Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reversible Doll Jumper

Isn't she cute? (please excuse her hair. Her mommy is four.) Today I'm going to walk you through how to make that jumper. It's reversible, so your little girl gets two jumpers and you do half the work. See how I'm always looking out for you?

The first step is choosing the fabric. Your two fabrics don't have to coordinate because only one side shows at a time. I like lightweight fabrics, but you can use bottom weights as well if you like. If you do choose something heavier, like denim, twill, or corduroy, be sure your second fabric is lightweight or you're really going to struggle with those straps. Lightweight fabrics are easier to work with and might be the best choice the first time through if you haven't sewn doll clothes before.

Choose your pattern. I used the jumper pattern from Simplicity 7083, but any simple jumper pattern will do (and technically you can use this technique on any similarly designed jumper. I just haven't gotten the hankering for a reversible jumper for myself lately.)

When sewing doll clothes, always use a quilt piecing foot. Doll clothes have a 1/4" seam allowance just like quilts and that 1/4" foot is fabulous for making sure the seams are the right width. I don't really even quilt, by the way. I bought mine just for doll clothes. I love the little red hash marks every 1/8" on it. It makes turning corners so much easier.

1. Ok, back to the fabric. Cut out a front and back pieces from both fabrics. One front and two backs, just like the pattern recommends.

2. Sew them together at the side seams and press your seams open. On one side, press the top of the jumper straps down 1/4" to the inside of the fabric. (I'll show you what that looks like here in a second.)
3. Now matching right sides together, sew the two jumpers together all the way around included the back center seam, except leave a 2" opening at the bottom edge:
and don't sew the tops of the straps. See how the pink fabric is folded down? I also sewed right over the top of the folded fabric. You now have a little 1/4" tab on one side and a folded section on the other. Trim your seams. (for the non-sewers, this means clip the corners close to the seams and clip the seams along all curved edges. If you need directions on this, check out the basic instructions section on most any pattern.)

4. Using the gap you left in step 3 at the bottom of the jumper, turn the jumper right side out. You'll pull it all through all the way to the ends of the straps, just like this:

5. Press flat, making sure you keep the seams perfectly even so one side is not visible from the other.

6. Now we're going to sew the jumper straps. Match the straps so right front strap is matched with right back, etc. Sew the tabs right sides together on each strap. Do not catch the folded edges in this seam. I used my machine, but if you are nervous about using a machine in a small space, feel free to hand sew this step. (You'll be hand sewing from here on out anyway.)
7. Fold the tab ends back inside the strap like this:
and hand sew the folded edges closed using an invisible slip stitch:
8. Sew the gap in the bottom edged closed and sew up the back center seam using an invisible slip stitch. You want to sew the back up enough that the dress is easy to get on, but doesn't gap when put on. In this pattern (Simplicity 7083) that means sewing up about 4" from the bottom edge of the jumper. Then you'll want to hand sew a small snap at the top center back corners, be sure to not catch the other side of the fabric as you sew so the snap stays invisible.

9. Dress the doll and show her off. You might want to throw her a tea party so she has somewhere to go in her snazzy new togs.

Side two is just as cute:
Here you can see the inside and outside at the same time. I would show you the tiny snap on that top edge, but I lost my snaps and I haven't sewn one on this jumper yet. whoops.
This is a super simple jumper that takes about an hour to whip up, including the hand sewing. You could also alter the pattern by adding 3/8" to the center back seam and not hand sewing the bottom together. Just add velcro, snaps, or 1/4" buttons up the back to fasten. Of course, you could also move the seam to the front and make the back one piece and use really cute buttons . . . .

Sorry. I'll stop now. I'll also refrain from saying that the possibilities are . . . you know. I will say there's lots of stuff to do with this once you get the hang of it. I hope you have fun with it. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comment section. thanks!


  1. Thank you for posting! I am making rag dolls and was sewing the dresses today and I couldn't remember how to make them reversible. Very nice instructions with pictures!

  2. Very nice instructions. I particularly like the shoulder bit. I saw this on Pinterest.

  3. Going to make these thankyou for sharing ��

  4. To do the shoulders, I like to reach up between the layers of the dress in back, grab the shoulders, pull them out, and sew them. I wish I could draw a picture or attach a photo for you. You have to push the front strap through the back strap tube, and the back strap will be inside out as you sew, so right sides are together. Your method creates a slightly more elegant shoulder as the seam fabric is divided between the front and back; in my method all the fabric points to the back and even when nicely pressed is slightly thicker. I hate hand sewing, so I can overlook that!