Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Barbie needs a new dress...

With two little girls in the house we have lots of naked Barbies lying around. Because I have an 8 year old son also, I do my best to keep them dressed, but it must be more fun to get Barbie undressed than dressed, because she hardly ever has any clothes on. Contemplating this dilemma one day I realized what a great way to use up some old quilt scraps! I googled free Barbie clothes patterns and Barbie clothes tutorials, but didn't have a lot of success. So I decided to add this to my blog for anyone else who might be looking for a super cute and easy dress for Barbie. My very first sewing attempts were making Barbie clothes as a little girl on my mothers machine. I'm not ready to let my girls get that close to my machine yet, but they did help me pick out some fabric.

I started with Barbie clothes we already had. I inspected them closely and drew a simple pattern for the top. The bottom is just a rectangle of fabric about 20" wide by 5"-7" long, depending how long you want Barbie's dress to be.
As you can see above, I measured her legs and decided once I add a seam, 5"-7" should be just about right.
Disregard the 7"X20" on this little pattern, I jotted that down real quick to remember the skirt size. I made this little pattern after careful inspection of a Barbie top we already had. It is about 5 1/2" long, 1 1/2 " tall on the ends, and 2 1/4 " tall at the top of the curve. I think it should be a fairly simple little pattern to make up on your own, I didn't worry about it being perfect, Barbie won't wear it for long anyway.
Fold your fabric in half wrong sides or right sides together (doesn't really matter) and cut 2 of these pieces. Then place them on top of each other, RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, and sew around the sides and top (the curved part), leave the straight bottom side open. Turn right side out and press.

Next, sew little darts into the top so it fits Barbie's figure nicely. To do this, I wrapped the top around Barbie and marked where her boobs are. Then I folded it in half at that spot and sewed, starting from the bottom raw edge, about a 1/4" from the fold, at an angle right off the side of the top (about half way up the top). Hope the picture helps you see what I am talking about! Do it with the other boob too.

For your skirt piece, sew a little seam on the 2 sides and along the bottom of the rectangle. Then, on the edge without a seam, gather up the skirt with a long gathering stitch. My machine will gather fabric for me, if your does not, just use a long running stitch and pull the end of the thread. Gather it up till it fits the bottom raw edge of your top piece, or about 4 1/2 ".

Lay your top piece down on top of the gathered side of the skirt, right sides together (the side where you can see the dart sewing will be the WRONG side) and sew both pieces together along the raw edges.

Next you want to put a strip of velcro on the back. These dresses are super easy for my girls to take on and off because the whole back closure is just a strip of velcro.

I cut a strip of velcro in half to make it extra skinny and sewed it down each side of the back of the dress.
There it is, all finished! I could have made a hundred of these that day, if I didn't have 3 little people who also needed my attention. I ended up with 4, and it probably took me just over an hour to finish them all. Next time I want to get more creative by adding more trim, pockets and lace. I have plans to make some Pj's and aprons for Barbie too. Who knows when I will have another hour to myself to get it done, though.

The girls didn't really understand the camo dress. I guess they don't know Barbie like I do, Barbie needs a dress for every occasion!
This one was a lot of fun to make because I got to add a little trim for the sleeves and around her waist. I also added a tulle skirt over the fabric to make it extra princessey.
I think this would be a fantastic first sewing project. They sure turned out a lot better than the Barbie dresses I used to make as a little girl, basically just a long tube that was either to small or to big for Barbie. I guess I've learned a bit since then. They aren't perfect though, but with everything I make, I like it that way.