A masterpiece of machine embroidery for a really big doll…

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This blouse was a lot of effort, but I’m REALLY pleased with the results!  It took about 3-4 days to make, from drafting the pattern, arranging the embroidery, and figuring out how to do mock-smocking  with no pleater needed that could work at people size with only at 5×7 hoop, to being able to wear the actual finished product.  An experienced machine-embroiderer could probably finish it over this long Labor day weekend!  If you don’t have that much time, make a quick and easy version with elastic in bias casings.

GET DOLL VERSION HERE

 (note that the doll version is easier and not wide enough for smocking)

GET INSTRUCTIONS FOR PEOPLE VERSION AND HOW TO PRINT IT HERE

(read printing instructions before you try printing the pattern pieces!)

GET PEOPLE-SIZE PATTERN PIECES HERE

***IMPORTANT PRINTING UPDATE*** Do not try to print directly from the internet, it will not work correctly!  Download to your computer (click link and then CTRL+S to save) then open and print from Adobe Acrobat.  If you only have Adobe Reader (not the full version) click POSTER and make sure it shows it’s printing on 12 pages.  The latest version is available here: http://get.adobe.com/reader/

Cut and Sew Panels!

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A mid-week post?  Unusual, I know, but remember that little girl on “Annie” who walked around saying, “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!”  I feel that way right now, but in a good way and I just had to share my happiness!

This all started because I wanted to dress my newest Sasha in the dress she came in, but our high altitude sun fades things terribly, even when they’re only in indirect light.  I had visions of accidentally leaving her out on the sofa and the dress being ruined by the sun.  There were absolutely no fabrics at the store remotely like that one, so…what to do?  The obvious choice would be to silkscreen my own, but for such a tiny pattern it would be annoying to cut a stencil, and burning the screen (with chemicals and light) seemed a little silly when I only needed a small amount of fabric and would likely never re-use it.

And THEN I realized there are places that will print fabric for you!  And I wouldn’t even need to convert from my favorite graphics format, I could just upload, pay, wait a couple weeks and boom!  There it was in my mailbox!  Kinda like magic… :)  A small amount is expensive, but costs go down the more fabric you buy, so I created 4 different cut and sew panels for myself.  IMG_2567r

This is the one that started it all!  Although it would have been much easier to scan and reproduce the original exactly, the pattern I ended up making is a little different, because I wanted to make sure no one would mistake it for the “real thing” at some point in the future!  I also made a little bandana similar to the one Gregor from that era had with the light denim outfit.  It says “Gregor” instead of Sasha! :)

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Then I created 2 A-line dresses with short sleeves in fabric designs based on actual 60s and 70s fabric,

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The Mexican blouse was a no-brainer…it’s one of my most popular patterns on etsy, but this version is even more detailed and requires exactly zero minutes of embroidering, coloring, etc.  Just cut and sew!

Saving the best for last!  Caleb is one of my favorite dolls.  He just seems to have a sweet, easygoing personality and will happily wear the same shirt for a year.  This is a dashiki, an African shirt that was extremely popular in the 60s and 70s.  You bought it either ready-made or as a panel to sew yourself.  I based this on a hybrid of about 10 “real” dashikis, simplifying the patterns a bit to have them still visible at such a small scale.  Then, just for fun, I added fabric for a bag that looks like it’s made of kente and bogolanfini (AKA mudcloth)

Designing some of these was easy, others took much longer (about 5 hours to design and place all the little patterns on the dashiki to my liking).  I was quite pleased with the quality of the fabric and printouts, although you can see some of the text was a little “off”.  The star in Wren*Feathers inexplicably moved over, but my greatest fear had been that the colored areas would feel like thick,  painted-on designs that you find in some cheap cut and sew panels or low quality calico.  Nope!  The fabric is 100% cotton and has a nice thread count.  It’s also thin enough to be perfect for doll clothes!  Off to sew with more pix to follow!  And yes, there’s a possibility I will offer these  cut and sew panels for sale in the future!

I’m a pinterest junkie, and it bothers me when stuff I love won’t pin!  So if you’re trying to pin the pix of the dolls, you can do it from here:

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/241364861255020055/  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/241364861255020045/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/241364861255020040/

Original on the left, my version on the right.  It’s lighter, I changed the flowers a little, and if you get up close, the color is much more even.

Is it really back-to-school time already?

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Where we live in the mountains, none of the houses have air-conditioning, since at our altitude it rarely gets unbearably warm.  In fact, last week, we actually had our heat on because it poured rain for two days and the high was 50F!  Down on “the flat” where I work it’s a different story…always at least 10 degrees warmer and without the afternoon showers that cool things off.  And now it’s mid-August.  You know, the hottest time of the year when people would prefer to be up in the mountains?  And yet, we go back to school next week, which means it’s time to go on a spending spree with the large budget of zero dollars my district provides their SLPs to buy fun stuff like tissues, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, stickers, markers, glue sticks, lollipops, etc.

I had a professor in my undergrad SLP classes who told us all the time, “You should be able to do therapy with nothing but a paper clip!”  Her point was not to rely on pre-made materials to motivate and instruct, but on yourself and your own knowledge and skills.   I agree with her wholeheartedly, but when a kid sneezes on your paper clip and has snot running down her face, you also need tissues and hand sanitizer.  :)

Maybe your doll needs something cute, cool, and comfortable to deal with her un-air-conditioned classroom, or maybe she’s still on summer vacation.  Either way she will love this dress and you can learn about the three different types of angles you might want to use to clip various seam edges so they press perfectly after you turn them.

DOWNLOAD THE PLEATED DRESS PATTERN FREE HERE

A few more things:

I realized later there wasn’t a clear link to the smocking pattern last week, so I updated that post, but here it is again: https://www.etsy.com/listing/196456657/classic-smocked-dress-set-for?ref=shop_home_active_1

If you don’t have a paypal account, my etsy shop is now set up to accept credit cards AND etsy gift cards!  I organized it a bit too, and you can see categories now in the sidebar to help you quickly find things.  Here’s the link

I had planned to list a bunch of pre-pleated kits for smocking in case you are eager to try machine smocking but don’t have a pleater.  I went out and bought a bunch of fabric, washed and dried it, and then realized it might be a big task to make them in all the different sizes and keep them organized somehow, so…

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This is what I have available right now.  It’s a lightweight poly/cotton blend gingham.  The one that looks black is actually navy blue.  Let me know what size doll you need it for and I will pleat the front panel for you according to the pattern measurements and include enough fabric to make the rest of the dress for $8 plus shipping (about $2 probably)

If I don’t melt in the heat, more Back To School projects are coming soon!  Also stuff for Sasha Baby, and there’s still a big historical project in the works…

IMG_0350 a R If you’re new to the blog, there’s a GREAT post with backpack, lunch,  and assorted school supplies tutorial here

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Unless your dolls are going to back to school at Hogwarts, in which case, they’ll want the stuff here:

http://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/hogwarts-spellbooks-for-dolls-tutorial/

http://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/hogwarts-robe-pattern-for-slim-18-dolls/

http://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/harry-potter-costumes/

 

 

 

Free cut and sew dress for Sasha and NEW smocking in the hoop!

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Apologies that not all of these will pin to pinterest…you can pin most of these pix from my flickr page here:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/67465307@N08/

and here’s a link directly to the pin for the dress http://www.pinterest.com/pin/241364861254932736/

This dress was originally produced as a cut and sew fabric panel for Sasha around 1979.  But you lost another ebay auction and can’t make it…or maybe you have the fabric panel but don’t want to cut into it because it’s a collector’s item.

Well, get out your fabric markers, we’re going to make it!  What?  You don’t have a Sasha?  Copy it at 77% to fit dolls like Corolle Cheries, and an AG size is included also.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE

I LOVE seeing photos of what you’ve done with my patterns!  It’s been a while since any fairies have appeared here, so I’m happy to present this one from Hawaiikiki on etsy:You can see a photo story (with text!) she did about it here: https://www.facebook.com/Mimijames51/media_set?set=a.10202481704947407.1073741840.1338264043&type=1

What else is new in the wren’s “nest”?

dresden picnic

Remember this?  I got a request for the smocked pattern on the left, but you may also have seen from a few weeks ago I’ve been doing a bit of machine smocking lately.

Well…these two things converged and a new pattern emerged.  Versatile?  Oh my goodness, yes!  Easy?  Well, if you have an embroidery machine, you can smock in the hoop in a fraction of the time with a TON of free designs included with the pattern.  Pattern and embroidery designs available here

smockingClick to enlarge!  These are just some of the designs included in the pattern – see all the smocking designs here

Low yoke with or without easy collar and short puffed sleeves

High yoke with rolled collar and puffed sleeves, low yoke without sleeves

Shortened skirt, high yoke and long sleeves

And just for fun I made it without smocking too…Sasha’s having an “Anne of Green Gables” phase :)

It also includes a smocked in the hoop bishop-style dress you can shorten into a blouse and make with short or ruffled “angel-wing” sleeves

Welcome Sasha 105 (long green dress) who was an anniversary present last week from my husband of 17 years!

I made her a little “Bauernkind” (Farm Child) Ensemble.  Shhh! don’t tell her! but it is available for sale.  It’s $45, and if you save me the trouble of listing on etsy/ebay, I’ll pay shipping.  Interested?  Contact me at jenniebagrowski @ hotmail.com (remove spaces)

Includes red checked drawers that close with a drawstring (no elastic to wear out!), chambray skirt and muslin petticoat with featherstitching sewed onto one waistband and closed with hook and eye, black gingham apron, white cotton blouse with functional, slightly mismatched buttons, and shawl made from handwoven fabric.  Hat,  shoes, and doll NOT included.

Gigi’s new dress

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Get the dress pattern free here

Remember when we did the sew-along and I mentioned http://www.stitchinforkids.org/ ?

Did you make stuff?  Did you send it in?  If so, thank you!  If not, don’t forget!

Lisa said:  Please let everyone know how grateful we are that you shared our project and that we hope your followers had an extra thrill while sewing knowing that they are  going to bring a smile to a young patient’s face. ….. Which will help them get better.  Please let people know they can send their outfits to me at:

Lisa Cutten -Stitchin’ for Kids

120 Broadmoor Ave.

San Anselmo, CA   94960

What’s in the works for the next couple of months?

  • A REALLY big historical…thing… with all kinds of sewing and crafting projects:  shoes, clay food, paper crafts, shrinkies, etc.
  • A lot of FUN back to school sewing and crafting
  • An Asian festival to celebrate with sewing and crafting
  • A vintage Sasha dress to reproduce and an adorable pleated back-to-school dress for her based on Gigi’s dress this week.  But cuter, if that’s possible. :)

So the sew-along is over…what to do with the scraps?

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Make this dress of course!  :)

You have no excuse NOT to make it – it’s fairly quick to make, perfect for summer, and will fit one of your dolls for sure.  Sizes included for Senson, Hearts for Hearts, AG, 16″ BJD and KnC/Sasha .

Click the link in the pattern to see the KnC/Sasha size pattern pieces and directions for all sizes.  If you can’t find it, it’s also here:

http://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/special-occasion-dress.pdf

End of the sew-along and Madeira applique tutorial

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How did this happen?  It’s the end of the week already?  Eek!  Time got away from me.  Wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

Sadly, this will be the last week of the summer sew-along,  (Get your photos in by tonight! The final pattern goes out tomorrow!) but happily, about 60 people participated and their dollies have a bunch of new outfits to wear for the summer!  I hope you all had as much fun as I did!  “Crowd-sourcing” gave everyone way more inspiration than what I alone could have come up with, so thank you to everyone who’s been participating!  See all their pix and get inspired here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/summersewalong/

With any luck, because of the sew-along you’re “in the groove” with sewing and don’t want to stop!  Don’t worry, the sewing fun won’t stop anytime soon…I have two posts finished and scheduled for the next two weeks, they’ll be automatically posted on the next two Fridays while I stay away from the computer to work on another project.  What project is that?  It’s huge…and just what you said you want.  More shoes, more accessories and some historical stuff from a period I haven’t covered yet.  Here’s a teaser:

shola green ffd dress

 For this week, here’s a tutorial on how to do easy Madeira appliqué that you can use on anything, for example, to make an heirloom version of this week’s sew-along dress  pictured below.

Get the 5×7  embroidery design in .pes format free here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/upgthdtjffe4i2t/adorable%20aline%20heirloom%20version%20broderie.pes

And finally, can any Sasha experts help me out?


The girl on the right is named “sewing-room Sasha” because she lives there to help me with fitting. Mainly because she’s in poor condition and can’t be damaged much more by pins and such.  The other day I tried something on her that I had just made, and it was quite a bit looser than I’d expected.  I realized she is much smaller than my other three Sashas, whom I bought with tags and in their boxes and know are all 1970s Trendons.  The one on the left was a Gregor who came in a navy blue sweater and jeans – he turned into a Sasha when most of his hair fell out.

“Sewing-room Sasha” was purchased cheaply at a doll sale, and had been sadly used and abused. The originally blonde hair had been “dyed” with what appeared to be black shoe polish, and was dried to a stiff, disgusting mass. Smears of it were all over her head, neck, and shoulders too.  She was dressed in clothing that I knew was actual Sasha stuff, but was probably not original to her, including ankle strap leather shoes, and the same sweater that my (1970s) Caleb came in.  Her strings will be of no help, since she was restrung with sewing elastic at some point, and then DH had to restring her again when she came to live here.  Does anyone have a guess about her origins?  Thanks!

(and yes, obviously an ADORABLE new dress is in the works for Sasha, probably for back to school, hence the fitting difficulties!) :)