How to Resize Your Patterns to Fit Barbie Dolls

Written by elizabeth tumbarello
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How to Resize Your Patterns to Fit Barbie Dolls
Resize sewing patterns to 16 per cent of the original. (sewing image by Greg Pickens from

Many patterns exist to make clothing for Barbie dolls, but it can be a special treat to create clothing for the dolls that matches your own attire. Resizing patterns made for people is just one way of doing this. Made in a size called playscale, Barbie dolls are approximately one-sixth the size of a real human being. Barbie's measurements are exaggerated, however, requiring extra attention to certain parts of a pattern in order for it to fit correctly.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Pattern
  • Copy machine
  • Pencil
  • Barbie doll
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Muslin fabric
  • Sewing machine

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  1. 1

    Copy each piece of your chosen pattern using a copy machine. Reduce the size on the machine to 16 per cent of the original. This gives the pattern the approximate size needed to fit a one-sixth scale Barbie doll.

  2. 2

    Measure Barbie's individual body parts as if making a clothing item for a real person. Measure her bust, waist and hip. Measure the length of her torso, her legs and her arms. Compare these measurements with the reduced-size pattern components.

  3. 3

    Sketch in alterations to the pattern lightly with a pencil. For example, if you have chosen to reduce an adult sized dress pattern, the waist measurement on the pattern may be too wide for Barbie's waist. Figure out the difference between the two and alter the shape of the pattern accordingly. Remember to leave enough extra fabric for a seam allowance to sew the pieces together.

  4. 4

    Copy your pattern sheet with the added alterations.

  5. 5

    Cut out the paper pieces. Pin the pattern pieces to a piece of muslin fabric. Cut out a mock-up of the pattern from muslin. Remove the pins and pattern pieces from the muslin.

  6. 6

    Sew together the muslin mock-up. Try the mock-up onto the Barbie doll, taking notes on any further alterations needed.

  7. 7

    Alter the copy of your pattern that has the sketched alterations. Copy the pattern one more time, and repeat the process of making a muslin mock-up.

  8. 8

    Trace the copy of your pattern pieces with your alterations when the mock-up creates a sufficiently well-fitting piece of clothing. This makes a clean copy of the pattern that can be used over and over again.

Tips and warnings

  • Barbie dolls are not precisely proportionate with a real human being. Re-sizing actual patterns to make doll clothing takes a lot of trial and error. Don't get frustrated.

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