I was at the mall over Christmas break and Gymboree and it's sister store Crazy Eights were both having big sales. I found this cute "I love mommy" shirt for just $3! I saw that they had a coordinating plaid skirt, but not in Lydia's size. I thought about just getting the shirt, but I really liked all the colors together. Since I couldn't get the right size, I got the biggest of the wrong sizes as I could find. I left the store with a toddler sized shirt and a size TWELVE (Lydia is only 3) skirt and big plans for all the extra fabric.
I laid the old waist band in the new position and sewed it to the top of the ruffle. I tucked the raw (cut) edge under as I went and just sewed on top of the line of the original stitching which had not been removed.
Finally, I gathered the adjustable part of the elastic as much as I could and Lydia's outfit was complete. Her skirt is REALLY full in the back (maybe too full?) but it is a ruffly skirt so who cares. Besides, the shirt is big enough that she should still be able to wear the outfit next year and the skirt will get less full as it gets adjusted.
OK, so here is all that was left after altering the size 12 down to about a size 5 with elastic pulling it in to fit a size 3. Not as much extra fabric as I thought I would have! I only ended up with the extra inch and a half from below the waist band, and the shorts that were lining the skirt. I decided the shorts would be too awkward under the smaller skirt so I cut them out. The skirt was thick so I doubt it will be a problem that it doesn't have a lining.
So, here is what I did to create a matching skirt for Lydia's American Girl doll. I cut about a six inch wide section from the top of the shorts/lining. I sewed a hem on the bottom. On the top edge, I folded over and sewed a really wide section, about an inch, to house the elastic. The doll skirt is still a rectangle of fabric at this point, so the area that will need the elastic is still open on both ends. When I was completely finished with the skirt, I threaded elastic through this space (pin a safety pin to one end of the elastic and feed the safety pin through from one side to the other.) and pulled it tight enough to fit the doll's waist. Then I just sewed a side seam to make the skirt a loop instead of a rectangle and to close off the elastic area.
Because I wanted ruffles on this skirt, and because the skirt was so small, I sewed the ruffles to the skirt while it was still a flat rectangle. I gathered the one strip of plaid fabric and sewed it to the bottom of the skirt.
I learned this trick from a blog that I read (tutorial here) about gathering ruffles using just your machine tension settings to do the work. I set my tension really tight and as I feed the fabric in, it gathers and ruffles on its own!
Here you might be able to see the effect on the purple ruffle. I had to put a purple ruffle on top because I was out of the plaid, but I still wanted the shape of the skirts to match. Lydia's skirt has two ruffles, so the doll's skirt does too!
Here is the finished product on Lydia and her Nellie doll!