Made in USA Outfits – A mystery

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

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

PIcture of three different 'silk label's used on CPK clothing. The first is a Taiwan factories label, the middle is a China factories label, and the bottom is a USA factory label.
Top: Taiwan factories label; Middle: China factories label; Bottom: USA label

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.

Close up of the lace on the leg hole of the bloomers from a a USA bib dress in order to see the details of the lace.

Identifying USA Outfits

Shoulder-Tie Dress (#3)

Differences

  • Lace pattern
  • Lace at the sleeves but not on the bloomers
    • Update: A dress that has lace on the bloomers has been identified. So, they may come with or without it.
  • The white fabric is very thin.
  • The collars are all white with white piping (so far).
  • The neck/yoke areas are always white (so far).

Recorded outfit colours

  • Navy blue and white gingham
  • Light blue and white gingham
  • Yellow and white gingham

Frilly A-Line Dress (#4)

Differences

  • They look more like the Coleco A – D outfits with only two lines of lace. However, the main fabric pattern continues between the lace, rather then being white.
  • Lace pattern
  • There is no flower applique.

Recorded outfit colours

  • Baby Blue
  • Beige
  • Light pink
  • Navy blue and white gingham
  • Green and white gingham
  • Pink and white gingham
  • Red and white gingham

Kitty Jogging Suit (#6)

Differences

  • The clothing tags are located in the pants rather than the top, like most outfits.
  • The cat patches are visibly different from the other patches. Jump to Plentiful Patches Pt. 2 for details.
  • 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.
Photo courtesy of Jaycee Cook

Recorded outfit colours

  • Fuchsia
  • White
  • White and baby pink
  • Purple (need tag to confirm)

Pinafore dress (#14)

This is the outfit that has the most visible differences.

Differences

  • The fabric is very thin. You can almost see through the white section.
  • The collar is decorated with lace, there is no peter pan collar.
  • There is no blue decorative stitching.
  • There is lace on the sleeves but not on the bottoms.
  • There is lace at the waist.

Recorded outfit colours

  • Navy blue and white gingham
  • Red and white gingham

Bib Dress (#15)

Differences

  • Lace
  • Giraffe patch looks different. Jump to Plentiful Patches Pt. 2 for details.
  • These outfit always has a white collar with no piping (so far)

Recorded outfit colours

  • Green and white gingham
  • Pink and white gingham
  • Yellow and white gingham

Stripped Jogging Suit (#18)

Differences

  • There is no piping where the trunk connects to the sleeves and down the side of the pants.

Recorded outfit colours

  • Pink and white
  • Yellow and white
Main graphic to be used in Facebook posts.

 

PTP: Which OTHER outfits came on IC and UT kids?

Your UT kids have more clothing options than you thought.

Thanks to the assistance of another collector, one of my many theories has been confirmed.

Most of the time, when a kid is mint-in-box, the outfit factory and the kid factory match. (For details visit HERE.) However, there are some exceptions.

Recently, we determined that AX factory clothing came on IC kids. For these kids, the outfit tag and the kid’s tag would not match.

There were several other factories in Taiwan, but the only one other produced dolls, the UT factory. I speculated that AX outfits may also have come on UT kids. However, until this past week, I had no proof.

Thanks to Melissa W., I now have that proof. She was able to confirm that her MIB UT kid did come with an AX outfit. This discovery was accidentally serendipitous!

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So, we now have proof that AX outfits came packaged separately AND on IC and UT kids. This goes a long way to explaining why IC and UT clothing is so difficult to find.

Unfortunately, I do not think we have any way of knowing what percentage of IC and UT kids came with AX outfits.

Some of the other Taiwanese factories produced specialty outfits for the All Stars series (HRS), Sports Collection (CY, FD), and the Western Wear Kids (CY). Like the AX outfits, these outfits normally came on IC kids. Of the remaining Taiwan factories, the only other factory that may have provided outfits for boxed kids would be WW, but my gut says it did not. So far, there is no indication that WW outfits came on kids.
Can you prove me wrong?

Update (April 2021)

I was proven wrong! (read above) I now have proof that regular CPK outfits from Taiwan factories other than IC and UT came on these kids. This includes AX, UT, WW, and HP. This goes a long way toward explaining why there are so few IC outfits and so many IC kids!

A Match Made in . . . the Factory (Matching Pt. 1)

How do you know if an outfit originally came with the doll? Here’s the first step to finding out!

There is no way to know what outfit originally came on a doll. The choices were made randomly. However, you can match the production year of the doll to the production year of the outfits, and in some cases, the factory information.

1983 – 1985ish: A Match!

Coleco dolls produced from 1983 to 1984 (and some stuff in 1985) generally came with clothing made at the same factory. So, if the doll was OK factory, the outfit and shoes were also OK factory.


            KT Boy                      OK Girl

Dolls wearing 500s outfits which came out in 1985 also matched factories.

The 500 series outfits on dolls, sitting on stairs, to display the outfits.

However, I know of at least one collector who admits to taking kids out and switching clothes AT THE STORE, so even if you bought a kid from the store and it didn’t match, that doesn’t mean it didn’t originally come with the correct outfit!

Series Specific Pairs . . .

Some lines of kids had specific clothing created just for them. In many of these cases, the dolls and the outfits always match. There may be two factories producing them, but there is always a match.

Talking KidsOK 
Circus KidsP, KT 
World Travelers
WT White shirts
OK, PMI
CC, SS
Designer LineP 
1st Cornsilk Series (160s)OK, KT 
300s Cornsilk SeriesOK, KT, P
Baby outfits (BBB)SS, WS Exceptions: #1, #2
PJ Series (689-694)KT 
720s series Cornsilk and
regular kid outfits
KT
760s Cornsilk seriesP
Growing Hair KidsP, KT 
ToddlersOK 
KoosasOK, KT 

Continued in: Part 2: A Perfect Mismatch!

What’s With the Numbers?

Why 15? Why 125? Why not 485? Who knows, but here’s some thoughts.

# 1 – 20 (1983 Series)

The first outfit numbers in 1983 started at 1, which makes sense.

The first twenty outfits, created for the regular-sized kids, came out in 1983, and some stayed in production for many years. Many of the foreign outfits are based on the outfits in this series. (Visit: Jesmar Clothing)

1983 Regular kids outfits. The original 20. The dolls are wearing the outfits and sitting on stairs. The outfits are numbered.


When they created the first line of preemie outfits in 1984, they used the same numbering convention. Unfortunately, that means that if you don’t know whether an outfit is a preemie outfit or a regular kid outfit, they can be easily confused. You have to know by looking at it. (Jump to: Preemie Clothing Summery and 1984 Series)

1985 Preemie series outfits. Dolls wearing the outfits are sitting on stairs and the outfits are numbered.

Year by Number

It was eventually pointed out to me (Ref #4, Vol. 3 Issue 9/10/11, p. 6) that the code numbers used seemed to match the year they were produced.

  • 500s in 1985
  • 600s in 1986
  • 700s in 1987
  • 800s in 1988

This makes sense! For some specific lines of kids like the Toddlers, Growing Hair kids, Splashing Kids, Talkers, and a few others, this theory works.

The second preemie series (BSeries), which came out in 1985, also uses the same year-based numbering convention. They are numbered as a 500s series, but most are numbered B5__. Consequently, they are easier to distinguish from the regular kid 500s outfits. I wonder, did they consider the regular-sized kids outfits the A series?

For information on regular preemie outfits with a B in the code jump here: Preemie Clothing Summary and 1984 Series.

Year by Code Addition

The first theory about the code number being the year it came out works for many outfits, but not for all of them. Starting in 1986, some outfits no longer fit the pattern. A small addition shows up in the code to assist. To learn more jump to: Tag Codes Continued: A 2nd Theory

Series by Hundreds

Which series can be found in which hundred. To see examples of outfits in each series jump to: Series Information in Pics

The 100s

The 100s include many series.

The 200s

There’s only a handful of 200s and they are knit BBB outfits. It’s like they didn’t realize how many numbers they’d need when they started making the series, and just continued into the 200s. That’s it.

The 300s

The 300s contain only the second series of Cornsilk outfits that came out in later 1986. I call these the Wacky and Layered Cornsilk Series 2. That’s it.

The 400s

There are two different 400s series.

Series 1 – Sold in 1988, they have the 8- in their codes. They are all packaged regular-sized dresses produced by Coleco. So far only 4 are recorded.

Series 2 – Sold in 1990 (Transitional Period), they have the 0- in their codes and often have Hasbro tags. I have 4 outfits recorded and they are all BBB outfits.

Oddly enough, the 14″ Furskin outfits produced in 1986 are also recorded in the 430s.

The 500s

Only one series of regular outfits came out in 1985. For more information visit The 500s Series.

The 600s

The 700s

The 800s


To see examples of outfits from each ‘series’, jump to: Series Information in Pics

For more information on clothing tag codes, jump to: What are Clothing Tag Codes

For information on how to locate clothing tags, jump to: Where are clothing tags located?

For more information on matching clothing to kids, jump to: A match made in . . . . the factory