Vintage TLC: Garden Party


Vintage Barbie restoration doesn’t always involves a long process. One of my first vintage fashion purchases was Garden Party (#931, 1962-63), minus the accessories. The dress alone, in good condition, can run anywhere from $15-30, which is again a bit out of this collector’s price range.


Instead, I found a Garden Party dress that was in pretty good shape aside from a few stains, some wrinkles, and one loose stitch. I figured if I could get those stains out, it would be a total bargain at only $8.

The Before Look:

The front and back of the dress suffered from typical yellow age stains. The entire dress was covered, but it’s more noticeable on the lace layers in the skirt and along the bodice dart seams.


Seller’s Photo (caller5547)

Aside from the stains, the dress looks like it’s been crammed in a box for years. The wrinkles change the entire shape of the dress (it’s supposed to poof out in a super cute way!).

I was lucky to find a TLC dress with the pink bow still in place. Most played-with Garden Party dresses are missing this little detail. However, the bow on my dress is dangling by a single stitch.

The Fix List:

The Stains:

The stains may have covered the entire dress, but they weren’t severe. I went with my go-to process of soaking the dress in a mixture of 3 cups water, 1 tbs baking soda, and 1 tbs peroxide. After  a single soak of 2 hours, I set the dress in direct sunlight to dry. That was all it took! The stains were completely gone, leaving the dress a bright white and brilliant pink.

The Bow:

The pink bow was hanging on by one thread of the original stitch. I simply added a couple reinforced stitches through the center fold of the bow (to hide the stitches) to secure it back into place. Done!

The Wrinkles:

A steam iron on the cotton setting quickly fixed the wrinkles crimping the skirt and bodice. Ironing Barbie clothes can be tricky. The tip of the iron is your best friend. The skirt usually fits around the narrow end of the ironing board – all you have to do is carefully work your way around one section at a time. The bodice is best approached from the top of the neckline – point the tip of the iron towards the waist hemline and iron one small section at a time.

The After Look:

Aside from the ease of restoration, I bought this dress specifically for my vintage Midge doll. I though she’d look adorable in it and she does! Once again, a little TLC can turn a down and out vintage dress into something beautiful.

Garden Party Midge


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c.b.w. 2016