Everyone who knows Top Ender knows one basic fact about her, when she grows up she wants to be a Fashion Designer. It's all over her blog, it's the only thing she chats about when talking about future careers, when looking at the local Schools that she could attend over the last few weeks, it's been one of the deciding factors (do the Schools offer Design Textiles or similar) and if you took a peek at any of her digital art you'd find hundreds of different clothing designs.
It wasn't that much of a shock therefore, when she suggested some items we might like to look into buying for her that the new Barbie Fashion Design Maker, aimed at girls aged 5+ ,was on the list.
What was a shock for Top Ender, was when Mattel asked if we'd like to review the design maker and without Top Ender knowing I accepted the review and before we knew it the package arrived and Top Ender was busy downloading the app onto her tablet. I hadn't even realised there was an app to go with the doll.
The app is really simple to use, you can pick through the various options to create different outfits for Barbie. You can add belts, photographs of you or pets or other things you've photographed and change colours and fabrics and basically it's a load of fun, and I may have borrowed Top Ender's tablet to have a play myself once or thirty times. Although she didn't allow me to save any of my creations as apparently they didn't meet her strict criteria of being fashionable. Or anything anyone would wear ever.
The hard part was when it came to printing the clothes.
Did I not mention that you print the clothes? Oh. Well, what happens is after you've created the outfit, you print it on special paper and then peel the paper off and stick it to the Doll and you can stick it back to the paper if you want to give the doll a new outfit.
The first problem was I couldn't work out how to print the outfit from the tablet app. Luckily Daddy worked out that all we had to do was save it as a PDF, send it to ourself so we can get it from our email and print it from the main PC. There is an update coming that will mean you can print from the tablet app, but for the mean time this is a work around. You could of course just use the website, but Top Ender really likes the app.
The second problem was when Daddy went to print it. Daddy decided to print the PDF on a piece of ordinary paper first just to check that everything lined up.
I claimed however that it was different paper and that would make a difference, so ignoring all sense I loaded the printer up with one of the fabric sheets. Which promptly got stuck in our printer and didn't print properly.
I waited a couple of day before trying again, as I didn't want to disappoint Top Ender and ran into the same problem. Now, we have a front loading printer, so I thought it was possibly this that was causing the issue but the fabric sheets do say that they are possible to be used in these sorts of printers!
We've now run out of the paper to print the designs on, and I'm sure that we'd be able to buy refill packs eventually, I just can't be searching for the right thing. Top Ender loves the app and the doll and I love the idea of the doll, I just wish it worked a little better for the RRP of £49.99.
We were sent the doll to review.