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 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.
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.
Sometimes it’s just an idea and sometimes you put things into reality. I already had the idea to dress my new Supersize Barbie in December but the time was lacking. You know we were just preparing for the holidays, taking our annual X-mas vacation to see your parents. Bad time schedule but January came and so the time to put this plan into reality.
I don’t know how you do these things but I need time to work these things out properly. I hate it to be interrupted during my creative process so I do these projects mainly when I’m alone at home. It’s always my most creative time of day. I admit I’m a morning human. I prefer to do all the important things in the morning to make sure to get them done. I know there are different types of humans but my most productive time is the morning. So I used the last weekend of my holidays to begin with this project.
Sewing projects are always time consuming. It doesn’t matter what you do so you need a good schedule, prepare things in advance like marking and cutting the fabric, do the sewing the next day and continue so on. I prefer to have all steps to be planned in advance when I’m working so that I have a certain thing to do every day but on the same hand I can be sure to get things done.
I can give you the advice to plan more days than you will actually need because you don’t know how the result will turn out. From my experience I can tell that I had stress with finishing projects and videos more than once.
It’s a big advantage when you have several projects to work on simultaneously because you can always release at least one video a week. If you can produce in advance do it. I will have to improve my skills here because I’m always short on time. I hate it but it happens more often than planned. Don’t let anything interrupt you. The filming I did was at least two hours and I think I had to cut 10 hours to get it down to 20 minutes, correct the tone, the lighting and so on.
Nevertheless this was a project I wanted to do from heart because I don’t like my dolls to be naked. So I got to work and made the markings, the patterns and prepared the whole fabric for my sewing machine. At the end this project was very nice because my technique works so well that the Supersize Barbie has clothes now, is not naked anymore and the clothes only need a few adjustments for the perfect fit. I have to read a little bit before doing the final adjustments but for now I’m satisfied and it happens seldom enough to say this.
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 know I haven’t posted anything doll related in the last weeks because I had not much to tell but yesterday I finally came across some time for my latest sewing project. I did show how to do the prototyping for a JapaneseExclusive top in the last weeks but I only showed how to do the pattern itself, not how to sew the top because I wanted to cover this in another video together with the tiny Peter Pan collar and the skirt.
You can see the first part of the pattern making here
but like mentioned above it’s only the first part of a journey how to come to the full dress. I must say the first try was good so far. I still have to do small improvements here and there under the arms because the arm holes are hard to do in a perfect way when you just did your first draft.
So anyway, I would like to show you the first result here
I plan to do more prototypes in the next weeks especially one with the Peter Pan collar. So stay tunes in. The project will be continued as soon as I have two hours time for my sewing machine.
I know I haven’t been posting here for the last 7 weeks. I had some time problems with my time-schedule. Doing more sewing videos needed more time to edit and cut and I underestimated this fact somehow.
It’s not that I’m not willing to learn how to do it better but this was somehow different from what I planned. You know you have sometimes great ideas and when it comes to put things into reality then there are some “minor” problems.
That’s not what you want. That’s not what I want but I had to deal with it. For one of my videos I had too much light, another one had a bad tone.
The tone problem could be solved by doing it again. The light problem could be fixed with a little help of DaVinci Resolve but I’m far from perfect. Knowing something about grouping is also very helpful. I only knew I had known it earlier. I know it’s already April and I haven’t posted any for almost two months. Please forgive me but after work I drafted for days and days to get the pattern right. It was not cooperative at the beginning.
I think there are lots possibilities for Francie because there are a lot less fashions for her than for Barbie. So if the demand is high enough the chances are good that you can get more videos about Francie. What do you think? Would you like some more Francie videos?
Christmas is over now but is this the best reason to say we have to wait until next year to sew a Xmas skirt for Francie? My answer is no and I can explain you why. In December 2020 I saw the fabric you can see below in the little video. I saw it and I thought it would make a perfect dress, skirt or top for Barbie doll or a family member like Francie.Francie is the cousin of Barbie doll, sold from the mid 1960s until the mid 1970s. Do I have to mention that she is still a very popular member of the Barbie family? When you’re into Vintage & Mod Barbie collecting then I guess I don’t have to.
Maybe it’s useful to explain it to the other side of my readers here. Although Francie doll is a very early member of the Barbie doll family she is still very popular among the children from back then, now being grandmas. Designed to be a bit younger than Barbie and more adolescent than Skipper doll Francie was designed to be approx. 15 years old with a little bit more breast than Skipper but less than Barbie has.
Seen from a marketing point of view and keeping in mind that the wild 60s in London, GB were such an influence that it was hard to ignore in general. Maybe this idea was the starting point why Francie doll was released in 1966. This was also a big opportunity to hop on the train because the fashion of Barbie was rather 50s like, classical, conservative, not hip. That’s the point where Francie could help. With her sling body she could wear hip mini-dresses, short skirts and tight things that Barbie was a little bit too old for.
When I made my first contact with Barbie Francie was out of production for a long time, almost 25 years but I immediately liked her when I got into collecting in the mid 1990s ( and yeah, she was affordable back then) but she was not my main focus point. I rather wanted to collect Barbie. The interest in collecting Francie was there from the first minute. After collecting for 10 years I found a Francie on a flea market with almost no clothing but her bathing suit. For a long time she had to wear it. In the last years she got another outfit but hey, believe it or not but I think the original clothes are hard to find and even expensive. Why not designing your own clothes for Francie? With this idea in mind this video is the logical conclusion of it. So here we are doing our own clothes for Francie when the original ones are too expensive.
I can’t believe how fast the last week passed by. Last week I designed my first top pattern for Francie and I was really nervous how this would turn out because the pattern form I got for Francie was very similar to the pattern I did for Barbie. Had I used the right measurements? I was so nervous that I didn’t want to start sewing it. This sounds strange, I know. Again I had the same problem like with the one for Barbie. My front middle part had too much fabric to fit in a perfect way. I had this while doing my Barbie top. After my first Francie top try I already knew where to modify the pattern. I think the next try will fit much better because of the modification. This time I tried to document what I did because I realized that I forgot a lot. Additionally I took the measure from my Vintage Skipper so that I can do patterns for her or Ricky too in the future. Maybe pattern making becomes easier the more often you do it. At least I hope so.
If you ask yourself why I suddenly started to do pattern making for Francie, well this is due to the fact that I was not 100% satisfied with the pattern I used for my “Let’s dance” Francie dress project . So I decided to try another approach and doing my own top to come as close to the original as possible. You know I’m a purist. If you’re not familiar with the topic, just watch the first part of my new video series.
I’m going to insert a pic of my first try here in the next days. I’m still sitting here and write this article.