How to make a Hula/Grass Skirt for a Barbie doll

My niece's 5th birthday is today and she is going to have a Hula party with grass skirts and leis. I was making her birthday card on Tuesday and had an epiphany for her birthday present -I could make her a hula skirt for her Barbie doll!

Luckily, at the age of 26, I not only still have my Barbie dolls in my possession, but I also have the newer Barbie dolls with the wider waists and smaller hips. So I knew I could make it the right size to fit her Barbie dolls.

At first I tried making a waistband of 1/4 elastic, but I realized that would be to difficult for a 5 year old to try to pull it up over Barbie's plastic hips, so I altered it and instead made a waistband out of tan bias tape folded over and I put a metal snap on it.

The I put the waistband on Barbie's waist and held some raffia up to it to see how long I needed the raffia to be. I then used an upholstery needle (it has a large eye to pull the raffia through) to pull the raffia up through the top of the waistband. Depending on the length of the individual strand, I was able to get either 2 or 3 skirt lengths (cutting it as I went) out of each raffia strand - so I ended up not using that many.

The raffia is about 1/2" longer above the waistband than below because I will fold it over the band in the next step.

Now that I had all the raffia strung through the waistband, the next step was to sew the waistband closed. I did this all by hand with a large upholstery needle because it was easier than trying to deal with my temperamental sewing machine. Then I strung the needle with one more raffia strand and pushed it through the cloth, tying a knot in the end once I pulled it all the way through. As you'll see in the next two pictures, I folded over the top part of the raffia and 'top-stitched' it with raffia about every 2 or 3 'bunches' of raffia.

I still had some raffia on the needle left over, so I folded over the bias tape that was sticking out and sewed it shut with a few stitches of raffia, and then pushed the raffia through the bias tape one last time to leave it long in the back like the rest of the skirt.

And here's the lovely Beautiful Bride Barbie Tips' mom gave me the first Christmas after marrying into the family (our wedding was about 4 weeks before Christmas).

I felt so creative making this on Tuesday! It was quite fun and I'm glad I've been able to share my tutorial with you!


Krystal said…
How do you get all these cool things done with a baby? I'm way impressed, I can't even get a meal in me most of the time. . .
Well, that's the thing. Some of the things I can actually do while I'm nursing Mason (it's pretty easy to sew by hand when baby is latched on since my hands are still relatively free). Also, my husband makes dinner most nights - which I should probably start doing more often.
I also realize that now is the time to do projects I can leave laying out since he's not even crawling or walking yet so he won't be getting into things all the time. AND, my house isn't always clean. ;)
Anonymous said…
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Joan Stepsen
Wise geek

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