Last month I had my silver Barbie collecting anniversary and I didn’t even realize it. I think it happened due to a lot of work in the pre-December time. December is always the month with the biggest amount of work. I have holidays around Christmas and I have to pre-produce my videos for December/January in advance. So time is short and the time schedule really tight.
That’s how I completely forgot about my silver Barbie collecting anniversary. It all started by the end of November 1996 after having seen a Barbie Collectibles catalog with all these great Barbie dolls from the Great Eras collection, BobMackie, Escada, The Hollywood Movie series, Wedding Flowers collection with a lot of porcelain Barbie dolls that are unfortunately not produced anymore and other great Barbie dolls.
These dolls made me start to collect although they were very expensive at first and were marketed exclusively through only very special toy shops. You were not able to find them in every toy shop. So at first I had to drive with my parents to Hamburg, Germany or Bremen, Germany to have a chance to see any of them. I was living back then in a province near the North Sea. We had toy shops in town but they had no Collectibles. The Dolls of the World ( like the one below) were the only Barbie dolls to be found. With 50DM (25 euros) of costs for one doll they were pretty expensive while normal playline Barbie dolls were only up to 35 DM (17 euros).
In times when the internet just started it was impossible to buy online especially when you were under age. I was only eleven when I made the decision to become a collector. This was a very intentional decision. Through all my collector life I was able to learn a lot of things. I learned more than other fellows in the same age. For example one of the first Barbie dolls that inspired me was the Victorian Lady Barbie ( one of my very early gifts from my parents) and made me interested in this time period concerning fashion and other things. It’s not just this one doll that inspired me to look beyond my own nose. I not even improved my English for understanding the texts on the boxes better but also inspired me to learn more than just one foreign language. I focused my learning habits around what interested me and it made me pretty successful in school.
By the way I think I often made my parents mad because my interests were not the interests of a normal teenager. My ideas were always different and I made my parents often to drive to special toy stores in the pre-Christmas time in the hope to find one of these very special dolls. Sometimes we were lucky and sometimes not.
I know I should have written more about this project in the last months but time was short. That’s at least why I’m writing now. I started in the begin of 2020 with this project and did not finish it until now. But be assured now the project is finished. I finally found a solution for the design of this dress and it fits Francie perfectly. I only have to adjust some little pieces to make the cut perfect.
Nevertheless that’s what I plan to do in 2022. We still all need goals for 2022, don’t we?
Here’s a link to the video of the final version that I did recently.
Why lasted this project so long
Well, I admit I had problems to find the perfect top measurements for Francie for a long time. I did several drafts for Francie but I missunderstood what I was doing there. I’m really sorry for the delay but I found a solution in the last months. There’s a little channel on youtube showing you the basics for designing clothes for Barbie dolls and I used the knowledge and transferred the knowledge for Francie. That’s how I found my mistakes and re-drafted my designs. Furthermore was I lucky enough to find more pictures of the original dress to study the design. I thought I had understand the design and then saw another mistake. I oversaw that the design had a cummerbund which is not really visible in the original dress. It’s hidden under a ribbon. That’s one of the thing causing problems. Another one was adjusting the design. I had a perfect top by the end of the summer but I misunderstood the cummerbund. That made me re-draft the whole top. I needed several nights to find the correct idea. Then attaching the cummerbund caused unseen problems but I finally also found a solution for this problem. The easiest part of the whole project was the skirt with my ruffler.
Things I have learned from this project
No matter how long this project lasted I learned several things from my mistakes. The biggest learning effect had my design itself on me. I learned a complete new method how to make the body measurements for a doll. It’s really easy and really simple to use. I can only recommend this method. It made me understand what I was doing. After understanding this method I made really progress with my designs. I made several designs for tops, skirts, a jacket which are still in prototype stadium but the next year will bring us new projects and we can finish what we started in 2020 and in 2021.
I was recently asked how these tiny bobby pin curlers work. Some of my viewers had problems to understand the mechanism I showed in one of my last videos. So I thought it would be a good idea to make another video about this topic to make the function.
So the function is not really hard, we simulate human hair curlers here but in a smaller dimension. Instead of one big rubber we use two small orthodontics elastics ( rubber bands without any heat problems) and one bobby pin. It doesn’t matter what bobby pin you use, probably the easiest is when you use what you have at home. We need one elastic to keep the curl in place and the other one serves as a closure for the bobby pin.
To demonstrate it better I have made another short video about this topic.
I know that I have never written about this series before here but I’m going to change it now. One of my favorite series of the early years of my collecting time are “ Great fashions of the 20th century“, a series started in 1998 and ended in 2001 with 7 wonderful dolls.
At the time this series came out my passion for fashions of past decades and centuries already existed. I think fashion has never changed that fast as it did in the 20th century. Modern production technology and updated methods made the production of clothes and fashion possible. A century earlier it would not have been possible and the costs have been much higher. Throw away fashion like it exists today would have been completely impossible 200 years ago due to production costs. High costs prevented to have a huge wardrobe full of fashion. Only rich people were able to buy huge amount of fabrics.
Nevertheless production technology made it possible to make trends and to wear what the riches wore even when you were not rich. Mass production made fashion possible. You can see it in every single day how much the fashions changed in the last century. In the 21rst century we don’t have such radical changes anymore. Defining a typical outfit from the 2010s would really be hard.
What would you define as such an outfit? At least we have defined decades from the 20th century and now let’s enjoy them in a short video.
The only disadvantage that I see in this series is that it suddenly stops in the 1970s. No 1980s and no 1990s Barbie doll was available. What do you think about the missing dolls?
Many among my viewers are big Francie fans and some of them have No Bangs Francies but not all of them do. That’s sad somehow but for the ones that don’t have any No Bangs Francie I have found a solution.
I have no No Bangs Francie and the prices exploded over the last years. I did not buy any of them but two years ago I got a Francie head, a former brunette and I immediately had the idea to make her a No Bangs Francie but I found no good body for her. I had problems until September of 2021 and then suddenly found one which was shipped to me from overseas.
After vacaction and other time consuming projects I began to work on this project a month ago. I rerooted the whole head over the incredible amount of nine working days and continued with my styling process.
Can you really duplicate a No Bangs Francie style? I would say that it’s possible but you have to have a lot of patience and a lot of imagination because I had no instruction how to finish this project. All I did was just to play around with my new steamer and cut the hair later. You want to see the result?