As you may remember from my previous post about it I had to give Midge, my USAF Aviator Barbie a bit of a tidy up. I’ve also been busy knitting some Barbie sized clothes from patterns that I found on http://www.stickatillbarbie.se. I like to knit while I’m watching cricket on television. There has been a five match series on over the past ten days and my output is one or two garments a game so they are starting to pile up.
I did find that Midge’s very fine hair did not stay back as well as I would have liked but I didn’t want to use too much hairspray on it. At the moment I’ve got her wearing an Alice Band to keep it in place but I expect that over time it will come back over her face. I don’t really mind because I like it like that and the main thing is that she looks tidy now.
This week you will see whether the makeover was a success and Midge gets to try on some new clothes.
The Shopping Trip
During the following week Marissa phoned Midge excitedly. “I’ve found a great place that sells knitwear for next to nothing. You have to see it!”
On Saturday after a hectic shopping trip the girls went back to Marissa’s place where she laid out all the clothes.
“I want you to try on everything we bought and anything that doesn’t make you look fabulous goes back.”
First Midge tried on a pink knit cotton sundress. “Head up, shoulders back.” Marissa ordered. “That is a good fit and the colour suits you.”
Next she handed Midge an orange dress that laced up at the front. Midge had not been sure about this one at the store.
Marissa reassured her. “This dress shows off your figure and no, I don’t think it’s too daring at all. Unless you want it to be of course ;) “
The next outfit was a knit skirt and a lacy top. Midge liked the top but the skirt got the thumbs down. “But you look cute in this outfit.” Marissa protested.
“Maybe, but the skirt is too tight. I might want to do something active; like you know, walk. Not to mention that it is practically see through. It goes back.” Midge, who is a conservative girl at heart, put her foot down this time. “I do like the top though.”
Apart from the skirt, Midge was pretty happy with her purchases in the end. She’d never bought so many clothes in one store before but as Marissa said they did cost next to nothing and it did cheer her up.
The pink dress was knitted in a fine cotton thread ( I think it was DMC Perle 8).
The blue and white lacy tops were also knitted in a fine thread and came out rather small. I don’t think that they would fit a Fashion Fever or Model Muse Body. I only got them onto Midge and Marissa because they have articulated bodies. If I make more in this type of thread I will leave the back open and use a snap fastener. The pastel coloured top was knitted from the same pattern but in a thicker yarn (Panda 4 ply crochet cotton) and was a much better fit but it was a little bulkier than I liked. I’ll do the next one in 2 ply cotton and see how that comes out.
The white skirt was also knitted in fine cotton (Cebelia DMC 20 it’s an old ball I had.) on 2mm needles and it really was too small. I ended up putting it on Midge upside down for the picture and it was quite see through. I gave it to my smaller “Lady Doll” but it might work out on a Skipper body. I’d add more stitches to the pattern or maybe larger needles next time I use this cotton.
The orange dress was knitted in 2 ply cotton with a gold thread twined with it. I used 2mm needles. You could use a thicker thread in a contrasting colour for the lacing. I didn’t have anything suitable at the time.
Midge’s robe is from Petals and Dots Candi and was a bit big on her.
I’m learning through these experiments with different weighted yarns and different sized needles and it’s a lot of fun. You can make the same thing in different yarns and it comes out quite different. So far I think the 2 ply cotton is the nicest for making outfits that don’t look bulky and I will get some more of it. I’ve also learned that for me at least it is better to knit in a simple stitch like stocking stitch, garter stitch or rib when I’m watching cricket. When I was knitting the lacy tops every time we got a wicket or lost one I lost my place in the pattern.
In case anyone is wondering Australia won the series 4-1. :)
The photos were taken on the top floor of my Barbie house and this required a bit of initiative too. The house stands about a metre high and sits on what was formerly my sewing machine stand. As I am short it’s difficult to photograph dolls up there so I don’t do it very often. Also I find all that pink a bit much. However I wanted to have the wardrobe in the background and I wanted to feature my pink sofa which is actually a jewellery box. Like the bath tub it is a bit big for the house but a better fit for the dolls to sit on. My solution was to stand on a step-ladder to take the pictures. Luckily I only needed to go up one step because I don’t care for ladders much. I have a fear of falling. I think it was worth it though because despite the pink this room has great graphics, as does the rest of the house. My husband got it for me for a Christmas present and although I can’t put much furniture inside it does make a great display area and backdrop for photos.
This little doll is made of hard plastic and her arms and head are strung with rubber bands attached to hooks. Her legs are fixed and she has sleep eyes. Her glued on hair is mohair I think. She is marked “Made in Hong Kong” on her back.
This type of doll was fairly common in the late 50s and early 60s and I had a couple of them I think. Many had plastic underwear like this but I don’t recall ever seeing any clothing to fit them on sale. She is about 6″ tall so a little small for my Barbie house but a bit too big for the type of dollshouse I used to have. I had other dolls about 4″ tall who I preferred to play with as a child.
As I have been knitting for Barbie this week I ended up with a couple of garments knitted in a very fine thread which were not a good fit. I decided to lend them to this “Lady Doll” so she would have something proper to wear. I may make her a better fitting outfit later.
There is lots of activity in the dollshouse today. On the top floor the Tressy’s are annoyed to come home and find piles of clothing on the floor left by those pesky Barbies. However, they soon start trying them on.
In the living room Tammy’s Mom is keeping all the girls with her. She’s really getting fed up with her home being used as a photo studio.
In the bathroom Marissa, creator of all this unrest, is busy plotting another fashion makeover.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Tammy’s Dad, Dr Kildare and Army Buddy are intrigued by their elegant lady visitor.
Readers of this blog will know that one of my favourite Barbie Models is my USAF Aviator Barbie, Midge. Recently she has been my model for some sewing and knitting projects as well as modelling some outfits in the back garden for a photo shoot. As a consequence of all this activity she’s starting to get a bit untidy. When I first got her several years ago Midge had stiffening in her hair. I don’t really like hair that feels as hard as rock so occasionally I wash it out to give the doll a different look. I did this with Midge after I’d had her for a while and I thought that she looked much more natural without it. Now it’s starting to get a bit fly away and while I rather like the natural look I don’t want it to get too untidy. By the way don’t you think she has lovely eyes? I love the colour of them.
All she needed was a bit of tidying up so I washed and conditioned her hair and restyled it slightly. I decided to document her mini makeover in the form of a story but left out the part where I wrapped her head in cling wrap for 24 hours while it dried. I did use the hairdryer to dry the worst of it but I prefer to let Barbie hair dry naturally rather than use excessive heat.
Midge Feels Blue
Midge had been having a heart to heart with her new friend Marissa. She was feeling a bit low and said so. Marissa had the answer.
“What you need is a bit of pampering. That will cheer you up. Why don’t I give you a makeover?”
A Short Time Later
Marissa has quite a strong personality and is not a friend that you say no to; so before she knew it Midge was at Marissa’s house. “First of all I want you to take a nice relaxing bath.” her new friend told her. “Then we’ll do your hair.”
After her bath Marissa shampooed Midge’s hair. She used Johnson’s Baby Shampoo so there were no tears. “Only the best will do.” she told her slightly bemused friend as she followed up with conditioner from the House of Avon. After Midge’s hair was washed and conditioned Marissa decided to comb it back from her face and set it with pins. She also trimmed away some flyaway bits.
Marissa then set to work with the hair dryer. Blow drying finished she did a little more tidying before inviting Midge to take a look in the mirror and see what she thought of her new style. ” All it needs now is some product to keep those flyaway bits in place. Your hair is so fine.”
Midge thought that the new style looked good. “We’re not done yet though.” Marissa said. “Next we go shopping!”
To Be Continued…
Next time, the reveal and a shopping trip.
The photos were taken with my Nikon Coolpix L120 camera in the bathroom of my Barbie house.
The bathtub is a ceramic one which I bought because it looks more real than the plastic Barbie ones.
The towel and toiletries are from various Barbie sets I’ve accumulated. Midge’s smock was made by me.
Marissa is of course my Fashionista Raquelle.
Although you can’t see her reflection in the mirror Midge is not a Vampire.
The past couple of weeks I’ve been getting into some more Barbie dressmaking projects. So far I’ve made a couple of skirts and have been experimenting with knitting. One of the skirts was just a simple tube made from a piece out of an old pair of tights, the other two were hand sewn, mostly so that I could practice sewing darts and pleats. I was reasonably happy with them and now need to make some little tops to go with them.
Although I have often knitted garments for my larger dolls I don’t often knit for Barbie because I don’t like the bulky fabric on shapely fashion dolls. I have a lot of vintage knitting patterns but I decided to look on the internet for some patterns that used finer wool and smaller needles. I recently bought a pair of size 1.25 mm needles which are so fine that I kept stabbing my fingers while I knitted with them. I haven’t found any patterns that use them yet though so I’ve just been experimenting on my own. I did find a lot of patterns that use 2mm needles, that’s a size 14 in the old money. Unfortunately I didn’t have any, well I had one needle, who knows where the other one is. So my first task will be to get some 2mm needles to try out these patterns with.
As usual though when I get an idea to make something I don’t really like to wait. I know I’ll lose motivation if I don’t do something. I went online again and found a pattern for a tube dress knitted in the round on larger sized needles. I haven’t knitted on four needles in years so I thought that would be a good project to keep me going until I get my 2mm needles. There was a cricket match on television that I wanted to watch so I settled down with my needles and a partly used ball of cotton yarn and commenced knitting. It took a while to get used to the four needle method again but the result was a dress that I didn’t have to sew up. I did make a couple of mistakes but as it was just for practice I won’t stress over it. It was fairly quick to knit up too. By the time Australia had got the last South African cricketer out I was nearly finished.
I made a few mistakes in my knitting and it doesn’t look great but the next ones I do will be better.I think that the fabric looks a bit bulky and I would probably use finer needles in future but something like this could be knitted up for a child’s doll very quickly. I may make a few more to give the church Barbies a change of clothes for Christmas. The tops that Midge is modelling I made without any kind of pattern and it shows. Normally I won’t do anything without instructions but I think I got the fit almost right just working on her measurements.
One of the websites I found had over 1,000 patterns for Barbie and even a few for Ken. They are all free to download and most look pretty easy. If you want to take a look you can find them here. The site has pattern instructions in multiple languages too so it’s a very good resource. Make sure that you have a look at the ABBA costumes that some clever person has designed. I’m probably showing my age that I remember some of them. I’ll add links to some of the other doll sewing sites I found at the end of this post.
When you are knitting for Barbie or any kind of knitting and crochet really you need to be aware that needle sizes and names of yarns vary from country to country. I have added some useful links I found for these as well.
A lot of my thinner yarns are odd balls and part balls left over from other projects, some were inherited from older relatives and I’m not even sure what ply they are. One of the things that I’ve knitted this week is a dress which was made from the last few metres of a metallic yarn that I bought over 30 years ago to make a dress for my sister. I used to knit a lot more in those days and that was probably my most ambitious project. She wanted this metallic rib knit dress to go out dancing in after seeing the pattern in a magazine. I made it and she wore it once I think; mum washed it and hung it on the line where it stretched so badly she was never able to wear it again. I was a bit cross about that.
Now I prefer to knit for dolls because it doesn’t take as long and it’s a fun way to use up those accumulated scraps.
My models today are Midge aka USAF Aviator Barbie, Mary aka Butterfly Art Teresa and Ember aka Fashion Fever Teresa Wave F.
Today I went to Hobart and bought some 2ply cotton, a pair of 1.5mm needles and a 2mm circular needle so next week I will do some more experimenting which I’ll post about here when I’m done.
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/estherkate/how-to—knit-for-barbie-and-ken – useful tips and measurements on this site.
http://www.jessica-tromp.nl/freeamericangirldollbarbiedollcabbagedollragedyanndollplasticdollspatterns.htm – another useful site with patterns for dolls of all sizes as well as knitting and crochet patterns for humans and dogs.
http://www.knittingonthenet.com/patterns/dollsbarbieshrug.htm- Barbara Shreiters Knitting on the Net, more free patterns.
http://www.yarnfwd.com/main/needleconv.html -Needle conversion table from metric to US, UK, Canadian sizes.
http://www.crochet-knit.com/yarn_conversion.html – Yarn conversion chart US, UK, Australia, NZ.
Fashion Doll Friday – Superman Incognito
This weeks doll is Ken as Superman. He is based on the 2005 film Superman Returns. His face was especially sculpted and his articulated body is more muscular than some of the more recent articulated Ken dolls.
My Superman is appearing incognito, not as Clark Kent today, but by the name I gave him, Stephen. His outfit is home made as he is hard to fit.
Fashion Doll Friday – Black Basics #07
Today’s Fashion Doll Friday model is Erin who is wearing a generic brand cotton dress and posing in the bathroom of the Barbie Dolls House.
Today I’d like to show you another of my favourite Barbies. She is Naf Naf Midge from 1993. I do like red heads and I also like the Diva face mold. This doll has both.
The doll was a present from my sister who bought her for me in Kuala Lumpur. She told me that she’d been in a department store where they were having a sale and saw some Barbies that she didn’t recognise but thought I might like. The store must have been selling old stock because Naf Naf Midge and Bennetton Kira from 1990 were both there and my sister got her for me as well.
I’ve had Roxanne, as I call her, packed away for a while but today I decided to get her out for some photos. If I could squeeze one more doll onto the shelf she’d be going up there on display but as it is she’ll be one of my “old body” models. Apart from her gorgeous hair I really like her big eyes.
Roxanne no longer has her ring or her original earrings. One earring was lost so I replaced both with pink plastic ones. I have some nicer ones now that I must try on her. Here she is in some other outfits. I have been saving this dress to show on a redhead and I really like it on her. Like most redheads she looks pretty good in aqua too.
After I started writing this post yesterday I found Roxanne’s original outfit so I could photograph her in it and after that I did manage to squeeze her onto one of the Barbie shelves. Here she is with some friends you may recognise from other posts. Gina, Sara and Lisa Two.