Do #Vintage Barbie #Patterns Fit New #Barbies?

Image shows Superstar Barbie, nude, standing next to the modern Teresa doll, with a ruler in between the two dolls. Overlay says,
Visit for free, printable sewing patterns and tutorials.

Sorry for the nude Barbies®, everyone, but I wanted to show you how different these dolls look. Note the significant change in the bust, waist, and hip areas in particular.

So do the two dolls’ patterns match up exactly?


I’ve been asked this question often, over the years, and I can tell you a little about my own experiences with older patterns on modern Barbies®. However I do not work for Mattel®, so bear that in mind. I have been sewing for Barbie® since the 1970’s, though, and I currently sew for both vintage and newer Barbies®.

I have measured my vintage Barbie’s® waist and bust, and compared these measurements to my modern Barbies’ waists and busts.
Vintage Barbie’s® waist measures 9 cm (3.5 inches) whereas modern Barbie’s® waist is 9.5 cm (not quite 4 inches). Vintage Barbie’s® bust measures 15.5 cm (6 inches), whereas modern Barbie’s® bust is only 12.5 cm (approx. 5 inches). So there is a slight difference. And when sewing for Barbie®, even half a centimeter makes a big difference in how a garment fits.
With that said, I have a collection of both vintage and modern Barbie® patterns, and I’ve never had a problem getting my doll clothes to fit. I think this has something to do with the way I measure darts when fitting my Barbies® for their clothes. Just in case you’re new to sewing, let me explain. The darts are the seams that we sew from the waist to the tip of the bust, to allow “give” in the curvy bosom area.
Before sewing darts, I lay the doll on a flat surface, like an ironing board, desk, or table. Then I take a straight pin and pin the darts where I think they probably fit best. I try the bodice on the doll with the darts pinned. If it doesn’t fit, I adjust the pins. Then I mark a line with a fabric pencil (just a regular lead pencil will work, as long as you’re not sewing light-colored fabric), and I follow my pencil line while sewing the darts.
This should help you adjust the older patterns to fit newer dolls and vice versa. The trick is to constantly try the clothes on the doll as you go. (I probably do this ten times when creating one garment.) That way you can seam rip, if needed, before you get too many pieces put together.


If you’re searching for a specific pattern, please navigate over to the Gallery Page. That’s the easiest way to search through all of my free patterns to find what you want. Each image on the Gallery Page takes you to links for patterns and tutorials.


Need help printing my patterns? This link will take you to a tutorial showing you how to download my free, printable patterns.


Please note: you must enlarge my patterns to fit a full-sized piece of American computer paper (8.5 x 11 inches or 216 x 279 mm) without margins, before printing. My designs use a 1/4 inch seam (standard for fashion doll sewing projects).


If you’re wondering why I make patterns and videos without charging a fee, please visit the “Chelly’s Books” page, and that should explain my general motivations. It’s always friendly and kind to show your appreciation for my free patterns and tutorials by liking them on Facebook, pinning them on Pinterest, and/or tweeting about them (yes, you have my permission). You’re also welcome to add any of my YouTube channel’s videos to your playlists. Please visit those links for easy access to my patterns, tutorials, and blog posts.


In case you haven’t heard, I have designed commercial patterns for Lammily LLC. They have some new dolls in their line, including a new male doll, so you might want to visit the Lammily website to see what they’ve got going on.


I also have a series of tutorials for the beginning sewists on my YouTube channel. It includes video tutorials showing you how to do a basic straight stitch when sewing by hand, how to gather fabric, how to use the whipstitch to hem a garment, how to sew on snaps, and even how to design your own doll clothes patterns, just like I do!

2 thoughts on “Do #Vintage Barbie #Patterns Fit New #Barbies?

  1. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us. I have learned so much from you and I appreciate it. I wouldn’t know where to start.

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