PTP: A fabric fluke (updated)

They’re mistake gives us another opportunity see behind the scenes of outfit production.

A few months ago Stephania Blum found a rather unique and interesting outfit and I wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to see it. Although Coleco outfits are generally well made using good materials, sometimes weird stuff crops up.

She figures they accidentally used the beginning or end of a fabric roll to make the blouse area of this Frilly dress (4L CC).

Another collector, Laura Fulton, ran it through Google Translate.

PIcture of the inside of a Frilly dress with gold text on the fabric. Overlaid are the highlighted words "Trueran White" and "Lixi, Shanghai, China".

After some research, the text seems to say the following:

Trueran – a type of poplin fabric; can be dyed
White: colour
Shanghai, China: location it was produced, perhaps? Shanghai is on the coast of the East China Sea and producers would have had easy access to the ports there. (Update Note: Google translate didn’t quite get it right, the word Lixi is not there. Special Thanks to Kylie Redfern for the new information)

This is a CC factory outfit so it never came on a kid. It’s just a fluke that they used the fabric in such as way that it was completely legible!

Thank you for sharing your find Stephania.

1984 Preemie Outfits – Summary and Links

The first series of outfits designed for the preemie of the patch!

Preemie Outfits Summary – Preemie Outfits – An Overview

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.

Picture of a clothing tag which demonstrates the letter and number code system.

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:

Picture of a spreadsheet showing the Primary factories of the various letters in the clothing codes.

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?

Spreadsheet showing what outfits have been recorded for Preemie 1984 outfit #8.
Answer: OK, CC

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:

  • fabric colour/pattern
  • fabric type
  • lace/edging material
  • structural differences

Shoes or Booties

All but two of the outfits came with either lace-up shoes or knit booties.

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?

For more information, jump to Shoes: An overview and reference links

The B codes

Some of the codes on these outfits start with the letter B. e.g. B10J

Picture of a preemie clothing tag that has a B code on it, B13H.
Picture courtesy of Heather Woodie.

I have no concrete explanation for this. My theories:

  1. These outfits were not produced until 1985, so were given B tags to match the 1985 B Series.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Other Information

> 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.

> For information on clothing for Jesmar Preemies, jump to: Jesmar Preemie Clothing .

1984 Preemie Clothes Series Summary

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.

  #1 Gown with vest

  #2 Hooded Gown

  #3 Gown with hooded blanket

  #4 Gown with square yoke

  #5 A-line Gown

  #6 Frilly yoke gown

  #7 Dress with bloomers

  #8 Sundress with a bonnet

  #9 Romper with bubble bottom

  #10 Romper

  #11 Bubble romper with vest

  #12 Bunny outfit

  #13 Elephant Romper (Preemie)

  #14 Sailboat Romper

#15 Knit striped sweater set & #16 Knit set with scarf

World Traveler Wear

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)

Picture of the items that came with the China world Traveler.


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)

This graphic shows the production factories I currently have recorded.

The Outfits

A-1 China.

The shoes are hard to find and difficult to keep on.

Picture of the pieces of the China World Traveler outfit.

A-2 Holland

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.

Picture of the pieces of the Holland World Traveler outfit.

A-3 Russian

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.

A-6 Scotland

This is one of the only outfits to come with brown Mary Jane shoes.

Picture of the pieces of the Scottish World Traveler outfit.

A-4, A-5 Spanish

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.

Spreadsheet of the Spanish girls dress style and the factories that made them. It shows which have been recorded and which have not.

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.

SS vs. CC T-shirts

I have recorded CC versions of all five t-shirts, but not SS.  I am missing China, Spanish Girl, and Scotland.

Broken Promises

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.

The Excess

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.

Other

Butterick created a sewing pattern specifically for the World Traveler outfits.

Picture of a Butterick sewing pattern package for the World Traveler outfits. Pattern #3729. Outfits Scotland, China and Holland.
  • This is the advertising picture from the 1985 Coleco Catalogue.

1983 Series – The 1st CPK Clothes (and link list)

The outfits that started it all.

Shortcut to 1983 Individual Outfit Links list

When Cabbage Patch Kids came out in 1983, each was wearing one of 18 outfits. These outfits came in a variety of colours and patterns, but there were only 18 to choose from.  (Ref #4, Vol. 3 Issue 9/10/11, p. 6)

The 1983 series of outfits worn but a group of kids who are sitting on stairs, allowing the outfits to be visible.
The 1983 Series outfits.

A 1983 catalogue that appeared to have prototype outfits in it named each outfit. However, over time collectors have created new names that better describe the outfit, allowing for easier identification. For example, the outfit below was originally called the Snuggle Suit but is generally called a Bubble Romper by collectors. (Ref #4, Vol. 3 Issue 9/10/11, p. 6)

Picture of a 'bubble romper' outfit. It consists of a yellow knitted sweater that ties closed at the neck, a white cotton romper with pink rose buds underneath, and yellow knitted booties.

Primary Factory.

As explained in an earlier post ( What are Clothing Codes?), 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 for each letter. For example, the KT factory produced the letters A and B for all 18 outfits, I think. Here are the primary factories, as proposed, at this point:

undefined

However, outfits were often produced by multiple factories, not just the Primary Factory. For example, I know that outfit 7A was produced by primary factory KT, and also by the LF, P, and OK factories. Below, we know that 2C was produced by two factories. Can you figure out which ones?

Graphic showing the code and factory outfits I have recorded for the sleeper outfit, as an example of what the record looks like.
Sample layout showing which ‘versions’ of the outfit that I have recorded. Make sure your outfit matches both code and factory. If it doesn’t, I likely need to record it.
ANSWER: 2C is produced by both the OK and KT factories. It may be produced by more, but I am unaware of them at this time.

In addition, not every letter was produced for every outfit. For example, the Sleeper (#2) only goes to letter K. Letters L to R (CC and SS primary factories) were only used for packaged outfits, and apparently, the Sleeper was not sold separately. Also, it was not manufactured by the PMI factory because the factory began production after they stopped making the Sleepers.

Factory Variation

The outfits produced by primary factory SS (P, Q, and R) are often close copies of earlier letters, making them difficult to identify. For example, if I had the red and white check Swing Dress (#1) recorded, you might think you didn’t need to check the one that you have. Unfortunately, I have the 1G (factory P) version, and yours is the 1Q (SS factory) version of the outfit, which I need to record. Consequently, checking to see if I have something recorded based on the code and factory is superior to using a description of the outfit.

A graphic showing how the SS factory outfits match previous letter outfits, using coloured spreadsheet lines.
Example: SS factory outfits matched with previous letter outfits.

We need to record all of the factories that made each outfit, as there are often differences between them. These differences can then be used to identify an outfit by 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, differences in:

  • fabric colour/pattern
  • small changes in the structure of the outfit
  • fabric type
  • silk tag placement
  • stitching pattern
  • thread colour
  • buttons
  • lace/edging material
  • size

Below is 1Q, as made by three different factories. Can you spot the differences?

Picture of three red and white gingham swing dresses. One each from the WW, WS and SS factories. They all look slightly different.
Difference: outfit structure, tie fabrics, red colours, size, lace pattern, elastic at sleeves, type of silk label

Potential Problems

Finally, just to make things difficult, some clothing tags, primarily those from the P and PMI factories, came with the codes on stickers that can wash off. Of the two, P factory tags like those below, are the most difficult to recognize as they do not actually have a P on them. However, even without code information, knowing which factory an outfit is from is a step in the right direction. (Jump to: What are Clothing Tag Codes)

Shoes.

As for shoes, they were specific to the outfit. In general, each outfit came with certain shoes, but there were only four options: Sneakers, Mary Jane’s, lace-up shoes (sometimes called lace-ups or high tops), and knit booties. Occasionally, as this is Coleco and they don’t stick to their own rules, kids will come with ‘unusual shoes’ for an outfit. For example, sometimes you will find dolls in the Bubble Romper with regular lace-up shoes.

Shoes that came with these outfits are labelled with the factory inside, about 1″ from the heel. They generally say ‘HONG KONG’ but were most likely produced in China, unless they came on an early 1983 doll. Like with the clothing, the shoe factory should match the dolls factory. If the doll is KT, the shoes should be KT.
For more details, jump to: Shoes – An overview and reference links

Casual Wear Line – Packaged Outfits

This is the only other line of clothing that came out in 1983 and all of these outfits came packaged. They did not come on boxed kids. For more information jump to Casual Wear Line (1983).

Outfit Summary Shortcuts

Below are shortcuts to information about each of the 1983 series outfits. This information includes the versions s that I already have recorded and those I am still looking for information on. Each outfit will open in a new tab, allowing for easier navigation while you work.
I would appreciate any help you can provide and accept tag/code information at any time.

For information on taking clothing tag pictures in order to assist with the research project, jump to: Taking Clothing Tag Pics

undefined #20 Sailor Suit

#19 There Isn’t One!

undefined #18 Striped Jogging Suit

undefined #17 Heart Dress

undefined #16 Denim Romper

undefined #15 Bib Dress

undefined #14 Pinafore Dress

undefined #13 Square Yoke Dress

undefined #12 Ruffled Overalls

undefined #11 Ducky Dress

undefined #10 Windbreaker Outfit

undefined #9 Bubble Romper

undefined #8 31 Tracksuit

undefined #7 Elephant Romper

undefined #6 Kitty Jogging Suit

undefined #5 Corduroy Suit

undefined #4 Frilly A-line Dress

undefined #3 Shoulder-Tie Dress

undefined #2 Sleeper

undefined #1 Swing Dress

Clothing Tags: With a code or without?

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!

Specialty Outfits

Many of the specialty outfits don’t have codes. For example:


Some specialty lines had their own specialty codes.

  • Twin outfits use T1, T2, and T3 to indicate style change, and letters to indicate colour. (TBC in another post.)
  • The Circus kids outfits duplicate the numbers 100 to 105. There are two versions of each costume, A and B.

Later Tags (1985+)

Most tags from 1985 and later have codes. These tags include any numbers 100 and above.

Foreign Factories

From the foreign factories that produced between 1984 and 1985, only Jesmar outfits have tags. (Jump to: Jesmar Tags and Clothing)

After Coleco

As far as I am aware, none of the later companies that produced Cabbage Patch Kids put any kind of code on their tags. At least, not something I know or understand.

For more information . . .

The number/letter codes, jump to: What are Clothing Tag Codes
Where to find clothing tags, jump to: Where are clothing tags located
Information on the numbers in a clothing tag code, jump to: What’s With the Numbers? and Tag Codes Continued: A 2nd Theory
Matching clothing to kids, jump to: A match made in . . . . the factory (Pt. 1)

What are Clothing Tag Codes

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)

No Code?

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!  

For information on how to locate clothing tags, jump here.
For more information on matching the clothing to dolls, jump here.
For more information on the numbers in the codes, jump to What is a Clothing Tag Codes and Tag Codes Continued: A 2nd Theory