Maru and Friends works in progress…

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I usually try to post on Fridays, but work and life get in the way sometimes.  Although I still have a lot to do, I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve already finished making for my Maru Tanya as well as  my Inspiration for a Modern Maru Wardrobe.  With any luck these will be available as patterns in the next couple of weeks, and of course, there will be FREEBIES too!

Dolls are sold here http://www.maruandfriends.com/ You might notice my Tanya is an older model, the newer ones have a different wig.

You can see (and pin) these pix from my flickr page here

Sasha’s purple blouse…and mine

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Wow, I didn’t anticipate such a response to the Maru dolls!  Remember in June when I did that survey about what you’d like to see on the blog?  Maybe one person mentioned Maru dolls.  And all of a sudden, a flood of people said, “Yes!  Make patterns for them!”

maru survey

So I will.  A few more even said, “I voted no, because I don’t need patterns, but would still like to see pix of what you make”  A few of you are already sewing for them.  Click here to see a French blog with tons of nice sewing and knitting for Maru and many other dolls.   She has used some of my slim doll patterns for them, adding an extra .5cm (that’s ~.25″) around the outside.

Along with about a dozen other projects, there are several things in the works for Maru and friends.  As soon as the paperwork fairy appears at my work and waves her magic wand, sparing me from about 20 hours of reports and IEPs, I will get them out to you!  :) For right now, here’s a blouse I made for Sasha over the summer.

sasha reading to baby

Sasha reads to baby while sporting an authentic 1970s embroidered blouse (click to enlarge)

Yes, it also fits Kidz n Cats and should fit Hearts for Hearts dolls copied at 77%.

I know you want it to fit AG Julie too, right?  It might not be a perfect fit, but I would suggest copying at 120% and shortening back to its original length.  You’ll probably need to shorten the AG sleeves back to its original length too after enlarging.

Click here to download pattern

(link for free embroidery design is in pattern)

Maru and Friends

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Have you heard of Maru and Friends?  (If not, you can see them here and Toy Box Philosopher did a very detailed review here)

Whereas AG has their finger on the pulse of what real girls want to wear right now, many Maru outfits seem really dated.

Take a stroll through the mall …the trends right now are skinny jeans, graphic prints, and bright colors.

Absolutely NOT flared, embroidered jeans.

Wonderful blouse but…seriously?  Pleated gingham culottes?  With cargo pockets? :P

These outfits definitely do not do justice to these beautiful dolls, so I ordered Tanya about 2 years ago, when they were having a sale and figured I would sew lots of cute stuff for her.  All of Dianna Effner’s dolls are beautiful and Tanya is no exception.  They did a nice job on the face painting and chose high-quality eyes.  I was thrilled until I pulled her out, stripped her down (yes, clothing was nicely made also) and saw her body.  Hmmm.   Her shoulders seem to come up too high and slope steeply, and then her legs look too thin to support that oddly-shaped torso.  I measured her, and found that she’s not the same size as ANY other doll I have, nor could I easily scale another doll’s clothes up or down on a copier to fit.

Here’s a picture comparison of KnC, Maru (Tanya) and AG

And a more detailed chart of measurements (in inches):

bust waist inseam arm between shoulder
20″ Tanya (Maru) 10.5 9.5 7.5 6.5 4.25
18″ AG 11.25 11 6.5 5 4.75
18″ Maplelea 11 10.75 6.5 6 4.5
18″ Journey Girl 10.25 10 6.25 5.75 3.25
18″ Magic Attic/Carpatina 9.5 8.625 6 5.5 3.5
18″ Kidz n cats (original mold) 8.5 8.5 6.5 5.5 3

I hunted and hunted all over the internet for patterns and found nothing.  After making her a few things with AG patterns I had lengthened, and being less than pleased, she went back in her box and I forgot about her.

Fast forward to now…still can’t find any patterns for sale, so it looks like I need to make some!  I strolled around the mall, got ideas from current kids clothes, and Tanya is out of her box and being fitted for a fabulous wardrobe!  She’s shown in my muslins of jeans and blouse below.  They need a little tweaking, but overall, I’m pleased :)

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Sooo, now I’m wondering whether to do this as a personal project or share it here on the blog.  If no one needs patterns for these dolls, I can save myself a lot of picture taking and typing by keeping this a personal project and not putting it up on the blog.  On the other hand, if you have a Maru Friend who’s clamoring to be dressed in something cute, maybe you’d like to do some sewing for her!

Should Maru and Friends patterns appear on the blog? Please vote here!

It’s just one question and will only take a second!

Update: The survey is closed, thank you to everyone who voted!

maru survey

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.