Vintage Barbie Doll Dress Tutorial

At christmas time I bought Amelia a very cheap barbie doll at Coles (I have no idea what the difference is between the more expensive but it certainly does the trick). This in turn led me to delve into my own dolls clothes I had growing up so as to play dress ups with Amelia. Due to Barbie doll clothes being ultra expenisive when I was young just about all of my dolls clothes (which to my mums surprise was quite a lot, she wonders where she found the time) were either sewn or knitted and luckily I have held onto some of these. The one I liked the most was this very cute dress but because the lace had deterioated around the arms it was no longer usable, aha I thought to myself, time for a little unpicking and remaking.

I am a little dissapointed that I did not take a picture of it before I started unpicking it but

here is a little peep at the original. As for the others there are some pants, knickabockers, bathers and and all in one thing (not sure what to call it) that I hope to have a go at replicating but as for the knitting I will definently leave that one to grammy.

So after a bit of fiddling I came up with this little number which I think is very close to the original.



Then because the pattern I had drawn was not quite right I had a second attempt and came up with this one and a working pattern for all to enjoy.



Amelia seemed to enjoy the new clothes, enjoyed ripping them off. Poor barbie is naked most of the time but in time she will play with them more. Also in time she will have quite a selection of barbie clothes. I am liking the fact that they are on a small scale and can be completed rather quickly, well not so much when you are making the pattern.

As for the pattern here it is….

Vintage Barbie Doll Dress Tutorial

(I am not that old to be referred to as vintage but it looks like it comes from that era. On the other hand if you are talking about cars anything made around the year I was born now comes under the word that means old, great!).

A good thing about this pattern is that you can modify it too many different things. You can make the skirt as long as you like, embelish, change the cut of the bodice, make a top from the bodice pattern, change the straps over the shoulders and more.

Most barbie patterns are versitile which is a good thing because when I went looking on the net for more free ones I was very disappointed to only find a few and even then they were not all that fancy. This encouraged me to put up a tutorial so that others can enjoy making their littlies some barbie clothes because I know they will appreciate it as they grow up.

Hopefully I will endevour to make some more tutorials of other patterns, at the moment I am very keen to make some pants/shorts but I must get back into Amelia’s winter sleeping sack, that project is taking way to long to complete. It is certainly looking very cute though.

She is certainly a happy camper (not so much when those chompers are coming throu).


33 thoughts on “Vintage Barbie Doll Dress Tutorial

  1. Thanks Bec! I won’t be throwing out any of my scraps now – this will be perfect for when Lani (8m) is a bit older and has some barbies – I can’t wait to play barbies, I’m sick of trains and cars, lol!

  2. Thanks so much for the pattern! I just recently got into making clothes for barbies, and am having a ball. I was inspired by the gorgeous free patterns on Have you seen them? As you say about yours, I began changing sleeves, necklines, cropping, lengthening, etc.

    I made myself a binder with patterns, magazine pictures of ideas, etc., and a small laptop carrying case that is large enough to carry binder, card stock and printer paper, scissors, thread, some cloth, a couple of different-shaped barbies, beads and other embellishments. I sew everything by hand, and like to think I’m getting better with each outfit. I go to thrift stores and yard sales for children’s clothes (smaller prints fit the scale of barbies better) and ladies’ lingerie (silks, satins, and laces, small ribbon flowers, etc.) and have been able to make some sumptuous gowns with very few resources, and have something to do when I travel or wait in doctors’ offices.

    I’m really glad to find your pattern and instructions, not only for myself, but because I want to give them to a couple of young cousins who had never sewed before a few days ago.

    I hope you will put more pitures and patterns on your site. I could see my cousins gaining patience, perserverence, and pride with each cut and stitch. Even if they never do anything else but sew on a button, they’ve learned they can take small steps and figure out a complicated job. For three girls and a boy ages 5 to 12, that’s a big confidence builder.

    Thanks, I really enjoy your site!

  3. Hi i love that u did this tutorial i have mad a bodice and a dark pink satin9vintage drsss) it works so well.

    but could u do one for the 1966/ old barbie with sleves that fir tight round arm and end at elbow? cause i cant seem to get the right arm hole? lol

    like the doll is plastic so wat could i us to make he pattern fit on her and stay still? fabric and tape is good but i need a good arm hole!!

    thanks, like i said great tutorial easy and cute u rock u need more deisgns make ur daghter proud and have fn:D

    i know i have and im 17

  4. My daughter has requested that I start sewing again for my granddaughter’s Barbie. She can’t seem to find evening dresses. I’ve got many patterns, but I like the lace straps on your pattern. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Yeah!!!! I am so excited to try this pattern out!!! I have a niece that loves her barbies and the clothes are kinda expensive and i love to sew so i have tons of fabric. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this with us!!!!

  6. Hi,I never came here till now.I think you are so cool,and I love your ideas.I’ve been wonderin’ how to make cool dresses.Now,I found my site!

  7. Thank you so much for the pattern. I love it! I am just geting back into sewing after a long time totaly not wanting to even see a sewing machine. Now I have a new one hubby got me for Christmas so I am always looking for ideas on the web.
    Thank you so much for sharing, to do something like this would be an all day job for me LOL


    • Yes it is an oldie. I believe my mum made it and it came from a womens weekly book that is a little hard to source. Perhaps one day I will try and replicate it.

  8. Je vous remercie beaucoup pour cette jolie robe de Barbie que je vais pouvoir coudre avec différents tissus pour ma petite fille en pensant à vous.
    Thank you very much.
    Caroline from Luxemburg

  9. Lovely! Like you, several years ago, I’d looked online for Barbie dresses to sew. I figured even w/ my limited skills I ought to be able to do SOMETHING. And, as small as Barbies are, I thought there’d be several pdf patterns I could simply print off! Au Contraire!! Like you, I’d found very little except knit and crochet patterns. And I didn’t like most of those.

    My daughter is now 9 and is just starting to want to dress up her barbies. I am glad. Thanks for the tutorial. I ahve saved it and hope to try it soon. I so appreciate you making it available to other mamas and crafters. Blessings to you!

  10. Pingback: This Simple Life » Blog Archive » Barbie Gets A New Dress

  11. Obrigada pelo tutorial. Vai me ajudar bastante. O tutorial está muito claro.

    Muito obrigado,
    Vânia- Brasil – MG

  12. I just happened upon your blog today. I also have a Mellebug. She just turned 1 on the 2nd of August. Her whole name is Amelia Brianne. I hope to make some of your wonderful things for my Mellebug soon.

  13. just wanted to say, thanks, good use for some of my little girls old school blouses (the ones with pretty embroidery on bottom) and my old lingerie (use the lace from that, just gotta be careful when taking off the bra/pants)

    Can see varying versions made from old clothes.

  14. Thanks for the patterns. I made clothes for my own Barbie when I was a child, for my daughter’s, and now for granddaughters. In fact, I remember making this dress long ago.

    And by the way, the little one-piece outfit was called a romper.

  15. Thank you so very much for sharing this Barbie dress pattern with us! I have looked all over the Internet before finding this one! I am wanting to cut out patterns with the “leftovers” I have when cutting a pattern and therfore, hoping I will get a jump on Christmas gifts for my granddaughters!
    Thank you again!

  16. Pingback: TUTORIALS | mellebugandme

  17. Now I know what to do with all my scraps. My four year old daughter got her first barbie-esque doll yesterday as a treat for her first day of full-time school. She calls it princess and I had to make her a nightie so she would have something to wear for bedtime. All I did was use a slightly shaped rectangle with sew-on elastic for the straps (all from a vest that was to go to charity, and I still have some left). She loves it. I was looking for more, as I make my own clothes and even more for her. Now ‘Princess’ can have some of her own as well. I may even go out and buy her a proper Barbie for her birthday!

  18. This looks like a great pattern. I’m not a beginning sewer but I don’t think I would have thought to use the lace trim like that to make the straps for the dress, Really cute.
    I like the look of the knitted pants, maybe you can get the dirrections from Granny.

    • Thanks Joanna. Granny has yet to reproduce another pair as it has turned out that now miss 6 is not at all fussed with Barbie Dolls. From memory I think this dress and knitted pants came from a vintage Womans day magazine, they still exist out there. x

  19. Pingback: Susanna makes Dresses for Barbie | Katrina Sampson's Blog

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