BIONIC WOMAN DOLL - Shawl & Sundress

by:  Roselyn Gadia-Smitley

(Text and photographs are copyrighted materials.)


                                     Photo1                                       Photo2

Photo1:  Bionic Woman Doll: Crocheted Shawl and Sundress. Front view of the crocheted shawl and sundress.

Photo2:  Bionic Woman Doll: Sundress. Flat view of the one-pieced sundress.  Embroidery stitches in feather stitching and French knots embellished the top of the sundress.

The "Bionic Woman" doll, manufactured in 1974, is a highly collectible action fashion doll.  Clothing in loose or boxed condition for this doll are expensive to obtain.  As this doll was intended for intense play, many appear in auction sites without clothing.  One source for the doll's clothing is to sew to customize. One major problem is that patterns are not available in current pattern books for the Bionic Woman doll.

Not many individuals have skills in pattern making.  However,  many individuals have basic sewing skills and other craft skills such as crochet.  If you have these basic skills, this article might inspire you to create your own version of the shawl and sundress ensemble for the Bionic Woman doll.  The ensemble can be made by hand or by machine.

Patterns for the shawl and sundress is based on the rectangle.  Dimensions are as follows:

1)  Shawl  =  2 inches by 17 inches (finished dimension)

2)  Sundress = 8.0 inches by 10.5 inches (hip & dress length/finished dimension);

                          8.5 inches by 11.0 inches unfinished dimension with a seam allowance

                           of 1/4".


Directions for Construction:

Shawl Materials:      For crochet shawl: #10 crochet cotton thread & #10 metal hook.

                             For sewn shawl:  fabric (2" W x 17"L) and sewing thread.

1)    Shawl - Crochet .  Use a no. 10 crochet cotton thread and no. 10 crochet metal crochet hook.  Chain stitch 20 on first row.  Chain stitch with 4 stitches (to rise) and begin the second row, skipping two chain stitches for the filet formation.  You will need to form six (6) fillet squares at the end of the first row.  Continue to the next rows with the same simple fillet stitching until the desired length of 17 inches is reached.  Add fringe of the same crochet thread at the ends if desired.

        Shawl - Sewn.  Cut fabric with two inches (2") in width and seventeen inches (17") in length.  If desired, these dimensions can be widened or lengthened.  Finish the raw edges by turning under with stitching, overlock, or zigzag stitches.

2)    Sundress.

   Sundress materials:  fabric (8.5" W x 11" L), sewing thread, four (4) medium snaps, and ribbons (1/4" width for straps and belt)

        (a.)  Cut fabric with  _8.5_ inches (8.5")  in width and _11__inches (11") in length. (I used 100% cotton dress weight fabric.)  Finish all the raw edges with zigzag or overlock stitching.  

        (b.)  Fold the edges (1/8") at the width direction and stitch down.  Press for a finished appearance. Make sure that the folded edges are on the same side of the fabric.

        (c.)  Create the top of the bodice of the dress by stitching the largest running stitch in your sewing machine to one edge (width direction) of your fabric piece. (Leave 1/8" edge for a ruffle effect).  Create gathers by gently pulling the bobbin thread and fit to the upper bust of the doll.  This is the area below the arms.

                  Reinforce the gathered area by adding small running stitches (10 stitches to an inch) to the top of the gathering stitches.  Stitch down a ribbon on top of these stitches to keep the gathers in place. For the photo illustration in this article, embroidery stitches of feather stitching and French knots were utilized.

        (d.)  Fold the edges of the fabric (lengthwise direction) and stitch down, leaving 1/4" seam allowance.  This section will facilitate the back closure.

        (e.)  Cut the ribbons for the straps (1/4"W x 2 1/2"L). Dress the doll and pin the ribbon straps in place.  Remove the dress carefully and sew the  ribbon straps to the inner side of the dress. Fold the edges of the ribbon straps and whip-stitch in place to prevent ravelling.

        (f.)  Finish the lengthwise edges of the sundress by turning under with stitching. (These edges are located at the center of the back of the dress.) Press down.  Place the dress on to the doll and pin the hem in place on the wrong side.  Remove the dress and stitch down the hem.  Press for a finished effect.

        (g.)  Sew snaps at the back of the dress for closure.

        (h.) Cut a strip of ribbon for the belt.  For a tied belt, allow 4 inches in length for the ties in addition to the waist circumference.  If a fitted belt is desired, measure the waist circumference and allow for one inch (1") length for the overlap and sew snaps.


This clothing pattern is very simple and can be made elaborately by adding embellishments such as embroidery, beading, and various trims.  Let your artistic skill come into play.  If more challenging styles are your preferences, look into my out of print book: Dolls' Clothes Pattern Book, inexpensively sold as used copies at and utilize the patterns for 11.5" fashion dolls. These patterns will need to be modified for the Bionic Woman doll.  The book has a chapter on increasing or decreasing patterns to customize the outfits.

Happy Collecting!