Barbie at the Strong Museum of Play

You may have noticed I haven’t posted a new Barbie dress in a little while and only digital items are available in my Etsy shop at the moment. That’s because my husband and I are currently on vacation in Rochester, NY. Today, we visited the Strong Museum of Play, in downtown Rochester, which has a nice exhibit about Barbie. According to some articles we read about the museum, they also have the papers of Carol Spencer, a former Barbie designer, in their archives (available to researchers by appointment).

The exhibit was called Material Girl: Inside the Closet of America’s Favorite Doll, and included Barbies from the 1960’s to present.
Barbie and the Handlers were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
Barbie dioramas by Julie Conner.

Rochester, NY, is also home to a couple waterfalls and is very close to Lake Ontario. The arts community is huge here and they host many, many festivals. We’re about a week or so ahead of prime leaf peeping season, but the scenery has been gorgeous, nonetheless. And the town is full of huge victorian mansions.

Top: Upper falls in downtown Rochester, NY. Bottom left: Lower falls, north of downtown Rochester. Bottom Right: Lake Ontario.

Heading home bright and early tomorrow morning, and then it’s back to sewing!

2022 Barbie Convention sales room

My sister and I took a road trip to Chicago this weekend to shop the national Barbie convention sales room on Saturday, when it was open to the public. We’re working on collecting Barbie dolls for a “Barbie around the World” themed Christmas tree for a 2023 Festival of Trees charity auction (we like to work ahead). Mattel has done several series of Barbie dolls from around the world, so we’re trying to get a good mix. We managed to pick up 2 more beautiful dolls: princesses of Ireland and ancient Mexico. I think we’re up to 10 countries now. Plus we scored a plant stand from an antique shop to use as our tree to display the dolls. Love that it’s already green!

Of course I had to do a little shopping for myself too.

A few of the treasures I found at the Barbie convention (clockwise from top left): The hatbox keychain is also for the Christmas tree, because of course Barbie will need luggage as she travels around the globe. I can never have enough MAD doll stands. Some lovely treasures by Rebecca Berry of Inside the Fashion Doll Studio: silk scarves, a shopping bag, and a hat box. A tiny ironing board kit, so I can finally press the back seams of straight skirts.

Plus, we saw some friends from the GAW Barbie Convention and spent a day with my nephew. All in all, a fun weekend! Now back to sewing …

Shopping treasures from GAW Barbie Convention

Believe it or not, I actually took time to do some room shopping and wander the sales room at the GAW Barbie Convention. I didn’t make it to every room, but I did find some treasures.

Susy Goose Barbie furniture to repaint
3D printed and laser cut backdrops
Miscellaneous treasures: hats and bouquets from Paintbox Designs, a pretty dress for one of my dolls to wear (many of whom were purchased nude and have nothing to wear when they’re not modeling my fashions), jewelry, luggage, a silk scarf to make into Barbie dresses, a pink poodle, and a 3D printed mannequin.
I bought one doll, a Silkstone Barbie who has had her hair restyled (so pretty!). I bought her loose, dressed in lingerie. I was disappointed to discover later that her waist is broken and she’d been taped together. She still models well for my purposes, but I wish the seller had disclosed that.

GAW Barbie convention – competitions

We just got back from viewing the competitions and buying some raffle tickets. The diorama competitors outdid themselves this year!

Antique treasures

My husband and I decided to get out of the house yesterday and do some antiquing. We visited a new-to-us antique mall as well as a favorite in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We never buy much, but it’s always fun to look. I was pleased to find a booth with sewing patterns from the 1950’s – 60’s and snatched up this Vogue Couturier pattern to see if I can adapt it for Barbie (anyone heard of the designer Rodriguez of Spain?). I also found a booth with some lovely antique lace. I soaked the lace in Woolite and warm water for an hour or so to get out any dust and musty smell and then laid it flat to dry. I’m planning to layer it over silk tissue taffeta for Barbie dresses.

Mini shopping bags for Barbie and friends

I’ve been so busy making things to sell at the Grant A Wish Barbie Convention in April, but I’m also looking forward to room shopping. To get in the spirit, I decided Barbie needed her own shopping bag.

All you need is a printer, some glue, and a bit of 1/8” wide ribbon.

Make your own mini shopping bags by downloading this file. Fold under along dotted lines and white tabs. Put glue on the white tabs and assemble. I used a small hole punch to punch out the white circles on the sides of the bag. Then thread ribbon through the holes and tie knots on the end or tape to the inside of the bag to secure.

Liberty of London fabric now available in the US at JoAnn Fabrics

I stopped into our local JoAnns store today and imagine my surprise when we stumbled upon a big display of Liberty of London Tana Lawn fabric! JoAnn is now an authorized retailer for Liberty fabrics!!! Available online and in select stores only. While the fabric is pricey at $34.99 a yard, the prints are amazing and the quality of the fabric is divine … so lightweight and easy to sew … just perfect for Barbie dresses! I had to pick up 1/4 yard each of some beautiful prints to play with.

When I was last in London — pre-pandemic — I visited the Liberty store and first fell in love with their Tana Lawn.

Liberty of London store, fabric department


Liberty’s exquisite designs are exclusively hand-drawn by artists right at their in-house studio. The printing takes place at their mill in northern Italy, which uses both innovative digital technology and age-old techniques to give results that are impeccable. The Liberty London fabrics have been at the cutting-edge of design and decorative arts since 1875 and now forms an international wholesale business, working with retailers, brands and designers across womenswear, menswear, childrenswear and homewares.

The historic Liberty store in London

Getting ready for GAW Barbie Convention

If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been posting many dresses lately, it’s because I’m busy getting ready for the GAW Barbie Convention in Livonia, Michigan, next month. I have about 25 OOAK dresses set aside to take with me (and hoping to get more made!), plus I’ve been working on 1:6 scale miniatures and some custom orders. (I won’t show you the dresses now, for fear you’d want to buy them before I get there and then I’d have none to take!) I’ve been trying to package up the miniatures as I go so I’m not frantically packing the day before. Here’s what I have done so far. More to come! Come visit Hankie Chic during room sales and in the sales room. Hope to see you there!

Magnetic brooches for Barbie
1:6 scale framed Barbie photos, pillows, and vanity sets
1:6 scale Barbie books and paper doll sets
My sister’s been knitting throw blankets and faux fur stoles for your favorite doll
My sister also made a bunch of Barbie tote bags
I’ll also have printed copies of some of my exclusive Hankie Chic sewing patterns available

Barbie and the Festival of Trees

My sister’s church does a festival of trees every year. People donate and decorate themed Christmas trees and gifts and then the trees are auctioned off to help support a local charity. This year, my sister and I decorated two trees: a baby tree (with gifts for a newborn) and a Barbie tree. Here are photos of the Barbie tree. My sister made the quilt and pillow from Riley Blake Barbie panels and fabrics. I made the tree skirt from coordinating Riley Blake fabrics. The tree is trimmed with a variety of Hallmark Barbie ornaments and Barbie accessories. A Barbie house, helicopter, dolls, miniatures and more are included.