Love Valentine hearts

Valentine’s day is on the 14 February. So now is a good time to search out and reveal my (small) collection of heart themed fashion doll clothes.

Surprisingly hearts don’t feature much in either Barbie or Sindy fashion and I haven’t seen many good designs. However, my favourite outfit is really knockout: the 1983 “Loving You” Barbie skirt and bodice with puff sleeves (looks like a dress but it’s actually a set).

Display tip

Fill the sleeves with a strip of white gauze to make them puff out.

1983 Loving You Barbie 7072 frock

Such a perfect confection. Sprinkles on fairy cake icing.

I have one of these on eBay right now.

Buy Loving You Barbie Valentine set

In a reverse mirror of the Loving You dress is, a rather horrible handmade dress I’ve dubbed the ‘shock frock’. It does have a certain appeal. Like an old threadbare teddy with one dangling eye. I might try and rescue it one day: a piece of ribbon around the waist to cover the wonky waist line, clean hems and gather the bottom of the sleeves to make them puff.

shock frock handmade valentine hearts

In the same vein, this gauzy skirt. It looks as though it’s part of a wedding dress. Unidentified.

Dolls gauze for skirt with white flock hearts

Second favourite in my collection is a beige Sindy sweatshirt with 3 emblazoned hearts from the 1981 Sindy Separates collection.

Sindy 1981 beige sweatshirt with 3 red hearts #44030

Maybe a favourite because I’d love to wear a life size version of it. It reminds me of  fashion label PPQ that my sister occasionally modelled for in the 90s when she was friends with the founder, Amy Molyneaux. They did a few things with sweatshirt fabric – can’t seem to find any examples online though.

I like that sleeve seam diagonal from neck to underarm. It makes a more rounded shoulder. It’s the three overlapping hearts that make the design brilliant. Just that simple overlap gives the graphic loads of character and animates it slightly.

Next up a summery number originally from a catalogue pack for fashion dolls (most likely Littlewoods).

Multi-colour large hearts doll dress

This may be from the same pack?

Multi-colour mini hearts doll dress

This shape of dress – fitted bodice and flared skirt seems to be very fashionable at the moment. I have a lovely human sized one by Damsel in Distress available now on eBay in UK sizes 8, 10 and 14.

Sabina sleeveless dress by Damsel in Distress

Buy Damsel in Distress Sabina dress size UK 8
Buy Damsel in Distress Sabina dress size UK 10
Buy Damsel in Distress Sabina dress size UK 14

Not sure about these two. Probably Barbie but the one on the left has something of a MyScene look.

Barbie dresses with hearts

The hearts seem incidental on this pink Barbie Fashion Fun jumpsuit from 1984.

1984 Barbie Fashion Fun 7906 pink jumpsuit

This is a little outfit for a Pippa 6 inch size doll. It’s part of the rather grandly named ‘Monaco Collection’. The pattern reminds me of sticky back plastic for kitchen tiles – but in a good way. It’s one of the pinafore and dress combinations that I wrote about in 70s Victoriana

6 inch doll red hearts dress and pinafore separate

And here are a few T-shirts which lack imagination really…

Dolls T-shirt with glittery red hearts

3 fashion doll sleeveless T-shirts each with a single heart

But might look good with a pair of cheeky shorts.

Barbie i love your buns shorts

If you liked these, some feature in my Valentine themed ‘On the Rail’ print which is available as a Valentine card or a print in my shop.

Valentine dolls clothes rail with love hearts

Buy a Valentine card

Buy a Valentine print

FYI the white sweatshirt with the zig-zag applique ribbon is 1984 Sindy Fantasia (it went with a pair of green shorts).

5 February 2018
Frankie Sinclair

Rubbery jelly plastic shoes

Willy Wonka and Violet Beauregarde have teamed up to create this fantastic Jelly and Plastic Shoes board on Pinterest. As Mary Quant explains, a lot of the shoes are made simply by pouring chewing gum into a mould!

Screenshot of Jelly Plastic Rubber Shoes Pinterest board
Screenshot of Jelly Plastic Rubber Shoes Pinterest board

OK, only kidding. I created the board to go with the latest collection of ShimmyShim Pop Prints which feature 8 pairs of my collection of over 200 dolls shoes. Because they are all made of plastic, they are more like jelly shoes than any other ‘real’ adult sized shoe. I really love the aesthetic because of the vibrancy of the colours. The actual dolls shoes are less than an inch long, but the prints are 8 inches square, so you can see the ‘patina’ of the plastic on each one. Originally they must have been sculpted in clay and then cast and mass produced, so when you look closely you can see scrape marks.

Red plastic dolls shoes close-up
Red plastic dolls shoes close-up

Red plastic court shoes for dolls

Plastic shoes – set of pop art prints in yellow orange and red

Here is the vintage film in which Mary Quant describes inventing jelly boots. I’m not sure if she was the first to use the technology or not, but her designs are certainly recognised as being at the vanguard of design. And the style of those little ankle boots is to die for!

“You just pour a kind of chewing gum into a mould… They said more or less ‘come and play with our machinery’ and this is how we started making these shoes… Just like making jelly.”

It’s sad and worrying that most real plastic shoes (let alone dolls shoes) are not biodegradable, but they can be recycled and some are described as eco-friendly.

In 2011 there was a company called Figtree Design created these wonderful looking biodegradable slip-ons, but they seem to have disappeared now. What a shame! I look forward to seeing something like this in production again soon.

This Adidas shoe sounds promising: it is made from plastic collected from coastal areas in the Maldives (presumably it once polluted the sea).

Limited Adidas x Parley for the Oceans Ultra Boost

So, it’s kind of ironic, but you can currently buy shoes that look wonderfully like dolls shoes. My favourite two companies are United Nude and Melissa.

United Nude ‘Lo Res Pump’

I can’t actually wear these shoes as they hurt my feet too much, but I love looking at them and they look great on display.

Melissa 'Dragon' shoes by Vivienne Westwood
Melissa ‘Dragon’ shoes by Vivienne Westwood

You can get the collection of Pop Shoe images as an instant download from ShimmyShimShop

Collection of 8 Pop Shoe square prints available to download
Collection of 8 Pop Shoe square prints

Jelly shoe shops list

Melissa – Vivienne Westwood designs and other cartoon princess shoes
United Nude – architectural 3D software style
JUJU – classic jelly sandals and chunky heeled sandals
Jelly Beans – classic glittery jelly sandals
Holster – flip flop type sandals with plastic gemstones
Crocs – light weight anti-hero style


Show me pictures of your jelly shoes!

And do you know of any biodegradable plastic shoes? Let me know here.

Frankie September 2017 x

70s Victoriana

Prints - 3 gingham Victoriana dresses one green, one pink and one blue

Victoriana was a trend in the early 1970s for a nostalgic fashion harking back to the 1890 – 1900 period before the first world war. Perhaps it seemed like a more innocent period.

3 gingham Victoriana dress prints available to buy from ShimmyShimShop

Gingham Victoriana prints in green, pink and blue available now in the shop Buy Now

Laura Ashley was one of the most famous designers producing Victoriana, and perhaps she associated it with a homely feeling of safety, as she had many great aunts who she remembered dressed in the old fashioned clothing during the early part of her childhood in the 1920s.

One of my favourite fashion doll outfits is Sindy’s Pinny Party – dated as a 1973 design by Our Sindy Museum. I really love it for the lurid colours. And it has a very synthetic twist on the Victoriana offered by Laura Ashley.

Yellow and pink Victoriana style smock dress for a Sindy doll.
Pinny Party Victoriana style smock dress for a Sindy doll.

Also worth a look is this Pippa dress from the Monaco Collection (if you love this take a look at more on

Pippa doll Monaco collection red hearts pinafore dress

Laura Ashley loved natural fabrics and harmonised colours with a homely feel, which she actually designed to be worn at home. She demured,

“Most of our garments are to be worn at home. They’re not… for making a splash in a dramatic place.”

Whereas her Welsh counterpart, Mary Quant was famous for clothes which cut a dash with clashing colours and op art graphics.

Laura Ashley dresses in Fashion Museum in Bath UK
1970s printed cotton dresses by Laura Ashley exhibited at the Fashion Museum, Bath, UK in 2013


Ashley on Quant:

“I’m the country one and she’s the town one. She’s marvellously urban… whereas I’ve got my roots in the country”.

Mary Quant mused:

“I think the point of fashion for women should be,

One: that you’re noticed.

Two: that you’re sexy and

Three: that you feel good.”

It’s almost as though, by accident, some of the Sindy doll outfits ended up being a crazy medley of Mary Quant and Laura Ashley designs. Take this orange and silver dress for example – it’s op art and Victoriana combined.

Op art and Victoriana orange and gold dress
Op art and Victoriana in one dress

I was 4 years old in 1971 and my young aunt Fiona got married that year. There was a big church wedding with lots of bridesmaids and pageboys, and I was one of the bridesmaids. We all wore the most amazing matching Victoriana style patchwork dresses with lace trimmed sleeves. We kept the dress which I managed to fit into for a birthday party and I remember being fascinated with it although I didn’t quite understand it. I mostly wore jeans and T-shirts by that time so a long dress with ribbons, lace and glass buttons was quite a strange novelty. After that I really got into dress-up though and it became a favourite game to dig through my aunt’s old clothes which she kept in a big wicker hamper and prance around the garden in them with my sister and cousins.

It’s a shame there aren’t any colour photos as it had lovely shades of mauve in it. I think the glass buttons were a dark purple colour. [Note – might be able to get a photo from our photo album this weekend will post here if I do]

Another childhood memory I have is watching the 1970 UK film the Railway Children

And the American show Little House on the prairie (first aired 1974).

There are some dresses called ‘frontier patchwork’ which were designed by Mattel for the 6 inch Rock Flowers dolls in the early 70s which match this.

Here is a fabulous Pinterest board by terrebella ✽ moda with a really lush selection of both Victorian and Edwardian inspired fashion.

The Laura Ashely quote was taken from this documentary about her life and business (22:20)

And the Mary Quant quote from this CBC interview (towards the end)

Red accents are fireflies in a blue room

Red dolls scarf with blue circle flower pattern

Check out these bejazzling fireflies for a second

Red in a blue room has the same effect. It sparks. It’s a catalyst for some kind of explosive event. But the whole experience  is calmed down by the blue. It’s as thrilling as fireworks, but you can live with it. Whereas a red room can be too intense: a little disturbing.

Set of 8 red square prints in a blue room


I’ve created a new Pinterest board featuring blue rooms with red accents

Includes this dizzyingly beautiful deep, deep blue room designed by Tamara Kaye-Honey (House of Honey) and featured in Rue magazine.

Tamara Kaye-Honey (House of Honey)

Compare to a plain blue room. Gives you the chills. You need a bit of fire to keep warm. A pure blue room only works if it is actually an igloo. Or an ice hotel.

Design John Bark & Charli Kasselbäck. Photo Asaf Kliger

Man Bun Ken


Man Bun Ken (as Twitter calls him – fair enough!) AKA Distressed Denim Ken is one of Mattel’s 15 new boy dolls revealed this week. They are all called Ken.

There’s Camo Comeback Ken, Cali Cool Ken, Super Stripes Ken, In Black and White Ken and the snappy sounding Preppy Check Ken. Some of the names are a bit perplexing. Cactus Cooler Ken sounds like he either has a bum like a pin cushion on a hot day or perhaps he does all his gardening in the fridge? Get the full list at

I am impressed with the range. They do look cool. Interesting to compare with Lammily’s male doll currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Lammily did their own comparison with Ken, but that was a year ago – before Mattel launched this new, more diverse range.

I have to say, although I bought the first ever Lammily doll because I respected the idea of making a doll with ‘typical human proportions’, she is a bit dowdy and her male equivalent looks similar. He’s probably a really interesting guy once you get to know him, but from the outside he comes across so average that he’s bland. Real doesn’t necessarily mean average. For example, who has 2.4 children? That might be the average but it’s not real! Real people have quirks – that’s what gives them personality. Such as a man bun for example. Each of the 15 Kens has some feature which makes him interesting. There used to be one Ken trying to be a happy medium and now there are a group of dolls, like real people, with funny character traits.

Mattel’s dolls are more idealised, but then fantasy and ideals of beauty have always been around. In some ways it’s good to have an ideal body image to aim for when you’re deciding between going for a run or sitting on the sofa. So long as your sense of worth doesn’t depend on matching that ideal. Your own personal best is the ultimate ideal and Mattel’s dolls seem to reflect that. They have chiselled jaws, but somehow they seem to say more about personality.

For a fascinating insight into the Mattel team and the processes behind designing the range of Ken’s checkout this GQ article The Ken Doll Reboot by Caity Weaver with fantastic photography by Spencer Lowell.

What do you think of the 15 new Ken dolls? Bland? Idealised? Or do they have personality?

IKEA and now

Sindy disco flat pack every girl's dream
80s Twister game slogan the game that ties you up in knots
Were IKEA going for a bit of irony with this?

I went to the IKEA house party on Greek Street in London’s Soho today*.  Loved it! They’ve taken over a whole house and recreated a room from each decade on each floor, starting with the 80s.

Entering the 80s room, I just totally mainlined on nostalgia. It was extraordinarily palpable. Recreated around me was an era I lived through without a smart camera. Moment by moment, lived spontaneously and immediately forgotten. Never revisited until now.  It’s a strange feeling to walk into the re-creation of an era you lived in the moment and haven’t been back to since. The effect was just like sniffing a bottle of the 80s. In fact, if they had worked on the scent in the room, I might literally have teleported back.

I’m a huge fan of IKEA. It’s form and function in affordable harmony. Before that cheap furniture was MFI: tacky, beige, lowest common denominator. MFI never struck out with any kind of aim to fly high and as the Guardian quipped it fell flat on it’s back. IKEA has vision. It sells to millions of people and yet it’s still possible to own a piece of IKEA furniture that none of your friends have. Because they make short run lines as well as classic repeats. I have a slim chest of drawers made from naked wood that I’ve never seen anywhere else. It’s great for storing necklaces, earrings and balled up socks.


On each floor of the house is a room from a different decade. They’ve all been styled perfectly and with humour. Next to the disco in the 80s room is a Twister game laid out on the floor with the slogan ‘the game that ties you up in knots’. Perfect, perfect slogan for an IKEA flat pack instruction manual with tangled up people clearly drawn by the same illustrator.

Climb up the house through the 90s, through the present to arrive at the future. Here is a responsive room with a vegetable garden. In 2025 ‘smart assistants’ are less of a novelty and we’ve stopped asking them silly test questions and posting the silly answers on YouTube. Hopefully they’ll be able to tackle aphid attacks and manage sprinkle systems because we don’t have gardens anymore and our living rooms are furnished with lettuce.

IKEA future room vegetable incubator

Likeable. Anything could happen really. Smart assistants would be handy, even essential  for some people. My friend is currently trying to figure out how Alexa or Siri can help her mother who is unable to move after a stroke but can speak clearly.


*Actually the IKEA house party was 18 October 2017 – I’ve only just got round to finishing this post. It finished that weekend but if you’re interested, head over to the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton (London UK) as the whole museum is based on the same rooms through the ages premise. With easier access as you move along through the rooms rather than up and down stairs.

Christmas last posting dates


Buy Christmas cards now >>>

Latest recommended posting dates to get there in time for Christmas

When you are posting within the UK.

Wednesday 20 December for 2nd Class post.

Thursday 21 December for 1st Class post.

Thursday 21 December for Special Delivery Guaranteed®

Friday 22 December for Royal Mail Special Delivery Saturday Guaranteed®


You can get loads more information on when to send things in time for Christmas from the Royal Mail Christmas page.

ShimmyShim shortlisted for humorous sci fi Christmas cards


Buy Christmas in Space cards >>>

I was really excited to get shortlisted in a competition I entered with my ShimmyShim Christmas in Space cards.

A bit stressful though as I was off on a long weekend break to visit family. Spent a lot of the weekend posting on Facebook and Instagram. Some of the other shortlisted companies had thousands of followers so it felt somewhat David and Goliath.

Didn’t get through to the final judging round but I learnt a lot about Social media in a very short time! Including how to create an Instagram story, how to get blocked from posting on Facebook groups for a week and how NOT to email everyone you know on LinkedIn. Aaaaaagh! All part of learning and growing.

The Business Booster competition

The Business Booster competition is run by www. – they’re a UK based printing company. They will be exhibiting at the Top Drawer designer gifts trade show in January 2018 and they ran a competition to select 2 finalist printed gifts designers to showcase alongside them.

The judges in the final round (after the social media popular vote) were:

Veronica Dearly, Founder,
Sharon Little, CEO, Greeting Card Association,
Andy Dunn, Founder, Creators Club,
Nick Green, Founder,

All the card designs

Event – The Dulwich Pop-up Launch Sunday 29 October

JOIN the event on FACEBOOK

ShimmyShim debuts at this new event by ‘Beckenham Market’.

New Christmas in Space cards available for any xmas early birds, Autumn #microvintage knitted fashions, some Halloween guests and a smattering of kids pom pom ‘make your own’ Halloween toys.

Sunday 29 October 2017

10.00am – 4.00pm

Entry £4 (or £2 with a flyer, or if you follow @solastc on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram). Children under 16, free.

Getting there

Belair House
Gallery Road
West Dulwich
SE21 7AB

Dulwich pop up poster




Event – So Last Century Sunday 22 October

JOIN the event on FACEBOOK

ShimmyShim is part of the gang at the So Last Century fair this Sunday!

As long as they are delivered on Friday, I am expecting to have 6 of my new Christmas in Space cards available for any xmas early birds.

Also, Autumn #microvintage knitted fashions and Halloween guests The Fashion Victims.

Retro Bambi visit ShimmyShim

@solastc says:

“You may find we’ve grown slightly larger, since our first fair in February 2017 at this wonderful location when you visit on Sunday 22nd October, as there’ll now be around 50-60 hand-picked vintage traders, in two large halls, rather than one: the enormous Victorian Great Hall and the equally spacious 1960s Modernist Refectory.

Expect to find mid-20th century decor, lighting, furniture, homeware, kitchenalia, French copper cookware, brocante, mid-century ceramics, original 1950s, 60s & 70s original artwork, illustrations and prints, vintage French maps and educational charts, vintage clothes, accessories & jewellery, haberdashery, records, upcycled goods, and much more. We usually have a small clutch of designer-makers as well, plus a local guest artist, displaying and selling their work, too.”

Sunday 22 October 2017

11.00am – 4.00pm

Entry £4 (or £2 with a flyer, or if you follow @solastc on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram). Children under 16, free.

Getting there

St Dunstan’s College
Stanstead Road

Catford Station 2 min walk
Catford Bridge 3 mins

Bus: 171, 185 (bus stop outside), 54, 75, 124, 136, 160, 181, 199, 202, 208, 284, 320 & 336

Car: Please note that there is no parking at the college, except for disabled. Free on-street parking is available nearby, just 5 mins walk.

So Last Century poster

Event – So Last Century Sunday 17 September

Happy to say that ShimmyShim will be at the upcoming So Last Century vintage fair in Beckenham, London UK. We’ll be offering greeting cards and pop art prints of microvintage fashion.

So Last Century vintage fair poster in bright pink!

As well as pop art by ShimmyShim, there will be over 40 hand-picked vintage traders selling mid-20th century decor, lighting & design, furniture, West German ceramics, homeware, kitchenalia, brocante, vintage clothes, accessories and jewellery, original 1950s, 60s & 70s travel posters, records, upcycled goods and a whole lot more.

And take a break in Truly Splendid’s Vintage Tea Room upstairs with delicious cakes and scones. There’ll also be top-notch street food, craft beer and excellent coffee alongside more vintage stalls outside.

Sunday 17 September 2017

11.00am – 4.00pm

Entry £3 (or £2 with a flyer, or if you follow @solastc on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram). Children under 16, free.

Venue 28 (next to the Spa and Library)
Beckenham Road

How to find us ShimmyShim’s stall will be upstairs.