A Canadian government official who crochets miniature clothing items for Barbies has said British viewers of the doll’s new film can expect a series of emotions from the “dark” yet “hopeful” comedy.
Nathalie Kachulis, who works as a senior executive in Canada’s Federal Government, started a “passion project” around the summer of 2020 far removed from her day job – crocheting outfits for Barbie dolls.
The 56-year-old started collecting Barbies as a child but said she “gave them all away” at the age of 16 before repurchasing one to serve as a “model” for her outfits.
“I do a lot of crocheting for charity sales and one year I did baby clothes and hats, and then I thought – I’m going to do Barbie clothing,” Mrs Kachulis, who lives in Ottawa, Canada, told the PA news agency.
Mrs Kachulis’ late mother used to crochet outfits for Barbies, which she said has brought back a lot of nostalgia when she started.
“I was one of five children, one of four daughters, and we didn’t have a lot of original Mattel clothing for our Barbies,” she said.
“What we had was amazing treasures that my mother made – mostly knitted and crochet items.
“I remember as a little girl, I would go for a nap on a Saturday afternoon and would wake up in my bed and look at my bedside table, and my mother would have crocheted a new outfit for my Barbie while I was sleeping.”
She added that it is a “glorious time to be a Barbie fan”.
“There’s a lot of nostalgia that comes with the Barbie franchise – I think any time life is hard, people like to think back to a time when things were easier and when we were little children playing with dolls, life was somewhat easier,” she said.
“There’s also been a push to make the dolls more diverse – Barbie can really be anything from a pilot to a computer coder, and that is empowering.”
Attending the Barbie premiere in her hometown on Thursday evening wearing a hot pink t-shirt, jeans and a white jacket, and accompanied by her mini-me Barbie wearing the same outfit, she said: “The movie is funny and smart, and dark and hopeful.
“It has layers – it’s got great entertainment value, and fantastic nostalgic value, but it’s also a statement on society, feminism and the patriarchy, and might leave some viewers feeling a bit uncomfortable if all they were looking for was fluff.”
One of the items featured in a teaser trailer for the movie has been recreated by Mrs Kachulis.
“I made the cute little pink beret in the scene in the movie where Barbie is in her car driving to the real world and Ken pops up in the back seat,” she said.
“I made one, put it up in the shop and it sold, made another one, put it up in the shop and it sold, and my customers started reaching out to me directly and saying, ‘I want one’.”
She also bought the Barbie The Movie Margot Robbie doll to show off her creations and hopes to recreate items including the titular star’s blue and white halter dress and hot pink cowgirl outfit.
Mrs Kachulis has also created an array of items from halter tops, dresses, bikinis and jumpers to matching sun hats and beach bags sets for dolls of varying body types, including petite Barbies and curvy Barbies, which she sells on Etsy.
With pink a central colour used in promotion for the Barbie movie, Mrs Kachulis said she started making pink outfits to express her love for the Mattel creation.
“It was last year, I think, when the hashtag Barbiecore started getting really popular and you started seeing a lot of pink out there on fashion runways”, she said.
“There was one point where I crocheted this entire hot pink outfit – which was a little bit extra, a little bit over the top and was a very slinky halter dress with a long train and a big hat, which was inspired by the trend.
“Sometimes I have made dresses and matching coats, and that can take 10 to 12 hours.”
The crafter who learned to crochet as a child said she draws inspiration from designers and “vintage patterns available from the late 60s and early 70s”.
She added: “My customers also inspire me – they will reach out and say there’s a trend on Instagram where people have a mini me, a Barbie that kind of matches them, and they’ll say, ‘I have this sweater for myself, can you make one like that for my doll?’
“Some have dolls with different proportions and it’s hard to find mainstream clothing for them, so I’ve been asked to make some clothes for them.”
Mrs Kachulis sells some of her creations on her Etsy store, which she said plans to ship to the UK in the near future, at: www.DollieRescue.etsy.com
Published: by Radio NewsHub