Aileen's Petite Fashions

In March of 1999, Mini-Fashion Boutique became owner of Aileen’s Petite Fashions when Aileen “retired.” I became acquainted with Dorothy (Aileen is her middle name) through her ad in Barbie Bazaar, and when she learned that I used to do what she’d been doing, asked me if I’d be interested in taking over Aileen’s Petite Fashions. At the time her husband was ill with throat cancer, and has since passed away. The picture below is Aileen and Cecil at their home in Alabama in March 1999, with all her patterns and twenty tubs of fabric, etc. loaded in our van ready to head home to Missouri!

In 1999, Aileen was 77 and had been sewing for Barbie® and making her own patterns since 1961, when she began sewing for her 1961 Barbie doll and also for her nieces’ dolls. In 1989 she began sewing for the public and advertised in Barbie Bazaar over the next ten years. (I don’t have all the early issues; the first one I have with her ad is March/April 1990). She was a retired art teacher and taught in Texas before moving to Alabama, where she taught an additional eight years before retiring. Her first catalog debuted in 1989 and was expanded in 1991. In 1992, it officially became Book I of her ultimate series of four. Book II was introduced in 1993, Book III in 1995, and her final catalog, Book IV, in 1998. These catalogs featured sketches of the pattern designs, with references to some of the sources for the vintage reproductions. Usually these were two books by Sarah Eames, Barbie Fashion, Vol. 1, 1959-1967 (1990) and Vol. 2, 1968-1974 (1997). In the back of each catalog were descriptions of materials used in making the outfits and various accessories. These catalogs were also used as a reference for those interested in the ready-made fashions.

In 1996, Aileen was included in the first volume of Fashion Doll Makeovers by Jim Faraone. The picture below is from that book (used by permission). This book is still available, either directly from Jim or from Hobby House Press at the link below. In 1999, she still had lots of other projects to keep her busy, and we wished her well in her “retirement” so I have no doubt at age 82 she’s working on something!

I am making these catalogs available again as a point of interest. Many of Aileen’s original patterns have been re-mastered and I have issued them as new patterns in my “On the Runway…” line. The Princess Diana patterns have also been reissued in two patterns I call “Theme Collections” and others are planned. A few patterns are no longer available due to various reasons. A complete updated list of what is available, etc., will soon be posted here on my website. If you have some of Aileen’s patterns and don’t have the catalogs, they are a must! You can use them to check off what you have, and mark what you would like to have! Mark in your catalog the ones that have been re-mastered, and those are soon to be released. They are a great reference to have with your collection of patterns! Available through my website, or my ebay store [use link on Main Gallery page].

Check out information on Jim's books at his website:
Fashion Doll Makeovers

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