Knit dress for stuffed animal or doll

The reason I made this dress for Claire was that I had bought some yarn from Daiso. The skein was wrapped in plastic so I didn’t feel it until after I got home. That’s when I realized buying it was a mistake. I use acrylic yarn because it’s cheaper than wool or cotton, and it’s soft enough for me. Unfortunately, this acrylic yarn felt rather rough. I realized it would be uncomfortable to wear against skin, making it unsuitable for humans. On the other hand, a stuffed animal wouldn’t be bothered by it.

I don’t recommend this yarn for anything other than children’s crafts, such as for hanging things with. If you’re looking for low cost yarn to knit or crochet items to be worn, you’re better off buying it at a craft store because when there are discounts, you could get better quality yarn for a better deal than $1.50 for 45 grams.

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Claire in her dress.

Like my other knit projects, I did not use a pattern for this dress. I did not want to follow a pattern because there was little chance of finding a pattern that would fit this bear. Instead, I browsed free patterns for doll dresses, trying to figure out the general approach to knitting a dress. I didn’t have much luck, since they all showed different approaches and none had a ruffled skirt. There was one that was knit from bottom up, with the front and back sides done separately and then sewn together. That gave me some ideas. If you’re looking for a general approach to knitting a dress like this, I’ve included mine below.

I actually started this project back in April but set it aside because until recently, I thought of knitting as a cold weather craft. In July I acquired a bunch of yarn from my mom, and was motivated to learn how to crochet because she had some unfinished pieces. Just like how I learned to knit, I learned to crochet from watching videos. (The people who make the videos are much better at instructing than my mom, who expects me to pick it up simply by watching her silently crochet at full speed.)

After learning to crochet a simple flower and rose, I wanted to crochet another project using the white yarn. The only problem was that it was held up by this project, so even though it was the middle of July, I picked up my needles again and started to knit.

Since it had been three months since I last knitted, I had forgotten where I was, but thankfully I had taken good notes at the time so I was able to pick up where I had left off. I had the rest already planned, so I was able to follow the pattern without having to figure it out all over again. I was concerned that I had forgotten how to knit, but to my surprise, I still remembered. I was a bit slow when it came to a slip, slip, knit, but still knew how to do it.

I was hesitant to have a white bear wear a white top, so I hoped to add a red trim around the neckline even though I wasn’t sure how to when I first started this project. I also thought of making red cap sleeves, but that appeared too challenging, so I was content with keeping the dress sleeveless. Since I had just learned to crochet, I decided to crochet a border around the neckline. I wasn’t sure if I had enough red yarn to also add a trim around the armholes, so I thought I would have to leave them plain.

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Without the trim around the armscyes.

After adding a border to one armscye, I knew for certain that I didn’t have enough yarn to do both. Then I got the idea to only add the trim to the front, since that’s the side you’re more likely to see.

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The backside

When I first started this project, I wasn’t sure how far up to sew both sides of the back together. I hadn’t thought of casting on some more stitches to make a buttonhole band, although later I learned that I can pick up stitches to make one. I figured it would be okay to sew hooks to the back because the wearer is a stuffed animal, so it’s okay if it doesn’t close all the way. Having it secure enough is also fine, since it’s not likely that she’ll be moving around vigorously. Now, if this were for a toy that a child plays with regularly, having a proper closure would be important.

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I used hooks to fasten the back. They don’t keep it closed as well as I’d like.  I might try to add a button closure in the future.

How to make it: the general idea

Since dolls and stuffed animals come in different sizes, I’m not sure how useful this particular pattern will be. Instead, I’ll give you the general idea, and you can adapt it for your own doll or stuffed animal.

  • This dress was made from the bottom up, then sewn together in the back.
  • First, I figured out how many stitches go around the bear’s waist. (The widest part.)
  • In order to make ruffles, you need to start with twice as many stitches as you want, then decrease them in pairs. I multiplied the number of stitches by 2, and then added two more for sewing the ends together. I knitted until I reached a satisfactory length for the skirt, then decreased the stitches, and then knitted a few more rows before switching to the white yarn.
  • I kept knitting with the white yarn, until I reached the bottom of the armholes (armpit area?). That’s when I divided the top into the right backside, front, and left backside.
  • Decrease as appropriate to make the armholes. I did the front and right backside, leaving the left backside alone for now. (After completing the right backside, I did the opposite of that on the left backside.) You’ll want to keep it wide enough for the straps.
  • Then I made the neckline according to this video, except I decreased in each row, on both sides starting from where I had cast off, to make the neckline curve.
  • After completing both sides of the neckline, I sewed the front and back straps together at the top.
  • Then I sewed the back of the skirt together, and sewed hooks to the back. If you want, you can sew on buttons and pick up stitches to knit a buttonhole band.
  • Lastly, I added a crochet border to the neckline and armholes.

I hoped that was helpful if you were looking for the general idea of how to knit a dress. If you have any questions about the project, please leave a comment and I will try to answer it.

Our adorable baby bear

My mom and I were shopping when we saw a little pink dress for a baby girl. The price was heavily discounted, so we decided to buy it just to enjoy it and then return it a few weeks later. We wondered if any of our stuffed animals could fit it, and sure enough, Honey Bear could. The bonnet was from my childhood.

IMG_1053eqWe brought dressed up Honey over to my grandma’s house. Grandma liked the bear so much that it has remained there since. In fact, she even hid Honey in the closet before guests came over because she was afraid they’d take the bear.

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The photos were taken in 2012 and I had intended to post them on Xanga at the time but never got around to doing so, which is why I’m sharing them now.

Hat with bear ears

After buying the lavender yarn, I thought of making Lee Bay another sweater. I was planning to make the bottom edge ribbed, and give stockinette stitch another try. I wondered if I should make it a hoodie, but then decided to make the hat separate, and that’s what I ended up making. It took me at least four tries before I got it to work.

The hat does make him top heavy.

He looks so adorable with the big ears! The hat makes him top heavy, so he falls over easily when wearing it. 😀

I first made the ears, by making a smaller version of the ears in this pattern. Then I was inspired to make the hooded part by this pattern for a hooded scarf with cat ears. Since Lee Bay’s ears are on the top of his head, I needed to make room for them in the hat. Otherwise, it would just look lumpy. That’s when I looked up how to make holes in knitting, and came across vertical button holes. That was just what I needed!

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Lee Bay is all snug and warm now, except for his bottom. His shape isn’t quite right for pants. Maybe the next thing I should knit for him is a onesie? 😛

It took me a few tries before I got an adequate number of decreases, so that the hat fit around his ears without extra bulk. Even though it was advised to use the tails to reinforce the button hole, I ended up not doing that, because it made the hole too tight for his ear. Besides, I wasn’t going to actually use it for a button, so it wasn’t going to be subjected to lots of wear. The hole also became tighter after I sewed the ears on.

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The ears often like to get pointy on their own, giving him cat ears (or horns). 😛

Lastly, I used mattress stitch to sew both halves of the hat together. It is a bit snug, so if I were to make another one for Lee Bay, I would add another stitch to both halves.

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There is a visible line where I had taken it apart but put the stitches back on the needle in the wrong orientation. I’m learning.

I had actually finished making this three weeks ago, but for the past two weeks I have been extremely tired, which is why I haven’t gotten around to posting this until now.

My Second Knit Project: Stuffed Animal Vest

For my second knitting project, I decided to make a vest for my dear old plush bear, Lee Bay. I chose a vest because Lee Bay has stubby little arms that don’t really need sleeves.

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I started by casting on 30 stitches and making a rectangle for the backside of the vest. Since Lee Bay is proportioned like a gummy bear, his backside requires more material to cover than his front.

To make the front, I started with the right (his left) side. I cast on 14 stitches and decreased them as I went up to make room for his arm. On my first try, I forgot to add the button hole, inadvertently making Lee Bay a she-bear. (I’ve always thought of Lee Bay as a he, but have been uncertain about it in recent years. I’m being silly.) I ended up redoing it because even though garter stitch doesn’t have a “wrong” side, it wasn’t until afterward that I noticed that the cast on stitches looked better from one side than the other.

I didn’t watch this whole video on knitting a baby peacoat, but from the parts I saw, I was introduced to casting on additional stitches after starting the project, which is what I did for making the parts that go over his arms.

I decided to use another one of those wooden beads for the button, since it really doesn’t matter how secure the button is in this case. I learned how to knit a one row button hole from this video. I had to experiment several times to get the correct hole size, because the hole got wider as I made subsequent rows. (When I first completed it, the yarn above was still tightly wound around the needle, but after adding more rows, the fabric could stretch.) Consequently, I had to decrease the size of the hole, so that it wouldn’t be too loose for the bead.

For the left side, I did the opposite of what I had done for the right side. Then I sewed all three pieces together. I didn’t realize how much stretch the knit fabric would have, so if I were to make something like this again, I would cast on fewer stitches, since this vest doesn’t fit as snugly as I had hoped, but it’s good enough.

My favorite inanimate object

You may have seen pictures of Lee Bay on my blog before, but I have never actually introduced him, so now I will.

Meet Lee Bay!

I thought he looked very happy at the moment, so I took this photo.

Lee Bay is a 29-year-old plush bear that I love dearly. Please don’t ask me what his name means because I have no idea what my 3-year-old mind was thinking at the time. I also am not sure why he has always been a he-bear in my mind. To my amusement, last summer I learned that there is actually a place named Lee Bay!

My mom bought him at TG&Y for my sister, right around Easter of 1985, who later reluctantly ceded him to me. When I say Lee Bay is 29 years old, I mean that we’ve had him for that long. I don’t know how old he really is, but he definitely is older than I. Never did my mom imagine that this $2.99 plush bear would mean so much to me.


Pictures of Lee Bay from when he was new.

Although his fur has faded and fallen out in some areas, and the piece of felt that is his tongue became elongated (it fell off once and my sister stitched it back on), I think he is in pretty good condition for a stuffed animal his age (that children played with regularly).

Out of all inanimate objects, Lee Bay is my favorite. I don’t believe I will be able to find a replica, so he can’t easily be replaced. Unfortunately, the words on his tag have come off a long time ago, so I don’t have any information about him. All I know is that he was made in Korea. I am curious about the person who designed this bear. How did the designer come up with that face that draws me to him?

Unlike other toys that I eventually grew tired of, Lee Bay always looks fresh to me everyday. He stays on my bed, and I hug him and talk to him (even though he can’t respond). But he’s there for me when I am alone and feeling sad at night, so he is a good friend.

Lee Bay retouched.

Originally posted on Xanga 7/7/2011 at 4:30 PM