craft, Disney, Doll, sewing, Uncategorized

Moana Wrap Dress Tutorial

I’m taking my Sunday to make a free tutorial. Why am I working for free? I’ve benefited from SO many online free tutorials that I’d like to give back.

Please don’t hesitate to give me feedback on what needs to be tweeked…or show me pictures if you use this.

Disclaimer: No one wants to read a story before a tutorial, they want to get the info, so my struggles will not be documented but know THEY EXISTED.


Disney’s Animator’s Collection Moana has a different body size from the other Animator’s collection dolls. She’s wider in the tummy and chest. This is adorable but  renders closely fitted dresses the other dolls wear too small. That’s why I made this. Her size shouldn’t limit play.

Here are links to PDF’s I made with the bare bones pattern. Let me know if there are issues with my links or PDF’s. I don’t have a printer at home.

The seam allowance is 1cm. I use centimeters in this tutorial because I live in Japan and it’s what I use everyday.

The pattern shows the front panels of the wrap dress and the back. Not pictured is the skirt because you’ll just be cutting a rectangle 62cm wide and 13cm long.

Let’s get started

Top: I’m using the red polka dot fabric for the outer fabric and the light blue for the lining. You don’t need to use a different colored fabric for the lining.

The reason I line these is because it will protect the raw seams. These dolls are for kids and kids are dirty. The things they play with need to be washable.



Cut a rectangle 62cm wide and 13cm long.

I didn’t have fabric long enough so I added some to the right hand side with a french seam. Realistic tutorial.  If you’re adding 20cm or less to get the 62cm length, the seam will be hidden by the wrap.


Before you start sewing

When was the last time you changed you machine’s needle? If you can’t remember, do it now. Needles wear out quickly. It’s a good to get in the habit of changing them each time you start on a project.



Have you read through this WHOLE thing first? Free tutorials don’t always flow well or give you the information when YOU need it. This one, for example, doesn’t even tackle the notions you’ll use until the very end…because I illustrate three different ways to finish the dress.

If you use the last method “Out of Order Mixed Method” you’ll want to read it before you start putting everything together. I’ll put a OOMM* astrix where it might be helpful

OK! Constructing the Top

Join the front of the wrap top to the back at the shoulders.


Press those seams with an iron. Then, open them and press them open.


Snip the edges to reduce bulk.

Multiple layers of cotton fabric on a human body is negligible but on a doll they quickly add to bulk.


Now to stitch the lining to the outer fabric.

Put the right sides of the fabric together and pin or clip to hold in place.

OOMM* if planning to use OOMM, insert your ribbons between the fabric before stitching.


Sew the neckline AND around the arm holes.


Liberally snip away triangles before turning it right side out. I could have done more triangles.


Now turn the top right side out by pulling the wrap/front through the shoulder openings and out the back.


I’m using a special tool to hook the fabric and pull it through. This isn’t essential but makes life easier.


Turned right-side out BEFORE pressing.

Get your iron and press that out.


Now it’s time to join under the  arm holes.


use your iron to get inside the lower part of the arm holes where you’re going to join them together and press those seams open. Then, pin the lining to lining and the main fabric to main fabric (right sides together) as seen below.


And sew.

img_4953Once you’ve stitched under both arm holes press those seams open.


Snip to reduce bulk.


Now press your lovely top and cheer for yourself.


Mid-Project Check-in


If you’re feeling hungry or tired and are trying to work through it as not to lose your sewing mojo. STOP. Eat or rest or whatever. If you’re tired or hungry you’re going to make mistakes. THEN return to your project. I did. That’s why you get that picture. Spring is coming!

Skirt Construction.

Fold the edges the fabric in 5mm and press. Fold in 5mm again and press again. Stitch this hem in place.

On the bottom long edge of the skirt fold 1cm and press. Fold in another 1cm and press. Stitch this hem in place.

img_4978After hemming your skirt should be 60cm wide. With a fabric pen or fabric chalk, you’re going to mark the edge you’ll gather. Mark at 22cm and 38cm. This means your 60cm length will be visually divided into a 22cm section, a 16 cm section and another 22cm section. 22+16+22=60cm

These marks will help us line up the skirt with the side seams when gathering to help keep gathers even.

First blurry picture. Sorry.


Maths: You can skip this if you don’t care where those numbers come from. If you plan to make a fuller skirt with a longer rectangle it’s worth reading.

The bottom edge of the top you assembled is 45cm long. First wrap section 16.5cm, back, 12cm, second wrap section 16.5=45cm. 16.5+12+16.5= 45cm

We’re taking a 60cm long fabric and will gather it until it’s 45cm. ( 60 divided by 40 is aprox 1.35. 60cm is aprox 135% the size of 45cm.  6

Because we want to try to evenly distribute the gathers it helps to mark the skirt fabric where it will join the seams on the top.

16.5x1.35=22.275 (we’ll round that to 22cm) 12 x 1.35=16.2 (we round that to 16) and check the math 22+16+22=60cm.

If you want a fuller skirt, say 70cm after hemming. 70 divided by 45 is aprox. 1.55. Multiply 16.5 and 12 by that 1.55…double check…and that’s where you’ll mark.

Maths over

To gather the skirt we need to sew two seams along the top edge of the skirt, closer to the edge than 1cm (our seam allowance). Keep the seams wide (3 or 4 stitch setting), don’t back stitch and don’t cross the seams.


We’ll be machine joining the to the outer-shell of the wrap top, NOT the lining…but first, gathering.

If you’ve never gathered using this method, enjoy a youtube tutorial.

I’ve used a red thread in the bobbin and a black thread on top to make it easier to see. If you do this, make sure your different colored threads are the same thread weight/thickness.

You’ll  be pulling at the bobbin threads (the threads on the underside) to gather the fabric.


You’ll hold the fabric in one hand and pull the bobbin threads with the other. There’s a lot of moving the gathers with your fingers so they are evenly distributed. You do this at both edges of the fabric.

Use the marks on the skirt and the seams of the  wrap top to make sure the gathers are evenly spread along the skirt.


All pinned! Now sew the skirt to the outer fabric (right sides together).

I prefer not to sew over pins, to reduce the chance of my machine needle breaking. Instead I stitch slowly and remove the pins right before they’re about to go under the presser foot.


Blurry picture. Sorry! The skirt is now joined to the outer shell of the top. Press so the raw edges are pointing up.


Now turn the edges of the lining under, pin, and whip-stitch it by hand. Turn your piece over from time to time to make sure your stitches don’t show from the outside. Steam or press when finished to smooth out wrinkles on the outside.


We are so close to being finished!

Now let’s tackle how to close the wrap dress on your doll.

How to close the dress, 3 methods.

Top Stitched Ribbon Method.

I’m trying to keep >me< out of my tutorial…but this fabric is a shout out to Ebony. I didn’t have any more skeleton/spooky fabric in doll scale so I couldn’t have Moana being a  toddler POC goth (a group seriously under-represented in visuals) so I made her Rockability instead.

This ties at the side. I wish it tied in back. I’ll give measurements for both a side tie and back tie.

Both use 1 meter of ribbon.

SIDE TIE (pictured): 42 cm ribbon. Start stitching after 18cm (the tie part)  from the edge to a little more more than the center of the back to the edge of the “top” wrap (24cm stitched to dress).

Back Tie (not pictured): 52cm ribbon. Start stitching after 28cm (the tie part) to a little more more than the center of the back to the edge of the “top” wrap (24cm stitched to dress). 


SIDE TIE (pictured): Now take the 58cm ribbon. Tuck the end in and start stitching it from the other edge of the dress to 24cm. You should have 34cm to tie with.

Back Tie (not pictured): Now take the 48cm ribbon. Tuck the end in and start stitching it from the other edge of the dress to 24cm. You should have 24cm to tie with.


Last, use Velcro/Magic tape or a snap to keep the inner flap in place. Put the dress on the doll and mark where to attach with fabric pen/chalk.



Snaps or Velcro/Magic tape method.


This was my first draft of the pattern so the top fit is a little off.

This is the easiest version. Put the dress on the doll. Mark where notions should go with fabric pen/chalk.


These snaps are probably too small for little fingers. They are all I had on hand. You’ll know what your child can use.

Stitch notions on the inside to lining  and on the outside through the outer layer or both layers. You could also use a loop and button on the outside. Go crazy. It’s a FREE pattern.


Out of Order Mixed Method

This is a fuller skirt made from a 70cm long rectangle.

This method is out of order because I thought if it AFTER finishing the dress body. It would have been easier to do some of these steps while putting it together.

This method uses two 30cm long ribbons. I opened the seams at the edge of the wrap top, inserted the ribbons and stitched them in place.

I SHOULD have just stitched the ribbons in place when joining the lining to the outer fabric at the neckline and arm holes

In a perfect world I would have used light blue bobbin thread and red top thread to reduce stitch visibility.

Then I opened the seams under one arm and made a button hole. The button hole pictured is really rough. If I give this to anyone I’ll un-stitch and re-do this buttonhole.

But I think threading the ribbon through the button-hole might be too difficult for little kids. Use your common sense and what you know about your kid’s ability to manipulate objects. I’m a grown woman with good co-ordination and object permanence.


Then to wear it you just thread one ribbon through the button-hole and tie in back.


And that is THAT! GIPHY

craft, Disney, Doll, Mary Frances sewing, sewing, Uncategorized

Spa day

The first thing that hint you as you scurry into my apartment from the cold is the scent of Flair.

Each bottle of fabric softener smells like a garden crime scene in which roses have been massacred. Such carnage. Much Flair. So ow my eyes and senses.

I avoid scented products…but doll wigs and doll hair have brought fabric softeners to my kitchen and the scent might never leave.

Currently the doorway to my dance room is the doll drying and triage center.

Chubby Moana is now starting her new life as a wee goth child.

Ariel’s hair was easily combed and lightly washed and conditioned. I’m not sure what I’ll make her into yet, but I’ve popped her into one of the dresses I’d made for Snow. I don’t need a bunch of naked baby dolls staring at me apartment decor.

Belle, Thinner Moana and Lilo have gone through rounds of fabric softener, combing, and curses.

Between jobs today I put Lilo’s hair in 100¥ shop curlers. I really needed more clips but all my bobby pins are currently hiding. They are waiting for me to buy more at which point they’ll flood my floors and pockets.

I attempted a boil perm (dipping her curlered hair into boiled water for 30 seconds) and now must leave her to dry for days.

I’m 42 years old and my ikea drying rack has become a doll day spa.

craft, Disney, Doll, sewing, Uncategorized

A doll for every sink.

I woke up this Sunday morning with no plans, except to maybe clean my apartment.

It’s a little chilly out, not good for spraying fixative on doll faces, so I thought I’d put things in order.

While I was having my first coffee of the day my father ambushed me via FB video chat. His first order of business was to check if it was my first cup of coffee.

That’s how we roll in the family. We approach each other carefully, using the sort of low calm voice you’d sooth an angry animal with, and ask “Have…you had coffee yet?”

We chatted about family news, confirmed my visit to the homeland, and bid each other good-day/goodnight.

And then the dolls came.


Thank you, Gina!

Gina, an internet friend I first met back on Live Journal, had sent me a box of thrift dolls. I knew they were coming but I didn’t think they’d arrive today. I’ll soon be sending her daughter a box of Pokemon toys.

Gina! You didn’t need to track it. surface boat would have been fine but I’m happy.

My day today has been cleaning dolls…and it will flow over into night. Japanese recycle shops NEVER have dirty dolls with stains. Most of the Pokemon plushies I’ll be sending have ORIGINAL TAGS despite being thrifted. THIS is the sort of challenge I like.

I’ve started off with Lilo and Moanas. I have PLANS for Lilo and have since before craftsmas. You’ll just have to wait to know what she’ll become.


Disney Animated Moana was in the best shape…although she seemed to have coca-cola or soda sprayed on her and left to harden.


Cute but sticky.

Moana Princess Toddler doll appeared to have vomited on herself. And her hair…um…more on hair later. This doll has eyes that can’t be 100% repainted because the irises are under a clear later of plastic…but I’ll figure something out.


Seen better days, but seems happy.

Lilo has scuffs and hair issues as well. Seems to have been a very well loved doll.


So over this.

First I set to scrubbing the bodies with a baking soda/dish soap/water paste…as seen on a you tube.


Spa day!

Moana only needed a scrub and a light hair washing. She’s such a cute doll I will probably only make her cute outfits. Gina’s daughter originally wanted to keep her and I was all “Yeah, no problem! She’s a child and gets priority over me.”

Then her daughter changed her mind and I was all “YES! YES! I WANTED THIS SO BAD YES!”

I love that she’s chubbier than the other Disney dolls. I think it’s because the movie actually had toddler Moana scenes they had to stick to instead of being theoretical versions of the characters as kids.


Excuse my painting supplies. Dolls came and cleaning stopped.

And that brings us to the horror of doll hair.


There’s NO pre-soak combing. I even went and got more plastic combs with wider teeth for this. I’ve been dipping in boiling water, soaking in fabric softener, re-combing, and swearing.

So much soaking.


The crazy thing is is that once I’ve got it all straight and silky I’ll probably go through a boil perm to give them wavy hair again…but the 100yen shop has plastic curlers which should help.


They’re both back to soaking before more untangling..and when the sinks free up I’ll start soaking Belle and Ariel. Ariel’s been scrubbed and her hair was easier to comb dry. Belle’s got scrubbing and hair swearing to come.


The likelihood that Belle is going to have blue eyes and glasses is PRETTY HIGH. Sure. her hair is a little lighter than mine, but is it lighter than my natural hair color? I don’t know, There’s no way of ever knowing.

I couldn’t leave Animator Moana naked so I raided Snow’s stash…only to find that the dresses that were a little too big in the shoulders for Snow are Too Small for Moana. Moana actually needs the larger Mary Frances style dresses…so she’s chilling in the skull morning dress and serving up Baby Goth Realness.


So, MORE dolls to come. If you’ve lost track…don’t worry. I have too.