Free Doll Dress Knitting Pattern
This charming dress fits the American Girl Doll or similar 18" dolls. It features a classic pleated skirt and sporty raglan-style sleeves. As you can see from the pictures, this dress can be knitted in a variety of yarns for different looks. In the version I describe here, I used Patons Lace self-striping yarn and Patons Lace Sequin yarn to add decorative accents, but this is optional.
The dress has a rear opening, going from the neck to the hip line. I used sew-on snaps. Buttons are another option.
Skills Required/Technique Used:
-Knit & purl, cast on & bind off
-Working in the round on double pointed needles
-Picking up stitches
Materials: Patons Lace light fingering weight yarn (80% acrylic, 10% mohair, 10% wool) 85g/3 oz 455m/498yds) 1 ball or Patons Lace Sequin (58% acrylic, 14% polyester,9% mohair, 9% wool) 70 g/2.5 oz 314 m/344 yds) 1 ball
Needles: 3.5 m/US #4 circular and a set of 4-5” long double pointed needles of the same size for sleeves.
- Stitch markers
- Stitch holders or 2 pieces 10” long of contrasting color waste yarn to hold stitches
- Yarn needle
- 4-5 sew-on snaps size 2/0 or 3/0
- sewing needle and thread of color matching the yarn for attaching the snaps
Gauge for stockinette stitch: 24 sts x 32 rows = 4" x 4" (10 cm x 10 cm)
dpn – double pointed needles
K – knit
P – purl
St – stitch
Sts - stitches
pu&k - pick up and knit
kfrbfr – knit front, back, front , thus making 3 sts out of 1
as est. - as established, work as the previous row
co – cast on
RS – right side
WS – wrong side
m1 - make 1 increase - I used the increase described by Elizabeth Zimmerman: make a backward loop over the right-hand needle and in the next row/round purl/knit as a regular stitch.
bb – button band
Stockinette in rows:
Row 1 (RS): knit
Row 2: purl
Repeat 2 rows.
Stockinette in rounds: All rounds knit.
Garter stitch in rows: all rows knit
Garter stitch in rounds: knit the first round, purl the next round. Repeat 2 rounds
The selvedge/edge stitches are worked as follows: slip the first stitch knitwise and purl the last one.
Raglan increases: Increase for raglan by making 1 st (m1) on each side of marked stitch in every right side (RS) row.
Button Band (bb) is worked in garter stitch on 2 stitches in the beginning and in the end of each row.
The dress is worked top-down back-and-forth with raglan sleeves and button band on the back till the hip line, then the skirt is worked in the round. The sleeves are worked on dpn in the round.
Note on yarn: In order to get the color sequence to go from light to dark, like on my dresses, you may have to re-wind the Patons Lace skeins several times as you knit, until you get the colors that you'd like. Otherwise, your dress will be striped. Alternately, you can use a yarn with slower color changes.
Using 3.5mm/US #4 circular needles, cast on 51 sts. Work 4 rows in garter stitch, distribute stitches in the following way:
1 selvedge - 2bb - 5 back - 1 raglan (place a marker) - 10 sleeve - 1 raglan (place a marker) - 11 front - 1 raglan (place a marker) - 10 sleeve - 1 raglan (place a marker) - 5 back - 2 bb - selvedge
Continue in stockinette, bb is worked in garter stitch, make raglan increases starting from row 5 in every RS row: 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17.
Divide for sleeves and bodice:
Row 19: 1 selvedge, k 15, transfer 24 sts to a piece of waste yarn, co 3, k 27, transfer 24 sts to a piece of waste yarn, co 3, k 15, p1 (selvedge). = 65 sts
Work as established 4 more rows (rows 20 – 24)
Row 25: 1 selvedge, k 2 (bb), *p 1, kfrbfr repeat from * to last 4, p 1, k 2(bb), p1.
Row 26: 1 selvedge, k 2 (bb), *k 1, p 3 repeat from * to last 4, k 1, k 2(bb), p1.
Work as established 5 more rows (rows 27 – 32).
Round 1: Join the work into a round. For this, transfer the last 3 sts in the row to a spare needle, overlap the button bands – place the 3 stitches on the spare needle under the first 3 stitches on the left needle. Knit the bb stitches together: insert the right hand needle in the first/selvedge stitch on the left needle and in the first stitch on the spare needle, knit them together. In the same way, knit together the remaining 2 stitches, mark the beginning of the round. Continue to work in the round. Work rounds 2 and 3 as established.
Round 4: *p 1, m 1, k 3 – rep from * across the round.
Round 5: *p1 , k 4 - rep from * across the round. Rounds 6-8 work as round 5.
Round 9: *p 1, k 4, m 1 - rep from * across the round.
Round 10: *p 1, k 5 – rep from * across the round.
Work rounds 11- 35 as round 10. Bind off.
Note: If you do not want the hem to roll up, work the last 4 stitches in garter stitch.
Transfer 24 sts from yarn to dpn, pu&k 3 sts underarm = 27. Work in the round on dpn for 26 rounds in stockinette, work the next 4 rounds in garter st. Bind off.
Weave in the yarn ends. Block the work. After it dries, sew the snaps to the backs of the button bands.
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