A scrapbook of whatever I'm making, collecting, or just obsessing about
at the moment.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sewing Vintage Doll Patterns: McCalls 2123 for Barbie: Overview

I thought it would be fun and maybe helpful too, to sew my way through some vintage doll patterns, showing how they come out, how they fit various dolls, and the techniques I use to work with them.

This McCalls pattern from 1969 is the first project, just because I'd already planned an outfit with it. If you would like to sew along with me, the pattern is easily available on etsy and ebay.

Notice, first of all, all the dolls that it says this pattern will fit: Barbie, Francie, Casey, Julia, Christie, Midge, Barbara Joe, Babs, Gina, Annette, Batgirl, Mera, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Betty, Maddie Mod, Tammy, Stacey, and others.

There's going to be some variations in these dolls' figures even though they are all around 11 1/2 inches tall.  The first three dolls in the picture below are on the "will fit" list. Francie is noticeably more petite than the others. Barbie has more dramatic contrasts in shape, plus a thick ribcage.

This Tammy--older than the other dolls--is larger all round, plus her bust is much higher.  By 1969 slimmer Tammies had been on the market for several years; this pattern would no doubt fit them better but I don't own one so we'll see what happens with this gal. The other two dolls--Misty (Tammy's friend) and Maxie (a '90s doll) --are included because they can also wear these clothes--often better than any of the others!

L to R: TNT Barbie, Francie, Tammy, Misty. Maxie

While we have these figures before us, let's take a moment to notice the stance of each doll. By "stance" I mean how their feet and legs look when standing up straight. Francie, Maxie, and Misty all have very ladylike stances: their legs come together so that their feet come together, side by side. In fact, Francie actually has a perfect stance, with her legs touching just slightly above the knee. But Tammy and Barbie have a more "sporty" stance--their legs go straight down from the hip and do not meet each other, making a wide gap between their feet. A wide stance isn't bad, it's just something to consider when you're deciding how you want to dress the doll. (Back when we were playing with dolls, the stance didn't matter anyway, since we used the legs as handles for propelling the doll around!)

I'm curious how McCalls 2123 will fit each of these varying figures. The back of the pattern gives the measurements of the doll they used for fitting the pattern and advises the home sewist to take her own doll's measurements so she can adjust the patterns accordingly. But this is not as easy as it sounds and no assistance is given. I have a feeling that the pattern companies figured that children really weren't that fussy about a perfect fit and neither were the moms. They did provide patterns for the hat in two sizes--that's a nice feature.

My plan is to make up the patterns just as they are, and see how they fit the various dolls. At some point I my try some adjustments to improve the fit--we'll see how it goes. 

No comments: