Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Handmade. Barbie Clothes! IN A MUSEUM!!!

I played with Barbies a LOT as a child. I had a Barbie car, a horse that Barbie rode, her pet dog, and even a hot tub that you could make bubble and that came with a slide. Family legend had it that my cousin Amy, a few years older than I, had once had a working Barbie washer and dryer. She apparently used it, much as a real washer and dryer are used, to ruin a bunch of Barbie clothes?

Anyway, so goes the legend.

And although both my Mama and my Nana sewed, and even taught me to sew a little as a pretty young child (I used to use my Nana's polyester scraps to sew clothing for my set of stuffed bananas, an easy prospect since they had no arms or legs), I never DREAMED of handmade clothes! For Barbie!!!

The fact that handmade Barbie clothes are in a museum now does not surprise me in the slightest.

The Indianapolis Children's Museum is currently exhibiting Barbie: The Fashion Experience. I do NOT approve of their dress-up area being tied to a child-sized fashion runway--watching toddlers work it in person is even more chilling than watching it on train-wreck TV--but the child-sized design studios, with fabric scraps that can be pinned on teeny-tiny dressmaker's dummies? Love it. The area for sketching out one's own fashion designs? Love it. The displays of Barbies and their fashions from that black-and-white bikini to the latest Project Runway designs? Love it.

And the special exhibit of Barbie clothes, made by somebody's grandmother a very long time ago?
Love it.

While I was zoning out on my ipod and browsing the exhibits, Matt was supervising the girls playing with Barbies at a Barbie-sized runway just off-stage of the real runway. He had a great view of the disturbingly large deal being made by preschoolers and parents in the hair and make-up stations--people, and adult people, no less, were getting REALLY excited about this--and a great location to eavesdrop on parents just about to send their children out onto the child-sized runway ("Go look sexy for Daddy, honey, so he can take your picture!"). It was enough to nearly send him over the edge:
Of course he didn't actually bite Barbie's head off. He practically doused himself in hand sanitizer just from touching her with his hands--he does not carry mouthwash in case of unsanitary biting conditions.


Mo Tucky said...

You're spot on about the pre-tween runway (though I've never seen it). The thought simply makes me cringe.

Were you aware of the Doll Museum in Atlanta? They "have" Madame from Solid Gold!

Unknown said...

I remember the incident with the Barbie clothes. It was a child size washer and dryer. They were mine before they were Amy's. They were from the Susie Homemaker collection. I had the washer and dryer, oven, and gosh I can't remember what else, but they did actually wash clothes and I was there when Pat discovered the wet Barbie clothes. The oven actually cooked. It heated with a light bulb and once it got to a certain temp the door would lock and wouldn't open back up until the oven had cooled back down. I burned up some money once I had hidden in the oven. Mother helped me sew a bunch of Barbie clothes. Even a Barbie wedding dress out of the material of your mom's wedding dress. Ah, good times.

Anonymous said...

That yellow shirt with the buttons? I SO HAVE that pattern!!! Honest. Along with an enormous stack of other late 60's early 70's fashions for Barbie AND KEN!! That's how I learned to sew!

Now that I've totally carbon dated myself...

cake said...

i had no idea that they had a runway in there. yuck. however, there are people who are sort of related to me, who would be thrilled about EVERY aspect of that barbie exhibit.

i tried once, to sew some doll clothes, not for a barbie, but a baby doll. it was really hard. i don't recommend it. not worth it.