Today’s blog post is dedicated to all my followers who live south of the equator. Summer is underway down there, so it’s time to do a blog post on swimsuits!
Last week I showed you my sewing fail, with regard to the swimsuit / bodysuit pattern in McCall’s vintage “Teen Doll Fashion” patterns. Once I’d tossed my coral-colored first attempt aside, I decided to give it another shot with the purple fabric, which turned out much better.
But the big surprise came when I tried this finished swimsuit on my dolls. I first tried it on vintage Barbie (or more correctly, the modern rendition of a vintage Barbie that I own). It didn’t fit her well at all, as you’ll see in the images that follow.
I thought, “Holy cow! Wasn’t this pattern made for a typical Barbie from 1972?” But as you can see below, the bottom of the swimsuit fit more like shorts than a swimsuit. The crotch seemed way too wide.
I thought, “Well it does say ‘teen fashion’ on the envelope. Maybe these patterns were meant for Francie.” The Francie doll was introduced to the Barbie lineup back in the 1960s.
According to Wikipedia, “At 11¼ inches tall, the Francie doll was shorter than Barbie, but taller than Skipper, making the character presumably between the two in age.” Doll clothes for Francie needed to have a little bit longer torso with less of a chest.
So I tried my swimsuit on Francie, thinking maybe the “shorts” style swimsuit would suit her body a little better…
I mean yeah, it looks alright on her, but clearly these patterns were not designed for Francie. Take a look at the image on the left. You can see that the swimsuit is meant for a doll with more bosom to fill out the top area.
And the crotch in the far right photo looks sort of lumpy. I noticed that the pattern seemed to allow for a really big crotch from the start, which didn’t seem quite right to me. I kept thinking, “Did I cut this out wrong?” But I double checked and I’d cut it out exactly along the edges of the pattern as it was designed. Why was that crotch so wide?
The date on the McCall’s 3429 envelope said 1972. Most Barbies had pretty much the exact same body type back then, with very few differences between Bubble Cut Barbie and Malibu Barbie, in terms of crotch, waist, and bust measurements. And it seemed like the old Barbies’ crotches weren’t even close to that wide.
I decided I wanted to see if a modern Barbie might fit this pattern better. And guess what I found…
I had a winner!
Tall Barbie has a wide enough crotch to really fit nicely in this swimsuit from the McCall’s 3429 “Teen Fashion Doll” pattern. I can’t explain why, but the pattern seems to be best suited to her.
The crotch fits her nicely, the back dips low in a way that looks very natural (not lumpy), and in front, her chest isn’t as full, but it’s wide enough to take up the gaps I was seeing with the Francie doll.
So if anyone out there is looking for a swimsuit pattern for Tall Barbie, let me just recommend the McCall’s 3429 “Teen Fashion Doll” pattern.
I doubt that the other outfits in this pattern will fit her, but the swimsuit/ bodysuit really looks quite lovely on her!
Of course, if you wanted to make alterations to the other patterns, so they would also fit Tall Barbie, you’re in luck because my Creative Spark class, “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” will give you exactly the skills you need to alter a commercial pattern like McCall’s 3429 so that it will fit a doll like Tall Barbie. Click on the link I’ve provided here to learn more.
Most of the commercial patterns I display and talk about here on ChellyWood.com are also available for sale on eBay. However, if you’ve never purchased a pattern on eBay before, it’s a good idea to read the article I wrote called, “Tips for Buying Used Doll Clothes Patterns on eBay.” It will save you time, money, and will likely prevent buyer’s remorse.
And by the way, if you use the links I’ve provided to make your eBay purchase, this website will receive a small commission, which helps fund the ChellyWood.com website, so I can continue to provide you with all the free patterns and tutorial videos offered here.
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Disclaimer/Credit/Affiliate Marketing Link:
Chelly Wood and the ChellyWood.com website are not affiliated with the pattern company or companies mentioned in this blog post, but Chelly finds inspiration in the doll clothes designed by these pattern companies. To purchase patterns from Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue, or other pattern companies shown and discussed in this blog post, please click on the links provided here. These links below the “Disclaimer” section do not help raise money for this free pattern website; they are only offered to give credit to the company that made these patterns.