December 29, 2012

Native American dress and moccasins for American Girl doll

 See my other free Native American tutorials


What you need

  • brown suede fabric for dress and moccasins (around 18" x 40")
  • Velcro 5 1/2" long 1/4" wide
  • decorations for your dress (be creative, this is what I used)
    • 6 white, 15 blue and 11 red beads (5mm)
    • 5 beads that look like elk teeth (I got mine at Ben Franklins called Beader's Paradise - Czech glass & stone chips, almond delight, in this collection are some beads that look like elk teeth)
    • feather (bone or plastic)
    • little glass tubes in dark blue ( I got mine at Joann Fabrics called Darice 10/0 Bugle Beads - 100gr/Multi)
    • suede cording 3mm beige
  • necklace
    • red, green and blue glass tubes, see above
    • white beads (3mm)
    • closure
  • 2 pearl buttons for hair band and black elastic string

How to make the dress

download free pattern for dress and moccasins here

Please use the pattern for home use only !
This pattern is copyrighted by me, Read Creations.
Make sure you have page scaling set to none !

Cut all pieces from paper and tape together part A and B along blue line, same with part D and E to create the front (A/B) and back (D/E)

I had this dress made a while back so I can't show each step, but I took pictures of the relevant areas of the finished dress, so disregard the decorations, they will come later.

1. Cut front (A/B) on fold 1x, back (D/E) 2x, C on fold 1x and F 2x

2. Top stitch part C onto front (A/B) where indicated (wrong side of C onto right side of A/B). This fabric doesn't fray, so we don't need to worry about that, just sew about 1/8" in.
Do the same for both back sides (F onto D/E)

3. Sew shoulder pieces right sides together (shoulder on AB to shoulder on DE on both sides), make sure you don't sew the neck opening shut (marked between the black dots). Just sew from the black dot outward to the red dotted line.

4. Sew Velcro onto both back (D/E) parts, about 1/2" down from the top (soft Velcro on right side of fabric folded over inwards, rough Velcro on right side of fabric) You will have the rough Velcro facing you on the left side of the dress back and the soft Velcro, facing away from you on the right side of the dress, the picture explains it better than my words)

5. Top stitch neck opening (fold the shoulder seams apart and keep this seam all around)

6. Sew the two back (D/E) pieces together (right sides together) from the Velcro down to the red line (about 1" from the bottom of the dress)

7. Lay front (A/B) and merged back piece (D/E) on top of each other, wrong sides together and stitch along the sides between the two black dots (about 1" from the side). You will be sewing on the right side of the fabric, this seam will be visible!

8. Cut about 1" deep (just up to the seam you just did, but don't cut it!) 1/8" wide fringes all around (sleeves, sides and bottom)

Your dress is done, now it needs decorating !!!

How to decorate the dress

This is what I did to give you an idea. Be creative !

1. Take the dark blue glass tubes and sew them onto the dress just slightly offset from parts C and F starting in the back, all around the front and and ending on the other side in the back.

2.  Take the suede cording and cut 3 pieces at 4 1/2" long
3.  Cut the 3 pieces lengthwise in half (you will need 5 of the 6 pieces)
4.  Add 1 red and 3 blue beads
5.  Make a knot on both ends, about 1/4" inwards
6.  Move the 3 blue beads to one end and sew on the "elk tooth" to the opposite knot (I couldn't thread the "elk tooth" bead on the suede cord, that's why I sewed it on the knot)
7.  Move the red bead about 2 1/2" from the end of the blue beads side (this will be not in the center since the blue beads' side is going to be longer)

8.  Bend both sides down around the red bead and wrap a thread around multiple times just below the bead, then sew the red bead onto the dress according to step 9

9.  Go in 2 rows, 3 beads in the bottom row (around 3 1/2" from bottom of dress), 2 beads offset in the top row (around 4 1/2" from bottom of dress)

10.  Take the suede cording and cut a 9" piece off
11.  Thread the suede cord onto the feather to about 5" from one end (not the middle !)
12.  Cut the cord lengthwise in half up to the feather on both sides (where the feather is, it is uncut for about 1/4")
13.  Thread 3 white beads on each of the longer sides
14. Thread 3 red beads on each of the shorter sides
15. Take a red and white side together and sew onto dress, then take the other red and white side and sew onto dress on the other side of the feather, make sure you center the feather
Decorations are done !!!

How to make the moccasins

1. Take two of the soles and put right sides together 
2. Sew along the outside (long sides and front curve), don't sew the back straight section
3. Turn inside out, so the right side is facing you
4. Top stitch from the back for 2 1/2" on both sides (stop just before the curve)
5. Hand stitch along the curved front (start 2 1/2" from the back until 2 1/2" from the other side end) and pull to gather fabric (I used double thread to be able to pull hard enough without ripping the thread), after gathering knot thread so the gathered fabric won't come undone
(this picture has already the tongue sewn in)

6. Fold the back straight section in half and sew in a slight curve (instead of just straight down), cut off excess material at the rounded bottom.

7. Turn inside out, so seam is inside
8. Take tongue and hand stitch inside (I had the doll wear the shoe and stitched it while she was wearing it, that way I knew I had a good fit and I was able to make some last minute adjustments to the gather to make it look good)

Now repeat steps 1 - 8 for your other shoe and you are done.
You can stitch some mini beads on the tongue for decorations if you like.

How to make the necklace 

I wanted it to look like Kaya's necklace and made 3 stands of 3 different lengths
The first one is the longest (10 1/2") and alternates 2 green glass tubes and 2 white beads
The next one (9") alternates 2 blue glass tubes and 2 white beads
The last one is the shortest (8") and alternates 2 red glass tubes and 2 white beads
I tied all 3 strands together on both ends, added 2 white (5mm) beads on each end and added a closure

You are done with your necklace !!!

How to make the pearl hair bands

I got these pearl buttons at Joann Fabrics and just used black elastic string to create a loop long enough to get the hair through 2x.

For more Native American items see my blog 


  1. Another wonderful tutorial and pattern... thank you for sharing your talents with us! - Liese

  2. Thank you. You are very welcome.

  3. Wow! Just found your blog and I am totally blown away by all the wonderful free patterns! Thank you so much!! Can't wait to try some of them - especially the Harry Potter and Native American collection!!!

  4. Thank you so much for this adorable dress. My daughter and I made it last night to help her earn her Native American Badge for American Heritage Girls. It turned out so cute. We modified the top decoration a bit and top-stitched in a little wider and fringed it. We loved it. Thank you so much for making this pattern free. Your creativity blessed our family!

    1. You are welcome. I am glad I was able to help.

  5. Love the outfit! The link to the dress and moccasin pattern is not fully loading...only part of the pattern shows...

    1. I have just tried it and have no problems downloading it. Maybe you can try again.

  6. It's working now...thanks!

  7. Do you have a 'partner' thing like Pixiefaire does for your patterns?

    1. Do you mean the right to sell clothes made from my patterns? No, I don't have a partnership agreement that I could give you. So far this has never come up. If you would use my patterns for selling homemade doll clothes, it would be nice if you could give me some credit in form of mentioning that the pattern used was designed by ReadCreations and possibly linking to my blog. I don't mind my patterns used for sewing from home. Thanks for asking.

  8. That's so cute!! Thank you so much for the tutorial and pattern!!!

  9. Nice! I am going to write a lesson plan based on the dress and hair piece. I would do the moccasins but the lessons have to be no-sew. I will give you credit and link.

  10. how far in do you sew the tongue on the moccassin? I made the dress and love it. made one pair of moccasins; but not sure if I did it correctly; I used 1/4 inch seam and handsewed as the instructions said. is 1/4 seam correct? thanks so much for your adorable patterns

  11. the only instructions I can see on the tongue is to hand sew it. Do you leave it folded? how much of a seam is there? do you sew it together first if it is folded? thanks. just hard to tell with it already sewn in on the instructions.

  12. Hi. do you think that you can send me the Indian dress pattern via pdf my email address is thank you so very much

    1. At the beginning of the instructions is a link to download the pdf pattern "download free pattern for dress and moccasins here" just click there and it will download.

    2. There were some issues with Google drive changing permissions. Now all links should work again. Sorry for the problems this caused.