Going to town and country with the utterly charming Traveling Barbie Doll Pants

How a pair of miniature Barbie jeans traveled the globe during COVID and helped raise money for charities

Submitted by Teresa Wiebe – photographer, writer, and Barbie doll couturier extraordinaire

Have you heard of Ann Brashares’ book, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, or perhaps the 2005 movie of the same name by Ken Kwapis and Warner Brothers?

The Traveling Doll Pants is an international project that started back in 2020, when people were locked down due to Covid Restrictions.  

People were not able to travel, and so two women, who are Barbie collectors and doll photographers, Izabella Kwella from Poland, and Patrice Marcos Coutsoucos from Brazil, came up with the idea that a pair of miniature jeans would travel the globe.   

Even though we couldn’t travel – the pants would.  

A special pair of Barbie jeans were made by Joanna Fila-Staskiewica, also from Poland. Eight participants were chosen to take photos of their doll/dolls wearing the pants in their corner of the world, and then post them on Instagram using the hashtag #travelingdollpants  

The pants set out on their journey, starting in Poland and ending up in Brazil.  The journey was such a success that the pants headed out again in 2021.

Over the past two years, the pants have already travelled to these countries:  Gdansk, Poland; Lille, France; Rome, Italy; Athens, Greece; Tokyo, Japan;  Sydney, Australia;  Berlin, Germany; Turku, Finland; Krasnodar, Russia; Kaliningrad, Russia; Alberta, Canada; Ontario, Canada; Connecticut, Michigan, Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; and São Paulo, Brazil!   

This year the pants have traveled to Torun, Poland;  Landskrona, Sweden; Bucharest, Romania; Luxemburg, Luxemburg; Lisbon, Portugal; Utah, USA; Texas, USA, making a stop in here in Killarney Turtle Mountain, Manitoba, Canada, this September with Teresa Wiebe, and now they are off to Nuevo, Mexico, and then their final destination Sao Paulo, Brazil.

How did I become involved with the Barbie Doll Pants Project?

I have always been into Barbies, ever since I was a little girl back in the 1960s. 

From time to time the dolls would be brought out and played with, especially when I had my own daughters. I also collected anything mini that fit in with the Barbie 1:6 scale, and that could be used in dioramas.  

I started seriously collecting the fashion dolls back in the ‘80s, when Mattel was creating adult collector dolls, although some definitely ended up in the hands of little girls as well.  

At the time it was suggested that the dolls be kept in their boxes to retain their value, but dolls that went up in value also came down in value.  The very first Holiday Barbie was once selling for $3,000; now you can find her at garage sales selling for $20. Nowadays, most collectors de-box the dolls so they can be photographed better.  

After my daughters were grown my dolls were put away again, until the granddaughters came along.  

At that time, my desire to sew clothes for the Barbies came back, so I dug out some fabric and began.   

I had also wanted to donate to some charities, and felt this was a way I could do it.  I sewed the clothes, and then gave the proceeds to the charities I support.  I made a list of charities, and then I have the buyer choose off my list which one they would like their monies to go to.  

I started selling to friends, and that quickly expanded to local buyers, and now has been expanded to selling to doll collectors across Canada. I sell the clothes on Facebook, at Barbie Blast. 

Through a Barbie Instagram account (@barbieblast59), which was started just for fun, I have made many connections. I was actually blown away by the huge community of Barbie doll collectors around the world.  

Also, through this account I made the connection with Izabella, Patrice, and Joanna, and was chosen by them this year to represent Canada with the traveling pants.   

Through this project I have enjoyed seeing and learning about the variety of customs and history of different places around the world.  

To learn more, visit www.travelingdollpants.com or @travelingdollpants on Instagram. 

Finding the perfect Barbie Doll fit – to a T

I noticed following different accounts on IG that many people had dolls that they called their ‘mini me’s’.   They were dolls that looked similar to the account holder.   

I never thought I would find a Barbie doll with big curly hair that had my same hair color, but there she was one day, on the shelf of Canadian Tire.  

I re-bodied her with a made-to-move body, and now she is fully articulated.   I call her Mini T!   

She is the focus of the account, but I also use other dolls when promoting the clothes I make.    

I have enjoyed making different dioramas that serve as back drops for the dolls modeling the clothes.  I have a bedroom, living room, office, coffee shop, toy store and much more…

I have really enjoyed being a part of the #travelingpants project, seeing new places through the camera lens of others, and promoting our little corner of the world through mine.

BARBIE IN A BEAUTIFUL IRON SCULPTURE – Above, photographer Teresa Wiebe captures an image of the world-famous traveling Barbie Doll jeans – worn here on her own Barbie doll, sitting prettily within one of the fabulous iron sculptures in town – as part of the Killarney portion of the Traveling Doll Pants.

THE TRAVELING DOLL PANTS – Above, Teresa Wiebe’s Barbie is seen posed on a Killarney meadow, ‘holding up’ the water tower. Below, chilling out on the local shamrock green fire truck, with the famous jeans on full view. And below that, enjoying a visit to the cool Heritage Home for the Arts, donning a fab hat. Keep scrolling to enjoy several more shots from Killarney and surrounding area.