Barbie Fashionistas Measurements

I was really excited when the new Barbie Fashionistas line was announced. I haven’t been very interested in Barbies for a long time (although I did buy a Made to Move doll for the articulation to re-body by Merida doll, and will probably get more in the future), and seeing the new variety made me want to start collecting the new dolls right away. I was especially excited that instead of one standard size, the new dolls come in four types: original, curvy, tall, and petite. (Note: post ahead contains doll nudity.)

Promo pic of the new dolls on a pamphley
Promo pic of the new dolls on a pamphlet

But I was also aware that with new body types, it’s no longer one size fits all for Barbie clothes anymore. Some outfits can be swapped between bodies but others can’t. There will be new clothes coming out for these dolls later this year, but for now, my dolls are stuck wearing the clothes they came in.

My four dolls: original, curvy, tall, petite
My four dolls: original, curvy, tall, petite

I did buy four dolls right away to compare them. Above you can see that I chose the Valentine’s Day doll for the original size, and three Fashionistas: a blue-haired curvy girl, a brown-haired tall girl, and a dark curly-haired petite girl. Most of these outfits are pretty cute and they came with matching accessories. For more information and pictures about the individual dolls, you can see my review post on Sailor Ariel’s Dolls.

The four body types without clothes
The four body types without clothes

Without their clothes, the differences between these types are more apparent. Each one has a unique shape and set of measurements. At first glance, you can tell that tight-fitting clothes for original Barbie would probably work on petite with a little room to spare (although pants legs would be too long), but they wouldn’t fit over the larger frames for the curvy and tall sizes. I measured each of these bodies to come up with a more precise comparison, and here are my results.

Fashionista measurement chart
Fashionista measurement chart

Each doll is a different height and width in various places. I tried my best to be accurate to the nearest quarter of an inch. More specifically, here is what I measured:

  • the doll’s height from top of the head to toes
  • the width around the shoulders
  • width around the chest
  • width around the waist
  • width around the widest point of the hips
  • the rise (from base of the torso to the top of the hips as marked by the molded underwear)
  • length of the torso
  • length of the legs from hip to toe
  • inseam (inside of leg down to the ankle
  • width of thighs around the widest point
  • length of arms from shoulder to finger tips
  • length of arms from shoulder to wrist (for a long sleeve)
  • width of bicep (widest point at top of the arm)

The results are interesting to compare. I’d also like to note that I took one more measurement. My husband asked if all of them had the same size head, and the answer is yes, with one notable exception. All of the dolls’ heads are 1.5″ tall, but when I measured the circumference around the crown, the curvy doll’s head is a little bigger. Most are 4″ around but curvy is 4.5″. This doesn’t look like a noticeable difference when holding the doll, but it might affect hat brims or similar items.

Using these measurements, I am now developing basic patterns that can be adapted to each of the four sizes. In my experience, some basic patterns like simple dresses can be easily adjusted on the fly to be a little larger or smaller, but more close-fitting clothes take more work. To start with I will be doing the basic t-shirt and jeans to get the hang of the adjustments I need. Look for this new pattern coming soon. For now, here’s a preview of the first outfit (on the original size Barbie):

Original Barbie in t-shirt and jeans
Original Barbie in t-shirt and jeans

I hope these measurements help other pattern developers adjust for the new sizes, too!


2 responses to “Barbie Fashionistas Measurements”

  1. Hi. Thanks for the measurements! I have the same tall girl that you have. I got her on deep discount at Walgreens- I paid between 3.99 and 4.99, if memory serves. I think she bears a more than passing resemblance to former today show co-host, fellow Oregonian and one time target of a bald, abusive bully who shall remain nameless- Ann Curry. I’ve wanted for a while to make her a little suit or failing that, to try to put her in My duplicate Busy Gal outfit. I was even kicking around the idea of making her a little “today show” microphone! I have a pretty ball gown that I bought recently which is a bit too long for any of my dolls. Perhaps I’ll try to find her a little Emmy statuette? I looked for a while to find actual height or dimensions for these dolls- it’s not on the box as it had always been with the standard size Barbies since forever but I only found annoying articles from England bemoaning that when scaled-up to human height, the curvy dolls aren’t fat enough, the petite dolls are too tall and the tall dolls are too skinny to reflect the “average woman”. They also bemoaned that little girls given the “curvy” dolls would call them fat. SO!!! But then again, I’ve never cared for the appropriation of that term. For that matter- most of the “fat positive” ladies I’ve met don’t like that term either. Curvy to me means an HOURGLASS figure- smallish waist and larger bust and hips! They also robbed Barbie of that crucial 1/2”! That’s just shoddy journalism if you ask me! I seriously don’t care about a Barbie reflecting the average. I’m 5’6”, a Size 12- bigger than I’d like- actually curvy and still I’m both taller and thinner than the “average” British OR American woman! The Netflix (or was it Hulu?) documentary about the design and launch of the Fashionista line- “Tiny Shoulders” lays out the difficulties with this- namely that there isn’t really “doll thickness fabric”, there’s just fabric and that the clothes add bulk to the dolls’ bodies. And of course, the plastic bodies don’t compress the way flesh does. THAT was also found to be a fault. You can’t really make a usable, poseable dressable doll out of the stuff that marital aids are made of! Then there was the gnashing of teeth over the “thigh” gap!! It’s a hard plastic toy that needs to accommodate clothing. The much maligned thigh gap is neccesary to allow for clothes and to allow for her to bend at the waist. It’s all such fatuous crap. She can’t even sit at 90° as it is. I think she’s close at 92° If I have body issues, it’s from people, not a plastic doll that gave me a vehicle to explore creativity!! FWIW, I like the retro dolls. I’ve been buying the 60’s reproduction dolls that were produced in the 90’s to commemorate Barbie’s 35th and 40th anniversary. I didn’t really care much for the dolls that I had in the 80’s, they seemed so cheesy and fake and…plastic-looking. Pink skin and plastic blond hair. I had a fair few more dolls of color- Asian and black and Hispanic dolls. They were cheaper at the Walmart in our White AF town and my doll sorority had that “Benetton” advert look that I was so fond of as a small girl. Despite the fact that we are now at her 60th birthday, Mattel seems to not have been producing so many of the reproduction dolls which is silly. I can’t afford genuine 60’s dolls or outfits and the ones I could afford are in pretty rough shape- faded or chipped facial paint or nail paint, bad hair, plasticizer leeching out of the body or head- discolored green ears from the metal earrings. The clothes may be a bit better but won’t be correct and some people split up the sets which seems pretty unethical to me. I want a plaything, not a project. I also take those that are new in the box out of the boxes because it seems so mean to keep her imprisoned in there. To my way of thinking, if adults can color-in coloring books, I fail to see why I can’t dress and pose Barbies to siphon off some stress!! Quite a few years ago, I bought some of the vintage style Candi dolls that mimicked the classic sixties dolls but came in different ethnicities, which I thought was fun! I’ve even got a Bettie Page! No bondage gear though!! I’ve yet to bring them in from the garage to join the Barbies. They came in different swimsuits and some in lace teddies. I also made some dresses and other outfits which look retro but classic and not out of place on a modern OR retro doll. Best of luck with your pattern drafting! If you were to adapt some older 60’s outfits for the different body sizes, that would be pretty cool! Thanks again for the helpful info!! 60’s Barbie patterns are pretty plentiful on sites like Etsy and you can even get them as a pdf so that you can make multiples of each pattern without tracing the tissue pieces or having them tear from being repeatedly pinned. Thanks again for the helpful post!!

  2. I cannot thank you enough for the post.Really looking forward to reading more. Want more.