Saturday, May 18, 2013

Doll Fashion Show!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

Last weekend when I wrote about my critters, I left someone out. Or, I should say, a lot of someones!

My house has become a rescue center for abandoned Barbie dolls over the years. I find them at secondhand stores. I take them home, give them a bath, and get the tangles out of their hair -- and if they're in really bad shape, I'll give them new bodies and hair.

One thing I wasn't able to do for them, though, was put clothes on them. This may sound weird coming from a bead embroiderer, but I've never been good at sewing! And so for years and years, Barbies hung out in my closet, wearing fabric scraps and looking disappointed.

Until a week ago. While searching for clothing tutorials, I found this one by Almost Unschoolers. It was perfect for my sewing skills! I also had lots and lots of felt left over from making ornaments last Fall.

So I sat down and used a doll as a mannequin, and I pinned the felt around her. But instead of making a dress like the tutorial did, I made a shirt (left). And it was fun! So I made another one (center).

And then... I went kind of hog wild. I made my own skirts using circular templates. I added some felt and sequin flowers. And for the doll in the middle -- a rescue doll who has a new body and hair -- I made a tutu using this tutu-torial from My Froggy Stuff.

Skirts and shirts led to scarves. And then handbags. And before I knew it, I was making mini dresses and jackets... with pockets! And lapels. I may be clueless at following patterns, but apparently I'm not terrible at draping, because I did the jackets on my third day, just by playing around.

I even used gathers -- seriously, gathers! -- to modify the skirt. And I hid my snaps with itty bitty buttons and sequins.

Of course, I couldn't let the girls have all the fun. Sequintastic Ken had been bothering me for clothes for a long time, so I branched out into fleece and made him... a hooded sweatshirt!

Because he's a good boy and doesn't mind watching the girls' handbags while they get their photos taken, I decided to make him some pants. I used this tutorial from My Froggy Stuff as a guide, but I hadn't watched it in a few weeks and was too lazy to go back and watch it again... so I ended up winging it.

These pants were straight out of the 80's! Perfect for the hooded shirt. Unfortunately, once I put the elastic in, they were too small for Ken, so they became Barbie pants. However... none of the girls wanted to wear them for the photo shoot. Divas.

Even though they're hideous, I'm proud of these pants! I even used cotton fabric.

And finally, here's a closeup of the little bags. I love all of them, but I'm really jazzed about the messenger bag! I'll have to make some little books to put in it.

What's next for this dolly fashion designer? I want to refine my designs. I also want to switch to a sewing machine for the seams. And once I've done that, I can upgrade to some nicer fabrics and absolutely cover them with sequins, beads, and thread embroidery.

Sewing for dolls has gotten Ken off my back for the most part,  (although he feels entitled to a pair of gold sequin pants, which he may or may not get) but it's also gotten me out of a deep funk. For awhile, I felt stuck creatively. I didn't know what to make next, and honestly, I didn't want to make anything.

But lately, I've been excited to wake up, reluctant to go to sleep, and my sparkly little brain is full of ideas! It's also thinking in new ways. What a great reminder that I need to explore new things to stay happy and creative.

Now it's your turn: Have you ever made, or wanted to make, doll clothes? Tell me!

Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and have a sequintastic Ken day!


  1. How fun! I'm looking forward to seeing some disco threads for the gang!

  2. LOoks like you are having a grand time!!
    P.S. In case you haven't checked lately Berger beads has some new vintage sequins in stock.

  3. So great! When I was a kid I made Barbie clothes. They never turned out as well as I hoped, eventually I gave up. I think I picked the wrong kinds of fabrics. Those silky fabrics are just too hard to work with. Your fashion show is inspiring! Those little buttons are just so cute. Each doll looks very happy to have new clothes. What books will go in the messenger bag? Always wondered what Barbie reads in her spare time. My vote is for Nancy Drew.

    1. Fabrics definitely make a difference in Barbie clothes! I can never seem to track down the ones Mattel uses, so I've been sticking to felt and cotton quilting fabrics. They aren't as slippery, they don't fray as much as satin, and they come in lots of itty bitty prints.

      I like Nancy Drew for Barbie! Very good idea. Jane Austen might be another good one.

  4. Snort. Barbie Rescue Center! Please tell me they get food to fatten them up a bit.
    Love the clothes. Do you want me to save you my felt scraps from embroidering? Might be fun for a funky dress...

  5. Never played with Barbie or any dolls when I was young. Too much of a tom-boy LOL Love these clothes though and it does look like you had a fun time.

    1. My Barbies always had adventures. They were pirates, vampire hunters, and for some reason, they were often murderers. I was a strange kid and apparently not very fond of my Ken dolls. ;)

  6. Awesome FUN!!!! I still play with Barbies with my granddaughter sometimes... it's all about the clothes! LOL!

  7. What fun! Your Barbies look fantastic in their new clothes. I've never made doll clothes but my mom made Barbie clothes for my daughter. She bought fancy stuff from the thrift shop and sewed it into evening gowns and such. My daughter loved them.

  8. Love your Barbies!!!
    Sometimes I dress Barbies in themed outfits with accessory's for gag gifts.
    I made my daughters "college " Barbies when they graduated from high school.
    Among other things she had plenty of pizzas and coffee :)
    "Bachelorette Barbies" are always a big hit at parties. I won't go into her accessory's here ....LOL! I'll just say dressing Barbies can be lots of laughs !!!
    m.e. :)

  9. Woot! I've always loved costuming, whatever the sized people involved. :) And what a great way to move outside one's creative funk (which I understand completely, currently wallowing in one myself).

    Love the detailing on all the garments and I can -totally- see them in sequins!

  10. You sew these dolls’ clothing like a pro. These are really adorable. But I especially love the red dress you sew. It is so cute.

    1. Thank you so much, J.A! The outfits really are a delight to make.

      Also, I LOVE Olivia's doll closet. <3

  11. Hi :) I love the little felt coats. So cute - like Borrower's clothes ...


Comments are like chocolate chip cookies for my blog! They're always appreciated. <3