When I was at my mom’s house this summer I was helping her clean out some closets and I found a huge box of old Barbies….a mixture of mine and my mother’s from when she was little.
My grandmother Beauty handmade the tiniest little fashions for my mother’s Barbies. I remember this outfit was one of my favorites growing up. I loved the drop waist ball gown and the matching reversible coat:
I love the vintage prints of these house dresses:
(more after the jump)
Even the coats my grandmother made were impeccable…..my mother’s Barbies had a real fur coat!
I love vintage things……especially if I know the history behind them. Here’s a photo of my grandmother when she was a young child……love the style:
I don’t know if my grandmother was creative at a younger age….but when she was married with children she made everything, out of love for sewing and necessity. My grandfather was a firefighter in Washington, DC and when my mother was a young girl, he was in a horrific fire that seared his lungs and they gave him 4 months to live. He moved the family out to the Potomac river to live out his last days.
It was difficult to make ends meet but my grandparents ended up taking in 3 foster children in addition to their own children, my mother and uncle.
To clothe the entire family my grandmother took in second hand clothes and re-purposed them into unique one-of-a-kind clothing. She made all of her own outfits too….sometimes matching my mother’s:
My grandmother never even learned to drive…..but you could guarantee a handmade Christmas surrounded by beautiful handmade furnishings:
My mom participated in pageants to get a scholarship to college and my grandmother made all of her gowns:
My mom says I’m just like my grandmother…..always thinking about the next thing to make and never doubting that I can make something if I work hard enough at it. The love of “handmade” runs in our family. Where do you think YOUR creativity comes from?
P.S. Even though they gave my grandfather 4 months to live he ended up living long enough to see my mother get married and to meet me!
I was lucky enough to spend a few years with my Dad’s mother too….she made the most delicate Faberge style eggs and loved handmade as well.
Click the image to see her handmade items:
What a sweet story! I love hearing stories like that. I’m glad your grandfather lived long enough to meet you. It’s great when people beats the odds.
I think I get my creativity from my Grandma June. I love to sew, mold, paint, draw…. anything artsy and she was that way too. She just didn’t see a piece of fabric she saw a dress, or a skirt or something wonderful. She once wrote a children’s book, but never had the nerve to publish it I heard it was a great book too. I wish my aunt brought the draft with her when she visited last.
Last time I was at my mom’s she got out some of the dresses I made for my barbies…. not as nice as your grandma’s but it was fun to see the things I sewed when I was younger.
I LOVE all the vintage Barbie items of the 50’s and early 60’s – they were perfect knock-offs of Givenchy. Lanvin, and others. My sister is a huge collector and has all of her Barbie items and mine cataloged with all the accessories. She knows all the names of the outfits and the year they came out.
My mom was super crafty and had a great eye. She even made us Barbie clothes – knitted them. She passed away in March and seeing the things she made – make the all the more special to me now. I got my creative genes from her for sure.
Enjoyed this post.
My best- Diane
I just Love reading your stories my dear!
Very cool. Some of my old Barbies are in my parent’s basement. I need to get them sometime. I’m sure they don’t smell too good though. haha.
Karen C. says
How cool! I love the vintage jacket. So Jackie O. The family pics are so nice. It’s neat to see what you talents you get from your family. My grandmother was a seamstress. I feel compelled to be better at sewing.
Thank you for sharing that wonderful story. I loved my mum’s barbie. So tidy and coutoured. She also made clothes for my dolls and for me. Great memories. Thank you.
The Yuppie Files says
Those dresses are beautiful and its amazing they have stayed in your family. Such a cool keepsake to have and pass along to your children!
Lovely story and background. LOVE your grandmother’s name…Beauty, how sweet!
First, the picture of the Christmas tree sort of startled me. Here is a link to one of my grandmother’s Christmas trees. http://www.flickr.com/photos/texaswren/2067910724/ Same cedar tree and notice the similiar linoleum floors!!
I’ve told my Barbie story before, but I’m almost sure it wasn’t here so I’ll tell it again. When I was young, ca 1959 or 1960, my mom was a single mom, working all day and taking care of my sister and I at night. It was a struggle, and it’s a credit to her that I was fairly old before I realized exactly how poor we were in those days. One year (probably 1960) Santa wasn’t going to make it to our house. She worked all day, and after she got us to bed, she made Barbie clothes, lots and lots of Barbie clothes. Here are a few of them. http://www.flickr.com/photos/texaswren/177900358/ We didn’t know that we were poor that year. In fact, we were the envy of our friends. No one had as many gorgeous Barbie clothes as we did. I can still remember the thrill of package after package of doll clothes under the tree.
My mom was an excellent seamstress although she wasn’t really crafty in other ways. She sewed, and after she retired, she did a bit of quilting.
I loved your trip down Memory Lane!
Southern Gal says
I love stories like these. My grandmother made clothes for my barbies, but they were all knitted and crocheted. I still have them and the Barbies. My sister even has her Cher and John Travolta dolls!
My maternal grandmother remembers sewing with only an oil lamp to light her way. My paternal grandmother was known for making all of her own patterns and sewing all of her children’s clothing. My aunt sews and my mom is a fabulous seamstress. Like nothing you’ve ever seen. Her work is unbelievable – so I suppose sewing is just in my genes.
That is amazing! I love the name “Beauty” as well.
Linda Lincks says
What a great story! Thanks for sharing! I can’t believe how great the vintage Barbie clothes look! Your Grandmother was very talented indeed!
Love your story!
I think I was most inspired by my maternal Great Aunt and one of my maternal aunts.
My aunt actually made my wedding dress. I remember cutting out the muslin patterns with her. But when she was doing the nitty-gritty…I made the ringbearer pillow!
Love to read your stories!
I don’t think my creativity comes from my parents, even if they are great at certain things (particularly gardening and growing trees and vegetables, and cooking!), maybe a bit comes from my mother’s aunt, who was great at sewing and made lot of clothings for herself, her daughter and my mum!
But probably the person who influenced me the most on this field was… my nanny!!! (or babysitter, I don’t know exactly which is the right word in English)
Se did so many things while I was with her! She sewn, painted glass, created flowers with enamel, did pokerwork on wood… the list can become so long!
And she also sewn many dresses for my Barbie!
Kathy W says
When my sister and I had Barbies, we had to make clothes because with six children our parents couldn’t afford to clothe our dolls too! My sister crocheted bell bottom pants and matching tops – without any pattern mind you – along with evening gowns etc. The mother of one of my friends would sew beautiful swing coats and make matching hats using one bubble of an egg carton covered in the matching material. They looked just like Jackie Kennedy! We were so proud of our Barbies and I still have everything, along with wonderful memories. Thanks for the reminder!
I love these types of stories you tell. It is so obvious you come from good people. I am told constantly that I’m creative like my great grandma. My mother’s first ever store-bought dress was her wedding gown. My great grandma would take her to the thrift store and buy two or three dresses and then up-cycle them all together. My mom said she was always the best dressed girl in school.
awesome!!! I have all of my vintage barbie clothes that my grandmother made for me.
I read this and your other story explaining your grandmother’s health situation. I also have MS and a rare arthritis. I’m 41 years old. I am so very creative and when I feel my worst crafting and sewing not only comfort me but make me feel worthwhile and take my mind off of my pain. Thanks for sharing the wonderful stories and WOW on those Barbie clothes. She was truly talented.
Just a quick correction….I meant to say “I am also very creative” in my comment I left a minute ago. I realized when I reread after sending how conceited it must have sounded originally, “I am so very creative”. 🙂 Too funny!
What a great post! I really enjoyed the sentiment of all the photos and loved hearing how the passion for creativity and industriousness runs in your family.
I enjoy seeing so much in the world as art, and I have my parents to thank for that. They loved nature, music, and each other. My mother is such a giving person, and I’ve learned to love giving gifts because of her. My father, who passed away when I was 12, was a VERY artistic man who made almost everything he needed. I’ve inherited some of his canvases, and whenever we need something for drawing, painting, drafting, photography, welding, woodworking, clay, …., we first check the stash of things my father collected.
Thank you for sharing.
Oh my goodness those Barbie clothes are amazing! I played with my mom’s old barbies as a child, with all of the clothes that my grandmother made for her, and they are so special to me, even more so now that they are being passes down to my daughter!
That really is wonderful that your grandmother was so crafty and inspired. It’s knowing and hearing about women like that that make’s it a little easier for me when I think about how many hand made things my children have, and how much ” new” things they really DON’T have. To realize that there WAS a time when homemade was the norm 🙂 It seems it might be coming back around to that again!
A beautiful post, I really enjoyed the old pictures of your family!
mom taxi julie says
I love the handmade Barbie clothes! My mom had a bunch of handmade ones also that I would play with when I went to my Grandma’s house. I’m not sure if my Grandma made the clothes or a Great Grandma.