How to Turn an Old Pair of Denim Jeans into Cute Doll Dungarees – Heart Up-Cycling!

If you have ever felt a bit disheartened when that favourite pair of jeans finally comes to the end of life stage, then read on.  With a little time and creativity, you can easily breath new life into that old denim and turn it into a cute pair of doll dungarees!

Project Overview

Remember Georgina – the little 8 inch doll with moveable joints and toes you can tickle?

A pretty flowery dress is all very well, but an adventurous little doll like this really needs a pair of dungarees.

It is time to give that old pair of jeans a new lease of life and turn it into a little outfit for Georgina.

I also wanted to make a little white T shirt to go underneath the dungarees.  I had a donated white T shirt that had plenty of fabric in it – and the bonus of some lace trim I could detach and use to decorate the little top.

Heart Up-Cycling!

Doll Dungarees
Dungarees - Made for Adventure!
Doll Dungarees Finished Outfit
Doll Dungarees Finished Outfit
Doll Dungarees - The Inside
Doll Dungarees - The Inside
Doll Dungarees - White T Shirt
White Lacey T Shirt - Front
Doll Dungarees - White Lacey T Shirt Back
White Lacey T Shirt - Back

What You Will Need

Doll Dungarees
Doll Dungarees Embroidered Pockets
Doll Dungarees Needle Grabber and Finger Stall
Needle Grabber and Finger Stall
Handmade Rag Dolls Hemostat Tool
Hemostat Tool

Step-by-Step Guide

Time needed: 1 day

Dungarees Pattern and Instructions

I found a great little pattern for fully lined doll dungarees for a variety of different sized dolls at Sami Dolls on Etsy:

I particularly liked this pattern from Sami Dolls for a number of reasons:

  1. It is fully lined, so all seams are fully enclosed.
  2. It has pockets – perfect for indulging in a little decorative embroidery!
  3. It comes in a variety of sizes – so useful for dolls of different shapes and sizes.
Dungarees
  1. Remember to add 1/4 inch seam allowances throughout!
  2. I followed the dungarees pattern on the link above to the letter and was pleased with the results.
  3. I did have to scale the pattern slightly to fit my little doll.  See instructions on how to do this below.
  4. The only amendment I would make to the pattern is to be sure that when you cut your two pieces of fabric for the front and back of the dungarees, you cut the two pieces on a piece of fabric you have folded in half – so you get two pieces that are a mirror image of each other you can sew together. It is obvious really if you are an experienced sewer, but it would be better if the pattern made it clear that you must do this to save you making a mistake and wasting your precious fabric.

T-Shirt Pattern and Instructions

I followed this useful little pattern on You Tube to make the T-shirt.  There is a free downloadable pattern on the video and all the instructions are clearly set out step by step.

I used a stretch overlock stitch to make a more decorative finish – see the tips and tricks section below.

I also decided to embellish the top a little by cutting down the lace edging I had available, just to make it a bit prettier.

Heart Up-Cycling!

Heart Upcycling Logo
  • Here is that old pair of jeans that used to be such a favourite.  The well worn knees aren’t much good to anyone – but the rest of the denim has great potential.
  • The little white T shirt was easily fashioned from a donated top – see right. The lace came in handy for decorating the edges of the little white blouse.
  • What to do with the rest of the denim?  Keep reading …  I have plenty of ideas!
Owl Glasses Case Denim Jeans
Doll Dungarees
BEFORE - The Little White T Shirt
Doll Dungarees
What to do with the rest of the denim? Keep reading ...

Tips and Tricks

How to scale a Pattern - Instructions for Mac

Even the 8 inch pattern for the little dungarees was just a little bit too big for my doll, so I had to reduce the scale of it.

I am including instructions on how to do this in this post because it is a very useful thing to be able to do for lots of other projects.  These instructions are for Apple Mac users.

  1. Make sure the pattern you want to use is in a JPEG format.  If it is a PDF file, you will need to save it as a JPEG file first.  Simply export the file and select the JPEG format.  Alternatively, take a photo of the pattern on your iPhone and crop out any unwanted background to leave you with just the image of the pattern.
  2. Decide on the size of pattern you want to create.
  3. Open the JPEG image in Preview.
  4. Select Tools, Adjust Size (see the  first image below).
  5. In the Image Dimensions box that appears, select the unit you want – inches or kms – and set the height to the finished size you want your pattern to be (see the second image below).
  6. Tick Scale Proportionately and the width will automatically adjust correctly.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Share your reduced file toFiles and print out the pattern in exactly the size that you want.

Sewing with Stretch

I have always been a bit daunted by sewing stretchy fabrics before – probably because when I have tried to sew them in the past, I used just a standard needle and running stitch and so got pretty poor results.

For this project, I used a STRETCH needle in my machine and selected stitch 11 – super stretch stitch – to sew the T shirt seams.  Perfect results!

To neaten the neck of the T-shirt and the sleeve edges, I used stitch 13 on my machine – Stretch-Overlock – and was really pleased with the pretty little edge it created!  To get this pretty effect, set your foot so that the stitch line is right against the edge of the fabric on the LHS.

Doll Dungarees - Stretch Stitch
Doll Dungarees - Stretch Overlock Stitch

The Paper Trick

It has to be said that sewing tiny doll clothes is really VERY fiddly.  A common frustration is that your sewing machine chews up the fabric when you are trying to sew the tiny seams.

I have found that a good way of getting round this is to line up a piece of thin paper with the seam you are trying to sew and start your sewing machine off sewing that.  That way, it gets started and continues smoothly onto the seam you actually want to sew without chewing your fabric up and sending it down the hole in the footplate.

After the sewing is complete, you can simply tear away the paper.

Doll Dungarees - The Paper Trick

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Grant Paramore

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    1. HEARTUPCYCLING

      Thanks for your encouragement. My website is all my own work – made possible thanks to expert assistance from my talented daughter on some of the technical aspects.

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