When you have a Talking Barbie from the late 60s you probably know the problem. Her legs fall off. Without a word, without any explanations. I don’t know how many of them were produced but I think up to 80% have this problem.
The fallen off legs were treated in different ways by different persons. Some re-glued the legs back to the body, some repaired the legs with screws. Be careful here when you want to repair the mechanism. When the screws are too deep in the body the Talking Barbie will never be able to talk again.
I admit I have seen some really creative solutions to the problem but seen from the point of view of harming a doll or not I got different answers to the problem. A lot of you emailed me about your experiences with Talking Barbie and the leg problem. Some told me they bought Talking Barbie legs and the legs fell off again a while. The ones glued back with Gorilla glue had the biggest problems. I have no idea in which decade it was done but now the arm and leg knobs seem literally to crumble away.
I can give you the advice to be careful when buying used Talking Barbie dolls. It’s often the easiest way to buy them from first owners who never reglued them to the body. You can be sure to fix them properly and you even have a chance to repair the mechanism ( if you are as crazy as I am).
Since I got so much feedback I wanted to make another Video about Barbie and how to fix her legs. It’s not really hard. You only need to have her broken leg knob piece, some MEK, a paintbrush and some patience. In my latest video you can see an instruction how to reattach the legs.
When you ask my about the cause of leg problem I can only assume that it could be a material weakness. The forces having impact on the leg knobs must be huge. We have two different materials here that have an impact on the leg. It’s the rubber of the leg and the Barbie body. I think they don’t like each other and that might be the reason for the reaction. Maybe you can imagine it like a magnet and the two don’t like each other. I hope this explains Talking Barbie and her leg problem a bit better to you.
Finally 1000 subscribers subscribed to Busy B from Germany and I thought for a while how to celebrate the event with fashions for Francie doll. At first I had no idea how to celebrate it. Suddenly an idea came into my mind. I’m not always showing you all the things I do behind the scenes in my workshop. I take this occasion as a chance to show you some of my ideas for dressing Francie,
You know I like Francie and I do my own designs now that I have learned what I already wanted to know 25 years ago. In my videos you have only seen a small amount of clothes I made instructions for. Behind the scenes I did a lot more, some things could be seen in my other videos but a big part was not. Not all of my designs are ready yet but I have some ideas how to do this and that even if my time to sew is very limited.
It’s always a good idea to plan ahead what you want to design next. Sometimes I need a year or more to complete my drafts. That’s at least for the more complicated designs true. Easy projects don’t need such a big amount of time. Nevertheless my designs inspired me to do a video with all fashions created until now. Fashions for Francie doll – here’s what she has now in her wardrobe.
For those of you trained in sewing for Barbie and the family it might be only a small amount but for me it’s a big progress. I have learned a lot since I found my own mistakes in making own designs.
You know it’s all about the correct measurements. I know I’m not perfect and I know that a lot of my designs is still in white but I hope you appreciate the idea to show you my designs as much as I do here.
I don’t want to create very complicated clothes here. We can do it later. Let’s start simple and let’s stay simple. When you have some basics you can put them together and create a new piece of clothing and play around with your own designs here.
I hope you like my ideas here and that you like the fashions for Francie doll that she has now in her wardrobe. You know I came across the idea for making all the fashions for Francie doll because her original fashions are so expensive. It’s easier to make own patterns than to buy what she has now. Why not use the problem for what you ever wanted to do in your life? Become a fashion designer! Read more about it here http://barbie.final-memory.org/how-to-make-a-pair-of-pants-for-barbie/
I dedicate this article to the topic how to change a fashion doll arm. I have only Barbie family members so this is only valid for Vintage Barbie, Francie, Midge, Ken and Skipper. The joints were changed later so that this is not possible in the same way for later dolls.
What I can tell you about this topic is that it is not hard, like always when I talk about Barbie. It is simple when you know how to do it, what to use in the process and what to avoid.
One thing all of the above mentioned dolls have in common is the arm joint. It’s the same one for all dolls. That makes it easy to show it only once and you can use it for all dolls.
I refer to Barbie only here because I only have Barbie dolls. I don’t collect any other fashion dolls.
For reasons of easiness let’s start with what will expect you. Have a look at one of these arms. As you can see the construction itself is very simple. The arm and the joint are made from one piece. I think it was easy to design, easy to make a mass production of these arms and the were cost effective. More pieces per doll would be more expensive. The less pieces per doll you have to assembly the cheaper the production/ assembly costs.
I think it was not intended that doll docs would ever write about the topic in the future but this construction is also easy to repair. You can replace the arm with another arm. Of course you need one from the same doll type like Barbie – Barbie, Skipper – Skipper and so on. It would not work for different doll types simple because of the different size.
The lengths and joint sizes for the dolls are simply different. You would see it immediately when you replace a Francie arm with a Skipper arm. The lengths are simply different. I came across this topic because I recently bought Francie arms and in reality they are Skipper arms. The difference is very small but you would see it.
I was recently asked about the new dolls in my collection by some viewers and that’s what this article is all about, new dolls in my collection.
As you probably know I don’t collect just for the reason of having a huge collection of dolls that are in bad condition. I’m specialized in Barbie dolls but I don’t collect every doll I find. I can’t do it because of lacking space. I try to buy only what I think is worth to be collected. Some of you may have another opinion. We don’t have any Goodwill here and we had no flea markets since the begin of Corona. Used toys are rather thrown away than being sold in a store. For used clothes it’s no problem but used toys are not common to be sold in any nationwide store chain. In big cities you sometimes have antique store but it is not the rule that you find anything there.
Sometimes you can find dolls on ebay but in most cases they are overpriced. Shopping is not the fun anymore it was when I started to buy there some 20 years ago. A lot has changed since then. The Francie you already saw in the last weeks here on my channel as a big restoration projects was indeed an ebay find. It was really a coincident to find one.
It’s a very popular video on my channel. It’s worth to be seen. Anyway you can learn a lot in restoring a Francie doll. Francie is the cousin of Barbie and at the moment I really like to do videos with her. You can see this doll in the next weeks on my channel again since she’s not completely finished now. She still has a cut in her arm and she will get a replacement arm. This video will follow in the next weeks. So stay tuned in.
She was not the only doll I found. I also found 3 more dolls. In March I saw three male dolls for sale and purchased them. You know I’m a big fan of Ken but I only have a very few early pieces. That’s how these dolls came into my collection. I found #1 Ken, the very first one from 1961 and one edition from 1964/1965 I think. Both have straight legs, no knee joints. My Francie is also a straight leg doll. These dolls have the advantage that you don’t have any problems with green knees.
Free Moving Curtis from the early 1970s is the only doll with knee joints and a sphere for being super sporty where humans have their stomache. I had no Curtis before and that was my chance to buy my very first Curtis. They are offered very seldom in Germany.
The #1 Ken got my attention because his flocked hair is still perfect. I don’t know if any girl ever played with him. He’s still looking perfect.
The last Ken I found is the following one. He had also a perfect painted hair. No missing paint is also hard to find. That’s why he also hopped in my shopping bag. All my other Kens from the early years are not perfect. The offer was too good to reject it.
I know it’s not an easy topic. I actually wanted to know how to make a pair of pants for Barbie for a long time but I had my difficulties with the how to. Why? Because I misunderstood how to draft the patterns. This was really a hard topic for me for a while. I always wanted to be able to do patterns myself but the way to figure the right way out was the hardest task on my journey.
Should you give up when you are in this situation too? I would say no, definitive no. Continue. Go on and the best thing is that you can use my videos as an instruction. You only need greaseproof paper, a biro, a ruler, some thread and here you go. Additionally you can get yourself a green map like the one you see here in my videos. Mine was in a bundle with a roll cutter.
Then you go and get your measurements. I admit I did not use any of my books but a lot of videos to understand the basics of making a pattern for a pair of pants. From a very early age on I wanted to make designs for Barbie, thought I could simply use the Fashion Designer, you know this PC software from the 1990s for Barbie.
Indeed I wanted it when it was released but it was extreme expensive. I think it was around 60 DM. That would be around € 44,17 in Euros today. Would you have paid so much money for such a piece of software? I admit I wanted it but I was only 10 years old back then and easy to influence. To come back to the point. The program would not have helped me back then since a) the measurements on paper are different than on fabric and b) all the designs were already finished designs that you only needed to combine.
Seen from the point of view today it would have been interesting for about an hour or maybe two for me but after that I would have been boring. In general I had hoped that they would tell you how to do your own designs but in times before youtube and facebook it was hard to publish your own videos. The whole internet thing was just in the beginning. In case you’re too young to know this game here’s a link https://oldgamesdownload.com/barbie-fashion-designer/
As always I had to go my own way to get the results I wanted. For the pair of pants I needed longer than planned but better late then never. Like already mentioned in other videos I had my difficulties to understand what I’m doing in pattern making, completely misunderstood that the waist is an important part when doing designs. This is also true for a pair of Barbie pants or a pair of pants for other dolls. You can modify the pattern in a very easy way. Just take the measurements I show in my video at the end of my video. It’s not really hard. When you already know something about darts then this video should be no problem. I don’t show the darts here because you have to adjust them after sewing the pair of pants for the first time. It’s not hard I guess you can do it by yourself when you are a bit into sewing.
The question how to rescue an Alan with stains was the latest idea for a video. I got an Alan head with stains in January or February. He had lost some of his hair color and he has been the victim of a child who painted the head black. Maybe this was in the 1970s? I have no idea but the black is very durable and moved into the head itself and made a connection with the rubber of the head so that a removal was very hard.
I know that you have to be very patient with removing stains even when they are ink stains. It’s time consuming and you need a lot of sun light. For the rescue of Alan both things were missing, like often when you want to do a video but the time is limited.
At first I wanted to remove the stains with Remove Zit, good idea but it failed I think due to the color of the ink and missing sun light. It’s not that Remove Zit is not working. Anyway rubbing alc and Q-tips did not work but I already imagined it. Another idea I had while working on the head was to try the Stain Devil. That’s a stain remover I have already used for removing black stains from Barbie feet or heads. The black part was however much bigger this time than the last time I used it.
I thought it was a worth a try after having removed the reddish hair color of Alan. At first I thought I could get the black totally of but I underestimated the color. It’s hard to get black off completely. I don’t know the content of ink but it’s an awful substance when you have to remove it from dolls or clothes.
I simply don’t like it. However this meant not that I had to throw the head away. I simply made something complete new out of him. After realizing that the black won’t come of as I hoped I decided to do a OOAK Alan. When you can’t remove all the ink use the same color again. That was at least the idea here in this how to rescue an Alan with stains project. I used black color to paint his head and painted over the spots that contained black.
In the last weeks I came across the idea to create something new for my little Francie. I love to be a creative artist and I really enjoy designing own clothes for my famous fashion dolls. I could do it all day long but I hardly have the time to do it but I really love to do it and use the time for creativity. That’s how the idea a “Solo in the Spotlight” for Francie came into existence.
I created a top for Francie last year when I did a kind of circle skirt-dress for her and I used it for this idea too because it fits quite well. Then last autumn I played around with designs for skirts. I tried to make a pencil skirt for her. That was not very hard. You can see how I did this here https://youtu.be/IilLSlJTXFE and here https://youtu.be/Allj1knKfLg
It’s basically the same pattern. Then I added a the pencil skirt, made it longer and added the circle to the bottom of the skirt. The idea for this circle came from the Barbie Fashion Designer program Mattel published in the 1990s for PCs. I know the fashions don’t really fit when you put them in fabric. You have to re-design them for fabric but it’s ok. You can work with them when you know how to modify them. Now they are almost a picture of their time. I mean the 90s are almost gone for 2 decades but I’m really happy to have lived on earth back then and I’m glad I have these old PCs programs running on my old PC. I also have an old printer for printing them.
The idea behind the dress was simply to test if my idea would work out in the way I wanted it too. I did some tests and I worked out in the way I wanted it to. I know I always use white or another simple color for my tests but for me it’s okay. In the next weeks I plan to do more of these simple pieces of clothes. You know when you have some basics you can play with them and can put them together in a very creative ways. That’s my idea at the moment. I just want to play around a little bit with the pieces I have at the moment and put them together in new creative ways so that you can get new pieces with low effort.
It was not important here to make a realistic piece of clothing from the 1960s. Some other collectors complained about that it would have been unrealistic but I think we are not in the 1960s anymore. It does not matter here. The idea behind this whole project is still if it is possible to create a “Solo in the Spotlight” for Francie, not the question if it is a realistic dress or not.
Maybe some of you remember this outfit from the late 60s. It’s very modern and it’s called Plush Pony. Somehow this outfit reminds me of a cow skin with the black spots. I have to tell you this here. Plush Pony mainly consists of the colors black, white and orange. Today I would like to talk a little bit about how to repair Plush Pony from 1969. This is an outfit worth to be repaired.
Another collector sold this outfit to me as project for repair. You know every now and then I get the chance to buy the broken outfits for a low and this is the case here. The seller is one of my silent admirers. In the last weeks I finally found the time to repair it. It was on my to do list for the last months but I hadn’t done it earlier. I need some positive vibration when doing this. I hate to do it when I’m under time pressure. That’s one of the worst things you can do when repairing a doll.
The things that expect me were the age. The trim became stiff within the 50 years of it’s existence. That was the hardest problem to deal with due its stiffness. So I decided to my best to get it back on the fabric. The repair of the dress was easier. It had a common problem with open seams.
At the end I was able to fix this outfit. I don’t know if this trim was stiff from the beginning but I dealt with it the best way I could. The Kissing Barbie you see here was another repair project I did last autumn but I forgot to blog about her due to a lack of time.
I have not made much videos about Francie in the last two months. The reason was that I had problems to find a tlc Francie for this project. I came across a body without a head and then suddenly there was a perfect Francie offered, perfect for this project. The seller said she was tlc but even tlc is not for free. I bought her.
Some days later she arrived in her parcel. I must say I expected her in a shape worser than you can imagine but this was not the case. In fact I see her potential. Yes, this doll is almost in her 60s but does it stop me to repair her? The answer is no. I sometimes really enjoy these bigger projects where you can use a lot of creativity to restore them.
As I already mentioned in my last repaint video I don’t recommend you to start without the correct material ( link http://barbie.final-memory.org/what-you-need-for-a-good-barbie-repaint/ ). Buy everything you need for the project in advance or simply have it at home when you plan your project. It’s good when you have a time schedule in advance. For making this video I needed at least 2 weeks. It’s not the pure time you need but you need to consider that things like hairs have to dry at least for 24 hours when you want them to be dry for your next step.
I also have a little endoscopic camera for my projects so you can think of buying one before you start ( if you want to work with one). Then arrange to have the hair at home. I know this may sound weird but I prefer to have a big box with hair at home before I do anything. This gives me a creative feeling. I need some positive vibes before I start. In my case this vibe is created when I can have a look into my hair storage or my acrylic paint storarge or my brush glas. I have all my brushes in one glas. I think it’s a handy dandy way to start. Have everything at home before you start.
Before I actually started with my video I made a plan how to start what to show, what to do at first, what to do next and so on. I wanted to have some logical steps in a plan before I started to film. So I could make sure that nothing was forgotten.
I my case I started with the head but as you can imagine I wanted to have a look into her head before I started to reroot her. This was a kind of safety insurance not to expect anything unexpected. I checked the pattern of hair in her head way before I started to reroot. When you see there is a destroyed pattern in the head you have to repair it before you can replace missing streaks. Then continue with the hair. After having inserted the new steaks you have to flatten the new streaks.
For this you need at least a day for the drying. Good. After that you can cut the hair. I recommend combing the hair before you cut it. Use a good pair of suitable scissors. I have a professional pair of scissors for cutting hair but it’s for right handers, not lefties. That’s why I use my pair of embroidery scissors here. Works.
After cutting you can curl if you want to. I did this in my case to have the hair out of the way for the repaint. So I used the hot and cold bath method for the curlers and started one day later with the repaint. Before doing the repaint I put my brushes and colors on my desk and prepared my wet palette. After finishing the repaint I waited 24 hours before I used my sealer. After another day I took her curlers out, finished the styling and prepared everything for the final scenes.
You see it’s a lot of work. Being well prepared is never a mistake.
One of the most discussed topic among collectors is the cleaning of the old dolls. When you ask one collector you probably will get 7 different answers and not all of them can be used without critical consideration.
I recently asked other collectors how they clean their dolls and the answers were partly alarming. I don’t use any chemistry that can harm a doll. You know that I really do research and read books before I do anything on my dolls. My method how to clean a Vintage Barbie body was obviously not known to a lot of fellow collectors. No, I don’t use any chemicals that could harm a doll. Where do I know this from? Well, I have a good book from an expert who worked in the chemical industry for toy production for almost 40 years. I only use rubbing alc and Q-tips and a magic eraser but not from Mr. Clean. I have a no name product, cheap and with a good cleaning power. Rubbing alc does the least damage to the doll.
From using dish washer tabs to the use of oxi I got a lot of expert answers how to clean your vintage Barbie. Is this good for your Barbie doll? I say no, you are destroying your vintage Barbie without knowing it. Before you use these cleaning products have a look at the ingredients. The more cleaning power products you use the worser it will affect your doll.
Some collectors swear to use CLR for removing green ears but what they don’t know is that it will dissolve your doll in the long term. Even if you use it only on cotton pads it will destroy your doll in the long turn. Why? The chemicals will start to eat up the rubber of the Barbie and cause a long time damage you won’t get ever rid of. Also don’t forget that you can entice fungicides with your actings. Fungicides are a big problem among Barbie dolls that nobody seems to care about.
Another “helper” I got to know was Chlorox spray cleaner. I have never used this stuff and I will never do so because what you can do is a doll that might be cleaner at the moment you use it but it can also lead to a brownish tone after the treatment. Not immediately but later.
Acetone was also recommended. Why? Do you want to dissolve your doll? Really? Don’t forget that this stuff can cause different kinds of cancer. Not to mention that acetone removes the plasticizer from your doll when you put your doll in a bowl of acetone for a longer time period. The result will be disgusting. I promise.
Where do I know all this from? Well, before I treat any of my dolls I read books about what I’m doing. I can recommend you this book
I hardly recommend any books here but this one is worth to be read because when you don’t know what you do here you can cause a big damage that you can’t make undone. In the worst case you can throw your dolls away. I would think about it twice. When in doubt let her be a dirty doll. That’s all I know about the topic how to clean a Vintage Barbie body.