Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Inspiration From Barbie?

Do you ever find sewing inspiration in the oddest of places? It seems, lately, that I cannot get enough of the vintage outfits that Barbie donned in her glory days. Now, outside of my childhood dolls days, I cannot say that I have ever been a huge Barbie fan, or more truthfully, a fan at all. Though I do thoroughly enjoy hoarding stockpiles of stuff that will never help me in the event of a catastrophe, Barbie just seems to have never entered my hoarding radar. Just for the record, I have no problem with Barbie, and I don't believe she is destroying the female youth with an unrealistic ideal of beauty and perfection. For the sake of this post, however, we'll keep it on a light and fun level and talk only about Barbies clothes. Deal?

I do remember playing with Barbie dolls in my youth, circa 1994. More specifically, I remember dressing Barbie in the most fashionable, read awful, 90s clothing that I could procure as 4 year old. Stirrup pants for Barbie, anyone? These are not, thankfully, the clothes that I am referring to when I say I want to recreate some of Barbies looks for myself.  I want to make life size versions of some of Barbie best, and most fashionable, ensembles she ever donned.

First up, we have an outfit which seems to be known as "Roman Holiday". According to my very amateur research, Mattel released this outfit around 1959. According to the seller of this Ebay auction, which is the source of the picture below, the Roman Holiday outfit is the holy grail of outfit for collectors.The auction is currently at a bit over $1200!

What isn't to love about this outfit? A navy skirt with a red and white striped bodice, a matching coat, a lovely white belt, white clutch, a sweet red bow for your hair,  and a fabulous pair of navy heels to top off the outfit. If you click on the link above, you'll see additional pictures of the outfit, which also features a back metal zipper for the dress. If memory serves me correctly, in the 90s, all my Barbie clothes had velcro backs, instead of nice zippers.

Next up, we have this lovely red velvet 60's evening coat. The Barbie sized version of this will only set you back a respectable $10, if no one else bids against you. Doesn't every woman dream of owning a rich, luxurious red velvet evening coat to don for the most special occasions. I genuinely enjoy overdressing for Christmas, and this coat would make quite a statement. Don't you think?

 Now, how about a lovely nightgown and matching satin robe for me, er for Barbie? This lovely set features a teal colored nightgown with a matching, adorned robe for Barbie to gallivant around the house in. This outfit would be so much prettier, and much more feminine, than the generally hideous elastic waist, flannel PJ pants which seem to have invaded.

Lastly, we have these seven absolutely amazing sheath dresses. Right click seems to be disabled, or at least not working for me, on the picture, so you'll have to follow my link. ( It goes to an Ebay auction, and I promise it's worth a click.) After seeing all those dresses neatly lined up like seven glamorous ducks in a row, I have an urge to turn the dining room upside down and whip up some sheath dresses.The addition of the bows on Barbies versions make them all the more spectacular.

In closing, do you ever find inspiration from odd sources? Ever looked to Barbie for some sewing mojo kick starter? Would you create a life size version of any of the outfits I've shown? I'd love to hear your thoughts! 


  1. I too love being over dressed for Christmas. (Though it's not that hard at the type of parties I get invited to.) I adore the Roman Holiday set!

  2. Oh man doing a real life Barbie sewing challenge/sew-a-long/thing would be amazing! So many great outfits to choose from... I must admit I played with Barbie a lot as a kid, though mine were either in ball gowns, cocktail dresses, or bikinis it seems like. Certainly nothing as wearable as the the Roman Holiday outfit... but oh man that would be so fantastic if you could re-create it!

  3. i would totally make the roman holiday dress (love the stripe-play on the bodice!) and now i find i need me-sized versions of those silk sheath dresses!

  4. Look at those cute pantihose!!! OMG!!
    Such a good idea to be inspired by Barbie's clothes, I'm on board!