Monday, May 5, 2014

Jeans and tees for Barbie

Generally, I sew fantasy-type clothes for my dolls. Ball gowns, 50s sundresses, silky negligees - the kind of stuff I just don't have occasion to sew for myself. But all that frou-frou stuff just didn't seem to fit for Katniss.
So, I decided it was time to make jeans for my girls. I really love making jeans for me, so it seemed like a natural extension.
Teresa (standing) is wearing my first attempt. I am using Simplicity 4702, view E. I made Teresa's pair out of a thin stretch denim, and it turned out just too big. On the advice of some Instagram friends, I roughed them up a little, rolled the cuffs and called them boyfriend jeans. I think it works. For the jeans details - button and rivets - I used hotfix studs. The 2mm studs are the perfect size for Barbie jean rivets and the 4mm size makes an excellent button. The jeans actually close with a snap at center back.
The second version, shown here on Allriane, is my favorite. I slimmed the jeans through the waist, hips and thighs and took in the waistband. The critical change I made was to firmly interface the waistband to prevent the stretching out that happened with the first pair. I also added functional hip pockets, so that Allriane can put her hands in them. One thing to note here is that Allriane actually doesn't have a Barbie body. Her body is a Liv doll, which is slimmer than Barbie. I love these jeans, but they don't fit the fuller hips and butt of Barbie. They are perfect for Liv and Obitsu dolls though.
For Katniss, I went back to the original Simplicity pattern. My only alteration for fit was to slim the back hip slightly (like 1/8 inch), and to interface the waistband. The fabric is an extremely stretchy lightweight baby cord. I also flared the legs to give them a more wide leg look. With the waist interfaced, the fit is perfect. Since these are cords, I didn't do the front pockets or rivets.
In back, all three pair of jeans have traditional patch pockets. I did have to slim the pocket pattern piece slightly (1/8 inch on each side) to compensate for the stretch of the fabric.
Once I had the jeans done, I realized that my dolls have no casual tops. So I set about making a few.
Katniss got the first one. This is again Simplicity 4702, this time view F/H top. Other than adding 1/4 inch of length, I made no changes for fit. For the front piece and the neckband, I used a Superman sock. I am beyond thrilled with how it came out, and I really wish I could find a giant sock to make myself one. The sock was too small for the sleeves and back of the top, so I used a scrap of rayon jersey for the rest. The necklace was also made by me, from a lock and key charm which Anne sent me. Thank you!! Katniss loves it!!
I made Allriane's top next. The pattern is Simplicity 4719, and this is view G. Again, the pattern is sewn unaltered. I'm pretty thrilled with my teeny neckline binding, which I did sew as a binding rather than a band. The fabric is cotton lycra jersey left over from this top. I have found that using fabrics with a bit of lycra, really improves the drape in these teeny little clothes, and makes them look more realistic.
Teresa's top was the last one I sewed, and I'm not sure I completely love it. I wanted something relatively unfitted, to go with the boyfriend jeans vibe. This top is Simplicity 5785, view A. I made it out of chiffon, double layered for opacity and a clean finish at the neckline. After it was done, I thought it was pretty shapeless and unflattering. I took in the side seams a little, and shortened the front hem so that it hit at the waist instead of the hip. I also added some beading to the neckline to bring the focus up. I'm still not sure I LOVE it, but it works with the style.
I kinda love the easy, relaxed vibe they have together. I like to think that if Katniss had grown up in the US, maybe this would have been how she dressed.


  1. I just can't get over these -- so great! The Superman sweater and distressed jeans are just killing me.

  2. Barbie needs some causal clothing for those days when she needs to run some errands or run around the park. I love the superman Tee the best.

  3. I love all of the little details, and the sock shirt is quite clever. My husband was reading over my shoulder, and I think he was impressed too--he wanted to know if you're going to branch out into G.I. Joe clothes next!

  4. I love your Barbie clothes! It has been years since there has been a fashion doll in my house but I think I need to find a little girl and try to make a few of these. You have taken Barbie's clothing to a whole new level. Great job!