PTP: They all look the same. They aren’t.

Outfits may look the same, but take a closer look. There may be more differences than you thought.. Learn more about WHY I want to record all the factory variations when it comes to CPK outfits.

You get a new outfit, and you wander over to Hilary’s Cabbage Patch Clothes Closet to see if it’s already been recorded. You look at the spreadsheet. Yep! The red and white gingham dress is already there.

But wait! You’ve only looked at the description. You still need to check the factory! What if the one you have was made by a different factory? This is important!

“But why?”, you ask. Well, this is why.

Four red and white gingham Swing Dresses hanging on a line. They are from the PMI, P, SS, and WW factories.

I have four swing dresses that look almost identical but were all made by different factories and use three different clothing codes. How can I record all of the outfits if I don’t know how many factories made each outfit?

The WW and SS factory dresses are 1Q.
The PMI dress is 1S.
The P dress is 1G.

I have noted in the past that letters P, Q, and R have the primary factory SS and tend to replicate previous letters in pattern/style/colour. In this case, the swing dress PMI letters S and T have as many as six different patterns/looks for only two letters. It’s a mess! To learn more about the multiple PMI dresses, visit PTP: An abundance of patterns – PMI swing dresses.

This may explain why they all look almost the same, but more importantly, how do you tell them apart?

Differences

  • The lace on the sleeves of the PMI dress is gathered. None of the other versions have this.
  • The PMI dress is sewn with red thread (to match the dress). The others are all done with white thread.
  • The SS dress has elastic in the sleeves. The others don’t.
  • The fabric of the collar of the WW dress is lighter, not as heavy/thick as the other three.
  • The width, fabric weight, and shade of red of the ribbons vary by factory, although this may also be fabric lot variability.
  • How wide the lace at the sleeves is varies by the factory.
  • The WW dress has a Taiwanese silk label. The others are China factories.

By knowing the factory of the dress, you can determine if it’s potentially original to the doll and/or what factory the doll may be.

The Mystery Dress

I have a 5th dress, but this one is different from the others. I can’t remember where I got it from, and for some reason, I had originally labelled it WS. Based on the Velcro, I would label it WS. However, it has no tag. It doesn’t look like a tag was ever removed.

Is it a factory fluke? Is it handmade? Is it an aftermarket copy? Is there some other explanation?

Odd red and white gingham Swing Dress with matching red tights.

Although very similar to the others, it has some significant differences too.

For the most part, it is the same size, pattern, and fabric. It even has a silk label, but . . .

  • The silk tag looks odd, not like any of the others.
  • The collar isn’t white, it’s the dress’s gingham pattern.
  • The ribbon is made of actual ribbon, not fabric.
  • There is no ‘flap’ of fabric at the V of the collar.
  • The sleeves have elastic (similar to the SS dress, but unlike any of the others).
  • The sewing was done by machine, but the finishing is slightly different from all the others.

I believe this to be an amazing handmade replica of a classic Swing Dress. What do you think?

PTP: An abundance of patterns – PMI swing dresses

There are more than two PMI swing dresses, like there should be. Just how many are there??

In general, there is one fabric pattern/colour per letter in an outfit code.

Occasionally, a factory used a second fabric of a different colour/pattern for a letter, presumably because the original fabric was no longer available. Typically, one of the colours/patterns is harder to find than the other, as it was used for a shorter amount of time.

For example, Twin outfits T3C – There is a burnt orange version and a burgundy version. It is believed that the burgundy version is the rarer version.

However, the PMI factory swing dresses take this to an extreme! I have identified both an S and a T version of the PMI swing dress, along with THREE other patterns. That means, at the very least, one letter used three different patterns!

I wonder how many other patterns they may have used? How many other outfits did this happen with? I’m constantly being surprised by exceptions like this one.

#1 – Swing Dress

The first outfit, the Swing Dress. There’s so many different patterns!

Opening graphic with two dolls wearing Swing Dresses, one is a wheat poodle double ponytail #1 kid wearing a yellow and white dress. The other is a red double ponytail haired, blue eyes #2 wearing a blue and white dress with a red tie. It says "#1 Swing Dress".

Suggested reading: An explanation of the 1983 series of outfits that the swing dress belongs to. Jump to: 1983 Series – The 1st CPK Clothes

Original Name: School Days
Alternate Name(s): A-line Dress, Sailor Dress (Ref#4, Vol 3, Iss. 8, p. 3)

Description:
Cotton A-line dress with a sailor collar and long cotton ties. The collar and sleeves are edged with white lace. The dress was paired with either white or red tights (Ref#4, Vol 3, Iss. 8, p. 3) and generally came with white Mary Jane shoes. Very occasionally, they came with lace-ups.

Swing dress 1H, made by the IC factory. It is solid yellow with a red tie and red tights.
Outfit 1H, IC factory

This outfit was sold from 1983 to at least 1985. I believe it may have been found on kids later, but this was most likely the company using up old stock.

Version Information

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.

Suggested readings: 1st Blog – Why do this project?, What are Clothing Tag Codes, 1983 Series – The 1st CPK Clothes

If you have an outfit that is not recorded here or does not match my information, (e.g. you have a 1D OK that is pink and white gingham, not green and white gingham) 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.

I have not recorded any primary factory CC versions of this outfit.

Variations

> The following are observable differences between outfits produced at various factories.

  • elastic in the sleeves
  • tie material
  • tie colour/shade
  • lace
  • piping at the collar
  • colour of the collar

> Mimic Outfit(s):

#655 – Mimic Swing Dress – The bow is smaller and different.

Picture of outfit #655, an outfit that mimics the swing dress. It is purple and white.
Courtesy of Jodi Punki Patch.

#504 – Sailboat Dress – This dress has a different collar, rick rack decoration, a sailboat patch, and matching bloomers. It came out in 1985.

> There were many variations made by foreign factories.
     For information on identifying a Jesmar version, jump to  Identifying Jesmar Clothing

Other Information

There are more PMI Swing Dresses than there should be. Jump to An Abundance of Patterns for details.

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