Happy Monday darlings! Today I have a very exciting DIY project to share. I'm going to show you how to hand make a designer Barbie dress. Now, I've made Barbie dresses before but this was my first attempt to make a professional looking Barbie dress. My first time coming up with a distinct design and then hand-sewing a Barbie dress. I actually made two Barbie dresses and one coat. In this post I will show you the results and explain how I made these Barbie clothing items.
For this DIY you will need:
2. Satin cords (or something else for decoration)
3. Needle and thread
5. Barbie doll (optional)
There are probably two main reasons why someone would want to make a Barbie dress. First reason is that you want to make it for yourself. The second reason is that you want to make a Barbie dress to give it to somebody, be it to a person who collects Barbie dolls or a child that will actually play with the Barbie doll. In my case it's the latter. I made these two Barbie dresses for two little girls (aged 2 and 4). I've never collected Barbies or made things for them for aesthetic purposes. All the Barbie dresses I made so far were always practical. This is the first time I actually took the time to come up with a design.
These dresses I made can actually stand on their own, so they could be used as home decor. By standing on their own, I mean they are self supporting, you can place them somewhere (on a shelf for example) and make them a decor item. I almost wanted to keep them when I saw how cute they turned out. Maybe I should make dresses like these ones for decor purposes?
One of the things I loved about this project was the opportunity to recycle or perhaps better to say upcycle. I found this beautiful checkered material and after I made a dress for myself, I also decided to make these little Barbie dresses. As you might have noticed, I'm really keen on DIY project. This one turned a bit more difficult that I had originally imagined, but no regrets. It took me about 8 hours to sew these dresses, so it was not the easiest project ever.
How hard is it to make a Barbie dress? Well, it is not easy. Let's be honest about that. My hands still hurt. I made these dresses last week and I can barely move my right hand at this point. Let me tell you, those tiny stitches are hard on the hands. I included a lot of photographs in this post, so you can see the whole process and see the 'progress' I made on sleeves and etc. The dresses I made have a slightly different cut. One Barbie dress is an A skirt, while the other is a straight cut dress but with interesting details on the back. I didn't want to repeat the design. The sleeveless coat I made is really simple. I just measured where the hands should be and then lined it. The dresses took more time and thought.
My tutorial (dress making proposal) for making a fabulous Barbie dress.
1. Buy or borrow a Barbie doll. Having a model might make the sewing easier. You can try on the clothes and see if they fit, if you need to alter them.
2. If you're making a dress, consider using a Barbie clothing item as an undergarment. In addition, you think about recycling parts of some other Barbie clothing item. These two Barbie dolls I got came with very basic short dresses that I decided to use as an under dress. Once my dresses were completed, the original 'dresses' weren't visible at all but they added structure to the dresses I made and made things a bit easier.
3. Decide on a design and stick to it. You don't have to decide on a every single detail, but you will need to decide on the cut of the dresses before you cut the fabric. For example, if you want to make a dress with ruffles, you will need more fabric. You can decide on the decorations and details later on, but the basic cut should be decided on early on in the process.
4. Measure and cut the fabric. After you have established the design and the cut of the Barbie clothing items you want to make, sew your designed clothing items together. Don't forget to measure the fabric! You can always cut the excess fabric but if you use too little fabric (i.e. not enough) , you'll have to abandon the process and start anew.
5. Finalize the design. Don't forget to hem the Barbie dresses. Unless you're using faux leather or something that doesn't require hemming, you will need to hem Barbie clothes. Consider lining and underlining as those things always makes the garment look couture and polished.
6. Add the finishing touches, like decorations (optional). I actually added lots of details once I had sewed the dresses together. I used satin cords to create little hair bows for my Barbies. In addition, I used satin cords on both dresses. The transparent red satin cord is actually part of the design of the dresses and serves as the 'top' of the dress but I also added red satin cord to one of the dresses, I sewed it in and then I tied a bow. I don't know if you can see it but I have also sewed in a red heart under the transparent red satin cord (on the dress with a A cut)
7. Wrap the Barbie dresses you made! This step is completely optional as you're going to do it only if you made your Barbie dresses as a present for someone.
How do you like this DIY? Would you consider trying it? Have you ever made a Barbie dress? If you were to make a Barbie dress, how would you use it? Would you give it some kid? Are there any Barbie collectors among you? Did you play with Barbie dolls as a kid? I know I did. Honestly, I have never bought into that philosophy that Barbie dolls created 'unrealistic' expectations for little girls. Children are more influenced by what they mothers say and how they act, then by any dolls. Our mothers are our first style influences. I think that every little girl looks up primarily to her mother and then to other adults. That is where children get their information on how to behave and what to do. Kids are like sponges, they just soak everything in. What influences them the most is a combination of interaction with other people (both children and adults) and media. Barbie dolls on their own are just dolls. However, media is another thing. Cartoons, films and other programs for children are something that needs to be examined. Without getting into the subject deeper, I would certainly advise care when it comes to what children watch on TV and on their phones. Instead of stigmatizing a doll, why not actually speak with children and monitor their growth and thinking? I mean I also played with unicorns and pony dolls when I was a kid, but it didn't make me think I should become one. Do you know what I mean? Lots of little girls played with classical Barbie dolls and I doubt it did anyone any serious harm. When it comes to self-image, it's always a combination of factors, never something simple as a doll. Anyhow, that would be all for today. I hope you liked this DIY project. As I said, it wasn't the easiest thing to do, but it was more than worth it considering that it made two little girls happy. I'm a big fan of hand made gifts. In today's consumerist world, hand made gifts really meant something. If you make something with your own hands, if you put your time and effort into it, then you know you've put your heart into that gift. I wish you a fantastic week ahead.