February 28, 2015

Scuba Diving BCD for American Girl Doll

See all my other free diving tutorials

What you need

  • 1/4 yard black nylon fabric (also sometimes called utility fabric)
  •  scraps of a different color nylon fabric
  • 1x 5/8" (15mm) parachute buckle (got mine at JoAnn Fabrics)
  • 2x 3/8" (12mm) parachute buckle (got mine at JoAnn Fabrics)
  • 7" of 3/8" black grosgrain ribbon
  • 5 1/2" of 5/8" black webbing (for belly closure)
  • 9" of 1" black webbing (to hold tank)
  • 3" of 1" wide black velco
  • 4x 3/8" D-rings (got mine on Ebay, but you could even bend a paper clip)
  • 1x 1" tri-glide (got mine I think at JoAnn Fabrics, not sure though)
  • small amount of polyester filling (optional)
  • spray bottle/small bottle used for the tank see my tank tutorial

How to make the BCD (Boyance Control Device)

1. Download pattern here

    This pattern is copyrighted by me, ReadCreations.
    For private use only !!!
    Make sure you have page scaling set to none !

2. Cut the front and back pattern from black nylon

3. Cut the 2 pockets from contrasting nylon. I used green.
    My green nylon came from an old kite and had already a side finished.
    I used the finished side for the top (slanted part) of the pocket.
    If you don't have a finished side, fold slanted part over 1/4" and sew a hem.

4. Fold back side of pocket 1/4" over and sew in place on front part

5. Take the 1" wide velcro and cut a 1 1/2" piece off.
    Take this  1 1/2" piece and cut in half lengthwise.

6. Take one of those lengthwise cut pieces and take velco apart and reassemble 1/2" offset
    Repeat for other lengthwise cut piece

7. Lay on shoulder piece about  1" from end, parallel to end.
    The velcro should only overlap in between the area 1/4" in from either side.
    Sew in place with a 1/8" seam to hold in place

8. Cover it all with the back piece
    Pockets and velcro are now sandwiched between the two black pieces

9. Sew all around with 1/4" seam, but leave most of the bottom open
    Only sew the outer 3/4" on either side of the bottom.

10. Turn right side out to hide seams

11. Optional: stuff small amount of stuffing inside the two front flaps
      This will give it the illusion the BCD is inflated

12. Cut 2 pieces of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon, 1" long each.
      With a small flame singe the ends to keep them from unraveling. ADULTS ONLY PLEASE !!!

13. Take one of those 1" pieces and go through a D-ring.
       Fold in half with D-Ring inside.

14. Insert ribbon with D-ring into bottom of BCD, 1" from either end.
      D-ring should stick out at the bottom.

15. Fold seams in and sew bottom shut with D-rings securely attached

16. Take the 5/8" webbing and cut a 1 1/2" piece, singe ends with flame. ADULTS ONLY PLEASE !!!
      Thread 5/8" (15mm) buckle (female piece) on it
      Fold webbing in half with buckle on it and sew onto doll's right front side

17. Take the leftover 4" of the 5/8" webbing and singe ends with flame. ADULTS ONLY PLEASE !!!
      Sew onto doll's left front side
      Attach other part of buckle (male piece) not shown in picture

18. Cut 4 pieces of the 3/8" grosgrain ribbon, each 1 1/4" long and singe ends.
      Take one piece and put a D-ring and a 3/8" buckle bottom (female piece) on it.
      Fold ribbon in a circle enclosing both D-ring and buckle,
      overlapping the ribbon by 1/4" on the back

19. Sew onto BCD 1/2" from the end. Sew between the buckle and the D-ring
      with buckle pointing up
      Repeat for other side

20. Take one of those ribbon pieces from step 17 and attach to buckle top (male piece).
      Fold in half and sew to shoulder strap.
      Repeat for other shoulder strap.

21. Take 1" webbing (9" long)  and sew the 1" velcro piece (1 1/2" long, soft part) onto one end
     of the webbing. This will be the tank strap.

22. Take the 1" tri-glide and fold other end of webbing around center post.
      Sew in place.

23. Take scuba diving tank (e.g. spray bottle from Dollar store) and wrap webbing around tank
      Thread webbing into tri-glide and fold back.
      This is where the rough part of the velco will be sewn.
      Mark the beginning and end of the rough velcro position (yellow and red needle below)

24. Sew rough velcro in marked position (marked with the yellow and red needle)
      When sewn it will look like this

25. Fold BCD in half to find center line on back. Mark with pins at top and bottom

26. Measure 1 1/2" from the bottom of the BCD on the center line.
      This will be where the bottom of the 1" webbing we just made, will be attached.
      Sew webbing in place (1/4" on either side of center line)

27. Finished BCD with tank will look like this

You are done !!!


  1. I'm going to assume that 1/4" should be 1/4 yd. I'm an experienced sewist, so just wanted to give you a heads up in case someone less experienced may not understand.
    Thanks for all your hard work in providing all your wonderful tutorials! I'm thinking about making something "Harry Potter" for a church raffle.
    Thanks again.

    1. You are absolutely right. Thank you for pointing that out to me. I have updated the instructions accordingly.