Making Doll Clothes from Children’s Thrift Store Clothes

Hello, lovely Friends! Ready for Christmas?? Okay yeah me either. Glad we’re on the same page about that. I need a couple of weeks to recover from Halloween first!

Thanks to everyone who was able to join me for the LIVE broadcast of my Halloween Tour on our Make it New Facebook page on Tuesday! Wasn’t that fun? It’s such a treat to be able to talk to everyone in real time. You can still watch the video if you look for it in the feed over there! You can also see my tour that I shared on my blog HERE if you missed it.

I’m happy to report that our first Halloween in the new house was a huge success! We got to meet so many new people in our new neighborhood which is always nice. I spent the better part of yesterday taking everything down and packing it away. Our porch looks so naked now.

Of course that means I don’t have anything brand new to share (lots coming though yay!!) and I am no where near ready to bust out Holiday projects,  but I don’t mind at all resharing a post that might inspire a great Christmas gift idea for a special little girl in your life!

Over the weekend I shared this post in our Make it New Facebook group and thought the timing was great to share it here today.

I was so excited to share this project last year…

Here is a sneak peek of it before:


My sweet niece, Eva, has a birthday in October and last year my Mom bought her an American Girl Doll. I decided I would buy her a few outfits to go with it…that is until I saw how much they were. Are they kidding? $35 for a doll outfit?? Ohhhhhh NO WAY! Then I remembered I can sew!

The next day was Wednesday and the Salvation Army Thrift Store, at least in my area, has all clothes 50% off on Wednesdays. I decided I would try to find some children’s clothing that I could cut down into a wardrobe for Grace (Eva’s doll).

I have two boys so I can’t tell you how excited I was to get to sew doll clothes, and I saved a ton of money making them myself!

Up first is this purple sweater:


I paired it with these jeggings:


To create this outfit:

Turn old children's clothes into doll clothes from

Oh and those boots? They were this vest:


Cute right?? Total for this outfit, including the boots: $4. I am not kidding!

That doesn’t include thread, elastic, or Velcro, just what I paid for the clothes at 50% off. I tell ya, searching the thrift store for pieces to use is way more fun than walking the fabric aisles at the fabric store!

Next up is this girl’s skirt that I paired with a women’s tank:


To create this cute outfit:
Turn old children's clothes into doll clothes from

I tried to take advantage of pretty finished edges wherever I could. These two pieces cost $3.

For most of these pieces, including the boots, I used one pattern by McCall’s. I found mine at JoAnns, but it’s actually cheaper on amazon HERE (affiliate).

McCalls doll clothing pattern

Grace needs a Christmas dress, right? I thought this one would be perfect:


And it was…

Turn old children's clothes into doll clothes from

The original dress had some stains on the bow, but I was able to cut it down. This dress was only $1.50!

And what about those shoes?

Yep. Made those too. I modified the boot pattern and added bows…

Turn old children's clothes into doll clothes from

And here’s how they started out:

This is a leather skirt originally from the Gap in a size zero. I don’t ever remember being a size zero, but for $2.50 it was perfect for a few accessories. (You’ll see what else I made with it coming up.)

Next up is this women’s jacket and girl’s skirt I paired together at the thrift store:


They turned into this preppy little number:

Turn old kid's clothes into doll clothes from

I made another top with short sleeves out of the women’s tank I used earlier, to create a top to go under this jacket. Total cost for this jacket and skirt: $4.

I love this next one. I paired this girl’s shirt with a pair of toddler leggings:


They became this comfy get-up:

Turn old kid's clothes into American Girl doll clothes from

SO cute! All of these shirts are easy to get on and off with a strip of Velcro at the back. I varied this shirt pattern on the length at the bottom, and for the sleeves on a couple, but I used it for most of the tops in these outfits. The leggings were super easy. I paid $2 for these two pieces. (The little stones on the shirt are the stones on the little ballet flats. )
Here’s another simple one…I found this cute girl’s shirt and paired it with these leggings, that actually had a hole in the knee, but that made no difference!


And here is how they turned out:

DIY AMerican Girl Doll Clothes from

Total cost, minus the boots (that came from the leather skirt): $1.50!

The boots really make it though! Aren’t they the coolest?? They were included in the pattern!


How about some jammies for Grace?

I found this Cuddl Duds women’s shirt that still had the original tags on it:


I knew it would make great fleecy jammies:

Turn old kid's clothes into American Girl doll clothes from

I added the pocket detail to make it a little different, but again I used the shirt and legging patterns.


Total cost: $3.

The doll I used as my model came from Target. It has a prettier face than the American Girl dolls in my opinion and was a fraction of the cost, but her hair was very thin when it was hanging straight. (You can see that in the jammies photo above.) Still a good alternative if the real deal is out of your price range.

Here’s one just to show the vest I made out of the leather skirt. I mixed it with pieces from other outfits:


I saved my favorite for last. I matched this girl’s sweater and skirt:


To create this one-of-a-kind outfit:

Turn old children's clothes into doll clothes from

My favorite! Using the original hems in the sweaters helped to make them both look authentic. This did require a little pattern modification as well. I added some of the hem detail to the neck for this one just as I did for the first one. You also have to be sure to seal the seams with a zig zag stitch to prevent unraveling when using sweaters.

It’s the boots and hat that totally make it though. This hat was in the pattern as well, but I added the rosette detail:

Turn old kid's clothes into doll clothes from

So chic! Total cost for this outfit, even with the boots and hat: $5.00. That includes the leggings as well. You just can’t beat that!

I hope you enjoyed these transformations! I spent a total of $26.50 on the clothes I used, and about $10 more for thread, elastic, and velcro. That’s eight individual outfits for just a little more than the cost of one American Girl Doll outfit I looked at. If you can sew and have a special little girl in your life who would love some doll clothes, this is the way to go!

Turn old children's clothes into doll clothes from

The pattern for the shirt and leggings was super easy to follow so even if you are a novice at the machine, you can definitely tackle those two pieces and still make several cute outfits.

I truly had too much fun with these, and spent way too much time on them, but I loved every minute. I may be a boy mom, but the girly girl in me was like a kid again.

If you’ve already seen this project, I hope you enjoyed the replay! 🙂

My hutch is painted and I’ll be back to share it next time. Here is  a reminder of how it started:

UPDATE: See how this hutch looks now HERE!



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  1. Oh my gosh!!! Seriously??? You have another career ahead of you with those doll clothes. You are amazing! Every outfit is so darling. Your niece must have been thrilled. Thx for sharing your talents once again!!

    • Thank you so much, Michelle! I had so much fun making these for my niece, and they were a huge hit! XOXO

  2. I just love the doll clothes, you did a wonderful job on them. That could be a second job for you.

    • Thank you so much, Deb! I used to make and sell dolls for about 15 years when I was younger, and I think I had enough of that, but it was fun to break out the sewing machine for my sweet niece! ????

  3. Norma Rolader says

    oh my I need to do this for my friends great niece

  4. My goodness! These outfits are fantastic. I can see why you had so much fun! My grand daughters have a similar doll. Guess what I’ve added to my already huge to do list?!

  5. I still love this post! It reminds me of all the doll outfits I sewed for my daughter and her cousin. I love how you repurposed clothing from the thrift store. They all turned out so cute!

    • Thank you, Cecelia! I’m so glad you enjoyed this the second time around. I think I had almost as much fun picking out the clothes at the thrift store ha ha! XOXO

  6. Darling outfits! I have made American Girl doll clothing but it just isn’t something I enjoy. My sister, on the other hand, loves making them! What I do with size 0 (and any other size) leather items from the thrift store is make purses, totes and darling clutches. I have so many leather coats, jackets and skirts that I have cut into useable leather fabric ’cause it is the cheapest way to acquire leather!

    • Thank you, Suzan! I really had a lot of fun making these, but I couldn’t do on a regular basis. What a great ways to repurpose leather clothing! I never even thought of making something for myself out of them!

  7. These are so adorable!!

  8. Christy, I have seen these before, but I’m still blown away. I really did enjoy reading it and seeing them again. Looking forward to seeing the new pieces you have been working on as well.

    • Thank you, Kimberly! I’m glad you enjoyed it the second time around. I thought it was good timing to share it since people are starting to get ideas for Christmas, but I am so ready to share new stuff too! XOXO

  9. Wow! These doll outfits are amazing! I can’t even imagine how long it would take me to make all of those. Your niece is a lucky girl and her doll must be the best dressed doll around:)

    • Thank you, Carrie! My dining room was a hot mess for several days while I worked on these lol, but it was worth it! XOXO

  10. I don’t sew AT ALL but I really enjoyed your posts. All of the doll outfits are adorable. Your niece is blessed to have an aunt that loves her like you do and I know you are blessed to have her as your niece.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this project, Bonnie! I had a blast making these, and dressing the doll LOL!

  11. Your sewing skills are terrific, but your designing skills are what makemake these outfits so wonderful! Very impressive!

  12. Carol Claremont says

    Those doll outfits are beyond fabulous. I bet Eva will be so excited when she opens that gift. My 19 year old granddaughter still has both of her American Girl dolls. I don’t really sew but have bought clothes at thrift stores and Goodwill to use for craft projects. I have made several garlands (strips of fabric tied on to twine to drape off fireplace and other places – not sure if that is the right word for them)) for different seasons and cut strips from clothes made in a color that I needed. I also have bought shirts that had buttons in a color that I needed. Much cheaper than buying buttons from craft store in many cases. After I cut the buttons off, I still have the article of clothing that I save in case I need fabric in that color. This idea came from not being abler to find what I want in a regular retail store.

    • Thank you so much, Carol! Yes, the thrift store is a fabulous resource for fabric, buttons…you name it! XOXO

  13. wow these are great

  14. WOW!!! Love your diys!!!

    You have so much talent:)

  15. What a terrific idea. Who would have thunk! I plan on saving this for my granddaughters’ birthdays coming up in February and June. I would love to do it for Christmas but I don’t think I could get it done in time with working. Thanks for creative post!

    • So glad youhis post, Mary Jean! These will make great birthday gifts for your granddaughters! XOXO

  16. Wow!! These are simply fab!! You are so talented!

  17. Oh my gosh! You are so incredibly talented!! 😀 I don’t know where you get your energy. This is so adorable… I remember having rag dolls as a girl, with clothes I would tie on. I need to have some kiddos so I can make these! 😉 Love the outfit choices, too–very chic.

    P.S. I work at JoAnn Fabrics. Yes, it’s true. Thrift stores to salvage fabric from /are/ funner. 😉

    • Thank you, Mariele! I get overwhelmed sometimes at all the choices at the fabric store, so being able to use thrift store clothes is less stress ha ha!

  18. Very nice! great idea and so fun!

  19. These are just adorable! I will be doing this for my granddaughters.

    • SO glad you enjoyed them, Cindy, thank you! Your granddaughters will love them for years to come, I’m sure! XOXO

  20. O-M-Goodness!! You have blown my mind. Those are just too adorable!! Thanks for some great inspiration.

    • Thank you so much, Lisa!! I think I was surprised myself at how cute they turned out…I almost wanted to keep them for myself ha ha! XOXO

  21. Barbara Ackerman says

    Grace is one lucky little doll…as is your niece!
    Very, very sweet.

  22. I love your furniture transformations but this (I have to admit) was my all time favorite post!! I hope so much that my Granddaughter plays with these dolls so I can get your patterns and copy your ideas – if that’s OK? Good luck with the front rooms – can’t WAIT to see them finished!! And thanks for the Halloween tour – so fun 🙂

    • Thank you, Holly! I think this is my all-time favorite project too!! I absolutely loved making these outfits and my niece loved them! Copy away!! My front rooms are almost there woohoo! XOXO

  23. bente boganes says

    Ok, you just ooze with talent, there is nothing you can’t do! I aspire to be 1/4 as talented! Funny I was just looking at the Mapelea dolls (Canadas version of the American girls) and am really tempted to buy one! I am sure it comes from having 3 boys and never having the opportunity to have dolls in the house!

    • Aww you are so weet, Bente! Thank you! I think that is exactly why I loved this project so much…having only boys myself, it was so fun to play with these! XOXO

  24. I wish my mind worked like yours!! I can copy but I sure can’t imagine!! What a gift! I love looking at your pics and thinking, “ hmmmm, maybe I could try that!”! I want to live next to you!!

    • Aww you are so sweet, Linda, thank you! I love hearing that seeing my projects makes you want to try something too! I hope you do! 🙂 XOXO

  25. Oooooooohhhhhhh so cute doll clothes!!! So creative! You rock lady! Thank you so much for sharing your great ideas..

  26. I have enjoyed all your projects. Even when I know I won’t be making the project, there is always some idea or technique that I can use. The doll clothes are just too cute! I love the idea of recycling from the thrift store. What a great way to get a stylish variety of fabrics with matching trim and buttons for not a lot of money. I bet your niece is thrilled –lots of cute outfits and shoes and boots too! What a great Aunt! I wish I had someone who needs doll clothes.

    • Thank you, Johanna! I’m so happy to hear you enjoy what I share! Thrifting for children’s clothes to make these not only saved me a ton of money, but it was way more fun than visiting a fabric store! My niece really loved them! XOXO

  27. Christy, I am so impressed with your talents! I pinned this to my American Girl for Zoe board. Adorable and totally unique outfits… Yep, how many times have we seen an adorable garment at the thrift store in an impossibly small size! Perfect for this type of project. xoxo

    • Aww thanks so much, Donna! Aren’t these the cutest?? And yep those teensy tiny clothes are perfect for these! XOXO

  28. Those are just tooo cute but I do not have the patience!!! (or the skills!)

  29. These are darling!! I love thrift store shopping. I recently made a scarf using an old flannel Shirt! I also made cup cozies with the sleeve bands! Love your blog and ideas. Come visit my blog sometime.

    • Thanks, Lisa! You can seriously find the best stuff at thrift stores if you have an imagination!! XO

  30. Christy,
    Brilliant idea for making doll clothes. Plus, you are very creative and a great sewer. I sew, but am not sure I could create these outfits!! You are creative and smart.

    • Thank you, Tina! I did get a little crafty with a couple of the patterns, but most of these were made with the leggings pattern and shirt pattern which are both really easy to follow! XOXO