The Barbie Closet

This Christmas we did something radical . . . for us. We bought used!

I didn’t have a plan to do this. It sort of evolved when I was not enthused by the latest Barbie fashions. (I will sound like an old lady but some of those clothes are truly short and inappropriate . . and have you seen the bizarre outfits they have Ken wearing these days?) So, I went looking for some vintage Barbie clothes. The problem was, so was everyone else. The clothes were being sold for high bids on eBay and disappearing from CraigsList as fast as they could be posted. But in my search, I came across a really neat vintage Barbie closet. . . and a new idea for a gift was born.

The closet wasn’t anything “official” Barbie, just a tiny, plain wooden closet. It included hangers and a set of plastic luggage for the bargain price of $10!

Since I was yearning for vintage Barbie clothes, instead of the actual clothes, I decided to turn this gift into creative juice for my 6 year old. I bought two Barbie books used. One was by one of my favorite knitters, Nicky Epstein, about how to knit your own Barbie clothes and the other was a great scrapbook of sorts showing all the different vintage Barbies and their outfits.

The creative juice part worked! My daughter LOVED the closet. She has already traced, cut out and colored one of the hangers to make her own paper hanger (to put paper clothes on, she informed me).

She also liked the idea that we could design our own clothes for the Barbie. (FYI, designer Cynthia Rowley indicates she got her start in fashion design designing for her Barbie as a child.) “Great!” I said and expected her to tell me which pattern she wanted to make from the Barbie knitting book. “What would you like to make?”


“Pajamas? OK, great! Let’s just find some pajamas. . . .” It turns out that there is not a single pattern for pajamas! I even Googled. No one but my daughter wants to make Barbie pajamas. So, we improvised. She drew on a piece of paper her idea and brought me yarns from my yarn stash to make it from.

I made up a simple dress pattern on the fly. I didn’t replicate her idea exactly but used her yarn choices and her idea to put hearts on the jammies. Once the pajamas were finished, the second request came:

“Now she needs slippers!”

Here is our finished result! A Barbie original.

Our original design for Barbie pajamas.

We also like the fact that the closet is an organizing solution for the Barbie. My husband was complaining that he didn’t want Barbie clothes and shoes all over the place. Now we have a place to put them all. Since we are making the clothes ourselves, my daughter seems to take a little more pride and care with them too, making sure to hang up all the clothes that are not being used.

What are your favorite Barbie organizing solutions? Please share in the comments.