Now that I feel like I have the basics down in terms of sewing in 1/6 scale, I felt like I was ready for a challenge, but sadly most of the commercial Barbie patterns out there are "Easy", "Perfect for Beginners!" or "Make it in 30 minutes!". Where is the Claire Schaeffer of Dolly land??
Fortunately for me, there exist in the Barbie world a few independent pattern companies to cater for to my desire for couture. One such is Daniel Bingham. They offer high end sewing and knitting pattern for the doll enthusiast, as well as Spoonflower designs to print your own fabrics in the perfect scale.
Evie is modelling the Hostess Blouse for you. It is a FREE pattern from the site, so perfect to try out this line. Despite being free, there was no cutting corners with the quality of this pattern.
I don't even think I have words enough to express how impressed I was with this pattern. The pattern pieces were easy to read and use. The download and print process was effortless. The directions were clear and so complete.
The blouse if fully lined (!!!), and includes a separate underlap for the snap placket.The pattern includes tips for dealing with the bias cut chiffon collar, as well as seam finishing and pressing instructions. Seriously, this was one of the best written patterns I have ever seen. And it was for BARBIE!! I've already downloaded their suit pattern and read through it. The tailoring instructions are amazing. I can't wait to make it.
So, my version has a few imperfections that I think come down to poor fabric choice. The brocade I chose is beautiful, but it really is too thick for Barbie clothing, and it was really unstable, so my pattern pieces stretched out of shape in places. The hem is the most egregious. It is too high over one hip, and rippled all over the place.
The chiffon for the upper blouse is a pretty orange and red ombre, which isn't too obvious at this scale. It also has a subtle golden sheen that compliments both the brocade and Evie's coloring. It was actually easy to work with, particularly since it is polyester. The tendency for chiffon to shift and move around was really minimized when the pattern pieces are this small. It really was surprisingly easy to handle, which was good given the trouble I was having with the brocade.
The front of the blouse is lovely, but the back is really a knockout. The neckline scoops into a low v, and the collar opens into points around the back closure. I added two small pearls to the collar points, partly to keep them in place. They tended to wing up a bit, since polyester doesn't press well, I suspect had I made it with silk I wouldn't have had this problem.
The skirt, by comparison is pretty unexciting. I used Simplicity 4702, which is rapidly becoming my favorite basic Barbie pattern. The skirt in this pattern is quite short, and I wanted a more sophisticated look. I added 4 inches to the length, which equates to adding 24 inches to a human sized skirt. That is one short skirt... I pegged the hem a little for a vintage look.
I am so thrilled to have found this pattern and this company! Barbie's wardrobe is about to get amazing.