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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Barbie : A sewing muse story

Poor Barbie. 
She has been misunderstood as a negative influence on girls for so long !
Yes, she has impossibly long legs and a teeny, tiny waist but someone has to be prefect right?
She has actually been the muse to many a child's creativity.
How many interviews with fashion designers  have I read that mention Barbie as being an early muse for many a little girl (and boy) who started making clothing for her as a child ?

Barbie fashions by Lily

My little girl never would let me give her sewing lessons.
I bought those simple Learn To Sew patterns for her at the fabric store thinking it would be fun for her and I to sew them together but she wasn't interested. I was sort of disappointed.
She likes to do things her own way.
We hadn't sewn anything together since we made a picnic blanket about 3 years ago.
Then we got into vintage Barbie patterns and they were so complicated I ended up doing all of the work.
If you have ever sewn from Barbie sewing patterns before I can tell you they are HARD.
Especially vintage Barbie sewing patterns from the early sixties...

Have you ever tried to make fishtail darts in a teeny, tiny silk shantung evening gown.....

 The evening gown which Lily was supposed to make that I ended up doing because the pattern was way too hard.....

Recently she started making her own designs for her Barbie's .
I tried to keep out of it because I knew if I started getting involved I would end up taking over and kill her enthusiasm.
If she asked my advice I would tell her but only of she asked.
A winter outfit designed by Lily
She didn't use a pattern but traced Barbie's body onto paper and made her own.
 Whatever works!

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  1. Yay for defending Barbie! I loved my Barbies and just pulled them out for my little girls. So much political correctness these days. I think you have the right approach to just make the supplies available and let her go.

    1. Thanks! Barbie is like a blank canvas. She can reflect lot sof things back to little girls besides an unhealthy boy image!

  2. Sounds like Lily will one day be designing and making her own clothes.

  3. My dad used to bring me Barbies from the States when everybody else here in Spain was playing with chubby girl-like dolls. I loved her because she was so unique and special, and felt so fortunate to own them. My mum used to make the dresses and she showed me a couple of models that made my jaw drop at the time. Ah! memories...

  4. Oh, the Barbie clothes I sewed! Mother sewed me some, too. MAN! Do I wish I still had them all.

    And my girls wish they still had all the Barbie clothes I made for them to play with, too!

    What adorable outfits Lily made. I'm sure she had as much as I did!

  5. I remember the fun, I had sewing barbie clothes for my daughter.. But, I also remember the tiny little waist and darts... no fun,lol.
    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed it.

  6. I really enjoyed the photos, and the thoughts of 60s Barbie outfits. Not having girls, I never got the chance to sew for dolls as a mum with skills, but remember going to bed as a child, with my first sewing machine and planning the clothes that I would make for my dolls ( not from paper patterns). Once again, loved the photos!!!

  7. I made clothes for my Barbie as well when I was a kid. So did my daughter. It is a great memory that I have.

  8. I too loved Barbie and have made clothes for my granddaughers' Barbies. They are Hard! Some people take themselves way too seriously! If you don't like Barbie, don't buy her. For mercies sake, she is a doll! So glad you enjoyed her and Lily is loving hers. Regena in Tn.

  9. how fun !!!
    have you already seen this book? Hankie Couture: Hand-Crafted Fashions from Vintage Handkerchiefs
    it's all Barbie clothes to make using vintage handkerchiefs... just thought you'd like to know it case you didn't already know...

  10. Barbie looks beautiful! Your daughter did an awesome job on that outfit!

  11. I think what you are doing with your daughter is a good idea and her outfit looks great! I used to have to go into another room when my kids were making things so I wouldn't interfere. I always hovered about so they couldn't enjoy their projects, found the best thing to do was to with draw. My daughter, now a mom as well, never wanted me to help her sew so is learning how at an older age. I think if I could have let her be more often she would have learned sooner, but now she enjoys it.

  12. Clever Lily! That sounds much easier than using the vintage patterns. I swore off sewing Barbie clothes after an attempt with a vintage pattern. I appreciate details and finishing seams but on itty bitty clothing like that it's a nightmare!

  13. I had never thought about it this way but Barbie is definitely a sewing muse! I used to make capes for my My Little Ponies when I was little too though I got my Mum to do that hard bits. I loved being able to do a project with her. Lily's winter fashion looks so warm and snuggly and I love that it is a matching set.


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