Thursday, February 27, 2014

Retro Barbie gets all dolled up.

I've long had a bit of an obsession with these lovely vintage style Barbie dolls. I found this Solo in the Spotlight reproduction on Ebay for a song, and I had to have her. Sadly, she came without her black gown. Fortunately, dressing my dolls is what I do...
I wanted her to have a 50s day dress to go with her retro look. I have quite a few Barbie printed patterns, but none of them included a collared dress! And I really wanted to make a shirtdress. I finally found this shop on Etsy that specializes in patterns copying vintage Barbie outfits. Perfect! She has an impressive selection, but collars are still sparse on the ground. I found this pattern for a collared bodysuit and jean style capris that I thought I could work with.
And I do think this is a great collar! It's a classic one piece, faced collar. Barbie collars can be fussy to sew, as they are so small, but this one wasn't too tricky and the pattern was well drafted. I will say that the instructions were VERY sparse and I had trouble getting the PDF to print with the scaling correct. I ended up having to re-scale and tile it myself. A bit annoying, but the pattern was only $2.
One cool feature of the pattern is the back yoke, which is actually cut in one piece with the front. It took a little puzzling to figure out, as the pattern directions were a little inscrutable, but once I got it together, I was thrilled with how it looks. Although I could have done a better job matching my plaids.
As I mentioned, this piece is actually a jumpsuit, seamed at the crotch. I think this is brilliant, both for play and display as it keeps her top tucked in nicely. The front is closed with a single snap, and it is fairly easy to get Barbie in and out of. Nicely designed, vintage Mattel.
I have to give a little shout out here to Heather, who sent me these cute little buttons. Barbie scale buttons are surprisingly hard to find! These are absolutely perfect, and were in fact, the inspiration for her whole look.
The skirt is a basic, patternless pleated skirt. I drafted a rectangular waistband for Barbie's teeny waist, then hand pleated a rectangle of gingham into the band. I left the pleats largely unpressed, and I love how the body of the gingham gives this a nice full shape. It closes in back with velcro.
To complete her look, I fashioned Barbie a teeny tote bag with a scrap of the gingham, a bit of ribbon and some jewelry making rings. I also created the pearl necklace she's wearing. The sunglasses on her head are a reproduction pair I found on Ebay. I just love how the whole look came together. Sewing for Barbie is so much fun! She never complains.

10 comments:

  1. she looks great! I love vintage barbies. I wish I had her dress!

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  2. I love everything about it. The gingham is an especially nice touch.

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  3. So, so cute! I kind of want her outfit now, LOL!

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  4. You worry about matching plaids on went weeny Barbie clothes? I am impressed. I love the collar and the back yoke is gorgeous.

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  5. Love it! Could you scale it up to my size?

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  6. Pretty sure Barbie is the one making me want gingham. She looks so good in it! I love the little matching purse. So clever.

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  7. Barbie looks amazing - perfect fashion model - I think I want that shirt pattern personally! ;)

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  8. Your Barbies are the LUCKIEST! This is such a great dress.

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  9. 50's shirtdress: = adorable. I recently made an AG doll pattern with an integrated shirt front/front lapel/and wrap around to back of collar. Confusing as all get-out.

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