Star-Telegram – Runway Barbie
My local newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, put together a challenge based on Project Runway. Anyone interested could email them, and have a packet of supplies sent out—and the challenge was to dress a 14″ doll using the supplies they sent.
There were a couple of restrictions on this challenge. Participants weren’t allowed to use supplies like glitter, beads or fabrics they already had on hand, but we were allowed to use any tools and glues we owned. We were allowed to spend no more than $5 on items to augment the supplies sent to us, and were required to use at least three items from our packets. Other than that, it was open season!
So, here’s what was in my packet:
A piece of teal felt.
A few strands of raffia.
Silk flowers and leaves.
A handful of rubber bands.
A red and a pink balloon.
A lavender tulle circle
A little plastic baggie with a few beads, rhinestones, sequins, and a couple of sequin pins inside.
Any thoughts on how you’d use these to dress a doll?
I had to hunt down a Barbie, and pickings were sort of slim. I found this doll, whose hair was a nice match to the teal felt. However, she came with big plastic wings that were permanently attached. My first step was to perform a wing-ectomy, which left a small hole in her back. Hmm, something I’ll have to cover later…
Starting at the top, I wrapped the doll’s hair with one of the rubber bands, and tucked the silk flowers into her new up-do. The ends were a little scruffy, so I gave her a quick trim.
The teal felt reminded me of something—the linings of my TXU Energy bill envelopes. I get two of these in the mail every month, and I love the pattern of the tiny logos on the white background. I decided to do a dress that was half envelope, and half felt. I cut the envelopes up, and created half a bodice and skirt by folding, wrapping and taping directly to the doll’s body.
The other half of the dress was made from the felt, which I just wrapped, glued, and then cut to the correct length. To show off the patterned underskirt, I folded back the front and back of the felt skirt, and decorated by scalloping and punching holes along the edges.
Barbie still looked a little bare, so I added a small jacket made from a strip of felt and a strip of envelope. I wrapped each side to create sleeves. This covered up the small hole in her back, too.
Here’s the finished doll. I added a belt made from one of the balloons and another rubber band, decorated with rhinestones and the tulle circle. I also added earrings made from some of the goodies in the little plastic bag.
I had a lot of fun with this challenge. It was a great excuse to play with a doll for a day!
Edited on 2/24 to add:
Although this challenge is set up as a competition, I’m not particularly interested in that part. In fact, I’m against art competitions in general—for me, the challenge is making something, not winning some sort of art popularity contest.
Edited on 2/26 to add:
Wow, who knew this would elicit so many fun comments? Thanks for all the interesting feedback.
To those who want me to make them outfits: dream on! I spent ten years as a professional costume designer for stage. I’ve made all the people clothes I’m going to make in this lifetime. Besides, dolls don’t mind when the only way to keep a dress on is to pin it into their backs
This just in: local art friend Livia also entered photos of her doll, which was chosen as one of the finalists. Yay, Livia!