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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 bottom up 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.

Skills Required/Techniques Used:
-Knit & purl, cast on & bind off.
-Working with flounce yarn.
-Crocheting /or Picking up stitches.

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

Needles: 5mm/US #8 circular 24" long OR SIZE NEEDED TO OBTAIN GAUGE, double pointed needles of the same size (optional).

Hook: G (4.00 mm)

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

- Yarn needle
- 7 sew-on snaps size 2/0 or 3/0
- Sewing needle and thread of color matching yarn A for attaching the snaps

dpn – double pointed needles
K – knit
P – purl
St – stitch
Sts - stitches
pu&k - pick up and knit
as est. - as established, work as the pattern demands, here knit the RS rows and purl the WS rows.
co – cast on
RS – right side
WS – wrong side
bb – button band

Pattern Notes:

Stockinette Stitch:
Row 1 (RS) knit
Row 2 (WS) purl
Repeat 2 rows.

Garter Stitch:
All rows knit.

The selvedge/edge stitches are worked as follows: knit the first stitch and purl the last one in a row.

Dress, short overview of the pattern:

The dress is worked from bottom up in one piece back and forth with seam on the back, crochet finish at neckline, armholes and button band. Flounces are worked into the skirt as-you-knit. As an alternative to crochet finish, you can pick up and knit the stitches to finish the edges and make a button band.


With yarn A cast on 160 sts.

Work 4 rows in garter stitch: k 159, p1. Repeat this row 3 times.

The rest of the dress is worked in stockinette stitch.

Row 5 (RS): k159, p1.

Row 6 (WS): k1, p 159.

Repeat rows 5-6 four more times.

Row 15 (RS): work with both A and B yarns to form a frill.

Work the next 3 rows (rows 16- 18) as est. in stockinette stitch with yarn A only.

Row 19 (RS): like row 15 with both yarns.

Work the next 5 rows (rows 20- 24) as established in stockinette stitch with yarn A only.

Row 25 (RS, decrease row): *k8, k2tog, repeat from * 16 times (= 144 sts).

Work the next 3 rows (rows 26- 28) as established in stockinette stitch with yarn A.

Row 29 (RS): like row 15 with both yarns.

Work the next 3 rows (rows 30- 32) as established in stockinette stitch with yarn A only.

Row 33 (RS): like row 15 with both yarns.

Work the next 9 rows (rows 34- 42) as established in stockinette stitch with yarn A only.

Row 43 (RS): like row 15 with both yarns.

Work the next 3 rows (rows 44- 46) as established in stockinette stitch with yarn A only.

Row 47 (RS): like row 15 with both yarns.

Now you have 6 rows of frills.

Work the next 11 rows (rows 48- 58) as established in stockinette stitch with yarn A.

Row 59 (RS, decrease row): *k2tog, repeat from * across the row.( = 72sts). Purl the next row.

Row 61 (RS, decrease row): *k2tog, repeat from * across the row till last st, p1 (= 37 sts).


Work 13 rows (rows 62 – 74) as est. in stockinette with yarn A.

Divide the stitches for front and back:

Row 75 (RS): k9, bind off 2, k 15, bind off 2, k9 . Work the front and 2 halves of the back separately from 3 balls of yarn as est. in stockinette stitch for 7 rows (rows 76 – 82). Alternatively you can work each part one by one. Note: work the front first, transfer the sts on yarn holder, cut yarn. Work the left back, transfer the sts on yarn holder, cut yarn. Work the right back, do not cut yarn, return all sts from holders on the left needle.

Row 83 (RS, increase row): k9, using single cast-on method, cast on 3, k15, cast on 3, k9. (= 39sts).

Row 84 (WS): purl 39 sts.

Row 85 (RS): like row 15 with both yarns.

Work the next 3 rows (86-88) as est. in stockinette stitch with yarn 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 band and around the neckline. Alternatively, you can pick up stitches and knit 2-3 rows to finish the edges. Double pointed needles in this case will be useful.

Weave in the ends of the yarn.

Sew 7 plastic snaps to the button band.

Have fun!

Pattern was updated on October 2, 2018.

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There are 24 total comments on this article.

Leave a comment about the article.
Poster: Louise
May 8, 2019

I had never heard of flounce yarn, but I think this dress is fabulous. Will give it a try! Thanks especialy for the demo of how to apply the flounce!
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: Michele Dekkers
March 6, 2018

Confused with dividing the 35 stitches - instructions is for 37 stitches.
Poster: colette grimard
February 15, 2015

its so beautiful what you do where you take your idia for your model
Poster: LT Silverman
July 18, 2016

me, Too!
View All Comments (24)

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