Monday, May 31, 2021

Barbie Bathing Suit Cover-Up

One of the lessons I've learned since I started back down the road of making Barbie clothes is when I start with a new pattern leaflet try a small item to work out guage before moving on to the more complicated patterns.

Now you might ask why not just use the pattern guage. Well I do that, but I've got two challenges with that. The first is my guage doesn't always match that of the designer. Sometimes I'm spot on and sometimes it feels like we are doing completely different crafts.

The second challenge is more practical. While I am honest about my lack of Barbie expertise, I have learned that Barbie has changed and continues to change in size despite retaining the 11 1/2 inch height. Therefore, when you look at an older publication you don't know precisely which Barbie or other fashion doll those clothes were sized to fit. While I might have a challenge if I had the same doll the designer used in matching gauge. I can guarentee I can't trust the guage will match when working on a modern Barbie. I choose to try a small project before jumping to a larger project. It generally helps me to work out some of the sizing issues before also adding more complicated construction issues.

This pattern comes from Lesiure Arts Vacation Fashion Doll Wardrobe 2716. This was another leaflet that was in my Barbie binder from my last round of doll clothes making that I didn't use because the patterns are all made with crochet thread. While I wasn't able to use them back then, they have proved a wonderful investment for my current projects. I have my own pattern library to pick through to find items to make that I'd never tried before.

This also reminded me of the extra clothes we used to need when visting the less than warm waters of Hampton Beach, NH in the summers of my childhood. While the air might have been hot your feet sometimes felt like they were frozen when you returned to the hot sand. So having warm to put on was essential to our beach outings. Barbie's coverup is a bit more fashionable than my beach clothing of those days, but it brought back some fun memories.


To get the sizing I wanted I used a Tulip Etimo Steel -Size 2/1.5mm Crochet Hook with Aunt Lydia Crochet Cotton, White and golden yellow.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Barbie Capris, Shirt, Hat, and Purse

I've been going through my Barbie binders from the old patterns I made from a decade ago to the "new" patterns I've been picking up from out of print sources trying to choose a variety of patterns. Some are just quick to have a variety of outfits to send off with the donation. Others give my hands a break in working with the small hooks and crochet thread. Others let me explore something fun and creative.

While looking through the binders I came across a pattern set I bought at the end of my last round of Barbie doll clothes making and then never used. The pattern is still available at Maggie's Crochet here. My purpose for buying the pattern back then was that it didn't use thread. The patterns were designed with Red Heart Luster Sheen, which back then was readily available. Not so much now although I still have a few odd shades in my stash.

With Luster Sheen not an option I looked online for suggested substitutes and baby sport yarn came up as a suggestion. The pants are made with my now unavailable Red Heart Sport Comfort Yarn. The Shirt is Bernat Baby Sport White. If you are looking for a break from thread crochet for Barbie this is a nice pattern set. I tried the capris first as I thought they'd be an easy way to check for yarn substitutes.

While several of the older Barbie patterns use double crochets for the legs of Barbie/Ken patterns I like the single crochet look better that is used in this pattern. Since pants are pretty basic I think I'm going to experiment with some other patterns to see if the leg sections can be done with more rows of sc and thus eliminate some of the holes in the pants that are less than attractive.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Barbie Bathing Suit

I started working through the Summertime Blues Fashion Doll pattern set designed by Lori Zeller and found in Crochet World June 2009 when I made Ken's swim trunks. Summertime Blues which includes Ken's swim trunks and beach accessories is found on Dolls, Doll Clothes and Accessories, an Annie's CD Rom, it is also on the Crochet World Collection 2001-2010 DVD computer disk if you happen to own those.

I've been using these smaller projects between other projects I'm working on. Along with Barbie's swim suit I'm also working on the beach accessories to add to the donation as well. I plan on posting them as a set when they are finished.

While I had to use a considerably smaller hook to fit Ken I returned to my Tulip Etimo Steel Hook-Size 4/1.25mm for Barbie's outfit. I decided on Aunt Lydia Crochet Thread Size 10, Maize because I've almost finished off this cone and I hate having left over fiber. These small projects are a great way to use up the thread so it doesn't end up getting lost in the stash and wasted.

I've been hunting out of print books and leaflets recently. I was thrilled when my second hand copy of Bathtime Buddies arrived in the mail today. I've been searching for weeks for an affordable copy in good condition and I found one in great condition that wasn't a library discard. It took forever to ship but I can now return my library copy! I had a back up PDF copy which I plan to print the patterns to cut out the cloth sections of the animals but I really didn't want to print the books or work from a computer screen. This solves that problem. I also got a copy of an out of print Annie's Fashion Doll book that I'd been hunting for a while this week. I'm pleased with my finds.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Skipper Ski Outfit

After making Ken's ski outfit, the plan was to make Barbie's ski outfit from the same White Birches leaflet Crochet Wardrobe for 11 1/2 inch Fashion dolls which was in the same section of the leaflet.

One of the advantages of donating multiple sized dolls is if an outfit doesn't fit one doll I still have a chance of getting it to fit one of the other dolls. In this case I thought the hook size would remain consistant for both Barbie and Ken's outfits. I'd used a C hook with Knit Picks Palette fingering yarn and the fit was good for Ken.

However, I found the pants a little small for Barbie and thought it would be worth trying them on Skipper to see how they fit. The pants were a much better fit for Skipper. The sweater was a toss up. Either Barbie or Skipper can wear it, if you have sisters you may have experienced closet raiding.

Since Skipper's pants were complete she gets the sweater for the donation. If all the dolls end up with one child I suspect over time they will likely share clothes that are close in size.

I'm going to try Ken's pants on Barbie and see how close they are to fitting Barbie. It will at least give me an idea of where I want to make the change, larger hook size, more starting stitches, etc.

Someone posted on a recent comment asking me if I sell or donate the doll clothes. I work with a local tech high school that does a holiday toy drive every year. With COVID that wasn't possible last year and I donated directly to the charity they work with to make sure the dolls got to the kids.

I buy dolls to donate and have duplicate models to size the clothes to so I know the clothes fit before sending them off to the donation. I include a picture of the model doll wearing the clothing in the baggie with the outfit so the child and parent can see what the outfit looks like on the doll or a model similiar to one they recieve in the donation.

I'm fortunate to have family and friends from Crochetville who also send items for the donations each year. This year I've started a thread that will post in November that documents all the items made.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Ken Ski Outfit

It's supposed to be in the 80's this week so what better time to think cold and create winter wear for Ken. I've also been flipping through my collection of Barbie patterns trying to find casual wear for Ken to crochet. I'm amazed at how many patterns for wedding and swim attire there are for Ken, but I'm looking to expand his options for dress up play.

One of the leaflets I came across from my decade ago pattern buying spree was a House of White Birches newsprint set with black and white pictures and typesetting I haven't seen in years. The patterns however are quite good for my purposes of creating clothing for kids to play with the dolls rather than display, although I suspect there are a few outfits that might work for that as well.

The leaflet is called Crochet Wardrobe for 11 1/2" Fashion Dolls(Including a complete Wedding Ensemble and Trousseau.)It was published in 1982. If you are interested in finding it I've seen it listed quite a bit recently as I've looked for other out of print fashion doll patterns. Despite the age it is out there.

I didn't recognize the yarn listed in the pattern, which is not unusual these days in modern patterns let alone those dating back to the 1980's. When I looked it up on yarn sub it appeared to be a fingering yarn. Since this Ken doll is a fairly small doll I originally started with thread thinking the pants would be too large. I had tried another pattern in the book that called for bedspread yarn and a size 7 hook. After getting down to a size .4mm hook I ordered some size 20 yarn to experiment with later and moved on to the ski outfit.

The thread proved to be too small and I moved on to a stash of Knit Picks Palette yarn which is a wool fingering yarn that I'd had from previous doll projects. While the pattern called for an e hook I found a C hook was the adjustment required to make the outfit fit the smaller Ken doll.

The one increase in size I needed to make on the pattern to get it to fit was the hat. I found the hat was too small to fit over this Ken's molded hair. I just added and increase row and the hat fit.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Stacie Pretty Dress Ensemble

Having fit two older Skipper patterns to a modern doll, I decided I'd continue the task and fit both patterns to the smaller Stacie doll before continuing on with my other projects.

The pattern for this outfit is found in the out of print Fashion Doll Sister and Me 87D21 published by Annie's Attic in 1986.

I used Aunt Lydia's Size 10, Maize and Red Heart Crochet, Thread Size 10 White. To get the sizing correct I used a Tulip Etimo Rose Steel Crochet Hook-4/1.25mm.

I'm pleased with how little adaptation is required beyond hook size to change these patterns from Skipper to Stacie. My experience in having to rewrite patterns to fit dolls is that it requires more effort, so this has been a pleasant surprise. I have a few patterns from the Annie's pattern club that are Stacie sized but not enough to create a varied wardrobe, so I'm pleased these patterns are fitting so I can send off some clothing with the doll for the donation.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Stacie Short Set

I mentioned last week that I was working on patterns from an out of print Annie's pattern book, Fashion Doll Sister and Me 87D21 for Skipper. While working on a dress I wondered how the patterns for the 9" Skipper doll could be adjusted to fit Stacie a 7" doll.

While I liked the way Skipper's shirt fit in my original attempt at the short set I was concerned with the shorts. They seemed a little small for Skipper. I decided this would be a good place to start with Stacie. I tried the set on Stacie and while the shorts were a better fit for Stacie, the shirt was too large. I changed to the Aunt Lydia's Size 10, Wood Violet I used for Skipper's dress and used a 1mm crochet hook to get a good fit for Stacie's top.

I had added trim to Skipper's shirt to match her shorts so I needed to remake her shirt with Aunt Lydia's Size 10-Monet so they'd continue to match. I used a 1.5mm hook for a better fit. I joined the shorts after the fourth row and added a row before splitting the shorts for the legs. I also added a chain 4 for the split.

I missed the scarf when I made Skipper's outfit so I went back and made one for Skipper when I made one for Stacie. With Stacie's ponytail, the scarf fits Skipper better than Stacie but I was glad to add the accessories for both dolls.

I had fun getting some fresh air and taking some pictures outdoors of the girls. I try to get a picture of the doll wearing the outfit to include in each doll clothing bag so the child can see what the outfit is supposed to look like on the doll.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Skipper Pretty Dress Ensemble

I'm really enjoying working with these patterns from the out of print Annie's Fashion Doll Sister and Me 87D21. After trying on this dress and the short set I'm also thinking with a smaller hook I am going to be able to give Stacie some additional clothes for the donation as well.

The Bates Bamboo steelite 1.5mm hook was the right choice for this project. I used Aunt Lydia's Size 10, Wood Violet and Red Heart Crochet, Thread Size 10, White.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Skipper Short Set

Skipper is the last of the Barbie dolls I plan on donating this year. I pruchased the Space Discovery doll sets for both Skipper and Stacie.

I pulled out Annie's Fashion Doll Sister and Me, 87D21, which I purchased but never used a decade ago when I was making Barbie clothes. At the time I'd started a collection of the digest sized fashion doll books but stuggling with my thread hooks made making many of the outfits unlikely. With new hooks comes the chance for new adventures.

I decided to start with a simple pattern in the set to see how close the sizing was for the new Skipper doll. I was wrong in my previous post about Stacie. I have a picture of the old Skipper down the bottom and these dolls are pretty much the same "size" although as I learned in the bottom picture they don't quite wear the same size clothing.

Skipper's shorts and shirt are made with size 10 thread and a Tulip Etimo Rose Steel Crochet Hook-Size 4/1.25mm. I mention the specific hook because at the moment I'm working with a series of ergonomic handled thread hooks to get a variety of sizes and it may just be the way I handle them but I don't get the same guage with all my hooks. I've been making notes on my patterns and here on my blog so I can go back and recreate items when needed.

This is the last item of furniture I found at Dollar Tree for the doll donation. I'm hopeful they will come out with more before the November deadline. Accessories always make playing with dolls more fun. I've been pleased to add the furniture, shoes, bags, and other little items from Dollar Tree for the Barbie part of the donation. I hope they continue their fashion doll offerings.

I haven't seen my orginal Skipper model in some time. I pulled her out to compare her to the current Skipper. I found the shirt was looser and I was barely able to snap the shorts closed. This is the closest fit of the three dolls to date. Her outfit fit much better than Ken or Barbie's did on their older versions. I don't know a great deal about the history of Barbie and thus Skipper. I did find it funny that the old and the new both have colored striped hair. The old had pink and the younger while now having dark hair has purple stripes in her hair.

From a dressing point of view I do like the straight arms of the old Skipper better than the bent of the modern, but that is just based on fewer ways to catch the thread/yarn as I take thc clothes on and off as I'm fitting them to the model doll.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Barbie Barbeque

One of the advantages of working on this holiday donation project is I can do seasonal projects to add to the donation. It puts me in the mood for the changing seasons and it will give the child receiving the toys outfits for the dolls that fit that changing time period too. It also allows them to have their dolls travel to a warmer climates during a cold winter day or send them skiing as my sister and I did year round.

I found this July Fourth Picnic pattern in the August 2005 Crochet World. However, while looking for another pattern I also came across the pattern at Annie's free pattern site here.

The original pants pattern had 26 chains for Barbie's waist and this made the pants small. I experimented with hooks and went up to fine weight yarn and finally decided to chain around Barbie's waist and work the pattern from there. If I do this again I'd go a couple of chains smaller but with the snap to close the back it works. Decreasing by a couple of chains would make the pants fit better.

The pattern crochets the bodice to the pants. Since my pants were now larger than the original pattern I chose to make the shirt separate from the pants. This worked for a couple of reasons. First it allowed me to experiment with the size of the shirt without pulling stitches out of the top of the pants and potentially damaging them. Second by making separates it allows the child who will receive the doll to be able to mix and match outfits more easily. The pants can be used with any number of outfits and the shirt will actually fit nicely under some of the jackets I'm hoping to finish.


I used a 1.25mm hook for the hat but I'd try a slightly smaller hook. The bottom was tight in the beginning but stretched over time especially as I added weight to the top.

I crocheted the thumb to the mitt on row 5 rather than sew it on after I made the mitts. It worked out fine and I think it is less likely to get caught or pulled during play. These mitts do not have actual thumb holes so Barbie's hand fits inside the mitt thumb included. The pattern only calls for one mitt but Barbie seems sensible and doesn't want to burn the unprotected hand so having two seemed wise.

The apron pattern is designed to be striped. I tried the stripes but I didn't like the look and opted for a single red color for the apron which was made with a .75mm hook.

This grill was part of the summer furniture I found for the donation at Dollar Tree. I've since picked up an extra set of the lounger and chair to continue using for display of new outfits once the donation heads off. I'm still looking for a grill as those seem to have sold out fast.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021


I'm continuing my quest for ocean/sea creatures to add to my summer birthday project. I found the shrimp pattern in 75 Seashells, Fish, Coral and Colorful Marine Life to Knit and Crochet and it worked up quickly.

I found the picture funny as it almost looks like he's holding up an arm yelling "No pictures, no pictures!!"

I found a used copy of this book but I'm holding on to my library edition until it arrives. Thankfully, it isn't a high volume requested item so I shouldn't have trouble renewing until my copy arrives.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Island Play Set

I've been writing about this project for a while now. I started it at the beginning of my ocean/sea birthday project. It has been finished but for the paracord for some time. I even had the paracord threaded through but was contimplating the best way to use the paracord locks. I finally decided it was time to push through and finish this project so I could focus on finishing the Ocean Tower that I hope will accompany the play set.

The Island Play Set is a free pattern and you can find it here.

I found paracord at Hobby Lobby. I looked around at different types of cord locks and decided on an oval cord lock that I found at Paracord Planet. I ordered a few as I can't imagine this will be the last set I make.

This play set is a double thick mat. This means does allow it to lay down flat, it holds up the island, and you get to hide all the ends from changing colors and sewing on the island. The downside to this additional bulk is it is harder to close. However, while not being the ultimate bag it still provides storage for the ocean/sea creatures.

The original pattern does come with a selection of creatures for the play set. As I've written about I've been using this as an opportunity to explore a range of books and patterns to create my own selection of amis for the project. As I was putting the creatures back after their photo shoot I noticed the dolphin had avoided the picture taking but he will be headed off with the birthday box. He's already back in the bag.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Ken Swim Trunks

I had a feeling from my experience with Barbie that Sweet Orchard Farm Ken Doll and my Ken from a decade ago were not going to be the same size. My shock was how much smaller the new Ken was compared to the old. I have no formal measurements for you. I don't consider myself to be any kind of Barbie expert. However, I started with the swim trunks because I figured they'd be a simple pattern to play with while adjusting for changes in size since the pattern was printed in Crochet World in June of 2009.

Like many patterns this calls for size 10 crochet thread and a size 7 hook. I can't use the traditional steel hooks which I still have one of that size so I have to work around the current available sizes. The charts I've found online translate a size 7 hook to a 1.65mm steel hook. I have a 1.6mm size 6 and a 1.75mm hook.

I actually opted to start with a 1.5mm hook. Something just said this was going to be going smaller. At 1.25mm, yes I did make the waist a few times, the waist fit the old Ken nicely. I had to get to the .6mm hook before I could get the trunk waist to fit this modern Ken.

Now some of the disparity is my issues with guage. I always have to change hook sizes when making doll clothing so I've come to expect it. However, it was interesting to have the two dolls together to test my theory. One could wear the trunks at 1.25mm the other required me to use a .6mm hook to keep them from falling off and becoming indecent.

While I have been buying some old Annie's magazines for their doll patterns recently and I do have some old Crochet World magazines I've picked up over the years, this pattern set Summertime Blues which includes a Barbie swimsuit and beach accessories is found on Dolls, Doll Clothes and Accessories, an Annie's CD Rom, it is also on the Crochet World Collection 2001-2010 DVD computer disk.

This disks are no longer available so why mention them? It is actually a reminder to myself to keep checking through resources I own for patterns. There is nothing wrong with buying new and vintage patterns but there really is no need to buy duplicates. The Doll CD has all 3 Annie's fashion doll books on it. I had books 2 and 3 before getting the CD. Recently I started looking for book 1 forgetting it was on the CD and I can easily print the patterns off the CD. I also found a few of the Fashion Doll Club patterns I've not yet purchased on the CD and taken them off my wishlist. I can focus on picking up the patterns I don't have copies of rather than buying duplicates. I'd downloaded some of these before but with my adversion to thread, I'd chosen not to print them when I first bought the collections. Now I'm exploring them again and finding some resources I'd forgotten. I sometimes focus on the patterns in the binders over resources that I should be looking at outside the sorted patterns.

A note about the lounger, I want to thank DIY Barbie Blog for her post on Dollar Tree Fashion Doll Furniture. I was able to pick up a couple of loungers, a double seat with table, and a grill to add to the yearly donation thanks to her heads up. I've been reading her blog for years but hadn't really thought about acting on her tips until I added Barbie and family to the donation this year. I'll be reading to see what other items she finds that would work for the doll donation this year.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Mermaid in a Shell Playset

This is another Laura Sutcliffe playset. You can purchase the pattern here.

This pattern is designed so you can make your mermaid as a doll dressing up as a mermaid or as a mermaid. I opted for the mermaid as there are fewer pieces to lose later. I have been making more of my ami sets with sport cotton but my hands needed a break so I wanted with worsted weight and a g hook. The designer suggests DK weight but I didn't have any suitable colors in my stash so I went with worsted 4. If I make this again I would think about the sport cotton and a smaller hook size. I like the finished set but I think it would be cuter if smaller and the shell would be sturdier in cotton.

One of the reasons I don't make many "dolls" is I really don't enjoy making hair. This was a fun wig that is sewn on and it is a great altenative to trying to "root" hair.

If you choose to go with the doll that dresses up as a mermaid there is an additional dress pattern for the doll to wear.

This set works up quickly and was a nice additional playset to add to my ocean theme birthday box.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Bee with Blanket

This is my final bee project, for now at least. I promised I'd make a second bee. You can find that free pattern here. The blanket is part of the Beehive playset I posted about earlier. I wanted to include it in this final post with the bee so I waited to make it until I started the bee. You can purchase the Beehive playset here.

The bee is made with Omega Sinfonia sport cotton and a B hook. The flower is made with worsted weight acrylic and a G hook.

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