PTP: Plentiful Patches Pt. 1

The 1983 regular kids clothing series uses the cutest patches, but it’s like holiday elves lived in the factory! Sometimes the patches aren’t on the outfits they’re supposed to be!

Informative Note: It turns out I’ve been using the wrong word to describe these things. I have no idea where I learned applique, but they’re actually patches.

Embroidered patch: a piece of embroidery that is created by using a fabric backing and thread. They can be attached with a pin, sewn on, or affixed with more modern methods such as iron-on, dryer heat-activated adhesive, and velcro backing. (Ref)
Applique: ornamental needlework in which pieces fabric in different shapes and patterns are sewn or stuck onto a larger piece to form a picture or pattern. (Ref)

There are 6 or 7 PATCHES that were used on six of the 1983 Regular series Coleco outfits.

Each of the outfits that came with a patch generally came with a specific patch on it.

However, occasionally, the patch found on an outfit isn’t the ‘correct’ one.  No one is quite sure why this happened, but here are a few theories:

  1. During production, they ran out of the ‘correct’ patch and just grabbed whichever one was closest at hand and used it.
  2. It was done intentionally, for reasons unknown.
  3. Some of the ‘incorrect’ patches may have been replacements for those that had fallen off. However, as so many MIB kids with incorrect patches have been found, this cannot explain all of them.

As button ducky dresses and outfits with transparent buttons have been located with ‘incorrect’ patches,  this practice must have started quite early in production.

The majority of the ‘incorrect’ patches I have recorded are on OK outfits, with a scattering on P outfits. I have only one Taiwanese factory outfit recorded with an incorrect patch, an AX outfit. The rarity of this find can also be attributed to the fact that Taiwanese clothing is not as abundant as China factory clothing.

The ‘Foreign’ Patches

Some of the patches engender questions. The bunny patch and the sheep patch are greatly questioned.

I have recorded the bunny patch on Kitty Jogging Suits, Elephant Rompers, and Ducky Dresses. Although rare, they can be found.

I’ve found this patch on early 1983 and 1984 kids, both examples on outfit 15J OK. It has also been seen on a Tsukuda . (Jan 2023)

Outfit #15J OK, blue with red and yellow flowers and a bib with a red lamb patch.
Courtesy of Holly Spencer.

Almost all the bunny and sheep patches have been found on OK outfits; only one has been found on an AX outfit. It would appear that both have an East Asian influence in look and/or use. Although they appear to be legitimately CPK, the bunny, at least, can also be found on aftermarket outfits.

Yellow overalls with a red bunny applique and a red, yellow, and green striped shirt. It is in a box and was made by the Little Mommy Doll Fashions.
Courtesy of Callie Anne

As noted above, this does not preclude the outfits from being genuine CPK. There’s evidence of aftermarket outfits using ‘genuine’ CPK patches. For example, this Sunshine Kids outfit, produced by Playmates, has an elephant patch.

Boxed white dres withblue pattern and elephant applique. It is a Sunshine Kids outfit and a yellow box.
Courtesy of Holly Van Warcup

Both the Shilllman Company and Playmates manufactured their toys in Hong Kong (Ref), the same place Coleco could have acquired their patches from.  It appears that more than one toymaker used the same supplier!

Interestingly, all of the elephant patches on ‘incorrect’ outfits (aka not Elephant Rompers) have a trunk shape that matches the trunk shape of the Tsukuda and aftermarket outfit patches.

Could all these elephants have come from the same supplier? Maybe the elephants on the ‘incorrect’ outfits were a last-minute order or ordered when their regular supplier ran out. Jump to Part 2 for details

Either way, the bunny parch is rare on CPK outfits and the sheep patch even more so.

Preemie Elephant Romper, #13

Only one preemie outfit has a patch, the preemie elephant romper (#13).

Mint green preemie elephant romper outfit.

Originally I thought this outfit never had an ‘incorrect’ patch. It is still extremely rare, but one has been spotted! Special thank you to Sean Goins.

Photo courtesy of Sean Goins.

Interestingly, all the outfits that I have recorded have the S-shaped trunk patch; none use the C. This strengthens the argument that the C-shaped trunk patches were ‘secondary’ to the S-shaped ones.

Continue to Plentiful Patches Part 2 for detailed information on each Patch.

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