~No Pattern Handkerchief Dress~ by gracefaerie

Project and article by: grace of gracefaerie designs
Additional material provided by BJDcollectasy

lauraThis simple dress is made with a vintage handkerchief and bits of lace. The dress plans here are designed to fit Yo-SD, Creedy, BB, and similar-sized dolls.

(For larger girls, you will have better results by using the yoke pattern such as the one found in gracefaerie’s pattern #30 Play Day for MSD)

For this project you will need:

Skirt: one vintage handkerchief

Lace Yoke: one piece of ¾”-1” lace the diameter of your doll’s chest plus ¾”

Lace Straps: 2 pieces of narrow lace

one piece of Seams Great (bias tricot seam binding) – same length as Lace Yoke

one small snap

1. To select a handkerchief, fold the hankie in half and hold the folded edge under your doll’s arm to determine if you like the length.



2. After you’ve made your selection, cut the handkerchief in half. If it has embroidery, make sure the most elaborate  parts of the embroidery will be positioned at the front of the dress. Lay out the 2 pieces on a table with the front edges together and the raw edges at the top.

3.Cut a piece of flat lace the length of the front edges. This lace will join the 2 front edges to make one continuous skirt.  Place the lace underneath the front edges so 1/8” of the lace is visible between the 2 front edges. Pin the lace to the handkerchief, and hand or machine stitch.


4. Make 2 rows of machine gathering stitches along the top edge (the raw edge), or hand sew two rows of  basting stitches. Draw up the gathers to correspond to the diameter of your doll’s chest plus ¼” for the overlap at the center back.


5. Select a piece of vintage lace with a bit of “give” so it will wrap around your doll’s chest and conform to her shape.  Cut the lace the diameter of her chest plus ¾” (¼” for overlap at the center back and ½” to turn under the cut edges of the lace.

6.  Place the lace on top of the gathered edge of the skirt. Pin the lace to the skirt, tucking under ¼”  at each end (the cut edges) of the lace. Hand or machine stitch. If necessary, trim the gathered edge of the skirt close to the stitching line.

7. To form a clean finish along this seam line, place a piece of Seams Great over the seam allowance, and hand stitch the Seams Great invisibly along the seam line at the bottom and along the top of the lace. (This will also add additional support to the bodice.)


8. Slip the dress on your doll, overlap the lace yoke at the center back, and mark position for the snap. Apply the snap.  (You may need to put a small piece of  fabric under the snap to reinforce the lace).


9. Slip the dress on your doll and snap the back closed. Mark position for the lace straps in the front and the back, and hand stitch invisibly to the inside of the yoke.

10. Embellish as desired!


Trying on the dress. A large ribbon rose is stitched to the front

For our  version of gracefaeries’s dress we included a hat based on our  doll bonnet video (see Video list in Articles & Videos or check our Youtube channel HERE.)  This kind of hat cannot be bent into a shape, but the ribbons pull down the sides when it is tied. The tulle underskirt is made by sewing tulle folded to form 4 layers.  They were hand-gathered then machine-stitched to a piece of elastic cut to fit the doll.



Dillys (Ani) in her new dress.

Don’t have any vintage handkerchiefs?

Numerous sellers of handkerchiefs, both vintage and vintage-looking, can be found online. A wide selection of sellers can be found on Amazon.com.  All other purchased materials for this project came from chain craft and fabric stores.  The hat, flowers, ribbon, and tulle came from Michaels Craft Store, the Seams Great and ribbon rose were purchased at Joanns Fabric.

For more patterns and ideas in flight: go to gracefaerie Designs.
Doll Model: Our DollZone Ani was provided by Junkyspot




Gracefaeries’s Handkerchief Dress

2 comments… add one
  • Wanda Wildrick Mar 4, 2014, 1:46 am

    Thank you for the pattern ideas. I love old hankies, and was looking for ways to dress my dolls. I’m not a sewer, but have been learning, so I can do this one! Thanks again

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