Sewing A Themed Wardrobe: Aussie Style! Topic Overview

Hi Everyone! Are you ready to explore another Sewing A Themed Wardrobe topic? This one is Aussie Style! This is going to be a look back at some of the early Outback Libby collection outfits as well as a look at the theme for the newest American Girl® doll Kira Bailey™. Her story takes place in Australia, so it's a perfect mix of things we've already created mixed with what's current and modern in the doll community.

Over this 4-part topic we are going to do a sew-along for our newest design, Outback Libby Alice Springs.This features classic design elements, working with fabrics that everyone should feel comfortable with fabrics like cotton lawn, lightweight quilting cotton, crinkle rayon, and more. 

We'll break apart the sew along over the 4-part topic to really be sure we take our time and no one feels rushed! We'll be mixing in some other things into each post as we explore the Kira Bailey collection too! We'll look at her wardrobe through a fun "compare & contrast" video, as we look at the Pixie Faire pattern collection to create pieces that are similar to what's offered and to create things that would also complement her existing collection!

If you're newer to our ecosystem, you may not be familiar with the themed collections we introduced back in 2010 - Euro Libby, Malibu Libby, Tokyo Libby, and Outback Libby. Each theme was originally released seasonally through special limited edition auctioned outfits; then over time, produced as doll clothes sewing patterns. Our collection has grown over the years and we continue to add to it, most recently with the Alice Springs Dress pattern, which will be our featured sew-along this month! 

The Outback Libby Collection is so fun for me to look back on and share with you! The earliest design, Faraway Downs, is how we kicked this off. It is such a classic styling with the tan, brown, and white color palette. The dress is the perfect mix of rugged and feminine mixed together. We went from there adding in more structured details with some pretty great jackets, in outfits like Woomera, Roebuck Bay, and Boomerit Falls. Our color palette expanded a bit when we introduced Killara, adding in the rich purple, deep orange, and intricate beadwork.


First, let's take a look at the color palette for Kira Bailey (photos © American Girl) and the color palette from our own collection, you'll notice it's very similar! As the saying goes, "Great minds think alike!" or we were possibly inspired by the same thing as we looked at the Australian landscape and fashion scene!

This type of color palette is called Tetradic. It's made up of two primary sets of complementary colors on the opposite side of the color wheel, which creates a vibrant way to create a color palette that isn't just subdued and muted, but filled with energy and youthful flair!

I encourage you to use this palette as inspiration for your project! Look through your stash and see what fabric you might have that fits this theme, or take this picture with you and browse the fabric store to find something perfect!

As I mentioned, we are going to walk you through a full sew-along for the Alice Springs Dress pattern. We've broken apart the videos into short sections for each part of the sewing process to make it very easy to pop in and get help on just the part you're looking for!

Are you ready? Let's get started!

Step 1: Get the Alice Springs Dress pattern! You can use this month's coupon code to redeem the pattern for free.

May Discount Code: AUSSIE2105

Step 2: Read over the pattern, make note of the supplies needed, and take some time to read through the instructions to familiarize yourself with the overall design.

Step 3: Gather up your fabric and supplies. maybe you have the perfect fabric on hand, or maybe you need to go shopping to find the perfect thing!

Curious as to where we got our fabrics?

The lavender dress is a Liberty Fabrics Cotton Lawn in Wisteria. I love this fabric, it has such a nice feel to it, very lightweight, but not sheer. I have it in several colors! This fabric was purchased through




The floral dress is made from a crinkle rayon I came across at Joann Fabrics. It is perfect for this design! It is lightweight, but has some weight to it so it hangs and drapes nicely. In the example, it is made as View B with the fuller ruffles, this works well with this fabric because it has a soft sway to it as it hangs, it doesn't pop out like a big poof!


Step 4: Decide which version of the dress you will be sewing. The bodice and sleeves are the same for both View A and View B. The View A dress is designed with inverted curved tiers. This provides the look of gathers with a more controlled fullness as each tier progresses. The look we were going for was something easy and casual, something with some swing and sway, but not overly puffy. If you choose a fabric with more body, or something with a stripe, like a pinwale corduroy or perhaps gingham, then you'd want to choose View B with the rectangular cut ruffles.

Once you have everything you need to get started, and have decided which version of the pattern you will be making, print and cut out all the pattern pieces. 

Step 5: Cut out all the pieces with your chosen fabric. If desired, you can use a contrasting accent fabric for the Back Yoke facing and Collar Facings for added interest.

Step 6: Jump into the sew-along! This week we will work on the Dress Bodice.

In the first video, we will sew the Front Placket to the Front Bodice. I encourage you to take your time with this. Maybe even practice it with a scrap fabric first to be sure you are confident with your topstitching lines and placement. 

In this second video, we will sew the Back Yoke and Back Bodice. The video shows two methods for sewing these two curved pieces together. I encourage you to read through the pattern step by steps, and watch the video once through, then sew your pieces. The video outlines two different ways to attach the seams. In the final version of the pattern we've sewn the fashion fabric (the main dress fabric) using method #2 and then placed the back Yoke Facing using method #1. You can experiment with both techniques and decide for yourself which method works best for you. 

Phew! Now it's time to take a break! Next week we will jump right back in with sewing the Collar. The placket and the collar are the trickiest bits in this design, once you get past these two design elements, it's smooth sailing for the rest of the dress!

1 Comment


May 10, 2021

Thanks for the color palette lesson! Very useful! And I can definitely use a refresher on plackets. I can do them, but I am not comfortable doing them, so maybe I will learn some new tricks.

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