Helen's Doll Saga

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“Don’t Watch My Back!”

Posted by helen on December 3, 2016

This little dress has very pretty blue color, it displayed nicely in the store I was browsing,  so I bought it. (Barbie complete Look Fashion Pack Blue Floral Dress)

I opened it and  found the back of the dress is made of different fabric –cheap & stiff  nylon fabric.

This is ugly, isn’t it?? but not a surprise. b/c most of Mattel’s playline dresses are made this way, only pretty if you look at the front, what hides in the back you can only guess, “Don’t Look!” Barbie does not want you to see what she hides behind.

Exactly how much Mattel saved on this back panel is beyond my guess.  I would say less than 2¢. I would put up with the Silver Ribbon neck, but not the ugly Back.

I ended up going back to the store yesterday evening  and bought another one, then I took the 2 dresses apart to make a  new dress. now the back & front are made of the same fabric…

the light blue shoes that come with the package do not work with the dress,  I think purple shoes work better.

The doll is “Hudson’s Bay” Barbie, she had lots of Glue in her head,  I spent hours to get the glue out of her head.. you see,  nearly each & every item I bought from Mattel has become the “DIY” projects that I don’t enjoy. that’s one of the reasons I buy less & less. I must say Glue heads freak me out more than the 2-tone dresses.

Barbie, you’d better “watch your back” if you don’t want to lose more customers.



16 Responses to ““Don’t Watch My Back!””

  1. Phyllis said

    I like your version of the dress much, much better! You should send a photo to Mattel and show them what they should have done! you removed the glue, does that also mean you had to remove her hair and re-root her?? If not, I would be interested to know how you removed just the glue. I know that all of the glues they use are not alike and there seems to be no rhyme or reason with the when they use the different glues. Some of the glues don’t seem to ooze and get the hair all sticky, yet there are other glues that seep through the head and give the hair an oily residue.

    • helen said

      I think Mattel is obsessed with “saving every penny”, the big question is if it saves the market. if the Glue is not oil-based, it wont seep out as much as the oil based.
      Removing Glue from her head isn’t an easy task. I heated the head up a little bit, so the glue melted, then, I used cotton swaps & tweezers to get the glue out, I pulled some hair a half way out to tie the knots… she lost some hair during this process, and the hair got really dull & greasy, I used WD-40, Acetone, “Awesome Cleanser” (I purchased it from a discount store) and hair conditioner (fabric softer works, too) to wash the hair(be very careful with Acetone, as it would remove face paint if it runs through her eyes or lips), since some of her hair fell out, I also partially rerooted to fill up these plugs. The work I put in probably is same as doing a complete reroot.

  2. Becky said

    Well, Helen….you’ve ended up with a very nice looking doll and dress now….and obviously alot of work getting there. I’m sorry that Mattel is not doing a better job with their Barbie product. It’s very unfortunate.

    • helen said

      Thanks, Becky. Not only palyline, Mattel even does not put efforts on Collectible dolls. the holiday dolls all wear dresses with plastic molded bodies, the new “Barbie look” dolls come with these awful-looking knee joints that have darker color than the doll’s skin color. I think this year is one of the worst years for the Barbie Collectors, the dolls often have quality problems and the prices are high.

  3. Holly said

    These kind of cheap shortcuts are why I don’t buy much Barbie nowadays. You did a fantastic job on the dress! The original back was awful.

    • helen said

      Thanks, Holly. I sometimes think if Mattel is giving up collectors market. serious. many people are just like you, either don’t buy Barbie anymore or buy a lot less. Mattel does very little to improve quality. it’s disappointing.

  4. I love your fixed dress so much better! I hate the production they are doing now, with the cheap backing and the glue hair and all the other things going on. I am so disappointed in Mattel, I’ve hardly bought anything from them. I adore the bow neckline you did, that really kicks it up a notch! Also, I just wanted to say that I read all of your posts and always enjoy them. I hardly ever comment though, but I wanted you to know that I do enjoy and see your posts!

    • helen said

      Thank you Dave. glad you are still around, although today’s Barbie isn’t meeting our expectations, her rich history still has lots to offer. so you can dig eBay to find dolls from early years. I like dolls from 1998-2010. but I don’t have much money to spend on dolls in these days.

  5. I agree with you Helen. I hate the cheap and nasty way that Mattel manufacture Barbie outifts now. The fabric at the front is really pretty but the dress is ruined by that ugly back. Your version is much nicer. It is as if Mattel think “It’s onlyl for kids so it doesn’t matter.” Yet it was the beautiful and well made fashions that Barbie, Sindy, Tammy and others had that made lifelong fans of many of my generation.

    • helen said

      I think the time has really changed, everything is “disposable”, the factories just want to make something cheap. I think the dolls from late 90s and early 2000s had the best quality.

      • That was when I started to collect. I suddenly noticed what nice Barbies and fashions were being made in the late 90s and that is really what brought me back to fashion dolls.

      • helen said

        I started collecting in 2006. I don’t think I would started collecting if the doll fashions were so crappy. I think Mattel now focus on Children’s market and believes quality does not matter as long as the prices are low.

      • Yes, you got it in a nutshell. In the sixties they did believe quality mattered for children. If they had made such poor quality items then there would be no high end collectors today.

      • helen said

        that’s soooo right!! I cant imagine how these heads with seeping glues would be like after 10 years??

  6. It’s so great that you alert collectors to these annoying things about Barbie clothes. The best is that you can fix it as well. Well done as always Helen! I love your version. Much more playful. Me with no skills will eventually open this up, put it on a Barbie and hope I can make it work!

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