How to sew Barbie clothes the easy way!
(Your five-year-old will be delighted)
These patterns are for the new bellybutton Barbie body, which has smaller breasts and larger waist and hips than the traditional Barbie shape.
First Princess Bodice
These pictures were taken with one of the rough draft versions of my homemade pattern, so some of the shapes are a little different :-)
First the dart seams and shoulder seams
On the ends of the sleeves, and the back where you're going to put snaps or velcro, fold over a tiny bit then a wider bit, and sew a straight seam along there. Much easier to do that while it's flat.
Pin the sleeves into the armholes, making tiny tucks to take up the fullness, and sew along there.
Fold over the sleeve, wrong sides together, and sew along the sleeve and down the side seam.
For the neck, just zigzag the rough edge, then fold it inside a little and straight stitch over the top of it.
Fold both ends over on the skirt piece, first a little, then a little more, and straight stitch along there. Then line it up with the waist on the dress, and sew them together.
Hem? You've got to be kidding. I don't hem curved surfaces, and it's not like Barbie WEARS these things, she only models them! In case Barbie gets her new dress muddy (as I've seen her do) and you want to put it in the washer, you can zigzag this edge before SEWING LACE OVER IT! That's the total lazy bum way.
Then you got to sew snaps or Velcro along the back. And voila, you're done, in such short time that the little girl standing by your hip all this time hasn't lost interest!
Second Draft Bodice
This one's more fitted. Barbie can't breathe. Luckily Barbie doesn't need to!
Let's get official and put a facing into it. Whoa... getting real now. But still not exactly difficult. Just sew the shoulder seams, lay it flat, right side up, lay the facing over it and stitch around there. Then you clip the edge, flip the facing to the inside and press with your fingers to make it flat, and topstitch.
Sew up the darts, then the sides. Finish the edges like the first model...
Lace instead of sleeves. I am so lazy.
And you'll notice that since the first batch of pictures were taken, my five-year-old confiscated Sleeping Beauty Barbie and left me with Bad Hair Day Barbie.
The above was written in 2008 or 2009. And then where did the pattern go?
Well, I had to recreate it from scratch in 2013! Here we go--
NEW version of Second Draft Bodice!! (LOL)
Get the pattern on the Free Barbie sewing pattern download page
Scant 1/4" seams are allowed. By scant I mean if there's any doubt, to make the seams smaller than 1/4", not larger.
For a long time I assumed the edge of my sewing machine's presser foot was 1/4" away from the seam. It's not!
I used a Sharpie to mark on my presser foot where 1/4" actually falls... and then I stitch with the edge of the fabric on the near side of that black line, not the far side.
1. Stitch neck facing to bodice, right sides together. At this point you can determine a more round or V-shape neckline, or larger neckline or more modest neckline, by the stitching line. If you want a really low neckline you might need to cut the facing larger or longer than the facing pattern piece I provided. Clip, turn, press and top stitch the neckline
2. Turn up sleeve edges, press and topstitch. Then pin sleeves into armholes and stitch. I found that hand stitching works best for that part. The sleeve fits into the opening without gathering, and it's easier to just sew it by hand than try to pin two contrary curves together.
3. Sew front and back darts. It’s a good idea to mark the top of the dart and start sewing at the top to make sure both darts are even, because a slight variation is so obvious.
This picture is after sewing the front darts, I'll do the back darts next.
4. Sew up the side seams and sleeve seams all at once.
The skirt is up to you! Use your creativity to style the Barbie gown of your little princess's dreams!
Try the bodice and skirt together before sewing everything up-- if you use a gathered skirt with a lot of bulk, you might have to make the back darts a bit less to allow extra room.
And then the back snaps or velcro and it's done!
Strapless Bodice Pattern
Download the pattern as a pdf file
Strapless. Simplicity itself. You don't even have to put boning or a hidden bra into it, since Barbie is self-supporting! Just hem along the top, then sew the darts up.
Gather the skirt, or do it the lazy way like I just did, with four little pleats.
Fold over the back side edges twice and stitch up for the hem.
Sew snaps on it, et voila! Finished! The skirt's a little too narrow though, so I added some width into the next one.
You could get more creative than this and add a couple pieces of ribbon for straps...
Here's the Free Barbie strapless pattern download page