A long time ago Barbie clothes had names. The era started in 1959 and ended in the early 1970s. Until then every clothing ensemble had its own name. The names were sometimes funny, partially inspired by Hollywood and had a very high quality… a kind of Haute Couture in miniature. Today I’d like to show you two of my early (Vintage) outfits. The first one is a dark gray suit with a white shirt called Saturday Date. The red socks came in an extra Accessory Pak along with the red tie. Hey, we can be creative in this point. We can combine what we like. Why not a red tie and red socks for a date on Saturday in 1961? Have you noticed the tiny zipper on the pants?
The next outfit is for Skipper. It’s called Sunny Pastels and was produced in 1965 for Skipper (Barbie’s younger sister, also available since 1965). The dress is made of cotton and has a very high quality too. Although the outfit is 52 years old the colors are still vibrant. By the way it’s one of my personal favorite outfits.
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 week I found a Vintage Movie Date dress.
It might not sound very special but here’s the story why I write about the dress. In summer 2017 I got a Vintage dress (Barbie Vintage era 1959 – 1966). I thought I had bought the Movie Date dress but in reality I hadn’t. I needed several months to find out that my dress without any label was made by Fab Lu. It got the name Cream Puff. The design of the Cream Puff is very similar to the Movie Date. The only difference is in the processing of the seams, the wideness of the stripes and the colour of the stripes.
Cream Puff looks like this…
and here you can see the difference of the seams… the Fab Lu seam is normal, not special but in comparison to this seam the Movie Date seam is very different but very Mattel-like. I have seen the Mattel seams in very different outfits but all in the same way done.
At first sight and without both dresses it’s very hard to see the difference. That was my problem too. I hope I can help you with my information.
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.
In the last weeks I felt the wish to sew something for Barbie just for fun… but none of these mommy made clothes where you can see the intention but the implementation is very bad. Sorry for the tapeworm set. I know it’s awful but I’m good at writing long sentences. My teachers had to read a lot when I wrote essays as exams. Anyway I felt the wish to sew a dress or a skirt for Barbie the same style Mattel did for the Vintage Barbie dolls (1959 -1967 Vintage era).
So I bought a pattern and I had the first problem in finding the right material. I bought some fabric for my experiments and asked the saleswoman what fabric they used. I took a Sunflower dress with me and showed her the fabric. She told me it was sewing tulle. Strange stuff. They had none in the store and didn’t offer to order some. After a while I found one shop with the right offer online and I ordered it.
I decided to tape my experiences because you might have the problems too when you are looking for this material. It doesn’t seem to be common anymore. Anyway, here’s the link to my video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm_i9RVkX0k
Today I have only a pic for you. I thought it might be a good idea to show you some of the 1980s fashions because the documentation is very poor and you have to search for hours. So here’s the start of a new series. This outfit is called #9150. I don’t know which of the two bags originally belongs to the outfit but I assume it’s the one between the outfit. I got it with the two you can see.
I got two new dresses last week. It’s summer and I didn’t find much new stuff for my dolls. This time I want to tell you about Fashion Avenue because the dresses came out under the label of Fashion Avenue. Fashion Avenue is a fashion line from Barbie which run from the 1990s until 2002. The quality was very good. You really got something for your money. Accidentally I found these two dresses. I always liked them but I found them to be too expensive in nrfp (never removed from package) condition. The fashions are not complete but I didn’t care about it at the moment. The blue dress seems to be very hard to find. I tried to find it via ebay but I had no success.
I hope you can see the lovely rose on the seam of the blue dress. Very lovely!!! I already have a doll for this dress in my mind but she still needs a new body.
There’s a good page where you can see all the Fashion Avenue Fashions from the begin til 2002. Here’s the link Fashion Avenue . I hope you enjoy the page as much as I do.
Yesterday I was able to complete an outfit … after almost 17 years. At first I didn’t realized that the handbag was gone but several years ago I noticed it. And nobody seemed to know it. Later I realized that it was Fashion Avenue Fashion that was only sold in Europe.
By accident I found it last week in a heap of other Barbie stuff, you know these little accessories. I immediately asked the seller for the golden handbag and so I got it. What a happy day for every collector. Here’s a pic of what I’m talking about.