Introduction: Make a Tartan Cape and Accessories for an 18" Doll

Make a lovely little tartan cape with boot gaiters and a fur tam and muff to keep any little 18" doll warm and cozy on an outing with their favorite friend.

This project would be good for teaching someone how to sew. If you are trying this on your own, you should have some basic understanding of how to operate a sewing machine (although it can be all hand sewn) and some knowledge about basic sewing terms and practices. While the instructions include everything you need to know about how to make the outfit, there is no definition or instruction for specific tasks and one is assumed to have some basic knowledge of sewing.

Otherwise, it was fun to make and share.

Step 1: The Pattern

Here is a little information for measuring some standard, basic dolls. The pattern (including some other outfits) used is available at this link:

You should need only a basic sewing machine that does a straight and a zigzag stitch.

Step 2: Pattern Instructions

These images are the step-by-step instructions. The patterns are included in the downloadable pdf file in the previous step.

Step 3: Pattern and Fabric Selection - the Cape

I am using this pattern for an 18" standard American Doll size. You will need basic sewing supplies for this project including:

The pattern that you can upload from the pdf file. Which you can printout, cut and join together for some of the larger pieces as instructed with the pattern file.

The outfit is small enough to be made totally by hand sewing, but a basic sewing machine would be preferable.

Additional supplies: (Fabric amounts are indicated in image 2 of step 2).

  • Matching fabric for the cape and boot covers.
  • Fake fur for the hat and muff.
  • Lining fabric for each of the items as well.
  • Some sewable velcro (not the kind with adhesive on it).
  • Thread to match your material.
  • Some 1/2" grossgrain or plain ribbon for the boots and optional elastic.
  • A small piece of velveteen (about 1.5" x 12" long).
  • Some lace or other ribbon for the collar and armhole trim.
  • 1/4" elastic (about 10") for the hat.
  • Some small buttons for the boot covers.

I have chosen some brown plaid and navy lining material for the cape and boot gaiters along with some cream colored fun fur that I cut out of a furry scarf. That is the wonderful thing about doll clothing, you don't need to purchase large amounts of fabric to complete an outfit.

Step 4:

The pattern shows the layout for the pieces on your fabric. If you have chosen a plaid fabric, you will need to make sure that your pattern lines up, and this may mean having a little extra fabric. In image 1, you will see the 'selvage' edge at the top - it is usually the finished edge of fabric from the manufacturers. Place this side of the fabric to the right so that the folded edge is on the left, and your fabric will be ready to lay the pattern as indicated in the diagram.

Make sure to place the cape back piece on the fold. Try to place the pieces with the bottom edge of the piece starting in the relatively same spot in the pattern so that your patter will match up when sewing the pieces together. Make sure to lay the boot cover piece down with the printed wording face up for the first piece and the wording face down for the second one.

You will see a "grain line" marking on some of the pieces. This is to help you make sure your piece is cut straight on the grain. When laying this piece, put a pin in one of the arrows and measure from the arrow to the edge of the fabric with a tape measure. Take this measurement and make sure the other end of the arrow is the same distance from the arrowhead to the edge of the material. Place another pin on this arrow. Then pin around the edges of the pattern piece.

When all of the pieces are laid out, cut around the pieces, including around the small triangular markings on some of the pieces.

The same pieces will need to be used to cut out the lining pieces. Pay attention to the instructions on the pattern pieces that indicate a different cut line on the bottom of the lining cape pieces.

Step 5: Hat and Muff Pieces.

Following the instructions, layout and cut the pieces for the fur hat and muff from the fur and lining.

Step 6: Sewing the Cape

  1. Make sure to mark the armhole positions on each of the pieces (see picture 2 & 3). Seams are sewn at 1/4" seam allowance (unless otherwise indicated). Step 2 indicates to sew (with right sides of fabric facing each other) the upper shoulder, curved edges together as shown in images 4 & 5 above of the side sections and then sew them both to the back piece section. Make sure to press the seams when done. Pressing helps the seams to lay flat and hang/fit properly as shown in image 6.
  2. Step 3 in the instructions require you to join the cape sides to the cape front pieces. Make sure to have the armhole markings noted and join the pieces together with the right sides of the fabric facing each other. Sew from the top of the shoulder down to the first armhole opening mark. Then continue sewing from the next armhole marking to the bottom edge of the cape. Press the seams open when done.
  3. Stitch a 3/8" hem on the bottom edge of the cape sections as in the last image.
  4. Repeat these steps for the lining pieces.

Step 7: The Lining Pieces

After sewing the lining pieces together, you are ready to hand baste (with a running stitch) the lining to the plaid pieces along the front and neck edges only, not along the bottom. Make sure to put the wrong sides of the fabric together as in image 1 above. Sew a zigzag along the front edge to make a finish edge and then fold it over on the fold line indicated on the pattern piece and then stitch in place.

Step 8: Collar

  1. Place the collar and collar lining pieces with right sides together and sew the front and outer edges together in a 1/4" seam leaving the neck edge open. Make small snips in the rounded edges as in image 2 above so that the seams will lay flatter when turned to the right sides.
  2. Turn the collar to the right sides and press flat. Using your selected trim, hand sew it along the front and outer edges. Making sure to make a clean, neat turn with the trim on the corner sections.
  3. Baste finished collar to the neck edge of the cape - match the center first as in image 6 & 7. Using the 1" x 12" (the instructions say 1" x 10", however, that is not quite long enough to do the whole neck edge), pin on top of the collar and cape pieces starting in the center. Fold the end pieces over the front edge of the cape. Sew a 3/8" seam on the collar edge, catching all three pieces.
  4. When sewn, clip the curved edge from the edge just to the line of sewing as in image 8. This will provide some easement when turning the facing over. When done, turn and fold the facing edge over on the inside and pin over the edge. Slip stitch the collar facing to the inside of the cape, making a small collar on the cape.
  5. At this point, the instructions suggestion sewing a tie on each side of the collar; however this step is optional, and I chose to leave it out.

Step 9: Cape Armholes

Slipstitch the cape to the cape lining inside each armhole opening. Then sew the same trim on the collar around each armhole on the outside as in image 3.

Step 10: Cape Finishing

Finally, place a small piece of velcro at the top front edges as in image 1 above to finish the cape.

Step 11: Making the Boot Gaiters.

  1. Stitch two gaiter pieces with right sides together along the front curved edge. Snip the front curved edge from the edge of the seam just to the stitching line (repeat for the lining pieces). Press the seams. Open out the two sections and lay flat. Cut two strips of grossgrain or plain ribbon and place them on the outside edge of the gaiter as in image 3 and sew in place.
  2. Pin the gaiter plaid to the lining with right sides together and sew 1/4" hem along all edges but one end edge (as in image 6) for turning inside out. Before turning, check all the edges to make sure the stitching has caught all the way around. Resew any areas missed - as in image 7.
  3. Before turning inside out, clip the curved edges from the the edge of the seam to the stitching. Turn inside out and press.
  4. Turn the open back edges in about 1/4" and press. Sew velcro along the back edge and buttons on the ribbon. The instructions indicate sewing some elastic on the bottom of the gaiter, but this is optional, and I left it out. See the final image above.

Step 12: Hat

  1. To make the hat, you will take the hat brim piece and stitch the two short ends together with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.
  2. Take the circular hat top piece and pin it with right sides together to the brim piece you just sewed. Stitch a 1/4" seam all the way around. Snip the seam from the edge to the stitching.
  3. Repeat these steps for the lining pieces.
  4. To make the pompom, take the pompom fur piece and make a small running stitch by hand all the way around the edge. Place a small piece of the fur or lining material in the center and pull the thread of the running stitch to form a ball. Attach this the the center of the fur hat section on the outside. See pics 4, 5, 6, & 7 above.
  5. Take the lining pieces and attach them to the fur hat pieces with right sides together and pin. Stitch a 1/4" seam leaving a 1.5-2" gap for turning the hat inside out. (Note the pattern piece does show a gap area for reference). Once done, turn the hat inside out.
  6. Hand stitch the opening closed now if you are not going to make an elastic casing as indicated in the instructions. Otherwise, go to step 7 without sewing the opening closed.
  7. The pattern instructions indicate sewing another seam along the edge of the brim to make a casing for the elastic and then inserting the elastic and sewing the opening closed. However, I chose to sew the elastic directly on the inside of the hat brim as in pictures 9 and 10. Either method will work.
  8. Check the outside of your had along the seam lines. If any of the fur is pulled inside the seams, use a needle to gently pull the fur out of the stitched seam.

Step 13: Muff

To make the small hand muff, follow these steps.

  1. Take the fur and lining pieces and place them with right sides together and pin the long edges.
  2. Stitch these two side seams between the dots - TAKE NOTE to stop sewing at the dots, which are indicated on the pattern pieces - approximately 1/4" from each end.
  3. Turn the piece inside out.
  4. Reach inside the end and put the two fur ends together - stitch only the fur ends together - I chose to do this by hand as it is a really short seam.
  5. Once you have these seams sewn, fold the lining ends in about 1/4" and hand sew these ends.
  6. Attache a piece of ribbon to the inside of one of the ends of the muff as in the last two images.

Step 14: The Finished Outfit.

Here is the finished outfit on an 18" doll. The fit is pretty good and looks adorable. The pattern and instructions would be suitable for teaching a younger or newer sewer to learn the basics and complete an outfit in a relatively short time frame. It includes working with at least two different fabric types, sewing both on a machine and by hand (although the whole outfit could be sewn by hand with a little more time), using buttons, elastic, ribbon and trim. Someone new to sewing should have someone who is more experienced help to guide them through the steps but not necessary for someone who has some experience with sewing.

I hope this instructable helps you to create your own outfit for yourself or someone you know would enjoy having it for their doll.

Sew Warm Contest 2018

Participated in the
Sew Warm Contest 2018