Barbie Boutique by Annabel Benilan


Textile Art Book Reviews

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

Introduction

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.

Barbie Boutique Annabel Benilan
Barbie and Ken, still going strong and looking well for their age!

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.

Content

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.

A jacket pattern explanation diagram
Pattern pieces to fit whatever Barbie you own

Photography

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.

Vote for Barbie!
A close up of the President’s skirt

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.

Barbie and Ken rock

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… 

My attempt at the dress Dr Barbie wears

Obviously I had to embellish it with some stitching to make it unique and fitting to the world of Mr X Stitch.

Much easier to embellish than a full size dress!

Conclusion

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.

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Jo Burgess

Originally from Northern Ireland, Jo Burgess is a craft crazy rock music loving gal based in England. With a career including time spent as a motorsport journalist in England, in the film industry in Northern Ireland, and working on ghost tours in Scotland, her background is as mixed up as her love of craft. Jo will try her hand at anything and loves learning a new skill with tea and cake, crafty friends and great music blasting out of her speakers. Cross stitch, electronics, sewing, beadwork, glass fusing - she loves it all, and through this column Jo hopes to pass her love of different crafts, music and (of course) cake on to you. Craft rocks!

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