Recently, I happened upon a vintage 1990's sew-it-yourself kit for 11.5" fashion dolls by Quality Time Toys. This company is now defunct but it appears as though they were releasing these kits between 1990-1996. The kit that I tried is called Caribbean Cruise and features 11 summery outfits and 3 accessories that can be mixed and matched into 44 variations (at least that's what the packaging says).
The kit came with an instruction booklet, 1 piece of elastic, and a sheet of non-frayable cotton-knit fabric with all of the pattern designs printed on the right side.
This product is geared towards children with the hopes that it will create a "quality time" moment with the parent. Basically, you cut out the pattern pieces and either hand-sew the garment or use a sewing machine. There are no closures because it is designed so that you can just slip the doll in and out of the clothing. The 11 looks are as follows:
1. One-Shoulder Dress
2. Aerobics Outfit
3. Play Suit
*The neckline on my version does not match the example photo, lol. I do not know what happened here. It might have been the pattern or my sewing but I wasn't going back after I finished. I think it looks fine as is.
4. Purple Tube Top & Pants
5. Red Tube Top and Reversible Skirt
*This skirt pattern folds in half to make a reversible skirt that is either red or pink. The pink version is in the #10 look.
6. Evening Dress
7. Evening Jacket/Day Coat and Tube Dress
8. Cocktail Dress
9. Wrap Around Sundress/Skirt
*This can either be worn as a dress or as a skirt.
10. Halterneck Top, Reversible Skirt, and Beach Bag
*This skirt pattern folds in half to make a reversible skirt that is either pink or red. The red version is in the #5 look. I ran out of elastic by this look and substituted ribbon. I think the ribbon looks nicer...
11. Wrap Around Top and Circular Skirt
I really enjoyed sewing up this kit but I have to say that I enjoyed accessorizing the looks afterwards even more! Almost all of the accessories I used were from Barbie Fashion packs. I was not expecting to have so much fun which is why I am pleasantly surprised.
If you are interested, these kits can be found every once in awhile on eBay or Etsy. There are basic and deluxe kits and the prices can range from $10-$50, depending on the seller. Back in the 90's, this deluxe kit retailed for $16.99 which would be $31.30 in 2021 adjusted for inflation. I think it is well worth the price for the amount of looks that you get and for the pure enjoyment.
I love that after 30+ years, the (extremely 90's) print is still bold and vibrant.
Each look had an average of four steps so it did not take very long to sew.
Many super versatile pieces that can be modernized for timeless play.
As a patternmaker, I admired some of the ingenious folds used to create certain effects (total fangirl moment).
Some of the instructions were unnecessarily complicated.
A strict seam allowance was not given--- instead, they gave a range of 1/8" to 1/4". Isn't that weird?
Lastly, the package says this product is for ages 3 and up. I don't see a 3 year old hand-sewing. Maybe eating needles but definitely not hand-sewing, lol. I would probably rate this at 12 and up--- maybe a few years younger if an adult is actually helping.
All in all, I absolutely love this idea and would love to see more updated versions on the market... ;)
What do you think? Would you be interested in a modern version and for which dolls? Which was your favorite look? Leave your thoughts below!