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Doll Differences
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Which kind of Barbie doll are you designing for?

There are two main types of Barbie dolls. I'm not saying there aren't more types than that, even, but these are the kinds I am addressing.
 
As you can see from the pictures there are some major differences in the shapes of the two types. The newer one has narrower shoulders, smaller chest/bust, larger waist, wider hips, and larger hands; the natural waist is also a bit higher. The newer style was made to be more like a real figure, but unfortunately all of the purchased patterns I have used are catered to the older doll figure. This means it will be too loose in the shoulders and bust, and not big enough in the waist and hips, and the sleeves may be too narrow for her hand to pass through. In my patterns I will specify which type of doll it was designed for, or I will try to have variations to accommodate both types.
 
Before you begin a project, you should make sure that the pattern you have works for the doll you have. (Another problem I found was that a lot of patterns are made for the flat-footed fashion dolls, but most Barbies have feet pointed downwards for high-heels, so a floor-length gown might not actually be floor-length. Unless otherwise stated, all my patterns are catered towards the high-heeled dolls.)

dollfront.jpg

dollsside.jpg

Here are rough measurements comparing the differences between the two doll types. I repeat, they are rough measurements, and I would not recommend using them to draft patterns. They are simply to illustrate approximate differences.
 
Note: while these differences may seem very small (as little as 1/4" or 1/8"), this can make seriously effect whether or not something will fit when you're working on this scale.

 
Newer
Older
Shoulders (width)
2 1/2"
2 3/4"
Bust (around)
5"
5 1/2"
Waist
3 1/2"
2 7/8"
Hips (width)
2"
1 7/8"
Hips (around)
5 1/4"
5"

"O Fates, come, come, Cut thread and thrum" -Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream