Evening gown Dawn - Part 2, The dress

As promised in part 1 (for those who haven't seen part 1, it tells you a little more about the Dawn dolls that were produced from 1970 to 1973), I'll be telling you everything about Dawn's new dress now.

Like so many fashion dolls, especially in those days, Dawn is a curvy lady.
In my projects for Barbie and Christie I avoided that problem by making them Flappers, there would be no waist and that also meant I could bead loom the dresses. At the time I hardly did any off loom beading. Francie is not as curvy and beside that her hippie outfit was made up of a top and a skirt, but even so the skirt was a bit of a problem at the waist.

I didn't want to turn Dawn into another Flapper, but I wanted to let her show off her curves, at least a little. That's when I started the wedding dress that I mentioned in part 1. That dress had a rather tight bodice, but a wide skirt with a train. After I had decided to cut it off, I knew that I wanted to go a different path with the new dress.
For a minute I had a happy summer dress in mind, but the happy summer colors were all size 15 and this would be my first try at this. I didn't have to punish myself that much.

No, Dawn would get an evening gown instead inspired by one of my favorite Barbie dresses - #982 Solo in the Spotlight. Of course it wouldn't be black and it would not have ruffles at the bottom and it would probably have straps, but other than that it would totally be "Solo" ;-)

Picture from "Sarah Sink Eames: Barbie Fashion, Volume 1, 1959 - 1967"

Since I already messed up measurements for a bead loomed dress with a bodice before (no worries, Francie, I finally got plans for you, too!), Herringbone was the choice of technique this time.

The choice of beads was easy. I still had my gunmetal AB beads out from working on the box lid and the color would surely go beautifully with Dawn's blond hair. Also I wasn't sure how many beads I would need, but knew I definitely had enough of those. They would look lovely with the size 15 yellow gold beads I had spontaneously included in my last bead order, too.

As I would bead the dress directly onto the doll, I started at the waist. Being the slimmest point it helped me with the first rows without having them slide around too much. First I worked my way up for the bodice. Have I mentioned how curvy Dawn is? ;-) You can tell from this picture. Even though the bodice was not slipping, I chose the safe side and added some peyote straps.

Once the bodice was done, I worked from the waist downward. This time I had to deal with Dawn's hips and butt. Quite the hourglass figure as you can see. I didn't manage to do it right at the first shot or the the second ... in fact that's the area I had to rip out again a few times before I finally did her body justice.
A nice side effect was that, while the loose legs were not (yet?) in danger to fall off, they don't even have a chance now because the dress holds it all together.

So far it still resembled "Solo", but instead of a complete mermaid style I beaded a straight line all the way down meaning there were no golden stripes anymore.

I couldn't leave it at that, a striped area would have looked a little strange. Also I love fringe! I didn't have enough beads anymore to make the fringe all golden, so I made it in a mix of blue AB and golden instead.
Do you think Dawn is looking happy so far?

Next are the accessories. At the time that I'm writing this post, the shoes are still missing and while I have a few ideas, I'm not sure I found the perfect yet, so there will be a part 3 for the accessories later. Please bear with me!


  1. You are so very talented. It is beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much, Star!
      I'm struggling a bit with the shoes now.