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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dolly Dress Discussion: pink and black Fashionistas dress

It's RagingMoon1987 with another Dolly Dress Discussion and a confession.  Some of y'all may get tired of me showing off the new outfits I get, and that's fine.  No one has commented hatefully or any of that, but I admit that pictures of clothes can get kind of dull after awhile.  Nope, I've been posting these largely to keep from going insane.  At the ripe old age of 29, adulthood has hit me squarely between the eyes.  I know that I'm very fortunate to not have had it come on earlier, but I wish it weren't so cotton-pickin' painful.  My mother is recovering nicely from her hip surgery and her spirits are relatively high, but she still is not independent and that's frustrating for both her and me.  We used to go on walks through graveyards together, and I want to do that as much as possible before she becomes completely immobile like my grandmother is becoming.  Grandma has settled into retired life with no fuss, but she's very weak and needs a lot of help doing simple things like getting up out of a chair or putting a Band-Aid on her leg.  To top it all off, First Uncle came to visit and now HE has a bum hip too.  He has no idea how he injured the thing, but when he came in he was gimping badly and leaning on a cane...something that he's never had to do before.  That's the worst part about growing up.  I hate watching the adults that I love getting old, slowing up, dying off...<pauses to cry>
Okay, it's not as bad as I'm making it out to be.  No one's terminally ill or in the hospital on a ventilator (like one of First Uncle's friends), finances are stable, I've got a good job and a place to live, everyone is in a decent mood...I just don't like for my loved ones to suffer.  Second Uncle is no help...take that back, he drops everything to drive us places, so yes, he is a lot of help.  Unfortunately he also finds a way to turn every discussion we have into a way to feel sorry for himself.  I know that watching his mother slow up can't be any easier on him than it is on me, but he could be a little less self-pitying.  Heh-heh, aren't I a fine one to talk!  LOL, on a more positive note, First Uncle's cane is really neat.  He made it himself out of a piece of oak, a brass bob on one end...and a SKULL for a handgrip!!!  He has kindly allowed me to photograph the grip for the blog.
Pardon my French, but that's pretty badass.  I thought it was just a plain silver knob at first, but when he laid the thing down I saw the knob was a skull.  I admire First Uncle's ability to cobble together a walking stick, too; my dad used to make walking sticks, and indeed when Grandma saw First Uncle's stick she asked "Did Paul make that?"  Just a testament to how much Daddy and First Uncle were alike.

Now that I've verbally unloaded, great time to start the post.  My search for Gabby Douglas continues to be fruitless; the local stores have the new Made to Move dolls that are dressed as skateboarders, soccer players, and karateka and they're super cute, but they're not what I'm looking for.  The last time I relied solely on physical stores for my dolly search, I ended up missing out on the doll I wanted (10th Anniversary Tokidoki Barbie).  So in order to land my Gabby I may have to order online.  The good news is that Mattel appears to be kicking clothes production up a notch.  I've got this new dress, which according to the package will fit all four Barbie bodies.
Pink and black plaid dress with black accessories.  It's pink like oh so many of Barbie's fashions, but it's not hot pink so I can live with it.  The back of the package has something that excites me, though.
I have the long pink dress on the left, and the short pink dress on the right is the one we'll be looking at today, but that one in the center is...NOT PINK!!!  It's yellow, one of my favorite colors.  Challenge accepted and search initiated.  Meanwhile, let's look at my new outfit.  It consists of the dress, a headband, and a purse.
The dress has sheer sleeves that may snag if they catch on the Velcro.  It's this panel of fabric that keeps the dress from being a strapless sweetheart dress.  I like strapless sweetheart necklines, but they can be bad about falling down so I'm glad that panel of black fabric is there.
The bodice is fitted and the skirt puffs out, and the hem is trimmed with black tulle.
The fabric is a magenta synthetic weave with black stripes forming a gingham pattern.  It's the type of fabric that would look fabulous all the way around, and...
...THE PATTERN GOES ALL THE WAY AROUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I may cry for joy over this...or maybe I'll just jump for joy instead.  Yeah, I like the idea of jumping better.  But seriously, Mattel just doesn't do that anymore, not with any consistency.

The accessories are your typical plastic accessories.  The headband is made of black plastic and has cat ears with molded (but not painted) studs.
Mattel must like this mold, because I have two other headbands like this.  One is silver and the other one is black like this.

The purse is molded like a Chanel bag.  It's a cute shape, but for the most part it's just a throwaway.  None of my dolls will be able to hold it.
No shoes either.  Mattel outfits almost never have shoes anymore, or if it's a two-outfit set there'll only be one pair of shoes.  I still haven't figured out the reasoning for that.

Now it's time to play Dolly Dress Shuffle.  I know this outfit will fit the original body, so I'm just dragging out tall Ketsana ("Boho Fringe," left), petite Natalie ("Love That Lace," center), and curvy Deb ("Zig and Zag," right).
It is so hard to photograph Deb properly!  I always get the lighting wrong and she ends up looking devious.  She's really much prettier than this picture shows.  Since I brought up Deb let's try this dress on her first.
Natalie and Ketsana may get to try this on and they may not.  I love how this looks against Deb's dark skin, and I also love how it matches her gaudy pink lipstick.  As an added bonus, Deb is the only one of my chosen three who has stock shoes that match the dress.  Admittedly, it IS tricky to get the sleeves over Deb's stiff arms, so keep that in mind if you choose this dress for a curvy doll with straight arms.

Also, Deb proved me wrong by being able to hold the purse.
Not terribly convincing, but she CAN hold it.

I'm dying to see how this will look on Ketsana, so she goes next.
The headband looks better with Ketsana's full head of hair than it does with Deb's partially shaved head.  Unfortunately Ketsana can't hold the purse; her thumbs proved to be too slim.  Her slimmer arms made her easier to dress, though.  The shoes are add-ons and are not a perfect match, but they'll do for now.  So Ketsana can definitely rock this.

Natalie's turn.
The bodice is loose on Natalie, but she too looks adorable in this.  She can hold the purse like Deb can, and she has a full head of hair that flatters the headband like Ketsana does.  However, I was unable to find shoes that matched the dress.  I've got several pairs that Natalie can wear, but nothing that matched the dress.

While digging through my boxes for these dolls I unearthed an old Teen Skipper.  Just for grins, I'm going to try this on her.
I wasn't expecting Skip to be able to wear this, but she too can slide into it like she owns it.  Her feet have a slight heel so I was able to find a pair of shoes that both fit and match, and her thumbs are fairly thick so she can hold the purse.    The bad news is that Skipper's permanently attached yo-yo and bracelet DON'T match.  I can change the yo-yo to something that does match, but the bracelet is there to stay.  Also, Skipper's yo-yo mechanism has a lever that makes it work, and said lever is sticking out of the middle of her back.  That made it tricky to get the Velcro fastened, though I was able to get the job done.

In short, I'm really at a loss as to who wore this dress best.  Deb ended up with it for the time being, but I think this is going to be one of those dresses that gets shared around a lot.  I have a few dresses like that.  Who do y'all think wore it best?

Happy Memorial Day,

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dolly Dress Discussion: Totally Hair Barbie outfit

I was planning this post for Saturday, but I have to work on Saturdays now so today is the day.  Seems like I've been hitting Barbie clothes hard lately!  The purchase of this outfit came from my attempts to find some Cut 'n' Style Barbie outfits.  Y'all remember my Cut 'n' Style girl, Marie?
Maybe, maybe not.  No biggie.  Back in the eighties and nineties each new Barbie line was accompanied by a handful or two of new outfits that matched the theme, but as far as I can tell the Cut 'n' Style line didn't get this luxury.  The Totally Hair line did, however, so that's what I have today.
There were four colors in this line, or flavors, as one of my teachers used to say.
Orange, pink, blue, and chartreuse.  Mine is obviously the chartreuse one; I actually like the blue one best, but that yellow-green sateen will look fabulous with Marie's hair.  Each of these outfits came with some sort of vague secondary theme, and part of each outfit came with a child's hair accessory that mirrored this theme.  The chartreuse outfit's theme is bows.  I originally thought that this outfit had two pieces like the Skipper outfit, but in truth it has three pieces (dress, ribboned thing, and purple thing ) plus shoes.  The purple thing turned out to be a doll-sized hairband, but I'm going to start with the dress...romper...whatever this thing is.
Even though the theme is bows, there are no bows on this...it has legs, so I'm going to call it a romper.  It's made out of chartreuse sateen, and at first glance it looks like it would be two pieces.  However, it's a one-piece number, with a bandeau top and a little cutout below.
The legs of the romper look like they might be about knee-length.  I haven't tried this on Marie yet so I'm just guessing at the length.  On the package it looks like these legs are trimmed with ribbons, but they're plain.  The ribbons are part of another piece.
The back of this romper closes with...guess what?  VELCRO!!!
My favorite thing about this outfit is the writing on the romper.  I'm not sure if this was printed or painted by hand; I assume the former since hand-painting would've been very labor-intensive.  Either way the writing is done in rainbow-colored paint, and it has words that relate to hair and hair decorations, stuff like "POM-PON," "BOW," and "FLOWER."  Barbie's name is also on there, of course.
For some weird reason, the word "ribbon" is written in French.
Very cute!  If my eyes are correct, all four of these outfits had that touch.  If my eyes aren't correct, I'm going to sue my eye doctor.  LOL

Now to the part that has bows.
This is the part that I thought was an extension of the skirt, but it's not.  This is intended to be a wrap for a child's ponytail; if my hair were long enough I'd model it for y'all, but I recently got my hair cut so I can't do that.  Xenia might be able to, though; she has a lot of hair.
I think Xenia looks silly like this, but Mama likes the style.  Silly as it may be, I'll probably let her keep this hair wrap, as the big bows are more in proportion with Xenia's scale than they are a Barbie's.  Anywho, the hairband is made out of dark pink elasticized sateen, and it has four large bows sewn on.  There's a blue bow...
...a hot pink bow...
...an orange bow...
...and a purple bow.
On the package this hairband is worn around Barbie's legs, but we're not quite to that yet.  There's still the Barbie-sized hairband to talk about, though there isn't much to say.
It's a purple piece of tulle attached to a matching band of elastic.  No glitter or anything of the sort, and if not for the paint on the romper and the purple bow on the child's hairband, it wouldn't match at all.

Then of course, there's these shoes.
These are the same mold as Shani's yellow shoes and as Dee-Dee's orange shoes, but they're yet another color that I neither have owned nor have seen before:  magenta.  Once again these shoes wouldn't match a thing about the outfit, but the paint is there to tie them in.

Given the bulk and the garish colors of the child-sized hairband, I have a suspicion that Marie is going to look hilarious in this.  And...
...actually, I'm really not sure where that big hairband is supposed to go.  The pictures on the package show it around the knees, but it could just as easily go around Marie's waist...
...or her head.
No, not her head.  I'm definitely not feeling that look.  But those ribbons stick out at odd angles and create a lot of bulk, and I'm not sure if I feel how it looks anywhere on Marie!  At the same time, the outfit looks a little plain without it.
Okay, it's not that bad without that bow thing.  The bandeau top is a smidge problematic, as it's constantly wanting to come untwisted and look asymmetrical.  Don't click that link if you have epilepsy, by the way.
I should probably warn y'all that I may start including a lot of references to opening and closing logos from now on.  I'm that big of a nerd.  Anyway, the problem with the bandeau is easily fixed with a little manipulation of the fabric, instantly rendering Marie decent and stylish again.

Regarding the small purple hairband, I was concerned that it wouldn't look as nice on Marie as it does in the ample hair of the Totally Hair models.  As it turned out, I needn't have worried.  Not only does the band look cute perched on the side of Marie's head, but the purple looks pretty with Marie's hair.
As with my other two pairs of high heels, this pair fits Marie without any problems.  Y'all hear that?  NO SPLITS!!!!!!!!!
I heard from a very reliable source that Skipper shoes of the era were bad to split, so I feel better about that.  Even so, I feel a tad ambivalent about this particular outfit.  With the hairband/wrap the overall ensemble is busy and bulky, but without it the overall look is underwhelming.  I'll have to play with this getup a bit more before it looks 100% right in my eyes, but I was correct about one thing:  that chartreuse fabric does indeed look fabulous with Marie's hair!

Mama's post-op went well; her doctor says that her new joint is slowly ossifying and that she should be as good as new in a few weeks.  She is to continue physical therapy, and Doctor wants her to drink two cups of milk a day.  Mama hates milk, LOL.  I bought some shredded wheat and some chocolate syrup to make the milk a bit more palatable for both of us, since I am admittedly not a big milk fan either.

Much love,

Dolly Dress Discussion: Cool Tops Skipper outfit

For this fairly brief Dolly Dress Discussion I'm going to take a look at one of Barbie's oft-neglected younger sisters.  I have a number of Skipper dolls from the late eighties and early nineties (the doe-eyed era), nearly all of which fell into my sister's clutches and thus lost their clothes along the way.  My sister had a very odd way of playing with our dolls.  Anyway, I've reclaimed these old playthings of childhood past and crammed them into ill-fitting Barbie dresses, most of which are too big AND too small at the same time.  Skylar, my very pretty Sparkle Beach Skipper, is one of the lucky ones, as this Fashionistas dress fits her almost perfectly.
My mother likes Skylar the way she is, but I wanted something a little more age-appropriate...and something that came with shoes.  Enter the Cool Tops outfit, yet another eBay find.
Yeah, it's pink.  Apparently Skipper still wasn't out of the "monkey see, monkey do" phase by 1989 and wanted everything pink like Barbie.  But then again, Barbie didn't start boning up on the pink until after this outfit was made, so maybe I'm being a bit hasty calling Skipper a copycat.  It doesn't really matter, because the outfit is very cute.  The theme of this line was a little unusual, focusing heavily on graphic T-shirts.  The Cool Tops line had three dolls (Skipper, Courtney, and Kevin), plus five extra outfits (none of which were for Kevin).
That set of outfits lacks the vivid colors and goofy patterns of the United Colors of Benetton line, so maybe picking this pink dress was a wiser decision than I thought.  It's probably no secret by now that I love bright colors, and that rule includes pink even though I think it's overused for doll clothes.  So let's take a look at this outfit.  It's a simple one, only two pieces plus shoes.
The top is supposed to be the focal point of this outfit.  It's a scoop-necked T-shirt, made out of hot pink jersey fabric.
The neckline plunges in the back a little, right above the seam in the back (no Velcro).
Now to the graphic on the front.  All these tops had little graphics on them, thus why the line was called "Cool Tops."  This particular top's graphic appears to be a decal, and it is a brightly colored pair of shoes with a jazzy-looking set of triangles forming a frame.
The decal is cracking a bit, but I sort of like this.  It looks like the distressed styles that I used to wear.  And...that's it.  The top is cute and probably was stylish for its time, but it's very simple.  The skirt picks up the slack.
Well, visually it picks up the slack.  The skirt consists of several pleated pink tulle panels, snd these panels in turn have a fair amount of glitter attached...
...plus three cute chartreuse bows.
The panels are sewn to a short white underskirt that serves the dual purpose of providing a base for the panels and keeping Skylar modest.
The underskirt also has a band of elastic sewn into the waist.  Smart move in omitting Velcro, since it would've snagged the living daylights out of this tulle.  The tulle isn't hemmed in any way, nor can I see any way that it COULD have been hemmed.  As far as I know, tulle is almost never hemmed anyway.

Lastly, the shoes.  Simple white flats.
Notice that one of them is already split.  I got this outfit MIB and promptly dressed Skylar in it, and within five minutes this shoe split.  It still fits Skylar's foot, but that split is a mega bummer.  Luckily for me, I happen to know how to fix splits like this, and since the shoe is white it'll be easy to conceal.  I think it's too bad that these shoes don't match the graphic on the shirt, by the way.
That would've been a cute little touch, but since I'm going to be doing shoe repairs anyway I can always paint these to my liking.  Or I may just repair that split and let that be that, since white goes with everything.

As always, here's the doll in the full outfit.
Pulling the skirt up was a chore since it's fairly tight and Skylar's legs are very rubbery.  Getting the shirt over her widely spread arms wasn't easy either, and of course that stupid shoe had to go and split.  Despite the drawbacks, it's very nice to have an outfit specifically intended for an old Skipper like this.  The Fashionista dress looked okay and I may put Skylar in it again if I get in the mood, but for now she stays in this.  The Cool Tops outfit is deceptively simple, perfect for the age group that it was intended for, but it's also appealing to the eye and that makes it a treat.  Not all simple outfits are this eye-catching, and some eye-catching outfits are impossible to put on, so this one strikes a nice balance.

Stay tuned for another Dolly Dress Discussion in the very near future; on the same day that the Cool Tops outfit arrived, I received another dress for one of my Barbies.  As they say during commercial breaks, don't go away!