Barbie Couture - A Cultural Icon Inspires an Exquisitely Knitted Wardrobe

comments (4) June 23rd, 2008     

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Tina_Hilton Tina Hilton, contributor
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Barbies 1960s cable-knitted dress never went out of style.
A full scale outfit like this would require many hours of expert knitting.
A close-up of the pink dress shows the amazing shaping incorporated into the design.
The attention to detail is amazing in this outfit.
Here comes the bride in this excuisitely crafted wedding dress.
This bikini ensemble was a bit risque for its time!
Barbies 1960s cable-knitted dress never went out of style.

Barbie's 1960's cable-knitted dress never went out of style.

Photo: Tina Hilton

For many little girls, Barbie was the ideal role model of sophistication, fashion and adventure. At seven we wanted her figure, her high fashion wardrobe, her fascinating career and Ken as the faithful escort. It was not only children who were inspired by her irresistible charms. Many adults secretly loved the miniature beauties and dedicated countless hours creating meticulously detailed wardrobes for them. My Grandmother, for one, sewed original designs for Barbie using material from her sewing scraps. Robes, dresses and even tiny short sets were lovingly made and treasured by me and my sisters.

Mary Ray, fellow CraftStylish blogger and Contributing Editor of Threads Magazine, shared with me a remarkable cache of Barbie garments her Aunt meticulously designed and created. Back in the 1960’s, Mary’s Aunt knitted this timeless fashion not for daughters, grandchildren or nieces but for her own pleasure. Imagine her joy to be able to create a wardrobe of perfect garments using the finest materials to adorn the perfect model. This clever woman got hours of enjoyment designing and knitting playscale fashion in her spare moments without straining her budget. The most fascinating aspect of this story is that Mary’s Aunt created her Barbie fashions in secret. No one in the family knew of her hobby until after her death.

The joy of knitting transcends the process of creating a garment to wear in public. What is your secret knitting passion?

posted in: vintage doll knits, secret knitting, Knitted Barbie Fashion

Comments (4)

LoopyLacer writes: I'm desperate for the pattern for knitting the wedding dress. My Mom knitted that dress for me when i was little and i now want to pass it on to my daughter. Something tragic must have happened to it though because i can't find it anywhere. If you have the pattern, i have the skill to knit it. Please help me if you can.
Posted: 4:12 pm on April 28th
LisaBinSD writes: I am very curious about knitting Barbie clothes... I saw a book in my LYS for Barbie fashions, by a famous knitter (can't remember her name at the moment). Couldn't buy the book because it was the store copy and it is apparently out of print. My mother also knitted and sewed (and even smocked) many little Barbie outfits for me and my 3 sisters. I still have a box of them in the attic. I am going to follow the threads on this kind of knitting and see if I can knit for Barbie, too. I too loved the shaping on that pink number!
Posted: 1:10 am on August 21st
Tina_Hilton writes: Do you mean recreate the Barbie size or scale it up to fit a normal woman? Either way, it would be an interesting project but not an undertaking I would be able/willing to tackle. I would wear that little pink number with the sequins though...
Posted: 11:21 am on August 3rd
stashcrasher writes: How about re-creation patterns based on the originals?
I bet they would be fun to knit and since they'd be "retro", very popular today as well!
Posted: 12:39 am on June 26th
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