McCalls 7550 is a mini-wardrobe of vintage styles for 11.5″ fashion dolls like Barbie. It’s a current pattern, and I’ve linked it to the Simply Delightful website for Vogue, Butterick and McCalls patterns. You can buy it in hard copy or as a digital download, either there or from a local fabric store. I have a hard copy.
I liked the vintage look of these garments for Barbie and made the sundress shown in blue and white on the pattern envelope. It’s a halter back dress with a full circle skirt and is Dress E.
Here are the pattern line drawings:
I made this first in a green quilting cotton but wasn’t as happy with the result as would have been ideal. Piecing that bodice is fiddly and it’s a challenge to get those seams to lie flat on the front. My corners didn’t turn as nice crisp points even though I trimmed the seam allowances. And the bodice is tight on my vintage Barbie. I think there are three reasons for this: first, the doll photographed is a newer and less curvy model; and secondly, the fabric is probably thicker than would be best, and thirdly, I didn’t follow the directions closely for the back.
Here’s Babs showing off that version:
The front looks good, but see at right how the back gaps open. (And yes, I sewed on little contrasting buttons.)
Even on this version, I did make some changes. First, I sewed lace on the hem on the tulle underskirt. Secondly, the bodice is lined, but after piecing it, you’re instructed to sew around the raw edges of the center back and waistline – when you join the skirt, there will be a raw edge inside the garment. I couldn’t see the point of having a lining if that was the case, so I tucked the raw edges in between the bodice and the facing. I had done the same for the center back, but then didn’t have enough fabric for a good overlap for the snaps – that contributed to it being tight. Finally, I added a ribbon around the waist, sewing it into the center back seam on each side, then tying it at the front and tacking it down there so the bow can’t come undone.
I made the dress a second time, and read the directions for the back more closely this time. This version is better. This is another quilting cotton but it’s not as thick as the green print.
I forgot to tuck the ribbon ends into the center back seam (duh) so had to sew them by hand. This time, I only used one layer of tulle instead of two, but I put lace on the edge again. This one also got a ribbon rose and (again) contrasting buttons. 🙂 I made the same changes with putting raw edges inside the bodice and facing, but only used a 1/8″ seam allowance at the center back instead of 1/4″. This fit vintage Barbie much better and the opening below lies more smoothly. I think it should be finished more, though, so there’s a version three.
I also tried both purses from this pattern in a shiny fake leather. I love the clutch – which is upside down in the picture! – and it was both quick and easy. The other purse is a bit floppy, plus I thought the strap was short and thick. The flap curls on that one, too, so maybe the fake leather needs to be doubled over or interfaced. Maybe the bag needs to be lined. Modifications are required!
For version three of the sundress, I applied fusible knit interfacing to the center back seam allowance for the skirt. This will ensure the edges can’t fray after the garment is done.
And here’s version three with the new purse!
My model is a Silkstone Barbie, new to me. She’s Lingerie #2 from 2000 and I bought her NIB on eBay. Her hair needs to be redone since the elastics have disintegrated over time and her lingerie is a bit yellowed. I’ll give it a handwash to see if that will clean it up. I hadn’t seen a Silkstone Barbie before and there are cool things about her – a little more detail in the sculpt and the material makes her heavier. Her knees don’t bend, though.
I was so busy trying to get her to hold her new purse that I didn’t realize she was doing a drunk-lean on the steps.
This quilting cotton is probably the thickest of them all and that made the flamingo dress a bit challenging. I’m tempted to try one in Liberty Tana Lawn just to see how much easier it would be in a thinner cotton, but I need a break from this dress.
Fiddly fiddly sewing for Barbie! I like the challenge, though, and I’ll show you some market bags that I created in 1/6 scale next.