I have plenty of clothing patterns available on this blog, free for personal use, but what about that random doll that you love that I haven't created for? I have simple dress, tops, pants, and skirt patterns in all different types of yarns for many popular dolls, but I thought I might give some tips on how to create these same basic clothing pieces for any doll that you might own.
Step #1: Picking your yarn.
The smaller the doll, the smaller the yarn. I usually try to get yarns that are more like fingering yarn for fashion dolls, or a little bigger. However, you can most definitely use thicker yarns like Red Heart. With a larger doll, such as an American Girl sized doll, I would definitely pick the thicker yarn. A yarn can definitely be too thick for small dolls though!
Step #2: Find the largest part of your doll.
You need to look carefully at your doll and figure out what is the largest part of your dolls body. For example, Barbie tends to have an equal sized bust and hips. Other dolls might have the bust area, hip area, or even waste/belly area that is the largest.
Step #3: Beginning chain.
Now simple crochet a long enough chain that fits snuggly around your doll in that largest area. Make sure to write down your pattern as you go along so that you can easily create more dresses for your doll in the future.
Step #4: Work in rounds.
If your doll's bust is the largest area (or at least extremely close to the size of the largest area), crochet an SC in the first chain you made and continue working in rounds until your dress is long enough! If the bust is smaller than the largest area, you will stop working in rounds at the waste and begin working in rows. Decrease or increase stitches accordingly so that the dress will fit snug on the doll's upper torso. I usually increase or decrease those stitches near the middle of the front of the dress.
*I also try the dress on the doll after the first row to make sure I like how it fits and that it can fit snuggle over the doll.
Step #5: Finishing off.
You are now done with your doll's new dress! Finish off the ends. If your dress was worked in rows for part of the dress, simply take a long scrap of yarn, tie a knot in both ends to prevent fraying, and use it to close the back of the dress with a bow!
You will be following the same tips as above, but make your beginning chain to fit snuggly over the largest part of the doll from the waste down, which is generally the hips. You will work the pattern in the same way as the tub dress, only crochet a shorter number of rows. You can create a longer tube skirt, or a shorter tube skirt. If your doll has a similar bust and waste size, your tube dress can also be used as a skirt! Depending on the yarn, I sometimes will decrease a couple of stitches at the back of the skirt at the very top (which would be the very last row).
You will follow the same tips as above. If your bust is the largest area, you can make it in the same way, just crochet less rows so that it can be used as a top. I will generally crochet it long enough so that it reaches her waste. If the doll's bust is smaller than the waste, work in rows only, and use a scrap of yarn to tie the back closed. If your doll has a similar sized hip and bust area, tops and skirts can generally be used interchangeably!