How to make a pair of shorts for a fashion doll

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.

A prototype pair of shorts for Francie

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.

Francie doll, Francie Fairchild, Mod Francie, Barbie's cousin
Francie with different patterns in different lengths

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.

A pair of pants made by Busy B from Germany

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.

Measuring Francie for the pattern

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.

How to make Skipper a full pony again

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.

Pose n Play Skipper with partly missing pony

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 doll https://www.fashion-doll-guide.com/Julia-Barbie-Doll.htmlfrom the late 60s. This Skipper has no color magic hair https://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.

Pose n Play Skipper after reroot with wild hair

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.

Skipper after partial haircut

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.

Pigtails are back, pony still has to be cut

How to get wild Barbie hair under control again

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.

Skipper with wild pony

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.

Skipper’s wild pony under control
Barbie’s wild hair under control

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.

How to remove stains from Francie dress

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.

Francie’s First Formal with stains

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.

Francie’s First Formal before the boost procedure

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.

Francie’s First Formal in boost
Francie’s First Formal after 12 hours in boost

How to get soft Barbie hair with fabric softener

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.

Supersize Barbie with frizzy and dry hair

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.

Supersize Barbie during beauty treatment

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.

Freshly dried Supersize Barbie with soft and shiny hair

The leg repair of an Equestrienne Barbie

Last week I told you a little bit about the leg repair of a Talking Stacey and how easy it is to repair her fallen of legs. If you forgot to read about you can do it here http://barbie.final-memory.org/talking-barbie-and-her-leg-problem/

Successful leg repair of an Equestrienne Barbie

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.

That’s Barbie without legs

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.

After putting the legs in your bowl with hot water you just need to wait until they become soft. You dry them with a towel. You know the problem that can appear when not doing it properly. Read more about it here http://barbie.final-memory.org/tutti-todd-and-their-problems/

Here we are in the middle of the repair

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.

One leg reattached …

Talking Barbie and her leg problem

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.

Here’s what I’m talking about. See an intact leg knob here ( in one piece again)

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.

Here’s our Stacey after the repair

Fashions for Francie doll – here’s what she has now

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,

Francie in a-line skirt, own design

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.

Francie in self designed pants and JE dress top

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.

Francie in self designed top and skirt

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/

How to change a fashion doll arm

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.

Vintage Barbie arm with joint

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 hope it is clearer to you now how to change a fashion doll arm and you know what to look for and what to avoid. If you want to read more about my Francie project have a look in this article http://barbie.final-memory.org/francie-and-how-to-restore-her

New dolls in my collection

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.

That’s the Francie I’m talking about her

Her had some traces of the last 50 years and I restored her. You can find the video under this link https://youtu.be/9B-YvDwIKU4

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.

Here’s one of the last steps in the last video. She had already gotten a repaint.

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

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.

#1 Ken
#1 Ken

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.

Late Straigt Leg Ken