In 1981, TOMY released Flip and Fold Fashions, a toy that let children play fashion designer by mixing and matching fabrics and accessories to coordinate a custom outfit for their model.
The toy comprised a plastic baseplate and frame that were affixed at the top with a hinge. The baseplate held the form of a model while the top frame featured a cut-out of the model. Children laid their choice of fabric(s) atop the model’s form, then lowered the frame so that the material draped the model to emulate the look of her wearing an outfit. No measuring, pattern-making, cutting, sewing, or fittings were required.
A variety of accessories were included with the toy. These included a belt, bracelet, handbag, hat, footwear, sunglasses, flowers, and a tennis racket. Each of the accessories was moulded with small pegs in the back that fit into holes in the baseplate to secure the accessories and complete each outfit.
The toy came with the hinged baseplate and frame, accessories, a sundries storage box, and five fabric swatches. An instruction booklet was also included. Fabric swatches found at home could be swapped in for greater variety and customization.
Children could display their finished creations in an upright position thanks to the storage box, which also served as a stand for the frame.
Collectors looking for a complete toy with all the accessories and original fabrics will want to keep their eyes open for factory-sealed editions of the toy. Pre-loved toys sometimes come with the bonus of non-original fabrics used by the previous owner. This discovery can make for a bit of a time capsule.
Watch a classic commercial for Flip and Fold Fashions on the Toy Tales YouTube channel.