It’s not really a secret that I love Barbie®. So does my little girl. I grew up with a plethora of the fashion dolls, and my 3-year-old has already amassed a small collection of the dolls herself. I was really excited when the new line of dolls with curvy, tall, and petite shapes came out. When Melissa Malice at the Rebel and Malice blog invited me to participate in the tour honoring this favorite fashionista, I hopped on the opportunity.
Before I get more into the new Fashionista line of Barbie Dolls®, let me share a fun fact with you: My very first sewing projects ever involved taking my mom’s scraps and sewing them up into clothes for my dolls. I would hand-sew them, and I would just draft the “patterns” I would use myself. I still remember a Barbie® outfit I made – a shirt and a skirt – out of scraps used from my favorite sweats that were turned into cut-offs, since I’d shot up a few inches between six and seven. I had a lot of fun doing it.
Originally, I had wanted to sew up a complete outfit for each of these dolls – and that is still on my agenda. However, I had a freelance writing project run over the time I had scheduled for it. So, look for a post with the fabulous outfits I custom made for these four different-shaped dolls soon. For now, enjoy a brief tutorial on how to adapt already existing Barbie clothing and patterns to the new line of curvy, petite, and tall dolls.
The Challenge with the Fashionista Dolls
My Barbies® had a ton of clothes to wear. Not only did they have the clothing I made, but they had a bunch of clothes from giant lots of clothing you could buy to dress your doll in. With the curvy, petite, and tall girls, there are now more shapes – yay! But just like any real-life fashionista will tell you, the key to being fabulous is finding good fit. Since only a few products are made to dress the dolls in, this leaves owners who want to play with the girls’ fashion choices in the lurch. With a little ingenuity and elbow grease, though, crafty mommas can turn the fashion doll clothes and patterns they already have into things that the girls’ can wear – using similar techniques to the methods used by seamstresses to get good fit on clothes made for a variety of body types. Just like a real-world fashionista wouldn’t wear something without taking it to a tailor first, nor should our diva dolls do so.
What Are the Measurement Differences Between the Dolls?
The first step of altering clothing and patterns is knowing the measurements of the person who will be wearing the clothing items. A breakdown of the size differences between the dolls is to the left (this helpful chart has been borrowed from the very talented Gwendolyn at Requiem Art Designs. She designs some truly great doll patterns, with fit for the different doll sizes in mind. Be sure to check her work out).
How to Use the Measurement Chart
Once you know the measurement differences for the different dolls, you can alter patterns or clothing to fit the new line of dolls. Taking curvy Barbie®, for example, you would want to take .25″ out of the height of her clothing when making clothing for her while adding 1.25″ to the hips area of the pattern. That would mean adding about 3/10 of an inch in the hips area to the pattern that had two seams. It could also mean taking 1/2″ ribbon, cutting open seams on an existing clothing item, and sewing in the ribbon with a narrow seam allowance to create that extra inch and a quarter that the curvy doll needs.
For the tall doll, she gets an additional half-inch added to her height, and her hips are slightly larger than those of the original doll. For stretchy fabrics, they can easily accommodate this sizing difference. To add length to a skirt or shirt, using some narrow lace or ribbon gathered and then attached to the bottom of the clothing item can do the trick.
By making minor adjustments, you can personalize the clothing you already have and trace and use those older fashion doll patterns already in your stash. Sewing for Barbie® is an outstanding way to use up those fabric scraps you have sitting around.