Saturday, October 29, 2016

Project Runway, Barbie style!

I spent much of my childhood with Annie.  From toddler-hood onward, we were inseparable.  We invented games, shared secrets, and grew up together.  We wanted to be artists when we grew up.  We loved our Barbie dolls, but we didn't play with them in the same way as many others. Our Barbie time was spent designing and making clothes for our beloved 1st generation Barbie dolls. 
Decades later, as adults, we live on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean.  When Annie told me she would be visiting stateside, we decided we needed to have an art-making play-date.  I had shared with her a video I found on Pinterest, showing ways to make some easy Barbie clothes.  I currently own two Barbie dolls; one is an art teacher Barbie I received as a retirement gift, and the other was sent to me on my birthday a year or two ago by Annie herself!  So I suggested we spent our play-date making Barbie clothes and she instantly agreed.  So, here we are, above, loaded up with fabric scraps, hot glue, ribbon, and balloons, in the midst of creating!  (What, balloons??? Yup. On the Pinterest link, balloons were cut to create sort of a leotard, and then an easy method was used to make a tutu.  So we started with balloons.) 
 As you can see above, evidently our balloons were either a different size than the ones in the video, or we did something desperately wrong.  They should have fit like Spanx or leotards, but they did not.  We used the cut-off top of the balloon to cinch in the waists. 

You should also note the difference between the two Barbies.  On the left above, in green, is friendly smiling Art Teacher Barbie, who I have nicknamed Babs, a 2002 version of the doll.  I picture her as being a loving and competent teacher.  On the right, the blonde, is vintage 1959 Original Barbie.  She wears much harsher makeup, and wears a snooty condescending facial expression.  We decided she wanted us to call her Barbara.  I am not sure Barbara and Babs would get along.  Besides their faces, their bodies are also different.  1959 Barbie has a larger, pointier chest, wider shoulders, and a narrower waist, but 2002 Barbie has a larger bottom, wider hips, and a slightly more natural tummy.   Hmmm.   
 Annie used a different balloon, and added ribbon trim to create this adorable look below.
We both tried making tutus the way showed in the video, but it didn't work well, and Annie ended up converting hers into a sort of peplum or poof over a longer elegant skirt.  I gave up on the tutu and the balloon and created a fancy dress with a circle skirt and simple top attached, worn with a sparkly stole. 
Then we each made a second outfit - I started out making a multicolored knit skirt, but it turned into the dress on the left when I couldn't make it fit right.  Annie made an elegant golden strapless gown, reminiscent of the sparkly black gowns we got with our childhood Barbies and their black and white striped bathing suits.  
Barbara is very elegant and this sophisticated look suits her, but Babs seems more casual. So I am attempting to make her an overall style dress, below.  However, we ran out of time, and the men were getting impatient for food.  Plus, with a drive of an hour and a half through the middle of nowhere, my husband and I wanted to be on our way before dark.  So Annie and I are already planning for another day making Barbie clothes next year!!  In the meantime, I'm thinking it would be fun to do Project Runway-style challenges making clothing for Barbie.  Wanna play??
 And finally, here we are, lifelong friends, then and now.  


  1. Having a lifelong friend is one of the best things ever!

    1. Yes. I never had a sister but she's just like one to me. So many secrets, so much love.

  2. What a fun idea!!!!! I used to make my own Barbie clothes when I was little. They were quite rough but were likely the first real creative experience I ever had with 3d materials I cherish the memories. Jan