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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.