Awhile back, Dollygirl and I tried crocheting 18-inch doll vests together--I would get a row done, then show her what to do next on hers. We got partway through the pattern and then gave up--the way the pattern was written just didn't make sense.
Cobbler's Cabin has a free doll crochet pattern called "Western Gear," which includes a vest, and this one does work. It's not for absolute beginners, but anyone who's okay with counting stitches should be able to handle it. I added a couple of rows of single and double crochet and turned it into a short-sleeved sweater.
Not sure if we have a photo going yet of that; I'll post one when we do. But I thought it was worth passing on anyway.
(If anyone tries the hat, I'd like to hear how that went!)