10 days ago I learned that one of the last shops for fabrics is going to close. So what did I do? I went and visited the store maybe with a little hope to find a cheap sewing-stiching machine combination too but I think I dreamt a little to much. They have lots of stuff but no machines. At first I only wanted to see how much they had reduced the price for fabrics but it was only 20% for fabrics. I found some small end pieces which were cheaper than the rest. It’s enough to test my patterns in the next weeks. Maybe I’m going to visit the store another time before they close their doors forever.
In the last months I had problems with my old sewing machine. I needed an incredible long to find out where the problem was. It was the position of the needle holder. Found it out, fixed it. Next problem. I wanted to sew with a fine cotton fabric. Unfortunately my machine didn’t like the fabric. Maybe it was a problem caused by age but anyway she produced so many mistakes that I decided to buy a new one.
I did a long research about fabrics and old sewing machines, needles for the machine. I tried anything but the result didn’t change much. Then I started to look round for a new sewing machine. It was no easy task. There is a wide range of sewing machines. At first I thought it was really difficult but then somebody made the suggestion on youtube to make a list what you want your new sewing machine to have. The list helped me a lot. I watched several videos to learn about different features. I got to know features I never heard of like the regulation of the sewing foot pressure and many other things like the IDT ( integrated dual transport) for fragile fabrics very useful.
I also went to a local shop and they showed me some machines. So I finally came to my decision that I wanted to have the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 2.0. I don’t plan to quilt in the future but I think some of the features are very handy for future Barbie sewing projects.
When I was ten I saw the Fashion Designer for Barbie doll. I loved to see the fashion for Barbie in the stores when I was younger than 10. I had my problems to choose one of the fashions I had in my hands. I always wanted to have all of them. This was seldom possible. Fashions were expensive in Germany. I liked the idea to design own clothes for Barbie but I was never able to do it in my childhood. In search of new sewing patterns the Cool Trends Fashion Designer came into my mind several weeks ago. Two or three weeks ago I won an auction. I got it for an incredible price. In the envelope was more than I expected. Even the textile paper was there and it has never been opened.
The reason I bought it was the chance to get new patterns. The fashion patterns themselves are saved as .bfd – files. I have been looking around to find a program for convert or open the stuff. The format seems to be so obscure that you find nothing about it online. I have an old PC where I could install the software without problems. The only solution I found for getting the sewing patterns was to print them directly. I have the chance to use several printers. One of them did print the pattern. So I was able to try the patterns. They are printed in the right size but you get no measures and no description about the number of pieces of paper that you need for one specific outfit nor where to put the second or third part it. I think I have to guess in the next weeks and just try my best.
Maybe some of you wanted to create own Vintage Barbie dresses (Vintage era from 1959 – 1966) but have no idea how to. Well, I had a similar problem last year and I solved my problem. The solution is easy. You can find the right patterns online. You just have to know where. I found an incredible fabric last autumn for which I had 1000 ideas what to do with it. I decided to do a copy of the “Let’s dance” dress from 1960. Here’s how I did it.
And you can do it too!
Behind the scenes I try to figure out how Vintage Barbie clothes (Vintage era from 1959 – 1966) were made. I’m especially interested the patterns for the fabric. How can I turn a piece of fabric into a piece of clothing. I want to design own clothes in the Vintage style later but at first I have to understand how the patterns are made and the result I get when I follow sewing instructions.
It’s not as easy as you might imagine. I have to deal with many different problems. Especially the body forms of early Barbie dolls seem to be one of my main problems. At first I thought they were all the same size but they aren’t. Although they seem to be the same size they aren’t and that’s a big problem when you don’t know it. Then you can’t adjust the pattern to the body. For example that’s my result when I tried to sew a blouse.
As you can see here the blouse seems to be to tight for the Midge/Bubblecut body I used here. Obviously the breasts are larger than it seems. I haven’t really measured until now but fellow collectors told me that the first Ponytail Barbie bodies are smaller/ the measures are different. That’s very interesting and a good thing to know. By the way it’s no problem that the blouse is to tight. I thought that I might get problems like these. I made it just for reasons of learning.
Last year I wanted to buy a Let’s dance Vintage Barbie dress but most of the sellers refused to ship to Europe. So what kind of idea came into my mind? If I can’t buy one, why not do my own copy? I found a seller who recreated the pattern and bought it.
Two weeks ago I was able to start my work and within a few days I had my own version. It’s very similar in comparison to the real Let’s dance Vintage dress. Here are some pics of my version…
Finally I found the real Let’s Dance. Another collector from Europe had one left over.
Today I saw a docu with the title “Retromania”. I admit I saw the title last Friday while watching youtube. It was interesting but I think that I’m probably not the only one who had the idea years ago. When I was still in school I thought about doing my own clothes because I had problems with mainstream fashion. There were trends I really hated and customized some of my own clothes long before. Once I sat in school and we discussed the whole topic. In my class were classmate who did not understand why I wanted to my own thing.
It all began with a preparation for a formal school graduation party. I wanted to wear a something like a Swing skirt but I had no idea of the name nor where you could buy one. Yes, there were times when these clothes were not so easy to get like today. We had no second hand clothes store where you could look. So my mom did her best to sew me a skirt. It was pretty fancy.
Maybe I have been more into Retromania than I ever thought before. I started to feel the way I started to collect Barbie and the feeling continues but nowadays it’s no problem to get the Vintage clothes. There are many stores where you can buy them. I have always been on the “I like to do what I like” way and not impress others. Why be so uniform? Why not be the Audrey Hepburn in heap of ….. ( I forgot her name).
Anyway I think others feel the way I feel too. Maybe we look for a bit stability in a world that changes constantly. I don’t know. Maybe that’s why I collect Barbie dolls. I can stay in touch with the past. Last weekend I did a copy of a great dress from the early 60s. I really like to copy early Barbie clothes. The quality of the fabrics is so good. The dresses are very detailed. You can easily understand how it is done. Maybe some of you understand me … and here’s a pic of my work.
I had this problem in the last months more than once. I saw a Barbie doll body or a piece of outfit I liked and wanted to buy it. I asked the seller if he would ship to Europe and most of them said no. It’s a good question what to in this situation. Well, I solved a part of my problem in the way that I bought some Vintage pieces (in poor condition) and disassemble the piece in which I’m quite good. I also understand how to make a pattern for clothes and did copy the pieces of fabrics to create a paper model. This allows me to copy the piece I want and I’m not depended on the sellers from the US. I like to keep it as originally as possible but I can also include my own ideas and wishes. At the moment I’m experimenting with different pieces. For some of them I used a pattern and did others from own ideas.
I know my workshop is a bit of chaos but I need my chaos to be creative. Stay tuned in. Next week you gonna see more of my sewing project.