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Free Knitting and Crochet Patterns from Elaine Phillips

American Girl Doll Southern Belle Dress

Difficulty level: *** Intermediate

Free Doll Dress Knitting Pattern

If you're like me, you couldn't resist snagging some flounce yarn for your stash, the last time it went on sale. Because surely it'll come in useful some time? :)

If you're also like me, you've discovered that there aren't that many patterns calling for flounce yarn out there. Fortunately, one of the perks of being a designer is that when there aren't patterns, you can make patterns. The result is this Southern Belle Dress.

This is a true-blue ball dress, wide, sweeping and many-layered that your doll can wear to the most elaborate of social occasions.

The dress is knitted from the top down in rows with a rear seam. You can knit it in rounds as well, but the seam lets you hide the ends of the frills neatly, and so for this particular pattern, the seamed construction is a better choice. The frills are formed of flounce yarn, and they are knitted into the dress as-you-knit. I've prepared a video explaining how to do this.

In order to create that ever-fashionable wasp-waist, the middle of the dress is pulled in with ribbing. The dress has a rear opening which is closed with snaps.


  • Caron Simply Soft Party aran weight yarn, 164 yards (150 meters) / 85 gr, color Spring Sparkle - 2 balls. (A)
  • Red Heart Boutique Sashay Sequins, aran weight mesh/net ribbon yarn, 20 yards (18 meters) / 100 gr, color Champagne -  1 ball (B)
  • 7 plastic snaps.

Needles: circular 24" US 8 (5.0 mm)

Hook: G (4.00 mm)

Gauge: 18 sts x 24 rows = 4"x 4" (10 cm x 10 cm) in stockinette stitch


Row 1 (RS) knit
Row 2 (WS) purl

Garter Stitch:
All rows knit.


The dress is worked from bottom up in one piece back and forth with crochet finish at neckline, armholes and button tape. Flounces are worked into the skirt as-you-knit.


1. With yarn A cast on 160 sts.

2. Work the first 4 rows in garter stitch. The rest of the dress is worked in stockinette st.

3. Work the next 10 rows with A in stockinette.

4. Knit the next row with both A and B yarns to form a frill (see video).

5. Work the next 3 rows with A.

6. Knit the next row with both yarns.

7. Work the next 5 rows with A.

8. Work the next row with A as follows: *k8, k2tog  repeat from * 20 times = 140 sts

9. Work the next 3 rows with A in stockinette.

10. Knit the next row with both yarns.

11. Work the next 3 rows with A.

12. Knit the next row with both yarns.

13. Work the next 9 rows with A.

14. Knit the next row with both yarns.

15. Work the next 3 rows with A.

16. Knit the next row with both yarns. You now have 6 rows of frills.

17. Work the next 11 rows with A.

18. Work the next row with A as follows: *k2tog repeat from * across the row = 70 sts. Purl the next row.

19. Work the next row with A as follows: *k2tog repeat from * across the row = 35 sts.



With yarn A work 13 rows in stockinette.

In the next row divide the stitches for front and back: knit 9, bind off 2, k 15, bind off 2, k 9. Work the front and 2 halves of the back separately from 3 balls of yarn.

Work 7 rows.

Next row: k9, using single cast on, method cast on 3, k15, cast on 3, k9; turn and purl 39 sts.

Knit the next row with both yarns.

Work the next 3 rows with A. Bind off.



Sew the back seam of the skirt from the hem about 5". Tuck the edges of yarn B into the seam as you work.

With the crochet hook, work 3 rows of sc around the armholes. Work 2 rows of sc along the two halves of the back to make a button tape and around the neckline.

Weave in the ends of the yarn.

Sew 7 plastic snaps to the button tape.

Download PDF  


There are 23 total comments on this article.

Leave a comment about the article.
Poster: Michele Dekkers
March 6, 2018

Confused with dividing the 35 stitches - instructions is for 37 stitches.
Poster: Elaine Phillips
October 26, 2013

I bought it at my local Joann store. I think Walmart also sells this yarn.
Poster: ashley
February 17, 2014

is there an on line store where I can get the mesh/net yarn? ashley
Poster: Elaine Phillips
March 7, 2014
Poster: crr1127
March 31, 2014

Yes there is a you tube video for dividing the stitches thankfully. It was my first attempt at dividing stitches it was not to hard. follow the steps (knit 9, bind off 2, k 15, bind off 2, k 9)the first k9 is a shoulder the 15 is the neck the last k9 is the other shoulder - each of these sections are worked separate so take your first set of 9 stitches and work 7 rows by turning your yarn at the end of the 9 stitches as if you were at the end of a whole row after the 7 rows (I didn't have 3 balls of yarn so I just cut it (leaving a fairly long tail) and moved to the next section (which is the neck) work the next 15 stitches for 7 rows, again I cut the yarn and moved on to the next section of the last 9 stitches working for 7 rows.
when all the rows are worked proceed to the next step
Poster: crr1127
August 12, 2014

I think the reason for circular needles is the needle gets a little heavy with the rows of yarn on it. I have knitted 3 of these so far with straight needles with no problem.
Poster: Countryk
October 27, 2014

I'm a fairly experienced knitter but it took me a few minutes to understand about the 3 balls of yarn. I was going to knit each piece separately but decided to create 2 more little balls of yarn. I do like the method. Next dress I'll roll up 2 little balls of yarn before I start. The pattern is not too clear about using the single yarn again when doing the increase row. Used recommended yarn and needles, the size was perfect and the dress is really cute. Thanks!
Poster: colette grimard
February 15, 2015

its so beautiful what you do where you take your idia for your model
Poster: Bonnie
February 5, 2015

When dividing you have 35 stitches on needle, k9 bind off 2 k15 bind off 2 knit 9. I end up 2 stitches short at the end, what am I doing wrong? I am stuck until I get an answer, so please help.
Poster: LT Silverman
July 18, 2016

me, Too!
View All Comments (23)

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