Sewing Project: 1980’s Disneyland T-Shirt

PROJECT: A doll-sized replica of a 1980’s Disneyland T-shirt

TIME: 1 day

MATERIALS: red and white knit, iron-on transfer paper, digital image, notions

1980DLShirt01American Girl Isabelle Palmer, early 2014 version

I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of Disneyland’s merchandise is on the cheesy side, but I do have a favorite piece of clothing from the park. In the ’80’s, Disneyland offered a baseball t-shirt with red sleeves, white body, and a classic image of Mickey with the Disneyland logo. My parents and I all had this shirt (I think I was 4 or 5), and I’m not sure if it was the idea that I was wearing a small size of a “grown ups'” shirt (see? miniatures), or because I usually wore it to the park, or because I just liked how it looked, but I LOVED this shirt.

It became the basis for my first attempt at trompe-l’œil (“fool the eye”) painting…

TrompeTeeFrom my old deviantART account. This was an assignment from one of my college art classes. We took photos wearing unique t-shirts (I stole my mom’s), then painted them from the photos.

…and most recently (i.e. a few days ago), a sewing project for my 18″ dolls.

1980DLShirt02Magic Attic Club Megan Ryder, 1996 version

This sewing project looks easy, but there were a few unexpected challenges along the way.


For this shirt, I used Liberty Jane’s Baseball T-Shirt pattern, found HERE. The pattern is made for American Girl dolls, but fits remarkably well on Magic Attic Club (back closure needs adjustment, but you can follow the rest of the pattern normally). I know this, because the first shirt I attempted ended up too tight for my American Girl dolls – I couldn’t even get their hands through the sleeves!

Since I had already cut out pieces for a second shirt, I used a smaller seam allowance and was able to make one that fits (albeit pretty snugly) on AG dolls.

I debated trying to shorten / widen the sleeves to make them look more like the real shirt, but I think I’ll attempt that when I’m a bit better at drafting… I did change the neckline a little, though. The original was too high-necked for my taste.


The logo was probably the easiest part. Just some quick cleaning in Photoshop and it was good to go. I almost forgot to flip the image before printing on the iron-on transfer sheet, though… That would’ve made for an interesting shirt.


I’ve learned from past projects that the sturdier the knit, the less likely my machine is to eat it. The white knit I used for the body of the shirt is pretty similar to the real thing. The red is a bit thicker than I probably should have used, and even after washing, it still sheds a little, but it’s not too bad.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how these shirts turned out! I do want to try another someday that fits a little more loosely and has the correct sleeves. First, though, I have plans to create small tickets, park maps, and other accessories from ’80’s Disneyland.



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