American Girl Julie’s “Back to School” dress revealed…

I always love a challenge…especially when it comes to drafting a new pattern for a doll dress. I looked a long time in my 1974 pattern book (HERE) until I found just the right dress that I could copy for Julie to wear on her first day back to school.

[If you click on any picture, it will enlarge.]


I had decided on the pink paisley fabric first and was trying to match up the fabric to a pattern. When I left you last, I had gotten started on her dress, but still had a ways to go. I think you’ll like how it turned out. I did…and I’m pretty sure I did make a dress from this pattern for myself when I was in high school. I wish I had taken more pictures of what I used to make…it would have been great for my blog…if I had only known…



I like the front of the dress all gathered up in vertical rows and think it looks very sweet on Julie. I didn’t decorate it with any lace or trims but left it simple to show off the print of the fabric. I think she could easily wear a long necklace and I may see if Rebecca has any ideas for something to go with it.


It hits right at the top of her knees, but it doesn’t look like it in my pictures.


I had this white leather-like bag and thought Julie would like it with her dress…she did!




It is listed on Ebay and will run until next Monday evening… the 24th. If you’d like to see the auction, click HERE. I’ll put it on the right side bar and feature it as soon as Molly’s dress ends.


Thanks for looking… Don’t forget a week from today the new American Girl Maryellen will be released and up for sale in stores!!! Are any of you for sure getting her?

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Linda Doyle says:

    Julie’s dress is adorable, Jeanne! It looks very 70’s, and I love the sweet little ribbon tied around her braid. The bag is cute too, and could serve as a book bag or a purse. I know kids didn’t have backpacks back then like they do now.

    Yes, I am going to Maryellen’s debut, but not getting the doll. I have enough dolls, but am interested in seeing her collection and maybe get a few things. I like the pedal pusher outfit, for sure, with the cherries on it. So cute!

    I have a newfound appreciation of you and your other readers who also sew doll clothes! I started on Felicity’s dress yesterday, and boy, it is a challenge! First off, the material is satin, and shreds SO easily, so that is one thing. Then to try to figure out what the pattern is trying to say is another! Since I have other things to do today, I had to stop after getting most of the bodice made, but it is slow going! And I used to sew everything!

    • Thanks Linda,
      I think Julie looks especially pretty in the pink tones… I’m glad we went this fabric.

      I just saw an official picture of Maryellen on AGPT a few minutes ago… I wish they had given her the Mamie bangs instead of the side swept ones… I bet the stores are going to be absolutely crazy busy!!! I’m doing a 50’s dress next… :o)

      Oooo… satin isn’t fun to work with so I don’t envy you at all. I would say “have fun sewing” but it might not be “appropriate” in this case… I hope you get it mastered instead of it mastering you!
      Thanks Linda,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Jeanne, like you, I graduated from high school in 1974 and was sewing most of my wardrobe by then. I referred back to your January post about the pattern book. What fun it must have been to browse all the patterns and tell yourself, “I made that one!” Although I never made the dress from the pattern you created for Julie, it still brings back those wonderful memories. Julie is looking so cool in her pink paisley dress! I know I still wore lots of dresses to school in the 70’s.

    • Hi Karen,
      It is really fun to look at this book and see the patterns I made for myself, my sister and my mom! I did just what you said, “I made that one and that one…!” It’s definitely a stroll down memory lane for sure!
      Thanks for your compliments on Julie’s new school dress…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Julie’s dress is very pretty, I love the pink paisley. I think Rebecca should make Julie a LOVE necklace. I had a love ring my boyfriend gave me in ’74 sadly he wanted back when I broke up with him. ha! I always wished I still had it, not because he gave it to me..I just really loved it!

    • Thanks Regina,
      I forgot to ask Rebecca about a necklace…maybe a LOVE necklace…before she left for work again… I’ll try and remember when I see her tonight…
      Thanks for liking Julie’s dress. I think she looks wonderful in the pink fabrics…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Memories of a time past for sure. Since I may go to the outlet store, do you know if the dolls are the same size as the AG dolls?

    • HI Jan,
      Are you talking about an American Girl Outlet store? If you are, I’m pretty sure if they are selling AG dolls, they’ll be the 18″ size.
      Thanks, Jeanne

  5. i think I made this pattern for a daughter and later wore the dress to a costume event with a blonde afro style wig and lace up boots to he a hippie. I used braid as the patten shows.
    m favorite patterns were the Hawaiian Patterns. I saved some of them and bought a few on ebay. I liked wearing long costume like clothes. This strikes me as strange as we were in the lib woman times. Yves St. Laraunt showed a collection with costume like themes. I looked long and hard to find coins to attach to a vest.still have them.

    • Hi again Jan,
      It sounds like you were one stylish lady in your day! It is a bit strange looking at this pattern book and seeing all the patterns that I had. They come back to my mind and I can even remember the fabrics I used for them… strange, isn’t it?
      Thanks, Jeanne

      • Thank you for the info. I will certainly go the outlet mall soon. The mall had a Pendleton store and a Sweet shop with good chocolate treats.
        a lure for,husband.

        I always looked at Vogue pattern books first as the patterns usually fit me. For the girls, I never would have chosen a pattern with tabs. All the points make for extra work and I was not good at making points. nMy husband at the time had a job that required many social entertaining events. I would go to Los Angeles to shop for fabric. I look back and feel lucky I could sew clothing whenI was still young enough to enjoy wearing the clothing in styles that I liked.

        Some time, if you run dry of ideas for the blog, how about writing about drafting. I am not asking for a tutorial but just an overview on the subject. My collage major was in Home Economics , only because of the sewing course, but drafting was not taught.The department head thought I was hopeless because I would never take a foods class. I have never liked cooking but desserts became my best food related efforts.

  6. Kathie Welsh says:

    Nice job on that dress! Love the gathers in the front and that bag is just perfect..
    Yu come up with the best ideaas
    We are back on line…had 6 inches of rain Monday in the night and the computer…the tv …and the phone were all out. Had to listen to the battery radio and thank goodness we have cell phones. Made me think how spoiled we are to flick a switch for what ever we want. Basement had water in weird places so the carpet cleaner has gotten lots of use! 🙁

    • HI Kathie,
      Thanks so much for your kind words about Julie’s new dress. I thought that bag was great with this dress too. I’ve probably had it 8 years or more…finally found a home for it!

      I hope your basement is all dried out now… nothing is worse than being off line… well…”almost” nothing’s that bad… Stay dry!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. That’s a really cute pattern, and I always love pink so it’s definitely a winner in my estimation. Julie looks happy with it too. I can’t remember if I was in junior high or high school in 1974, but I was certainly sewing then and making most of my clothes, and this looks like the style of dress I would have made for myself.
    I am not planning to get the new AG doll; I have plenty of dolls right now. I can only hope I’ll be strong enough to not give in to the temptation!

    • HI Carolyn,
      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one sewing away in the 70’s! I spent most of my time sewing… seriously…I did! I think the pattern is cute and sort of timeless in a way…

      I saw a “for real” picture of Maryellen today. Someone had her posed at a restaurant to draw in business I think. I guess in a week the guessing will all be over…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Marilyn Grotzky says:

    Flower power! I love the buttons on Julie’s dress.
    I started college in 63, when there was still a dress code, and even on snowy days, the women were expected to wear skirts, but 2 or 3 years later, it was abandoned. By then, the administration was grateful if we wore clothes.

    • HI Marilyn,
      I thought those buttons were cute for the dress too. Glad you liked them.
      I was 7 when you started college…but it doesn’t seem that we are that far apart in age…I guess it’s the dolls in our lives that keeps us young at heart!
      Thanks Marilyn,
      Blessings, Jeanne

    • Oh, this made me laugh. We lived in snow country and girls were not allowed to wear long pants to school. This sounds creepy to me now but girls in mini skirts were made to line up and bend over, and if anyunderwear showed, they had to return home and change to a longer skirt. Since there was bussing, this meant a parent would need to go to the school and pick them up.

  9. Hiya Jeanne!
    This is a beautiful dress! Love the color, the paisley pattern, and the design of the dress…
    It does remind me of dresses we wore!
    And what a great little purse!
    Great to read about the processes!
    Jano 🙂

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