Those Swirly Girls

Photo from Vintage Barbie and Fashion Fashion Doll Blog.

As you know Naomi and I both have vintage Swirl Ponytail Barbie’s. The first Barbie either of us ever saw was a Titian Swirl Ponytail owned by our cousin. This was early in 1966. We had never seen a Barbie before.  Neither of us ever owned a Barbie as children but we did get to know the dolls and fashions of that era from the little booklets that came with Barbie and Skipper. As far as I am aware the earlier ponytail Barbie’s were not sold in Australia. The swirl, issued in 1964,  was the first so for me, she was the “real” Barbie.

Brunette Swirl Ponytail Barbie

Naomi bought me my Titian and brunette Swirls as gifts and more recently go the blonde one for herself. She was surprised to find that she was a darker blonde as she remembered the blonde Swirl as having much lighter coloured hair. Naomi’s doll is probably an ash blonde.   I think we will be looking for a lemon or even a  platinum Swirl to round out the set.

Naturally, as we can’t afford to buy minty dolls, our dolls hair needed some work so I set out to learn how to tie a swirl ponytail. Luckily there are a lot of tutorials for this online and although I am ham-fisted I will eventually get it right. My brunette was not too bad and in fact still had her yellow ribbon so I have been reluctant to touch her hair even though I know it is not quite right. Titian was a bit messy but Naomi’s blonde had her ponytail taken completely down so I had to try to do something with her. For me, the hardest part is getting the swirl to sit right without exposing Barbie’s “billiard ball” head. They are rooted around the edge of their heads with bald centres. I don’t want Barbie to have a bald patch!

Barbie needs a restyle.

One of the tips I’ve read for redoing these ponytails is to use two tiny rubber bands rather than one. Good advice as it is very tricky to do it with just one. Well, it is very tricky for me anyway. The idea is to separate the front strands of hair and make a ponytail with the back hair. Then you take the swirl bit back and add it, you also wrap a few strands over the band. This is where that second rubber band saves some grief. Here I have not managed to do the wrapping part properly.

Titian Swirl Ponytail Barbie.
Titian Swirl Ponytail Barbie.
My swirl ponytail Barbie in Sophisticated Lady.

Here was my first attempt with Blonde Swirl. I had only one rubber band left that was small enough. I ordered some new ones after this attempt.

Blonde Swirl (Naomi)


Here is my next attempt at a good swirl ponytail. I have got the ponytail nice and tight but the front is still not correct.  I still need to get some little pins to set the curl at the ends too.  I will be having another go but it is an improvement.

Naomi’s blonde and my Titian Swirl

After having a look at a tutorial on YouTube I realised that I needed to divide Barbie’s front hair into two separate strands. My next attempt was with blonde Barbie and after a couple of broken rubber bands and a couple of hours, this is the result. Am I getting closer? This time I found anchoring the bit around the band the tricky part without the whole lot getting loose and messy.

I made another attempt soon after and was a lot happier with it. I found a bit of gold ribbon to tie the back of her ponytail. I think this is the best attempt so far. I am still not quite happy though so no doubt there will be a few more attempts to get this right in the future.




Further Reading:



  1. Totally impressed, don’t see you are lacking in anything! I can never follow those things! I cheated and did a roll-up and literally pinned it that way , then gave to my bestie w/ some other vintage dolls for her 1;6 doll house. Love these but prefer the straight back pony to the wavy buffant. It reminds me of I dream of Jeanie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. She looks better than she did before when I got her. Thanks for fixing her hair for me. Going to Port market on the weekend. Hoping to find something really good to bring home.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your main problem seems to be that that front piece of hair needs to go to the side, not swept back. Make the ponytail, and then just sweep the front piece to the side and join it in with the ponytail. It’s sort of like making a sideways bangs or fringe, with the long piece of hair.


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