Going through our collections, we found that we have hangers from many of the factories, but not all of them.
The hangers came in packaged outfit boxes. They came in two sizes, and some were coloured.
Some have Made in information, some don’t. Some are numbered, some aren’t. Some factories produced hangers in both sizes, most didn’t.
Here is what we have recorded.
Unfortunately, neither of us have any hangers in the original box with the original outfits hanging on them. However, we have come up with some theories. Can you prove or disprove any of these theories?
The hanger factory matches the factory of the outfit that came on it.
The ‘blank hangers’ that have no ‘Made In’ or factory code are from the OK factory. There appear to be very few of them, and the OK on the one we do have seems as if it was an afterthought.
The ‘blank hangers’ are often numbered (but not always). The coloured hangers are blank. Could these hangers be from the IC factories? There were potentially upwards of 8 of them so numbering to keep track would make sense.
The full-sized hangers appear to only come from factories in China, and most are original factories. Theory: This was the original shape; the half-size came later.
The ‘blank hangers’ are generally numbered (but not always). There were upwards of eight IC factories. It would make sense that IC factories would need to number things to keep track of them. Could the numbered hangers be from the IC factories?
More questions than answers
Did the factories with ‘Made in Hong Kong‘ on them also come in any other form, or did they just continue to use this mould even after moving to China?
Many outfits were sold packaged separately, some that came on the dolls and some that didn’t. When were they produced and what outfits were they?
Packaged Outfit: an outfit that was sold separately in its own box, without a doll.
Early Coleco Packaged Outfits
Coleco marketed four different packaged clothing lines.
The first was produced in 1983 and was never sold on the kids. It was called the Casual Wear Line and included at least eight outfits.
The second line was small, with only three outfits, and was produced in 1984. I call it the 1984 Knit Series. It was produced by the EX factory.
The third came out in late 1983 I think, or early 1984. The contents are all 1983 series outfits. Although outfits from many factories were packaged, the CC factory only produced clothing for packaged outfits. If iti’s a CC outfit, it didn’t come on a doll.
The fourth ‘line’ consists of the specialty outfits that were produced in 1985 and later. Some of these outfits were intended only for sale as packaged outfits but were sold on dolls eventually. Eg. Sports Collection. Others were only packaged when Coleco found itself with an overabundance of outfits. Eg. Twin outfits, World Traveller Outfits. Although these outfits were not officially promoted as a ‘line’, they all came out around the same time.
In 1989/90 Coleco started producing a number of outfits that were only sold in packages. These make them hard to find as they were not sold for long and were only available separately from the kids.
The Outfits line included outfits in the following code series: 120s, 130s, 400s (that I am aware of to this point), and transitional Hasbro outfits. Some of these outfits were also produced by Hasbro and do not have recognizable tag codes.
The COLECO Deluxe Outfits line includes outfits in the 140s series along with other new pieces.
Hasbro must have found themselves with an overabundance of Designer Line (DL) outfits, as the Deluxe Outfits that they packaged (on virtually the same packaging as Coleco) consisted of entirely DL outfits. Currently, I have evidence for the use of the 170s and 180s series of DL outfits, not the 150s series.
Hasbro then produced three packaged outfit lines independent of Coleco. This most likely occurred from 1989 to 1990+. As they are not numbered in the ‘traditional sense I cannot slot them into the clothing record I am creating. However, they are interesting, nonetheless. They are:
During the transitional years, Hasbro also produced a type of packaged outfit that included a ‘gimmick’. As many of the outfits used were already in production, it may be that they were trying to get rid of extra stock. This is not clear.
The Splash and See Surprise packages contain an outfit and a small pouch with a surprise in it. When you wet the pouch it would melt away and your surprise was revealed. During a 2020 Facebook group discussion, it was noted that these pouches were included with kids as well. (Ref. FB discussion, Jodi (Punki Patch), Feb. 7, 2020) The surprise items included sunglasses, hair barrettes, hair combs, or outfit pieces. Some of the clothing came from the 150s clothing line produced by Coleco in 1989 and some only have Hasbro tags.
If you have any packaged outfits that you can ‘unpackage’ safely, or that have already been ‘unpackaged’, I would love to get pictures of the outfit and its tags! I have many information holes that need filling.
They’re tagged! They’re numbered! They’re not clothing!
Yes, Coleco Pets, which came out in 1987, are included in my Coleco clothing record as they too have a code on their tag. I have spent only a nominal amount of time searching for code information on these cute little critters, and here is what I found.
Cats and Dogs
The cats I have recorded are numbered in the 640s and the dogs in the 640s – 650s. Interestingly, they stop just before the first 600s series, the regular kid minic series starts.
The cats and dogs were made by the SS and KT factories and may or may not come with CPK trademark embroidered on the left paw. (Ref #3, p. 319)
The bears appear to only be number 624.
It is believed that the bears are the hardest of the Coleco Pets to find, as they may only have been sold on the Canadian market. (Ref #1, pg.151) They were made by the SM factory and only have the number 624. There may only be four or five versions available, as I only have evidence for A – D.
Of course, this is Coleco, so there’s a twist to the bear story. I recently acquired a second version of A and found that the two were not quite identical! Can you spot the differences?
I have very little information on these Pets and many many questions. If you have any pets and would be willing to share pictures, I would appreciate them. I would especially like to get a picture of Bear B and any bears that look ‘different’ from the letter versions that I have.
Not all clothing tags were made equal. Some have codes, some don’t. Which do? Which don’t?
Although MOST Coleco clothing has a code on the tag, not all of them do.
The 1983 outfits have a variety of tags! Each factory had a slightly different look to its tags and some factories changed the look often. After 1985 the tags become more consistent in look and information but there were still variations by factory and over time.
In a previous post, What are Clothing Tag Codes, I noted that some factory codes were put on with stickers so that they were washed off (P, PMI, some IC), some were written on and illegible, and some were stamped on badly. Although these tags are rather rare, they can be annoying. Hopefully, somewhere, you will find the same outfit with a code!
Unfortunately, in some cases, they never put the code on to start with!
The 1983-84 Mess
Some factories like CC, KT, IJ, and PMI always have a code on the tag (if it hasn’t washed off).
Some factories, like the OK and P factories, were generally pretty good with putting codes on their tags, but there are some failures.
For example, early P and OK Hong Kong tagged outfits were hit and miss, and some of the later regular tags did not have codes (pictures below).
Some Taiwanese factories, like IC and AX, put the codes on a few tags.
Some never put a code on their tags. (e.g. UT, HP, EX, SW, CY, FD, WW, USA)
I have also seen tags where they appear to be trying to fix a mistake, or they had run out of a tag. They’ll substitute a different one and then make the correction with a pen or a marker!
An explanation of the codes on Cabbage Patch clothing tags. Learn about the letters and numbers that started it all!
I noticed the codes on the tags inside Coleco Cabbage Patch Kid clothing a few years ago. I was curious about what they meant. I started to pay attention, and I noticed patterns. I started tracking the patterns. In a nutshell, this is what a code means:
Number = The Style of Outfit
#1 = Swing Dress
#2 = Sleeper
#3 = Shoulder-tie Dress
#4 = Frilly A-line Dress
Letter = The Fabric colour or pattern
For the Swing Dress
1A = Blue and white crosshatch pattern with a red tie
1T = Large square, red, blue-green and purple crosshatch pattern with a red tie
1H = Solid medium yellow with a red tie
1D = Green and white gingham with white tie
Almost every outfit that Coleco produced has a code with a number, and if there was more than one version of it produced, a letter. Of course, like everything in life, there are exceptions. (Jump to: Oddball Tags)
Some factories did not print code information on their tags.
Some did it most of the time, but not always (e.g. OK).
The CC and FW factories never have codes.
The Taiwanese and Koren factories only have codes infrequently (e.g. AX, IJ). The only outfits they numbered were a few of the 500s.
In all of these cases, the outfit has a code, you just don’t know what it is. How frustrating!
Sometimes the code isn’t always legible or is no longer there.
Example 1: The code was written on in pen, and is illegible. Example 2: The code was put on with a stamp, badly. Example 3: The P and PMI factories often put their codes on with a sticker, so it often washes or falls off! The IC factory does it occasionally.
They used numbers ranging from 1 to almost 899, but not every number has an outfit. They used ‘bunches’ of numbers to create many different series throughout the years. (Jump to: What’s with the numbers?)
The letters run can run from A to T. Not every outfit has every letter. In fact, not every letter was produced for every outfit. For example, in the 1983 outfits, there are no I’s or O’s.
So, that is the basics. Numbers and letters. It all started with something we learn about in Kindergarten, and then exploded into so much more!
I have been collecting Cabbage Patch Kids since my mid-teens, more than 20 years ago. It started when I found a ‘twin’ for my childhood doll, Hilary Dorcas. I just could not leave Brekke Anne behind at that flea market.
As I collected, I learned more and more about these fascinating dolls. Their story is so complex. There are so many variables that make each doll unique. Eventually, I became fascinated with their clothing. As the internet developed, I found experienced CPK ‘mentors’ who taught me what they knew and answered my questions when they could. Many amazing people have been collecting CPK’s since they came out.
Then I noticed that many of the outfits had number/ letter combinations on their tag.
I wondered, what do these ‘codes’ mean?
I started to track the information in a spreadsheet. I started to notice patterns. I asked around to see if anyone had noticed the number/letter combinations and got very few positive answers. If they had seen them, they had not considered what they meant.
I had to know more! I started tracking the original 1983 outfits as they seemed to be well tagged, and I owned more of these outfits than any others.
However, the spreadsheet quickly grew to include ANY type of Coleco Cabbage Patch Clothing, some Hasbro outfits and Jesmar outfits. It currently has 16 tabs and continues to grow.
With the help of collectors from around the world, eBay sales pictures, and other random sources, the spreadsheet has become a massive database; however, I’m still missing a lot of information.
With this blog, I want to make it easier to share information, gather information, and learn about these amazing dolls and their astounding clothing collection!
Become a part of the journey by looking at your collection and sending me information, pictures, and/or competing theories.
Every statement I make in this blog about CPK clothing is a theory. I can’t prove anything as there is no primary documentation available from Coleco. If you have something that might disprove or change a current working theory, I would like to hear about it. Please comment on the blog or e-mail me.
Eventually, I want to make this information available to the general public, likely using a searchable website. So, if you had a random piece of CPK clothing, you could find out which outfit it went with, what kids it likely came on, what year(s) it was produced, etc. Everything at once. A dream, but one that I believe is possible.
The Current Closet
Now, almost 2 1/2 years into this project, I have over 1500 possible outfit variations recorded (or waiting to be recorded). That does not include the information I have saved on the clothing by the post-Coleco companies. (Hasbro and later)