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

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