I’d like to update one of my older blog posts in which I wrote about Vintage Kens. I always thought that the Vintage Kens were only produced for one year and then the production changed to the next Ken and the dolls were updated.
I learned in the last days that this is not true. I learned for example that the flocked hair Ken was sold from 1961 until 1966. Not all the stocked dolls sold immediately and it also depended on the part of the world where you were living. The flocked haired Kens could have been for example in Germany or Japan. In a way this makes sense because the dolls were marketed there later that in the US. It also seems that there’s a bigger variety in hair colors than I thought. I only thought there would be blonde and brown, but nope. It seems that there are more.
The differences can be seen in their eyebrows. Earlier dolls have thicker eyebrows while the later versions have thinner ones but this is just one example. I will check my collection and see if there’s really a difference. I never had the idea that there might be so many differences. The boxes also show variances but I only have one box, so this is hard for me to show you.
Nevertheless I also learned that especially the so called “Shortie Kens” were produced in the US. I always thought that these Kens were only produced & painted in Japan but this was another misbelief. Their brothers from the same year produced in Japan were not “Shorty Kens”, their size was normal and their limbs don’t fall off the body. At least I can say I have one of these “Shortie Kens” produced in the US. So Ken, Ken and Ken are not the same dolls. You would also see a difference in their box but it’s hard to show you due to my lack of boxes.
What I noticed when I got more than one of these Vintage Ken is that they are all looking very different. There are no two Kens looking the same way. We have a big variety. Each of the boys has it’s own personality. Every Ken has kind of it’s own charme.
Painted hair Kens were not available before 1963. I thought they would have already been available in 1962. I think I have one of these 1963 Japan Kens but I want to look him up when I’m back home. I think I also have the last version from 1963 with the new arm mold but from his eyes he’s rather looking like the 1964 edition because the black in his eyes that all other versions had, is missing here. His hands are different thant the very first issues. Shortie Ken also has this arm type ( see above)
It was very interesting to learn that the high color Kens were only available first in 1966. I recently bought one of them. I realized it when I bought him. Some collectors consider them as a variation. It’s also possible to see among the Color Magic Barbie dolls. There are also high color variations.
I think there’s more to discover among the Kens and I hope will do it in the next weeks and months to come.
Recently we had Halloween and I thought for a long time about doing an outfit for our little Francie doll or not. You know I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween and it’s not really celebrated here.
We rather celebrate St. Martin and do our own lanterns here in Europe and go to a lantern procession when we are little and come from the German speaking areas of Europe but hey, I try to satisfy all my viewers here. That’s where the idea with the outfit for Francie came from.
As you all know I love sewing for little 15 year Francie doll, cousin of Barbie. She’s so cute and mine has only a few clothes I made for her. That’s why I do my own outfits, sew and improve my designing skills in pattern making.
In this case my idea was clear. A simple skirt and a easy but stylish top. Nothing complicated since a lot of you don’t have the biggest experience in sewing. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. That’s why you only get a twp piece outfit here. You only need one calculation and one drawing to do it. I think doing it easier is almost impossible. I imagined something like a witch skirt when doing it. I have a similar dress that I wore to the ball after graduation of High School. I love to be creative and that’s how the idea came into my mind. Don’t worry it’s still very easy.
You only need to measure once round her waist and then use the formula for the circumstance to get our radius. That’s the same thing you would do when designing a circle skirt but this skirt here had rectangles, almost a kind of square but with the waist part that we need cut out. That’s very easy, isn’t it?
After sewing all four parts together you already have the skirt. The amount of time you need to sew this is very limited. You can do it within one hour.
You could also use it for Christmas when you do it in another color like red or green to make it very festive. You know I’m very flexible with my designs. Why not using them for another occasion?
I began this project because I had no access to the right tailor’s ham in the right size. From other collectors I heard the question why not just buying one. The answer is that I can’t buy because it’s not available here in good old Europe. That’s the idea why I did my own diy tailor’s ham in Barbie size.
I came about this problem several months ago when I worked on my Francie short and had problems to iron the shorts at the end due to little curves. Of course you want to lay your fabric flat close the seam but it’s not always easy when doing these miniatures. I had this problem more than once. I’m a creative person an try to solve these problems of my own. Why not do something diy to solve it was the idea behind this project.
Yes, of course there are several videos about how to do your own tailor’s hams out there. It’s not very hard to do your own version of it but I needed a special form because a normal tailor’s ham is way to big for miniatures. I needed one for skirts and trousers and one for armholes. Armholes are the hardest to iron projects when you don’t have the right sewing supplies.
In the past I had the problem to put the arm through the armhole because the seam was in the way. I’m not perfect in doing arms and armholes. I’m still practising to come to perfection one day but for my projects it’s working at the moment. Just needed a way to improve my possibilities in supplies here. I hope this will make the process easier in the next projects.
I also have a mini ironing board for Barbie dolls but I have not used it often because the arm part did not fit the way I hoped it would. It’s a nice idea and for some projects it will work but not for all projects.
I hope that my idea helps you out there too to diy your own tailor’s ham without spending a huge amount of money. You can do it in any shape you like. It’s completely up to you. I don’t want to urge you to do it the same way I showed it here. You can tailor it to any size you may need and that’s one positive thing for me because you are not dependent on any industry.
For those of you interested in the filling it’s something very easy. For tailor’s ham bedding is used like you can see in the pic below. It’s the stuff that you used for cages for Hamsters, Bunnies and so on. It’s easy to get and cheap. This was not my idea. In my research I used other videos and blog posts.
In the last years I’ve done a lot of repair videos and sewing stuff but what most viewers of my audience don’t know is that I also have done a lot of paper crafts in the last decades. This started way back when I was in Kindergarten. Our teachers tried to improve our skills in working with paper, cutting, being creative and having fun with it. So this was literally something I grew up with. My mother and I did a lot of creative crafts until I became a teenager. It’s not that I stopped liking it but somehow this went into the background and we only had limited space to decorate the apartment and the Christmas tree. We also did hand painted eggs for Easter and lanterns for November.
This article is possibly more from my crafter side than from my collector side but sometimes it’s really hard to divide because there are no borders. You can work in every part if you want. I hope I’m not boring you but my parents showed me a lot concerning being creative. It’s more a kind of lifestyle than just using it to survive. I can post you a pic of what I did for the upcoming Christmas season. A part of it is already at my parents house because they visited us last month and I made a little parcel with all the things I’ve done in the past months.
In Kindergarten and Elementary School it’s very popular to make your own lanterns. Every year a lantern procession is done on 11th of November to celebrate St. Martin of Tour. The legend says he once shared his red cloak in a snowstorm with a beggar and so he became Saint Martin instead of just Bishop Martin. The story is taught in every Elementary School in the German speaking areas of Europe. Maybe it’s spread wider but I have not been there in school.
When I was little Halloween was something completely unknown to us. We did not know and we did not celebrate it. I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween either. That’s why I did a moderately inspired video about a Halloween outfit for Francie last week. http:// https://youtu.be/JWPlI4Gz_K8
Somehow I was reminded that St. Martin is coming up and I decided to take the idea a little further and teach you a little bit about diy lantern making. Since I have a channel for Barbie and Barbie related topics I decided to make a video of how to diy your own miniature lantern for Barbie dolls. Normal lanterns are way to big for using them for dolls. That’s where the idea to show you this kind of tradition to diy your own miniature lantern for Barbie and her 11 1/2 inch size sisters comes from. The lantern procession is kind of our counterpart to Halloween. It’s almost the same time. The main audience is children. Some of them come in costumes. Singing is very important but they don’t stop at every door to get sweets. The procession is rather peaceful and the parents also attend the procession. You can bring as many relatives as you have. The more you have the funnier the whole procession is. Normally the procession starts in a school yard, then moves through some residential areas and then they go back to the school yard. The lanterns are often made in arts and crafts lessons.
My parents worked with me on special lanterns. One year I had a shining sun lantern, another year a rocket lantern. You can basically do anything you like. As you can imagine the school children have often more complex lanterns than the younger children still in Kindergarten.
This whole topic made me think if I should do a video for you not only showing you how to diy your own miniature lanterns for Barbie and her sisters but also give you a little background why I have not invested so much effort in the Halloween outfit for Francie but into lantern making. I hope you understand it and I’ve made you a little more curious in how to diy your own miniature lanterns. A nice lantern is an enrichment for every doll house.
This was a topic I really wanted to work on for a long while but pattern making patterns is always time consuming. I already did a pattern for a pair of pants in the begin of the year but it was not perfect and I did not find the time to improve my skills immediately. In another way I never lost the interest in how to make a pair of shorts for a fashion doll. I saw a video where you could learn how to make a pair of short for your doll from a skirt pattern.
It sounded very easy since I already had a skirt pattern for my Francie and I simply continued to work on the fashion, simply did what I saw. Then I made a sample and tried to improve my own patterns here. That was literally everything I did.
With this pattern I tried to find my own mistakes from the beginning of the year. I knew my pattern was not perfect but I did not know where to start my improvements.
My pattern fitted my Francie very well and so I decided to work on this pattern for my Supersize Barbie as well. The pattern on her also worked very well. So now at least I have created a basic for my future work of how to make a pair of shorts for your fashion doll.
I think I got the basics now and I can make the length longer or shorter for the dolls I have here. I think that’s one of the most satisfying things you can see when you want to improve your abilities as a tailor.
If you want to learn how to do this very easy pattern transformation for your doll I can recommend you to watch the video below. It contains a step by step instruction how to do this yourself.
This week it’s more a personal story in my blog. I was asked about two weeks ago if I could have a look at a Pose n Play Skipper newly acquired by a German collector. I said sure because we have dealt with each other before. So she shipped her Skipper to me and half of the pony was missing.
It was not question that I wanted to make her Skipper a full pony again. Her Skipper was obviously played often with and the hair was a bit oxided. It was not as obvious as when you see a Julia dollhttps://www.fashion-doll-guide.com/Julia-Barbie-Doll.htmlfrom the late 60s. This Skipper has no color magic hairhttps://www.myvintagebarbies.com/colormagic.htmbut her hair changed a bit over the decades. When you work with oxided hair it’s no problem to replace the missing hair. The hair itself is intact but the question is if you could find the 100% matching color. That’s a very hard task.
The solution: I always keep the rests from my reroots and that came to my help here. I still had a rest of a matching color, maybe not 100% the same but at least 90%. You have to look very closely to find a difference in the colors and so I replaced the missing streaks with this rest.
Before I started my prep for “How to make Skipper a full pony again” I checked inside the head with my endoscopic camera. The hair inside was totally okay. I hoped to have this scenario because it’s a lot more work to secure the existing hair pattern first and having to fix it first. That’s really a lot of work and you have to concentrate while doing it.
I prefer to work in silence when restoring the dolls. Not all restorers prefer it this way but I do. Some work better when they have music, some not. I like music but not when I’m working like here. I can concentrate better on the reroot I do when working in silence. In general it was no problem to restore this Skipper because she was not problematic like having a neck split or other problems that could cause trouble during the work.
The hardest task in this restoration was to find a hair color matching with the existing hair. Giving her a new pony was not very hard. Yes, it’s time consuming but not hard. You need two hours of time during the reroot. Sometimes it’s not predictable if you have used enough hair or not. When you are missing a streak or two add them later. It’s possible to add more hair later when you are unsatisfied with your own work. You can add hair as long as you like your work and as long as you have hair.
I bet you have all experienced this situation that you have a doll with wild Barbie hair and you did not know how to get them under control again. This happened to one of my viewers in the last weeks and he asked me if I could do a video with the content of how to get wild Barbie hair under control again.
To be honest I had two ideas in mind when he asked me and I realized that wanted to make a video about this topic but lost the idea somehow in my mind because I had so many other things I wanted to do in the meantime.
Working on a lot of parallel projects is something you have to do when releasing at least one video a week. No losing the overview is important. The video of how to get wild Barbie hair under control again was an easy one and very relaxing. The amount of time I needed for planning, taping and processing was manageable.
Using a special kind of rubber is what I think is the most useful thing for getting long and wild Barbie hair under control again. That’s at least my experience after 10 years of rerooting http://barbie.final-memory.org/my-first-barbie-reroot/ . The second little diy helper I show you here in my video is very simple to diy. You often get these little plastic caps when you buy used Barbie dolls or her sister or family. Let’s call this plastic thing cap. It’s very helpful when you have a doll with a short pony. These hairs have tendency to become wild and uncooperative. It may be in the nature of the short hair. Anyway but I have a solution for these wild hairs. It’s really easy and fun to craft these caps yourself.
Don’t forget to plan some weeks until you might have it finally under control. Sometimes the hair is really unwilling to cooperate. Sometimes it can last some months until you see a success.
In the last weeks you have not heard from me every week. I was busy on other channel, not just doing videos but I continued to repair stuff for you. Last year I found a Francie ” First Formal” from the 60s. It’s great to have this outfit but it has also a negative side to own old fashions. Within the years light fabric gets stains and this was also the case here on my First Formal. I got some advice from senior collectors to be careful when cleaning it because the pink bow. You know Mattel did not pre-wash all the fabrics. From what I have seen and learnt along my repair journey they did it not with every fabric. So be very careful when you want to clean things. You may be lucky but often the fabrics start to bleed until you think they are completely discolored. In fact they are not but you just pre-washed them. Congrats.
When you are in this situation you may think ” Great, I find a solution” or ” what the hell is happening here” or ” I wish I had never done this”. In the first part of the cleaning I literally thought “what the hell is happening” here. My idea to separate body and skirt was a total failure after my first attempts to clean the dress with soap, water and baking soda failed because of the delicacy of the fabric. After my first attempts it was clear to me that I did not get the success I wanted and I did not want to ruin the dress. Original Francie fashions are expensive in Europe. I decided to take the risk, remove the bow since it was the bleeding factor and I knew it before I started. I trashed all my plans in one moment and started to use Boost, a cleaner for old fabrics I bouth last year. It’s really good in getting stains out. I wasn’t sure if the upper blue top part would bleed but soon realized that it did not start to bleed. To my own surprise the luke warm water changed into a pee like color after not even two hours.
I let the Francie dress in there for at least 24 hours to remove all the stains and dirt from the last 5 decades. I used two bowls to get all the dirt out. After the stain removal the dress became completely white again. I thought it would have been designed as a cream tone. I did not expect it but it’s great. It’s great that all stains are gone now.
Have you ever had the problem when you got a used Barbie doll that her hair was dry, frizzy and you had no idea what to do to get it in shape again? How to get soft Barbie hair with fabric softener?
This happened to me several months ago. I had a Barbie doll that I purchased. She came without box and was surely deboxed for decades but I think she was stored in a climate that was not perfect for her. Sometimes you can’t change how the dolls were stored in the past but you can give them a chance for the future to do it better. Can you safe the hair? Yes, it’s possible.
What do you need for the hair care? Only things you probably have at home. That’s the good news. You can do it either with fabric softener or with conditioner for your hair. Both things work. I have tried it in the last years. What I can’t predict is how this will have an impact on the hair of the dolls in the next decade. I don’t have enough partners here to get any reliable results in conjunction with chemicals & the age of the dolls.
From what I know from the point of view today I can say that doing the procedure once or twice to your doll there should not be a big negative impact. However if you do this more often I think it could harm the dolls.
Forgive me but this is not really investigated in our time. The scientists just start to learn the impact of age to plastic. I hope this is helpful when you know how to get soft Barbie hair with fabric softener now.
This weeks I would like to tell you a little bit about the leg repair of an Equestrienne Barbie and how easy her repair really is. I have done a video about this topic many many years ago when starting to do videos but until then no second Equestrienne Barbie crossed my way to do the repair another time. However I realized I got a pair of legs and a suitable body for the demonstration of this repair in the last months, had forgotten it completely.
When searching in my workshop for new video ideas I found the semi-assembled Equestrienne Barbie just waiting for me. She was the one I was looking for. The good thing is that for this kind of Barbie doll the amount of time needed for the repair is very low. You can do it within 5 minutes when you are trained to do it. This is no joke. You don’t need more time for the leg repair of an Equestrienne Barbie. It’s very simple. You just need hot water, the legs, a little towel, the upper body and some minutes time.
You dry the legs and them push them over the joints with some feeling. It’s really hard to explain how much to push and how much is too much. I suggest simply trying the leg repair of an Equestrienne Barbie. More than not being able to get the leg in the leg joint again can’t happen. Then you do it another time and it will find its way.