Saturday, April 3, 2010

Barbie's New Togs

I have a six year old daughter that likes pink and dressing up and shoes and dolls. Therefore, I have Barbies in the house. I know some parents have issues with Barbie, and we are not completely happy with her ourselves. But I think that with a few house rules, she is harmless.

Our house rules include keeping a tight reign on the types of clothes that she is allowed to wear. I truly believe that my daughter's playthings should reflect the type of woman that I would want her to be. Playing is, after all, practice for life. So nothing revealing, nothing that is questionably motivated (i.e.-"sexy" nurses or lingerie). Nothing that I wouldn't want my daughter herself wearing, either now or in the future as a young woman.

And this rule can be hard to enforce. If you have seen the Barbie aisle in the store nowadays, you know what I mean.We are pretty much limited to the "princess" style dolls, and even those can walk the line. Add to that well-meaning relatives that see Barbie and think "perfect easy gift" and we have quite a few dolls that come to our house needing new clothes.

Luckily, Mama loves to sew, and she especially loves to sew doll clothes!

My "new" favorite for Barbie clothes are the Advance patterns from the early sixties. These patterns were made to be sewn by little girls themselves, so they are a great place to start if you are new to sewing and garment construction. (on a side note, doll clothes are always a great place to start if you want to get your feet wet with sewing. You can learn a lot of basics that translate straight to human-sized garments. Plus, if you mess up, you've only ruined 1/4 yard of material, lol!)

The earliest patterns are just known by the letters A,B,C,D,and E(E is for Ken)and are surprisingly easy to find. Within one day of discovering the existence of these patterns, I found A,B, and a partial C in a set on eBay for less than $6.00. There are also companies online that sell reprints for slightly more, if you don't have the patience to wait.

The clothes below came from these two, patterns A and B.

I'm on the lookout for a complete C, because Sydney is wanting some wedding dresses.

Recently, I have made the Sundress and Coat from Group A and the Ice Skating "sport" outfit from Group B.

Very 50's style with the circle skirt and and attached shorts and ponytail.And yes, those are paperclip ice skates. The plastic blades broke off twenty minutes after we brought them home. Sydney says she likes these even better because they leave "figure eight" marks in the aluminum foil pond we made for the dolls to skate on, lol.

I got the wool for this coat from a thrift store "power suit" skirt. Which brings me to another reason I like making doll clothes; because the needed yardage is so small, you can work with some really incredible (read: expensive) fabrics that you wouldn't normally buy in large quantities. I also like to comb the Goodwill racks and find human clothes in natural fabrics that can be re purposed.

The Sundress is very fun. With a built-in petticoat, you get the big poofy skirt that my daughter loves, and it looks cute made up in lots of different fabrics. This is one of about twenty different quilting cottons that we bought at the local fabric store for $.99 a yard.

And something else that is very cool. Every dress and skirt pattern comes with a pattern for making matching panties, lol. I really do love these patterns!

One thing to keep in mind,these patterns were made for the "old style" Barbie body, so if you are fitting dolls made after 2000, the clothes may fit a little differently. I've had no major problems though. Just "fit" the clothes on the doll before deciding where to sew on snaps.

I can't recommend these patterns enough. They are fun and easy, even a beginner sempstress could make a whole outfit in about an hour or so. They are definitely worth looking up!

Easter Dress

At the risk of this becoming a craft blog, here is the dress that I made for my daughter for Easter. I just whipped up a quick jumper-style, because you never know what the weather will bring on Easter around here. This way, we can throw on a short sleeves or long sleeves or no sleeves at all, and we are covered.

And you will only get a back view. I can't get my reluctant model to pose for me today.