Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Seventies, Sewing and Survival of the Barbie Doll Clothes

I don't know about you, but my weekends fly by. The precious little free time I had this weekend was not spent sewing. It was spent getting rid of "stuff".

Maybe you don't have that problem, but I admit it, I am a packrat - kinda. I don't mean to be. It just kinda creeps up on me (and I am certain that sewing items multiply overnight when the sewing room door is closed...)

So this weekend was spent cleaning, purging and organizing. Of course that means opening boxes that haven't been opened in awhile, digging to the back of closets and pulling out paperwork from file cabinets. The best way to do this is with a blind fold on, because once you start looking into boxes, the memories begin and the resolve to "just get rid of it" begins to fade.

I came across one of my Barbie doll clothing patterns. This was one of the Barbie wardrobe patterns that I "designed" myself back in junior high. By this time I already had a thriving business of sewing and selling doll clothes and these items were modeled after some of my own favorite clothing items. I didn't date my pattern "envelope", but I'm guessing it to be from around 1973 to 1974. Notice the little ties that tie in the back on the "smock" top; the ruching at the bustline on the t-shirt; the applique on the long wrap skirt; the lace cami with lace trimmed jeans; the jumpers; and the short jumpsuit complete with contrast collar, pockets and tie belt. It screams seventies.

Next, onto the famous "Barbie Box". My nieces all knew that when they visited Aunt Sharon's house, they would be allowed to play with the items in the "Barbie Box." It was so cute when we would have family gatherings. They would wait as long as they possibly could - about five minutes - before asking if I would get down the "Barbie Box". I loved finding new items to tuck in there as a surprise for when they visited.

They have not touched the box in years so I decided it was time to clean it out. I found crayons, candy wrappers, and hair ribbons as well as Barbie and Ken dolls, clothing, furniture, shoes and accessories. At the very bottom was a poor broken Brooke Shields doll (who was wearing her oversized pink and gray long sweatshirt, but had somehow had both of her legs amputated!)

Among the many pieces of clothing were items that I had sewn for my younger sisters. What a riot to find these! From left: A fruit print caftan trimmed in pre-packaged bias tape; a terry cloth hooded bathrobe (that I couldn't keep in stock it was so popular); a strapless long dress out of the fabric from one of my favorite dresses; a long disco fuschia and black gown with slits along the upper sleeves trimmed in a black velvet ribbon; a velour animal print "hoodie" with back "jeans" complete with lace trim at the knees; a short jumpsuit out of a cotton floral print (with a pink collar that is sewn slightly askew); a mini-dress lace trimmed dress made from a bright yellow cotton with tiny Raggedy Ann dolls on it; and a long gown made from an acetate lining fabric (?!?).

My only excuse is that I had no one to teach me about sewing and fabric selection and I was barely into my teen years. On the other hand, these pieces of clothing have survived many little loving hands over the years, so they couldn't have been constructed that poorly.

I couldn't bear to part with these at this time; maybe the next time the urge to purge hits. For now they are back in their container waiting for the next generation of little ones wanting to explore the mysteries of the "Barbie Box". Pin It

1 comment:

  1. Oh Sharon this brings back such memories! I wish I had kept my Barbie's wardrobe that I so lovingly spent my summers creating! Guess we all were little budding fashion designers!



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