|Fabulous Patterns For Barbie®, Gene® And Other Collector Dolls|
|Major pattern companies create great new sewing patterns for doll collectors|
Only a few short years ago, the sewing pattern choices available for doll collectors from the major sewing pattern companies (Vogue, Simplicity, Butterick) were very limited. Sure, a collector could find a pattern to sew for Barbie®--if she didn't mind sewing a puffy-sleeved, sparkly pink evening gown! At that time (prior to the late 1990s) most of the patterns for doll sewing were aimed at mothers sewing for their daughter's dolls. Patterns available for Barbie dolls were for simple, child-oriented doll clothing like the afore-mentioned big sparkly evening gown. Other patterns were for play dolls such as American Girls and cloth dolls.
But, today, pattern companies have sat up and taken notice of adult doll collectors who sew for their dolls! Almost all the companies have patterns for fine doll clothing available--everything from Barbie to Gene, to the American Girl and antique dolls. The two companies which have the most extensive doll pattern offerings are Vogue and Simplicity.
Vogue Patterns has done an exceptional job with their doll patterns this year. Not only do they have more patterns than other pattern companies, BUT they also have the official licenses for Barbie and Gene and Madra doll clothing patterns. They have even produced a pattern BOOK devoted to their doll pattern offerings (see photo at top).
The book (really, more like a magazine) is called "The Vogue Patterns Doll Collection." It has 80 pages of pattern information with full-color photos of actual dolls dressed in outfits made from the patterns. At the end of the book, there is a short but handy section on how to find appropriate fabrics, notions and "tools of the trade" for sewing doll clothing. I recommend this book, which is available for $4.95 at many sewing retailers, even if you already own some of the patterns in the book. The pictures are large and beautifully photographed, and serve as an excellent guide to the finished garments. The book photos are MUCH larger, and often brighter, than the photos provided on the front of the pattern envelopes.
Gene and Madra Patterns
The Gene/Madra section focuses on 9 patterns made for Gene/Madra. These patterns will also fit (sometimes with alterations needed) Tyler Wentworth, Brenda Starr, Elle dolls, Eve and Somers and Field. The patterns range from elegant evening wear to day suits, from a Carmen Miranda-like ensemble (#7326) to traveling outfits. Patterns and information for several accessories, gloves, and slips are included in several of the patterns. These patterns are NOT cheap; most are $12.95 US. However, many popular fabric stores, including Hancock Fabrics and JoAnns, will often run 50% off pattern sales. The prices are so high on the patterns that even Vogue's official web site discounts them a bit (to $9.71).
Retro Barbie Patterns
Vogue calls their series of patterns for Barbie witha retro look "Vintage Vogue." Some of the patterns are from their pattern archives, from the fantastic 1960s and early 1970s Barbie patterns--others are inspired by full-sized human patterns from earlier decades. This series of patterns fully captures the fun and glamour of vintage Barbie dolls--everything from Capri pants to Jackie "O" suits. Some of the patterns are nearly identical to actual Barbie outfits--Solo In The Spotlight, Evening Enchantment and Resort Set. However, if the mod, swinging late 60s/early 70s dolls and outfits are more your taste, there are some groovy, psychedelic togs, too--palazzo pants, mock turtleneck dresses with side cut-outs and the like, all done up in day-glo colors! One absolutely adorable pattern has matching outfits for Barbie and Skipper (#9964)! There are 11 patterns in this series, and they are priced from $10.95 to $12.95 retail.
Historical Barbie Patterns
If the glamorous 60s and the mod 70s weren't your thing, Vogue has a wide array of Barbie patterns available which celebrate fashions of MANY by-gone eras. Detailed historical outfits, suitable for modern Barbie dolls, are available for everything from the early 19th century to the Victorian era to the Elizabethan era and Pilgrims! One series is presented as "100 Years of Fashion;" other patterns are available in sets of two or four patterns (often with patterns from different eras in one set). All together, there are 12 historical Barbie patterns, priced from $11.95 to $12.95.
American Girl and Other Larger Dolls
Vogue offers six vintage-style patterns that fit 18" dolls including American Girl dolls, Effanbee dolls, Vogue, Magic Attic, Corolle and others.. Some of these patterns have an antique-doll feel. They are designed by Teresa Layman and Linda Carr, and include antique-style touches including smocking, embroidery, pin-tucked slips and bloomers with lace and ribbon trim. Another series of patterns for 18" dolls has an international theme--outfits from Holland, France, Japan, Hawaii, China, and Kenya. A "Culture of America" pattern includes instructions to make Eskimo, Indian and Guatemalan outfits.
If your 18" doll has plenty of clothes but not enough shoes, you might want the "Sole-Full Accessories" pattern (#7329) which has instructions for 9 types of shoes, including boots, galoshes and bunny slippers! And, if your 18" doll is an outdoorsman (or woman) The Great Outdoors (#9833) with fishing and rain gear, and "Camping In Style (#9832) with a tent and sleeping bag may be for you! Other patterns for 18" dolls include ballet, riding, roller-blading, soccer, back-to-school, skating, Halloween outfits, winter and other outfits. Most outfits for 18" dolls retail for between $10.95 and $12.95.
Other Dolls and Doll Accessories
Vogue offers a pattern for "Olivia," an 18" cloth doll with an iron-on face. The doll will fit most of the patterns mentioned above for 18" dolls. The pattern for Olivia is $11.95 (#7007). Olivia has two friends who can also be made from Vogue patterns, Jeremiah and Sarah.
A suite of bedroom furniture is available for the 18" dolls as well (#9352--$9.95) and a doll trunk, too (#9688). The doll trunk is large enough to fit your 18" doll plus outfits and accessories. It stands 21" tall!
One very different pattern available is for a small "stage set" for 11 1/2" fashion dolls. This pattern (pattern #7253) Is a "flat" for the dolls--it shows you how to make Barbie a living room to relax in, including a " marble" fireplace, picture windows, French doors and molding. There are also patterns in this set for the furnishings--sofa, ottoman, floor pillow, small sofa pillow, rug, coffee table and more! This little "set" actually looks a bit like the stage set for the "Santa Baby" Madame Alexander doll that will be released December 2001. This "build a home" pattern for your Barbie and like-sized dolls retails for $12.95.
Part III: Photos of Patterns