The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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June 21, 2008

Barbie clothes are online business

For Linda Hall, it's a special task

There’s a smart leopard print coat with matching hat for $6. Wedding dresses from taffeta or satin, some sequined, range in price from $9 to $12. There is also an Easter Bunny costume, complete with a long-eared hood and an Easter basket for $6.

Don’t get excited if you’re thinking you’ve hit the bargain motherload in clothes shopping. We’re talking about Barbie doll clothes.

Linda Hall of New Ulm sews her creations one by one, and sells most of them on the Internet auction site eBay, or via her Web site www.statestreettreasures.com.

Hall said she began her Barbie doll couture business 25 years ago out of necessity.

“I had a Barbie fanatic (in) my oldest daughter,” she said.

Hall’s daughter wanted the themed Barbies, with their special outfits and costumes.

That sent Hall to fabric stores in search of McCall’s and Simplicity patterns for Barbie clothes. Those early clothes were different from the clothes she makes now.

Hall’s daughter, 28-year-old Jenny Gudmonson of Nicollet, also recalls those early clothes. The ones she didn’t like very much, she would allow her friends to play with.

“But the special ones, only I could touch,” she said.

The special ones were those with glitter, lace, beads and the “princess dresses” her mother made for her. At one point, Gudmonson said, she had a dorm room fridge box filled with Barbie clothes.

Even though Hall said her early clothes were plain and simple, they prompted a friend to encourage her to make a few extra and take them to a craft show in New Prague, where she lived at the time.

With her card table and folding chair, Hall became hooked. In those days, Hall would make 15 to 20 dresses of the same kind from the same fabric.

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