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Barbie Rescue

I love Barbies, and have since I received a Brunette Bubble Cut in 1963. I still have her.

During the lockdown I hooked up with some Barbie facebook groups, and spent a little time and money on replacing some of Barbie’s clothes, friends, and accessories.

Here they all are in Barbie’s sewing room, which is a shelf in my sewing room.

That was a lot of fun, but I was out of room and money. I looked around for a Barbie charity. Sure enough, Barbie Care and Share is based in California. They are a great group, and got back to me right away when I reached out for advice.

There isn’t a Portland branch, and I’m not really interested in starting one. I had done a few rescues for friends, and had my own take on the idea.

Like Barbie Care and Share, each of my dolls gets a bath, shampoo, and hairstyle. Each doll gets a pair of shoes, two outfits, an accessory, and a drawstring bag. I also add jewelry and a swimsuit.

After I had done the first batch, I called around and found a family shelter that would take them. Hospitals are only interested in new items in the original package. I also contacted children’s clothing closets and low-income housing complexes.

I love this charity craft for children. It’s thrifting, recycling, sewing, jewelry-making, knitting, and Barbie.

I get most of the dolls on e-Bay. The princesses are favorites, so look for bundles of them. For Barbie, I look for a mix of types and skin tones, and I don’t forget the Kens and princes. I knit and sew a lot of the clothes and make the jewelry. I get the shoes and accessories from e-Bay, and I make the drawstring bag out of fabric remnants. I’m a quilter, so I have a lot of that!

Each batch of six dolls usually contains two princesses, a Ken, and three Barbies. I mix up body types and skin tones with each batch.

Barbies have changed since 1963! Vintage patterns don’t always fit newer Barbies, and Barbie now comes in different heights and thicknesses as well as skin colors and hairstyles. And not all of the princesses are actual Barbies, throwing more body types into the mix.

I’ve figured out some things that work for most dolls, and I will be sharing these in other posts.

Meanwhile, here are Rapunzel before and after photos – cheers!