Which “mystery Barbie” fits best in my vintage McCall’s “Teen Fashion Doll” swimsuit pattern? Surprise! #Vintage #DollClothesPatterns

The image is of a McCall's 3429 teen fashion doll sewing pattern from 1972. The sketches of dolls on the cover of this pattern are (top row left to right): a wedding dress, a yellow mini skirt dress with long sleeves, a red blouse with red and blue plaid trousers, a red-riding-hood cape, and (bottom row left to right) a blue body suit with purple wrap-around pants, a blue swimsuit (identical to the bodysuit), a red muumuu-like long dress, a green teddy style nightgown with bloomers, a red floral short sleeved blousy dress with a gathered waist, and a blue checkered pinafore (shown over the previously mentioned short-sleeved long dress with gathered waist). The pattern's package is yellowed with time and in very shabby condition, having torn edges and dogeared corners.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

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.

There are three vertical images on a single purple polka dot background. The far left image shows the sketch from the cover of the McCall's pattern #3429. It illustrates two teen dolls. One wears purple wrap-around pants with a tie at the waist (purple fabric with tiny white polka dots) and the body suit is beneath these pants. The bodysuit is made of pale blue fabric. Just to the right of this doll, in the same far-left picture, we see another sketched doll modeling just the bodysuit or swimsuit. Again, it's offered in a light turquoise blue fabric. It looks sort of hourglass shaped, although the drawing seems to be of a doll with a small chest and moderate hipline. Now, in the center of the segmented image, there's a photo of the purple swimsuit that Chelly Wood made, using McCalls pattern number 3429. This swimsuit has less of an hourglass figure, and more of a V-shaped figure with a larger area for the upper chest and a smaller area for the hips. Also, we can see a sort of wavy edge to the garment along the leg line. The third and final image in this segmented illustration shows a section of the garment sketches from the back of the pattern. View A shows the wrap-around pants, which look almost more like two aprons joined together than a pair of wrap-around pants. The view B swimsuit or bodysuit drawing has very narrow straps and the leg lines curve upward gracefully from the crotch of the swimsuit.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

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.

This is a segmented image of a vintage or newly released vintage-style Mattel Barbie doll modeling a handmade stretch-fabric bodysuit or swimsuit. The left image shows a very close image of the bodysuit, where we can see the stitching which connects the two halves of the swimsuit or bodysuit right down the middle of the doll's body, from chest to crotch. The fabric at the crotch hangs a little low, and the legs look very much like shorts from this front view. The center photo shows the back and somewhat the side view. The purple fabric, with this close-up image, has a sort of ocean wave appearance to it. This is less visible at more of a distance. Although this fabric gives a feel of a swimsuit, the low-cut legs are less swimsuit like and more like a body suit. However the low cut of the swimsuit in back is more like one would expect to see in a swimsuit rather than a bodysuit. The far right image shows the Barbie from father away. In this photo, we can see how the crotch of the garment is sort of climbing into the area where the doll's legs meet up with her torso. It is a lovely purple fabric, but there's a bit too much room in the overall length of the garment.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

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…

This is a three-piece photograph. The left photo segment shows a vintage Francie doll modeling a handmade swimsuit, and she stands in profile for a good side view. We can easily see that the purple fabric of the swimsuit puffs out a bit at the bust. The swimsuit seems to also have a sort of boy-leg-look to it. The center image shows Francie from the back, with her hair moved aside, so we can see that the dip in the back of the swimsuit looks very nice, but there's a bit of a fold in the crotch at the back. The far right image shows Francie from the front. Her swimsuit or bodysuit has a very shirt-like appearance from the front, less like a swimsuit and more like a bodysuit. The crotch has a fold to it, and the legs of the bodysuit look sort of like shorts.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

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?

Here we see three different stages in the sewing of a doll's swimsuit or bodysuit. The lower left image shows an armhole hem from the "right" side. The upper left hand image shows the bodysuit or swimsuit with its front seam sewn, but it's back seam is left open, exposing all the straps across the top and just one crotch at the bottom. The crotch appears to be about an inch wide or slightly less than this. There's yet another image on the right. This is the garment completed but inside out. Again, we notice that the crotch seems a little wide for a tiny fashion doll.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

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…

This segmented image shows three shots of Mattel's modern Tall Barbie, modeling a handmade fashion doll swimsuit or bodysuit made of purple stretchy fabric. On the left, she is seen from the side. There's a dart under her arm. the swimsuit or body suit fits her torso quite well, but there's a slight lip of fabric around the back of her leg. In the center image, the back of the swimsuit has no wrinkled or irregular areas, but the neckline drops nicely down her back. In the far right image, she wears the swimsuit with a near-perfect fit. If you zoom in, you can see that the swimsuit or bodysuit's purple fabric has a slight wavy line running across it horizontally, and the seam brings these lines together in a way that lets the waves meet in the middle, where the seam runs from the doll's bust to the doll's crotch.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

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!

A modern Mattel Tall Barbie models a handmade swimsuit. The swimsuit fits the doll with clean lines. There are no wrinkled or bunched areas of the swimsuit or bodysuit. Rather, the purple fabric seems to grace her body with the smooth sleekness of a dolphin's natural skin. The neckline looks classy and dips just a bit down to her chest, looking a lot like a real woman would in her swimsuit at the beach. The Barbie's dark brown hair seems to be blowing in the wind, with curls sweeping upward from her shoulders and mid-back. The wall behind her is blue with a mottled appearance, like the bottom of a swimming pool.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

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.

To read more about my free sewing patterns and tutorials, please visit the “Helpful Tips” page.

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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.

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