making barbie's red valentino dress

Unraveling the Secrets of Making Barbie’s Iconic Red Valentino Dress

Have you ever wanted to make a fancy dress like the one Barbie wears? This is about recreating the famous red dress that Margot Robbie wore while playing Barbie in a movie.

  • The dress is based on an iconic 1993 Valentino design
  • It is a glamorous red gown with a very full skirt
  • Making it involves sewing techniques like shirring and boning
  • The full outfit also includes long red gloves and shoes
  • It’s a challenging project but can be done at home

Do you like wearing pretty dresses or making your own clothes? Then, keep reading to learn how this special Barbie dress was made!

Recreating the Famous Design

Recreating the Famous Design
Photo credit: freepik

The red gown Margot Robbie wore is modelled after a famous designer dress by Valentino from 1993. That original dress was worn by model Linda Evangelista. It had a very full skirt made of many layers of red taffeta fabric.

To recreate it for the new Barbie movie, costume designers had to analyze and copy all the tiny details perfectly. They looked at old images and videos to understand how every part was constructed.

The bodice (top part) was made with a classic corset structure using boning and shirring techniques. Shirring involves gathering the fabric into many tiny ruffles.

Constructing the Full Skirt

The most eye-catching element is definitely the huge, bell-shaped skirt made of layer upon layer of bright red fabric. Recreating this was extremely difficult!

First, each layer had to be cut into a perfect circle from yards of taffeta fabric. Then, the circles were gathered and sewn together from the largest hoop on the bottom to the smallest tier at the top.

In all, there were around 22 circular layers of fabric making up the massive skirt! It took a whole team of experienced professionals many hours to assemble.

Matching Accessories

Of course, Barbie can’t just wear the dress alone. Her full look included long red gloves past the elbow, matching red high-heeled shoes, and a cute red hair accessory.

The gloves were around 24 inches long and made from the same shiny taffeta material as the dress. The high heels were custom-made with a very tall, thin heel.

With all the different pieces combined – the dress, gloves, shoes, and hairstyle – it created Barbie’s iconic look from her very first appearance almost 65 years ago!


What materials were used to make the dress?

The dress was made using layers of red taffeta fabric, with a boned and shirred bodice.

How many layers of fabric were used for the skirt?

Around 22 circular layers of taffeta fabric were gathered and sewn together to create the massive, full skirt.

What sewing techniques were involved?

Key techniques included boning, shirring, gathering, and precisely cutting and assembling the circular skirt layers.


While it was extremely difficult, costume designers succeeded in faithfully recreating the vintage 1993 Valentino gown for Barbie’s big movie debut. The final result was a showstopping red dress with a massive dramatic skirt.

If you want to try making your own version at home, it will take a lot of time, patience, and sewing skills! But seeing the beautiful gown come together could make the effort worthwhile.

What did you think of this iconic Barbie look? Would you ever attempt a sewing project this big and challenging? Let me know in the comments!


Main image: freepik

Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 285

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