Petticoats are easy. Cut a big rectangle of fabric long enough to reach from your doll's waist to her ankles (with a bit extra for folding over the top and hemming) and wide enough to have the fullness you want.

2. Hem the bottom.

3. Add your trim/ribbon/whatever. It's easier to do this before the petticoat is round, and you can kind of sew the ends into the back seam so it looks neater.

4. On the top edge of the petticoat, fold over and hem about 1/4 of the way down on what will be the back seam. This is so that our opening where the ribbon/waistband goes will have a nice finished edge. Do this on both sides of the fabric.

5. Fold over the top of the fabric and sew a channel for the ribbon, leaving it open on the edges that we just finished in the step above.

6. Sew the back seam together, making sure not to sew the ends of the ribbon channel together too :P

7. Thread a ribbon through the channel to gather it. I usually pin or tie a safety pin to the end of the ribbon and use that as a tool to thread it through the channel, it just gives something to grab onto.

8. Tie the petticoat around the doll's waist.

9. Make another petticoat by the same method but with tulle or net or something to put underneath. Or not. Or make 3 or 4 and make it REALLY poofy!

Step 8: Hat

1. Cut two circles out of card for the brim of the hat. You can make it any size or thickness you like to fit on your dolls head or just perch on top.

2. Cut holes in the circles to be the middle of the hat (Sorry if my instructions are hard to understand, it's late and I'm rushing. I'm forgetting how to English. Pictures will hopefully help.).

3. Cut a circle out of fabric just slightly larger than the paper ones, and cut a hole in the middle of it as well. Cut notches around the edges of the fabric and around the inside of the hole to make it easier to fold over and glue.

4. Glue the fabric circle to the paper circle to cover it.

5. Cut a long piece of fabric for the top part of the hat. It needs to be just longer than the circumference of the inner circle. The width will be the height of the top part of the hat. (You can see me measuring this in the picture by holding the fabric wrapped around my fingers inside the paper circle).

6. Cut another long piece 2 or 3 times longer than the one from step 5 and just over the width of the brim.This will be the pretty gathers on the underside of the brim.

7. Cut a circle of fabric  just larger than the inner circle in the paper to serve as the top of the hat.

8. This part is going to be hard to explain...  Gather or pleat the long piece of fabric onto the short piece, wrong side to right side. The seam should be showing on the right side of the top part of the hat, and the wrong side of the pleated part. (This would be a lot easier to see if I had used a fabric which had an obvious right and wrong side...)

9. With the seam from the pleats on the outside, sew the ends of the pleated part together, right side to right side.

10. Turn the thing inside out, and sew the ends of the short piece together, right side to right side.

11. Sew the circle of fabric on for the top of the hat. Turn this weird fabric skirty-hatty thing right-side out.

12. Stick the fabric skirty-hatty thing you just made up through the hole of the remaining (not fabric covered) paper circle.

13. Glue the seam down to the paper circle, then fold up the edges of the pleated part up around the circle
and glue those too.

14. Take the fabric covered paper circle you made earlier, and glue it on top of the messy part of the pleated circle. Tada! hat!

15. Decorate with feathers and flowers and ribbon and stuff.The hardest part of this is finding silk or paper flowers that are small enough to not look ridiculous on a doll sized hat.

Step 9: Necklace

This is seriously the easy part ;)

1. Measure your cord on your doll to see how long you want it. I made mine twice as long to be looped twice around the doll's neck. It makes it really easy to get it on over her head, even with her wig on. Make sure you leave lots of room for tying the ends together!

2. Cut your cord.

3. Put beads on cord. If your cord is stiff enough you don't even need a needle. This is where you can be creative and do different patterns. I actually made a couple necklaces using the different beads that I had picked out for the color scheme, but the one I ended up going with was just a pattern of imitation pearls with a copper bead every 16th bead.

4. Tie the ends together in a square knot. Right over left, and tuck under, left over right, and tuck under. You might actually want to repeat a couple more times. I tried to take pictures of this, it was pretty much impossible for me to take good pictures of tying knots in little transparent stretchy cord... so I made an ugly drawing of how to tie the knot...

5. (Optional but recommended) Put a tiny drop of super glue on the knot so it won't untie. Wait for it to dry.

6. Cut off the extra cord, but not tooooo close to the knot, or it can come undone.

Step 10: Shoes/Slippers

1. Trace your doll's foot onto cardboard.

2. Draw around to make a nice "shoe sole shape"

3. Cut the sole shape out and flip it over to trace for the other side.

4. Cut that one out.

5. Cut 2 more out of craft foam.

6. Cut 2 pieces of fabric big enough to cover the sole shape.

7. Cut 2 circles of fabric just wider than your sole shape piece.

8. Cut 2 pieces long enough to go around the back and sides of the shoe (look at the pictures, it makes more sense than me :P).

9. Fold your circles in half and sew a nice edge down the middle. This now half-circle will be the toe part of the upper shoe.

10. Do the same with the long pieces, folding them the long way. These long pieces will be the sides of the shoe.

11. Glue the sole fabric around the cardboard piece to cover it.

12. Glue the long piece around the sides of the sole, gluing it to the bottom ugly side of the cardboard sole.

13. Put the half built shoe on the foot of the doll, and use it to measure where the half-circle needs to go in order to form the toe of the shoe.

14. Glue the edges of the half-circle to the bottom of the sole.

15. Glue the craft foam sole to the bottom of the shoe to cover up all those messy fabric edges.

16. Decorate. I totally forgot to take a picture of just the shoes after I decorated, so I included the best picture of the shoes from the outfit set I took... Yeah, I know you can hardly see them >.< but they're there dangit! And they're part of the outfit! (So therefore part of the instructable :P)

And I'm done! I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope people are inspired to try crazy huge projects like this themselves! Please let me know what you think, especially if you have questions about how I did things.

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    7 years ago

    Very detailed and easy to follow. Thanks!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, very impressive final product. I wouldn't mind trying sometime, but I've never really looked into BJD types or prices before. I've just seen them around.