Sunday, August 22, 2010

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there lived a young girl. This young girl had a very active imagination and expressed it in many creative ways. She liked to draw. And paint. And read. And dance. And stage plays. And laugh. And sew. And sew. And sew.

Most of all this young girl liked to make up clothing designs. Her family didn't have very much money so she designed clothes for her younger sister's Barbie dolls. She studied the patterns for contemporary clothing in her own size then drew patterns in doll size.

She drew her patterns on scrap paper her mother brought home from her office job. She carefully marked darts and stitching lines and center fronts and center backs. She even "packaged" her patterns into sets. The scrap paper envelopes were carefully illustrated with her designs.

As this young girl grew older she became a mother and a career woman. She found she had less time to draw. And paint. And read. And dance. And stage plays. But she still found time to laugh. And of course to sew. But eventually there was no longer time for sewing doll clothes and the patterns that had been lovingly hand drawn were tucked away.

Of course by now you know that I was that young girl. Recently, when I decided to sew some Barbie clothes for a friend's daughter's fourth birthday, I stumbled across my pattern "collections".

My doll clothing designs are pure 70s, with smock tops and pinafores and lace trimmed skirts. Most everything I was wearing at the time. But dolls clothes are doll clothes and can be easily be adapted to any era.

In this case I choose to sew View 4 - the one in the upper right corner of the pattern "envelope". By choosing a contemporary cotton print and eliminating the neckline lace and matching headscarf, the end result is a dress any four year old would be happy to place on her doll.

I scanned my original pattern pieces for the dress and will have a tutorial ready for you in the next few days. That is if you're brave enough to sew something this tiny...

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  1. Okay, you've saved things from when you were that young?! Geeze I'm impressed! Second, the dress is adorable and I'm sure the little girl will love it.

  2. what a pretty dress. I'm not sure I am brave enough... On the other hand, I know how happy my girls will be... I can't wait! Thanks!

  3. OMG, does this bring back memories! I sewed Barbie-clothes as well. I wasn't that precise with patterns and all that but I cut straight into the fabric. I must have a little box with them somewhere. Must dig it up today! Thank you for this 'reminder'.
    If all the clothes looked like this dress, then that Barbie-girl had a very stylish wardrobe!

  4. I sewed a Barbie wardrobe when my daughter was young. Boy, were those things small! I remember sewing elastic to a waist that was about three inches!!! I love your drawings and your finished dress! Your young friend will be thrilled.

  5. :)
    i hope to share the Barbie doll clothes that i sewed when i was a little on my blog sometime in the near future

  6. Haha, that brings back some fun memories--the only thing my lone Barbie doll was good for to me when I was a kid was a model for my first sewing experiments! And when I was a little older, I played around with reconstructing the very 60s-70s-ish wardrobe that the old Barbies at my grandparents' house had, to try to update them for my younger cousins.



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