At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.
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Here’s what we think of Barbie Boutique by Annabel Benilan
Annabel Benilan guides you through how to make not only 15 stylish looks for Barbie, but five outfits for Ken too. Princess, Prom Queen, President, Doctor – with your help, Barbie can be any of them.
About the Author
Annabel graduated from the Duperre Applied Arts School in Paris, and is an illustrator and stylist. Not only has she created her own clothing brand (not for Barbie, for humans), she has written extensively about dressmaking, fashion and illustration too.
Who is this Book Aimed At?
I’d say this book is aimed at people who have some basic sewing knowledge and enjoy sewing for any type of doll. I’ve never made clothing for anyone smaller than myself so I thought I’d test the book by trying to make one of the looks… you can see the result later in the column.
The book guides you through how to make some great outfits for Barbie and her buddy Ken. Whatever Barbie’s mood, you can create a look for her from this book – artist, gardener, keep fit, rocker, professional, it’s all in there. Barbie’s now come in various sizes – tall, petite, curvy and original – and the book contains life size patterns for each design for each Barbie shape. Each entry contains a photo, the patterns, a list of things you will need to make each item, and step by step instructions on how to complete the look.
I think the photography in the book is really fun. I can imagine they had great giggles dressing up and styling the dolls and setting up each shot. Arty Barbie is shown with pots of paint, gardener has pot plants and President Barbie is surrounded by flags of the world. You also get some great close up shots like the one of President Barbie’s outfit. Each outfit is accompanied by diagrams showing how to piece the fabrics together alongside the instructions too which are really helpful.
What Makes this Book Special?
I think this book is special because it’s really fun. If I was a little person with a Barbie I would be blown away if someone was making me special outfits for her. Imagine the joy of handing over a personalised outfit to a child who lives for Barbie! Likewise, Barbie has a huge adult following. When your favourite outfit finally wears out, why not use the good bits that are left to make a tiny version of your outfit for Barbie using this book. With this book’s guidance, I think the only limit is your imagination.
Anything Wrong with the Book?
I couldn’t fault the book. Even the page numbers are cute, they are little pin cushions. It’s colourful, creative and guided me as a complete novice through making a dress for a very tiny lady which I am blown away by. I thought it would be a lot harder than it was, the book made it easy. I went for the doctor’s dress and here it is…
Obviously I had to embellish it with some stitching to make it unique and fitting to the world of Mr X Stitch.
Even as someone without a Barbie, I can see that this book is fun all the way through. Over 20 outfits can be made using hardly any fabric and you know they will be appreciated big time by anyone you give them to who has a Barbie. It’s a joy to flick through and fun to use too.