Monday, August 12, 2013

Turn Dollar store panties into American Girl Bikini - Free Pattern

We went to the beach in the spring and a few days before the trip I was informed by my daughter that her American Girl doll didn't have a swimsuit.  We were travelling with my niece and nephew. My neice's doll had a swimsuit. The girls both wanted to take their dolls to the beach so the challenge was on.

Turn dollar store panties into a bikini for 18" Doll - Free Pattern for American Girl, Our Generation, Journey Girl

I had seen a picture of leggings made from a pair of panties for an AG doll. I figured if you could make leggings you could make a bathing suit. So, off to the dollar store I went to pick up some cheap undies.  

As I've never sewn stretchy fabric and I've never made a swimsuit I decided to go for a bikini. Somehow a two-piece seemed less daunting.

Turn dollar store panties into a bikini for 18" Doll - Free Pattern for American Girl, Our Generation, Journey Girl

I created the pattern for the bottoms using the doll's panties as a guide.  For the original top I simply wrapped the fabric and pinned it but since then the pattern I created has made it much easier.


Download the PDF pattern here.

Materials Needed:

  • Pattern
  • New/clean panties
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins.
  • Sewing machine or needle & thread.
  • Velcro


  1. Cut out the pieces you printed.
  2. Trim off the pantie elastic at the seams of the legs.  Save this elastic for step #6.
  3. Lay out the swimsuit bottom pattern on your panties and pin it in place. Ensure that the waist of the doll's swimsuit bottom align with the waistband elastic of your panties.
  4. Layout the swimsuit top pattern on the panties and pin them in place. Also align the top of the swimsuit pattern with the waistband of the panties.
  5. Cut out your fabric pieces.
  6. Cut two 3" pieces of elastic from the leg bands. These will be your straps.

Sewing the bottoms:

  1. Sew along the edges of the legs using 1/4" seams.  Make sure you are sewing the seams on the wrong side of the fabric.   Do not sew the crotch.
  2. Turn the fabric wrong side out and lie up the front and back. 
  3. Sew along the side seams and the crotch using a 1/4" seam.
  4. Turn them right side out.

Sewing the top:

  1. Sew along the bottom seam using a 1/4" seam allowance.
    Alternative: you can use the extra leg elastic as a band on the bottom of the top. Simply sew it along the edge before going onto the next steps.
Turn dollar store panties into a bikini for 18" Doll - Free Pattern for American Girl, Our Generation, Journey Girl


  • Choose ladies' panties in the largest size possible.
  • Choose abstract prints rather than stripes. Lining up your pattern is much easier.
  • Choose panties with thinner elastic at the waistband. The dolls aren't that big.
  • Always sew the small seams first.


  1. Replies
    1. I hope you try it! Send me a photo if you do. I'd love to share your dollar store doll bikini with my readers!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Christine! My daughter always needs her doll to have the right outfit so making them from dollar store panties is a necessity!

  3. Just used your pattern to turn 8 pairs of my daughter's outgrown undies into AG doll undies. They are adorable! Some that have screen printed designs in the front are the perfect size to position on the front of the doll's undies. Thanks so much for posting the tutorial and pattern.

    1. Hi Rachel,

      I am so glad you found the pattern and that your AG dolls now have some new snazzy bikinis. I love that you recycled the undies too. If you'd like to send a picture a doll wearing any of them I'd love to post it on my Facebook and Twitter feeds.

  4. Thanks so much for the post. I didn't use undies but swimsuit fabric. I did use the pattern though. I made the top a with a bit of a curve. I do have some undies my daughter has outgrown, that would be peftect for AG doll undies.

    here's the bikini I did. Feel free to use my link/photo's


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