Tuesday, 20 December 2011


When I was a pre teen I was fully into Barbies.And, unlike little girls today (yep, I am an old, old, cranky lady) I didn't have 56 Barbies that were interchangeable and meaningless to me. I had 4. And one of them wasn't even a Barbie. It was a Marie Osmond doll. Hilarious.

But I didn't care. Those four dolls were my most loved possessions. My most favouritest toys. (My feelings toward Barbie and her slutty cousin the Bratz doll are very different today... but that's another blog for another day)

I had an old cardboard suitcase that I carted them around in. My preciouses. I would take them to sleep overs. I made up plays for them to perform in. Twirl 'n' Curl Barbie was often the star. Marie Osmond was her perky best friend. 

Man, I loved those Barbies.

I was totally blown away when my Nanna Tessie came to visit when I was about ten, and brought me enough handmade Barbie clothes to fill my tatty suitcase to the brim. Gorgeous little knitted jumpers, funky dresses made out of old socks, all manner of glamorous duds for my four special girls. I was in heaven. I would take the clothes out, peruse the collection and then fold them all so carefully and place them back in my suitcase. I think, even though I was only small, part of the reason those clothes were so special was that I kinda understood how much time and effort Nanna had put into each little piece. There were even little vinyl handbags, for goodness sake! And she had done that for me. And Marie Osmond. 

I am surrounded by boys. 
I will not have a house full of Barbies and pink things. 99.5% of me thanks the universe for that.... but a little part of me was super excited when Jasper asked me to make a dress for their one and only doll. 
Nanna Judy found her in an Op Shop. We think she may have had a previously sordid life as an exotic dancer, as she was wearing purple tear away pants and nothing else when Mum found her. Weird. She was being called Stripper Dolly, but now that she is rehabilitated, she is just called Dolly.

And she is sooo much more demure in her new Tessie Fabric dresses.

She was a little shy at first...
But she soon warmed up to the photo shoot. 
These will probably be the only doll clothes I ever make. They are very crappily sewn. And the novelty of Dolly may wear off in a day, or a week. But regardless, I dedicate these little dresses to my Nanna and I thank her (wherever she is) for that tatty suitcase of amazing doll clothes and for making me (and Marie Osmond) feel so special.
 I pass on that message to my boys. I will always try to go above and beyond for you. I will put my love into the things I make for you. I will always try to make you feel special and unique. All three of you.

x Gillian

* I wish I had a picture of my Barbies. But I don't. When I was about 13 or 14 I gave my entire collection- Twirl 'n' Curl, Malibu, No-Name and Marie Osmond and their fabulous Nanna-made wardrobe in the tatty old suitcase to my fabulous cousin Bianca- who was about 8 at the time I think. I have it on good authority that Bianca loved those girls every bit as much as I did.


  1. You are still making me laught and cry. Bianca really did love those Barbies and Marie as much as you did!!! And,---- I was wondering where stripper Dolly disappeared to on the weekend. She is much more demure in her clothes!!! I am now trying out the instructions.

    Your Mummy

  2. Bianca really did. And I also loved the hand made clothes Mum (Tessie) made for my Barbie. I only ever had the one. Barbie 1962... My favourite was the tangerine/orange-ish satin full length 50's gown with evening gloves.. right up past her elbows even! I had a shoebox full... Tessie was such a wonderful woman. You know, my poor kids, when their hem was down on their uniforms.. or whatever - I would say... I'm not that kind of Mummy... !

  3. It is really hard to do a belly laugh while crying and wiping your nose, but I just did! I remember those little dresses and I also remember the ciggie paper dresses Nana made for our paddle-pop dollies even better! She always had an unlimited supply of 'material' from her Blue Ardath packets and was always happy to sit and play with us. What a lovely Nana...

  4. PS. Thank you for the very comprehesive and easy-to-follow instructions for commenting on the Bloggy-thing. It worked!! (*I am obviously one of the lovely real-life family people you are referring to!)

  5. I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I can watch the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.


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