1960s | Vintage Sewing

Vintage Barbie, the ‘Tressy* Wardrobe’

April 23, 2014

Hi All,

I was looking through my blog the other day, and I realized that I never shared this Barbie ensemble that my mom and I made for a friend’s granddaughter.

With the instructions of ‘fancy dress’ and ‘purple’ we set to work – hauling out one of our tiniest patterns!

The 1964 Tressy* Wardrobe- can I just say that I would like a Tressy* Wardrobe for myself- I would totally rock look #3!

But for our project Mom decided to make the overcoat featured in outfit #1, and I thought that Dress #5 would be ideal.

So I got out the little pattern pieces, and had a moment of swooning over the cuteness- they’re so little!

Purple velvet was the material of choice- and I decided to drop the front sash thing and make it strapless!

It was really easy to whip up, as you can see the seams are quite short- and I finished the back with snaps. With the dress and the other pieces that mom and I made, she had quite a snazzy ensemble.

So snazzy in fact, that I felt I had to make an adequately fashionable background for a photo shoot. (which I drew on craft paper stuck to the wall beside my bed, while my mom’s arm was expertly disguised under my duvet)

Here is the dress on its own, finished with a little silver trim.

The dress with the detachable overskirt that mom and I made with some purple tulle and ribbon.

And finally- the piece which I feel screams the most ‘Parisian chic’ – the velvet overcoat, trimmed in marabou

Yes, mom and I did re-live our childhood barbie dreams vicariously through this project- we may or may not have gotten a little too into this project- but I’m sure the little girl is very happy with her new Barbie attire.

If you want to see more pics and info about this project you can check out my blog!

This makes me miss my Barbie days – I had the house, the car, all the outfits (homemade and not)- I had an obsession 🙂  Did you love Barbies too?

xo erin

  1. Soooo… how hard do you think it would be to grade that up to a people size? :0)
    Absolutely gorgeous – what a lucky little girl!

    1. True story: I love early Barbie fashions so much, I set out to making “people-sized” versions for myself. Since those clothes were basically miniature replicas of what was stylish at the time, it wasn’t hard to find patterns of the designs. Fore example: Barbie’s polka dot sheath dress = Simplicity 2841 (and then i drafted pockets)

      Hope this helps!

    2. Find a duplicate pattern or modify a similar pattern. Current and vintage patterns can easily be adapted. I passed down my original “Friday Night Date” Barbie outfit to my daughter, so it was always a favorite of ours. The people size reproduction I made her one Halloween was created from a circle skirt pattern. When the “Titanic” movie was all the rage I turned a straight skirt and pea coat pattern into the “boarding outfit”. Good luck!

  2. this is so cool! i wish i knew about these patterns when i was little!. i used to make things for my dolls but just little dresses and skirts! i love the over skirt and the back ground of Paris. so chic!

  3. I had a Tressy doll; she was my very favorite! She came with teeny weeny bobby pins. She had a hank of hair that you pulled out of the top of her head to make it long, then turned a key in her back to shorten it. There were instructions included with her for various hairdos. Thank you for the reminder about this wonderful toy from my childhood!

  4. I had a Tressy doll; she was my very favorite! She came with teeny weeny bobby pins. She had a hank of hair that you pulled out of the top of her head to make it long, then turned a key in her back to shorten it. There were instructions included with her for various hairdos. Thank you for the reminder about this wonderful toy from my childhood!

  5. This is really cute! Love the purple gown and your Parisian backdrop!!
    You brought back such great memories for me. I loved my Barbie and my mom and aunt made great outfits for her with a similar pattern. I am old enough to have had one of the first Barbies in the late 50s early 60s. Wish I still had her, would be worth some serious bucks!

  6. Yes, I loved my Barbies so much, as do my daughters. I would set up Barbie neighborhoods in my room, and my patient mom would let me leave them up for days. Not surprisingly, my favorite thing to do was just to dress them in different outfits. My Nana made me glorious Barbie clothes from the scraps whenever she sewed. The new Barbies are not as well endowed as the old ones. Did you notice you have to do a small bust adjustment? Hee.

  7. I was given a Tressy doll from a family friend who had outgrown her. I loved her and thought she was so cool, much cooler than my Sindy doll. She had a section of her on the top of her head that you could lengthen and then wind back in. Loved that doll!

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