Monday, December 19, 2011

Barbie's New Threads

my aunt has two granddaughters who love barbies and a daughter-in-law who was frustrated with how cheaply made the barbie clothes you buy in stores are.  after seeing a picture of some dresses i made for my daughter's barbies she commissioned me to make her some clothes as well.  i was excited at the idea and and jumped at the opportunity.  she hoped for 5 outfits for each granddaughter.  here's what i came up with using scrap fabric i had lying around and some online tutorials.

(note: i don't have a serger sewing machine, though i sure wish i did, but i made sure to zig-zag stitch all my raw edges so they wouldn't fray over time.  some of the tutorials didn't add it in their steps, some did.)

outfit #1 - barbies in jeans, blouses and jackets:

barbie fashion jeans or slacks: click here for link
this tutorial suggested sewing the seams with yellow thread, like real jeans have, and i skipped this step but i wish i hadn't.  i also wish i'd used a darker-wash jean fabric that wasn't so stiff, it would have made them more updated instead of looking like 90's mom jeans...

barbie jackets: click here for link
i skipped the collar on this one, i like how they turned out.

barbie cap-sleeve shirt: click here for link
this was my favourite of all the items i made.  they were pretty simple (the straps required a little bit of patience to sew on) and they turned out so well.  very modern, yet modest.

outfit #2 - barbies in blouses and skirts with back-packs:

easy barbie skirt (pictured on the right): click here for link
these little elastic waisted barbie skirts are easy once you get the hang of it.  they were so quick that i made a bunch extra for my little girl's barbies.
the skirt on the left was inspired by one i saw on the same site but there was no tutorial, i kind of made it up as i went along.

barbie peasant top: click here for link
the tutorial used a knit fabric but i have a heckuva time sewing with those so i chose the given cotton option instead, it was great.

i wanted all of my outfits to have 3 pieces, and since this was just a top and skirt i made up these little backpacks to go along with it (so there's no tutorial for this one, sorry!) and threw in some little laminated cardboard magazines and fashion books, too, which i had a lot of fun making.

outfit #3 - barbies in dresses with purses:

okay, so this outfit only had two items but i couldn't think of a third.  they're cute enough to get away with it ;)
easy barbie dresses: click here for link
these are the dresses that started this whole thing, they're so easy and quick to make and there's an option to keep them strapless or add little straps with ribbon or cotton if you want them a little bit more modest.  you could even add the little cap sleeves from the first outfit's blouse.  super simple.

pretty woman bag: click here for link
i didn't follow this tutorial exactly (or at all, really) but it was my inspiration.  i made mine more square-shaped.  they have a useable pocket inside with little snap closure, and i made a little barbie license and visa card to go along with it, just for fun.

they'll have so much fun shopping at the mall and they'll look good, too.

outfit #4 - sporty beach barbies:

barbie tank top: click here for link
these silly tank tops were a total struggle.  i decided to make them with two layers to make them less flimsy, and close the back in too so they could be pulled over barbie's head instead of velcro up the back.   i dislike sewing with knits so much, it got really frustrating when my machine would try to eat it.  i ended up sewing it over a piece of paper and then gently ripping the paper away but it was such a problem.  they both worked out in the end.  i printed the little hearts onto iron-on transfer paper and sewed them on the front for decoration.
for the shorts i used the same tutorial as i did for the jeans in the first outfit, only short.  i'm very happy with the way they turned out, they fit barbie amazingly!

barbie cap: click here for link
my other favourite item.  i didn't expect these to turn out, so i held my breath and went for it!  they were much easier than i'd anticipated.  my only beef is that the tutorial didn't include exactly what size circle should be cut out for the hat, so i made it up and it happened to be right.  yay me!  the circle i used was 4.5cm (1 3/4") in diameter, and i used about a 6cm (1/4") seam allowance.  barbie has such thick hair if it's in a low pony or a braid this hat won't fit, haha.

outfit #4 - fancy barbies:

i really wanted to make a wedding gown but i also wanted to make an evening gown, so i compromised and made one of each!

for the wedding gown i used the same pattern as the easy barbie dress (click here for link) only i made the bottom half longer so the dress would be floor-length.
i also invented a train for her head.  it didn't look as much like a wedding gown without it.
this fabric i found was perfect for this job.  my mom gave it to me a couple years ago, it was scraps from an advent table display from church one year.  until now i had nothing to use it for.  yay scraps!

i also used the same easy barbie dress tutorial for this dress (click here for link), and made it floor length again, but instead of cutting the bottom half as wide as called for and gathering it in i made it just a little wider than the top piece (to give her hips some room) and added darts to fit her waist.  then sewed the top and bottom together the same as the original tutorial.

and there they are, 5 outfits for each granddaughter, my aunt was very pleased with the clothes and i hope her granddaughters will be as well!

and a special thank-you to all those ladies who shared your wonderful barbie clothes tutorials with the world!  they were certainly very helpful to me!


  1. Wow!! You're amazing! I wish my clothes were half as stylin' as those Barbies :)


  2. Oh my gosh you totally rocked these. Is it bad that I wish I owned the orange cap sleeved shirt for myself? In human size...?

  3. These are SO awesome! If I ever have a girl (or niece) someday, I would LOVE to make these... although I'm not sure I would have the patience for working with such small pieces! You are so talented!