Gown: Long cotton gown with a straight across bottom. There is lace along the bottom hem, around the end of the sleeves, around the neck and in a single strip down the middle front. This is the tagged piece.
Vest: A different colour/pattern than the gown. It ties closed at the front with satin ties. Lace edges from the chest area all around the bottom hem. The arm holes are capped with small flutter sleeves.
Bonnet: Cotton bonnet that is the same colour as the gown. Edged with lace.
The lace on the sleeves and down the front of the gown is different from the other lace in the outfit.
This outfit was most likely sold only from 1984 – 1985. Some packaged versions may have sold later than that.
My goal is to find every version of every outfit that was produced. Below is a record of each version of this outfit that I have, up to the date indicated. To understand clothing codes, factories and variations, please refer to the suggested readings below.
If you have an outfit that is not recorded here or does not match my information, (e.g. you have a 1D OK vest that is pink and white gingham, not white with purple buds) I would appreciate hearing from you. Information is best sent in the form of pictures. For details on the pictures required, jump to Taking Clothing Tag Pics.
> At this time I can see no observable differences between outfits produced at different factories.
> B-Series outfit: There is a BSeries version of this outfit, but I don’t have the number recorded. (Future Post)
> 25th Anniversary Preemie Outfit: This outfit looks very similar but the vest is attached and doesn’t continue around to the back. For more information visit, 25th Anniversary Outfits.
NOTE: These outfits do not have conventionally agreed-upon names. Therefore, the names used below were created by me purely for the sake of expediency to distinguish one from the other.
This series came out in 1984, with the original preemies. There are 16 outfits, and they are numbered from 1 to 16 using the same coding convention as the 1983 regular kid series.
Each outfit came with a code that consists of a letter and a number. The numbers represent the outfit type, and the letters represent a specific fabric pattern or colour combination.
With this series, certain letters seem to have been produced primarily by certain factories. I call these the Primary Factory(PF) for each letter. For example, the P factory produced the letters A to C for almost all the outfits, I think. Here are the primary factories, as proposed, at this point:
However, outfits were often produced by multiple factories, not just the Primary Factory. For example, I know that outfit 8G was produced by the primary factory SS, and by the FW factory. Below, we know that 8E was produced by two factories. Can you figure out which ones?
As you can see above, different factories often produced different versions, even if they are given the same code. (Refer to 8E above) Consequently, checking to see if I have something recorded based on the code, factory and description is superior to using just one descriptor.
We need to record all of the factories that made each outfit, as there are often differences between them, even if some aren’t drastic differences. These differences can then be used to identify an outfit’s factory, which may help to identify the possible factory of the kid wearing it or let you know if you need it for a specific kid. These differences can include but are not limited to:
Generally, the first six outfits, all gowns, came with knit booties. Outfits #7 to #14, all came with regular shoes. Outfits #15 and #16 did not come with either.
However, there seem to always be exceptions. I am aware of at least one MIB preemie that came wearing a gown and shoes. This appears to be an exception. Maybe they ran out of booties that day? Maybe it is an example of an in-store switch?
Some of the codes on these outfits start with the letter B. e.g. B10J
I have no concrete explanation for this. My theories:
These outfits were not produced until 1985, so were given B tags to match the 1985 B Series.
The B indicates that they were manufactured in 1985. In this case, 1984 was A but not labelled as such. As possible evidence, I have one outfit from the SS factory that has both a B tag and a non-B tag. Perhaps one was produced in 1984, and one was produced in 1985.
The B indicates they are the ‘second version’ of an outfit that was already being manufactured. However, using the evidence from theory two, I cannot see any major differences between the two SS outfits, so cannot understand why they would need a ‘second version’.
So far, the only B tagged outfits I have are on outfits #10 – #14, and only SS and WS factory outfits in letters G, H, J, and K. I will need more records to determine which of the theories, or another one not yet considered, is correct.
> I have one outlier letter recorded, an R. It is on a #4 outfit made by the SS factory. It is odd that all the letters between L and R are otherwise empty. Could this be a factory fluke, and they used a 4R tag from the 1983 series when they ran out of whatever it was supposed to be? Do you have any other preemie outfits with the letters L-R in their code?
> There are at least two packaged versions of every preemie outfit in this series. It appears that the CC factory, which manufactured only packaged clothing, produced at least letters D and E for each outfit, except #15 & #16, which were made by the FW factory. Other versions, made by the OK, P, and other factories, also came packaged.
> The knit outfits, #15 and #16, were only available packaged and were made by the FW factory, located in China. Interestingly, they came out the same year as the 1984 series knit outfits, which were made by the EX factory, located in Taiwan. Only two versions of each outfit were produced, letters F and G. I have no idea why they chose those letters.
> Preemie Twins and preemie twin clothing were planned, but never produced. You can see them in these catalogue photos. For more information, refer to Ref 3, p. 178.
An overview of the various Preemie outfit series and links to more information.
Preemies are 14″ cabbage patch dolls that came out from 1984 to 1989. Hasbro then continued to produce them for a few years. They originally used a limited number of head moulds, hair types, hair colours, and eye colours. (Ref3, p.178)
The first series of Preemie clothes came out in 1984.
The second came out in 1985.
The third came out in 1987 and was a series that mimicked many of the outfits that came before.
Finally, in 1989 a few random preemie outfits were produced.
They’ve been around the world and returned wearing wonderful outfits.
World Traveler Kids were only produced in 1985. There were six different outfits manufactured to feature five countries.
The kids came with a suitcase/bag, a World Traveler hand tag, a passport, an airline ticket, a white t-shirt, and a regular birth certificate. The passport had one of three countries on it: the United States, Canada, or Australia. The Australian version is VHTF. (Ref#5, p. 13)
World Traveler clothing tag codes are different. They have A – #. (For more information on unusual clothing codes, jump to Oddball Tags.)
World Traveler (WT) dolls and their clothes were made by the OK and PMI factories. I believe that both factories made all of the outfits, but I still need two outfits to prove this. Other CPK reference sources indicate that WT outfits also came on P kids, but these would have originally been sold on twins, not on a World Traveler. (See below)
The shoes are hard to find and difficult to keep on.
Like the outfit and the doll, the shoes are labeled with the factory. The blue fabric used for the dress can come in a variety of shades.
The Russian World Traveler was not produced as long as the others; therefore, it is harder to find. (1986 NYC Toy Fair Report, p. 2). This may have been because they were not very popular. In fact, stores at the time were reported taking them off the shelves due to lack of popularity. (Ref#5, p. 27) The shoes are also likely labeled with the factory. Thank you to Kendra for confirming this. They have been found with OK and SD factory marks.
There are two Spanish outfits. A-4 is the boy’s outfit, and A-5 is the girl’s. Both factories made both outfits. The boy’s shoes and hat can be hard to find. The girl’s veil and black lace tights are also hard to find.
Actually, there are numerous versions of the girl’s outfit. Each factory produced a long-skirted version and a short-skirted version. Then there are the white accent versions and black accent versions. Here are the combinations I have recorded so far.
There are visible differences between the details of each factory version. The boys outfits have different stitching detail on the jacket flaps, and the girl’s outfits use different fabrics, different lace, and different densities of lace.
The White T-Shirts
These were manufactured by the CC and SS factories. If either CC or SS came with a specific factory, I have not noticed yet. The CC factory shirts are made of a thinner material that is more see-through than the SS fabric.
I have recorded CC versions of all five t-shirts, but not SS. I am missing China, Spanish Girl, and Scotland.
There was a second set of World Traveler outfits announced at the 1986 New York Toy Fair, but they were never actually produced. The countries included in the new line were England, Japan, Italy, Ireland, France, and Switzerland. The prototype outfits that were used for photoshoots and at the toy show are out there, as they sold on eBay in 2005. (Leah Salt, FB post, Aug. 10, 2020; Ref #3, p. 93) For pictures of the prototypes, refer to Ref#3, page 98.
Like many of the other special editions that came out in 1985, the World Travelers did not sell well due to their higher price point. Eventually, to get rid of overstock, Coleco started putting all sorts of weird combinations together. Consequently, the outfits can be found on twin sets, some of which were Jesmar kids. Twins came out earlier in Canada, and many of the oddball twin sets are found in Canadian boxes. (Ref#5, 82) They can also be found in ‘single’ kid boxes.
Both the WT outfits and the white shirts that came with them also came out packaged separately. They can be found in a variety of packaging styles.
Butterick created a sewing pattern specifically for the World Traveler outfits.
This is the advertising picture from the 1985 Coleco Catalogue.
Why were USA outfits created? How can you identify them? Find out.
Some outfits have tags with Made in USA on them (or a tag that looks like the ones below). These outfits are structurally similar to some of the original 1983 Series outfits but have differences. No one seems to know anything about this factory. Nothing.
The predominant thought is that the clothing was licensed by Coleco, for production by a US company, to handle the surge in demand starting in 1984. Producing the outfits closer to home would reduce the amount of time to get it to customers, and in theory, cost less. (FB conversation, Jodi’s Punki Patch)
My personal theory is that, as Coleco had several manufacturing facilities in the US (Source), instead of having another company do it, they decided to utilize some of their own facilities to manufacture the outfits. However, having little experience with that kind of toy and lacking access to the right materials, the final product was substandard and did not meet the exact specifications.
I have evidence for USA clothing coming packaged in a 1984 box (although I could not find out if it was sealed), on a boxed kid in 1985 (FB Conversation, Cheyne Wilelm Gosnell, Feb. 10, 2020; Becca Billard, Feb. 10, July 2022), and on twin sets wearing Fun Furs later in 1985 or 1986. (Photo below courtesy of Sabrina Vanessa Adams). If this evidence holds, it means USA outfits are legitimate CPK brands and were sold for at least four years and were included in the mass ‘overstock’ clear out that started in 1985/86 where they began just putting anything on kids to sell them.
Other items that came with the kids (not official accessories or separately sold items made by separately granted licenses) have been found marked Made in USA as well. So far, the astronaut helmets (no matter the country) and all of the glasses that I have available to check, are marked in this fashion. Were they made at the same factory or just by a US factory that was hired to make them?
Identification and Comparison
I have identified six USA outfits; I believe there are likely more, as of yet, unidentified ones. These outfits can occasionally be identified by look, but always by the clothing tag. There are two versions of the front side, but the tags all have the same opposite side. The only difference is that one says, Made in USA, and one does not. However, they are all USA-made clothes.
UPDATE: A USA dress without a tag has been identified. (Becca Billiard, FB, Feb. 10, 2022)
The easiest way to identify a USA outfit, without looking at the clothing tag, is the silk label. The USA labels are canvas-like, larger, and off-white
In general, the material used for these outfits, especially the white fabrics, were much thinner and of lower quality. They also used a lace that is different from the Coleco lace.
So far, all the recorded outfits are made using grey heather fabric, not solid grey fabric.
One outfit has been found with two colours of trim; white and light pink. It looks like the arms and pants from one outfit were used with the trunk of another. This may be another example of substandard work.