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Crochet Clothes for Your Barbie Doll: Tips and Free Patterns

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My favorite hobby is crocheting doll clothes. Using what I've learned from reading existing patterns, I create my own designs for Barbie.

This is a luau outfit that I made a while back for the Barbie Basics doll.

This is a luau outfit that I made a while back for the Barbie Basics doll.

One of the most memorable toys girls have during their childhood years is the Barbie doll. I remember spending hours making up stories about my Barbies and always changing their clothes to suit the story I concocted for the day.

This article is about crocheting clothes for your Barbie doll. It will also tackle the different body types available to the doll throughout the years. Links will be provided to help you get started on crocheting for your Barbie doll.

Types of Barbie Bodies Available

Ever since it was first launched in 1959, Barbie has undergone many changes with her body due to the controversies surrounding her original body statistics (with Barbie being anorexic and unable to menstruate had she been a real live person).

The following is a list of the Barbie types made available since then:

  • Vintage - vital statistics estimated at (36, 18, 33), 5'9" tall, and weighing 110 lbs.
  • Twist n' Turn - the waist can now be twisted and turned. Arms are either straight or bent at the elbows. Also, this is when Barbie started getting taller from the neck down to the upper chest area. From then on, the height stayed the same throughout the years.
  • Fully Jointed Body - all the joints of the doll are bendable. This was found in the ballerina or sporty Barbies sold then.

The waist of the bodies above is small, hence the controversy for a body change because girls might emulate Barbie by being anorexic too. Since then, dolls made after 1997 have wider waists.

  • Belly Button - has a wider waist and a belly button detail.

The next type is more like the Vintage body in that it has a smaller waist again, but it is taller. These were aimed more for the adult collectors rather than girls who play Barbie.

  • B2K - In 2000, Barbie had a major re-do and was changed to look more like a proportional tall, slender woman compared to its Vintage body.
  • Silkstone - are also known as Fashion or Lingerie Model dolls. They are named silkstone because they are made of a very hard plastic that is made to mimic porcelain. The face and body are the most similar to the Vintage doll compared to the other body types.
  • Model Muse - has a very small waist (similar to Vintage), abs, collarbone, ankles, and cleavage. These dolls were not made for playing, but for display only.

In 2015, Mattel's highly-articulated Barbie doll was released in a series called Made-to-Move Barbie dolls.

  • Made-to-Move - With 22 points of articulation, this doll has more joints than previous articulated Barbie dolls. This also means that it is slightly more difficult to hide all the joints when making clothes for this doll. From personal experience, this doll has much thicker thighs, bust, and waist. The proportions are also slightly off than Model Muse body types, so adjustments are definitely necessary when adapting patterns for this doll.

In January of 2016, Mattel released a new line of Barbie dolls featuring four different body styles including: Curvy, Petite, Original, and Tall; as well as seven skin tones, which offers more diversity than ever.

  • Curvy - meant to reflect a more realistic body image for young, impressionable minds. With a tummy that actually protrudes, this body type is the most difficult one to adjust existing patterns for, since every body measurement will be bigger than the usual.
  • Petite - contrary to how it sounds, this body type is not thinner than the original, but is just a bit shorter than the original fashionista Barbie. Changes to the measurements won't be as drastic as the Curvy body type. You just need to make the torso and the bottom shorter and the clothes will fit.
  • Original - one of the more accessible body types at the moment, with a lower price point than collector's editions. Patterns should fit this type more easily and would only require little adjustments.
  • Tall - this body type is taller than the original body type. You will need to make the torso and the bottom longer to make the clothes fit.

Tip: If you are looking at Vintage patterns, there are two things you need to worry about when adjusting it for your more modern doll: the waist and the area from the neck down to the upper chest.

Tip: In order to deal with the different body types, it is good to just have an actual doll near you for occasional fittings. With some practice, you'll recognize which patterns and in what area of the outfit you will need to add or reduce a few stitches to in order to make it fit your Barbie doll perfectly.

Things You'll Need to Start

  1. There are different patterns available out there. The material ranges from crochet thread to sport yarn to worsted weight. It just depends on how you want the clothes to look like. I personally prefer the crochet thread patterns, as it can show all the details better than the thicker yarns can.
  2. Hooks to fit the gauge in the pattern. Again, gauge will not really help if the pattern is for a doll with a different body model than what you have. So always have the doll ready to fit what you are making. In time, you will recognize just how many stitches certain areas will need in order to fit properly (e.g., the waist, bust, etc).
  3. Basic knowledge of crochet stitches. Just knowing how to make the foundation chain, single crochet, and slip stitches are enough to make your own Barbie clothes.
  4. Basic sewing skills. Most patterns ask you to sew on snaps to fasten the clothes onto your dolls. Sewing on snaps sometimes helps in the fitting of the clothes, as you can adjust them to close at the right places to make it fit perfectly. A few months ago, all the stores I buy snaps from ran out, so I had to buy velcro instead. While it is more economical to buy velcro, it is also harder to sew, so I recommend going with the small snaps instead. But if you have a sewing machine, velcro might be more convenient for you.
This is another outfit I made for Barbie. The pattern for this is found in the blog: Crochet for Barbie.

This is another outfit I made for Barbie. The pattern for this is found in the blog: Crochet for Barbie.

Finding Crochet Patterns for Barbie

There are lots of crochet patterns available for Barbie. Since writing this article, I have published several free patterns for the Barbie Basics doll. Some of the more popular ones are: Barbie Simple Sheath Dress and Barbie Basic Leggings.

One of my personal favorites is the blog, Crochet for Barbie. This is because she is the only one that I have seen who indicates her Barbie's body type: the belly button model. Most sites just say, for fashion doll or 11 1/2 inch doll. It is a blog which can also help you learn how to design clothes, as the writer herself is learning how to design new things regularly. Also, she uses thread to crochet the clothes.

Another site which offers free Barbie patterns is Crochet Pattern Central. This is a collection of links with free patterns for Barbie clothes. If you're interested in working with yarn to make the clothes, then this might be a better option for you. Just browse through the Barbie section and find a pattern you like.

Lately, I have been looking for patterns from vintage newsletters like Annie's Attic. The patterns here are a bit more difficult to adapt to the body type you might have, but there are a lot of nice things available out there.

There is also a book out by Nicky Epstein, Crochet for Barbie Doll. There are several older books available in the Amazon capsule to the right.

If you find yourself liking a pattern for a real live person instead of a doll, you can also adapt those to fit your Barbie. You will need to adjust the pattern and keep fitting it on your doll to make sure it fits, but it is doable. Just have fun and enjoy crocheting doll clothes.

Questions & Answers

Question: I am new to crocheting. Do you have a pattern and the measurements for a Barbie bed blanket?

Answer: The measurements will depend on the bed. You should do a stitch sampler of whatever stitch you want in the size you want to practice your crocheting skills and also for your finished project.


Vickie R Birds on August 23, 2020:

these are really good . I recently started designing knlt doll clothes for tiny dolls..3-5 inch but use to crochet Barbie and bed doll clothes. Thanks for sharing these .

Joyce on December 30, 2019:

I've sewn and crocheted many Barbie outfits, and I LOVE your crocheted Barbie patterns on Felt Magnet; I Pinned most of them! ;) Although I was never really interested in playing with Barbie, I've always (since I was six years old) enjoyed creating furniture, accessories, and clothing for her (I'm 53 now). Thanks for sharing your generous and creative gift!

dezalyx (author) from Philippines on January 22, 2019:

Try making the lacy sleeveless top, as that is the easiest of my patterns.

Maria Kelly on January 07, 2019:

Hi is there a way of converting the dolls clothing sizes into real peoples sizes like 8,10,12 etc if you could get back to me I’d be very grateful

Peggy Snyder on January 07, 2019:

Hi I loved your article on Barbies. I am very beginer at making clothes for Barbie.Im glad I found your sitr. What would you recommend for a beginer? Tia,Peggy

Rebbecca on February 24, 2018:

I love Barbie and I'm definitely going to make these patterns

Darina on January 26, 2018:

I like what You do very much! Thanks a lot!

nancy on August 01, 2016:

nice crochet making my crochet dress collection now

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on January 16, 2014:

Love your photos and the patterns are really cute! My daughter has all the latest Barbies but I remember the old vintage Barbies my mother owned. One of them even had hairy eyelashes! Voted interesting.

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on January 16, 2014:

This is such a creative article! I loved crocheting when I was younger. i might have to pick it back up again in the future.

dezalyx (author) from Philippines on September 07, 2013:

Hi, dadra. Unfortunately, if you want to download the patterns, you will have to copy paste the instructions manually. I usually write the patterns on paper and transfer them directly to the site. I don't keep a soft copy on my hard drive.

dadra henry on September 06, 2013:

hi love your patterns but my computer won't let me download a lot of them like the leggings and and socks.I was able to get a few to crochet for my grand daughters. thank you very much for sharing

Heather from Arizona on September 07, 2012:

These outfits are super cute! I wish I had the time and patience to learn this craft. You really did a fantastic job with this article and the fashions.

How-to-crafts from Ireland on July 05, 2012:

Another great hub on crocheting Barbie doll clothes. The example you have shown above is really good. The way you have made the whole outfit is unusual and works!

Shared on Twitter. Voted up, awesome and interesting

Jasmine on June 22, 2012:

Such a great idea! I love your examples for Barbie doll crochet clothes! I wouldn't mind having a dress like the one in the second photo myself :)

Roberta McIlroy from Ontario, Canada on June 20, 2012:

A trip down memory lane. thank you :)

dezalyx (author) from Philippines on June 16, 2012:

Thanks! They are also quite fun to make. :)

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on June 16, 2012:

I have never seen a Barbie with crochet clothes, they are cute! Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. This way for Barbie to shine sure to read and vote!

Veronica Lewis from Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania on May 22, 2012:

Very informative. I have made lots of doll clothing but never for the fashion dolls like Barbie. I've been considering it though. I like your idea of using a pattern for a real person. And I like the site for the free patterns. Voted up1