4-season dress: spring

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We’re going a little backward with the seasons this week with a felt jacket for spring, or any other season that needs some extra warmth, really.    It’s so easy, you can quickly make a few in different colors for each season.  Alternatively, make it in a neutral color and use the same jacket for all seasons.  This week’s pattern also includes instructions to give it a springy touch with a rickrack flower pin that would also look nice on a hat or headband.

Get the pattern here

The jacket came from a modified version of this one:

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Free pattern for an easy felt coat for maru

You know how with your craft projects things don’t always go as planned?

The beginning of this outfit was me trying to digitize a very simple, quick little flower as machine embroidery to decorate the felt jacket.  Circles are about as easy as it gets, and I quickly made a few little circular flowers and arranged them in a pleasing way.  Then it came time to choose the colors… pastels for spring?  While that would’ve been the logical choice to go with the rest of this post, all the beautiful autumn colors outside my window were irresistible.  And then while I was working on it, someone sent me this pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/241364861255359480/ and my few simple flowers on a jacket turned into an embroidered vest and a skirt border, and eventually became this harvest outfit.

Blouse and skirt from the European folk costume pattern copied at 77%.  Also check out this post for the same outfit with different embroidery and a downloadable machine embroidery file for a vest.

The 4-season dress: Summer

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Even though I’m a doll collector, and your etsy purchases help support my “habit”, I never in a million years thought I’d have a Little Darling.  A while back, DH walked past the computer, where I was looking at some pix of them and said, “Wow, those are pretty, why haven’t you ever asked for one of those?”  When I explained the cost ($375+) and wait time to obtain one of these amazing, hand-painted dolls (6-15 months) he closed his mouth and quickly walked away.   I do most of my doll pictures outdoors, and more times than I care to remember, they’ve slid off logs, tried to “fly” out of trees with their little fairy wings on, or just done a flat-out face plant in the dirt.  With most dolls, you can bring them inside, wash them off, and do the occasional steel-wool “repair” of a shiny spot.  But there’s no way on earth I’d take such a special doll outside!  And really, why buy it to have it sit in a box gathering dust?  So I stuck to less expensive and second-hand dolls and just admired other peoples’ pix of the Little Darlings.

Well, it turns out the souvenir doll for this year at the UFDC convention was none other than…

But no, I didn’t go to the convention, and the dolls were selling on ebay for insane prices last I checked.  So, cross that off my list too.  And THEN I was at a doll show…and I saw one…for an absolutely amazing price.  Had I been there on my own, I wouldn’t have done it, because it was my entire budget and I hated to spend it all at once on just one doll, but DH talked me into it  ran back to get it when we saw the same doll two tables away for twice the price.

And now comes the question you knew I’d be answering…What will fit Little Darlings?

Thankfully, she [who-has-not-yet-been-named] LOVES to share!  The pink dress above was made many years ago for  my 14″ Betsy McCall from one of the Rosemary Ionker books.  She tried on all of the summer sew-along dresses from this year and they look GREAT on her.  The pic below shows her with some other similar-size dolls.

Her torso is most like the Natterer Minouche (L) but legs are more like Cheries (second from right)  With length adjustments, she can wear Hearts for Hearts patterns easily, which also means most of the Sasha patterns work at 77%, shortening long sleeves and skirts a little .

These dolls look perfect in classic kids’ clothes, and as you can see she fits into the H4H size smocked dress pattern available here with long sleeves shortened by about 1/4″ (5-6mm).

A 4-season dress

Remember the survey back in the summer? Lots of you said, “More modern stuff” as well as “more separates to combine”.

The other day, I took one modern separate
http://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/free-pattern-for-august-heirloom-sundress.pdf

and resized it for my smaller doll by copying the original at 77%.  This will also work for other 13″-14″ dolls like Hearts for Hearts/Cheries/etc.  Note that the button bands become too small to be usable at that size, so you can eliminate them and add a little to the back if you want an overlapping closure.


But it’s only a summer dress, right? Wrong! Over the next few weeks I’ll show you how I added different pieces and accessories to turn it into a 4-season dress. This will work with any sleeveless dress, or even a short sleeve dress with tight sleeves like the T-shirt dress from last week, so you may be able to save yourself some work and use that or something you did during the summer sew-along.  If you’re making something specifically for this, my suggestion would be to make it in a neutral or muted-color print/dots/stripes so you have more options when it comes to accessories.

OK, so make a dress of your choice for your favorite doll, and your accessory for it this week (summer) is a sun hat.  Pic of hat is in the pattern.  I intended her to be wearing it, but it was incredibly windy the day we took these pix and I feared it would end up in the water as the towel did as soon as I removed the doll from it!

 

Just had to share this adorable pic.  You may have seen boxes around your neighborhood called “little free library” and anyone can add to it or take books from it.  There are a lot of them around where I work, but they are mostly just plain, painted wooden boxes on poles.  When we saw this one in Denver last weekend outside the Byers-Evans House Museum, I dragged DH over to take pix, even though the lighting was less than ideal.  Hmm, maybe there are plans for this somewhere and I can make my own with taller doors…?  Right after this pic was snapped, a gust of wind came and the doll flew to the sidewalk below before I could catch her.  I have no explanation for how it could have happened, but she threw her arms up and landed on the sidewalk on her hands and feet, kind of in a crawling position, miraculously protecting her face.

The Maru patterns are finally ready!

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Apologies for unanswered comments…I am reading them but this time of year is SO busy for me I can barely keep up with the paperwork I’m officially being paid to do! :)

It might feel like a long time to you, but to me, September was a whirlwind of sewing and patternmaking and I’m amazed this all got done in about a month!  You’ll recall I was inspired by modern kids clothes and it was lots of fun translating already-adorable kids clothes into even more adorable doll clothes!

In the interests of having more than one model, and hoping to have some interactive 2-doll pix, I added Savannah to our doll family…not a fun process.  Don’t believe Maru’s claims that they will process your order the same day OR their map that claims you’ll get your doll in 3-4 days.  And don’t bother with their customer service…it’s non-existent.  :(  But if you already have one and want to sew for her a link to all the new patterns is here and scroll down for a FREE pattern too!

etsy maru coll 2

etsy maru coll 3 etsy maru coll 1

The whole collection includes:

  • Pea coat
  • Two blouses with front/side/sleeve variations
  • Shirtwaist dress
  • Pretty Prints dress
  • Versatility Pants with fitted waist and working pockets
  • Elastic-waist pants (not shown above)
  • A-line dress or jumper with optional collar
  • High-waisted gathered skirt dress
  • Raglan shirt (for jersey/micro fleece)
  • Boho blouse
  • Super Easy skirt

They’re available individually and in sets of 2-3 here and I also put all of them together in one bundle that saves you $11 over buying them individually.  It’s listed here and when it’s gone, it’s gone!

If you’ve been waiting for a sale, or want some other patterns too, the coupon code 20OFF20 is good through Sunday and gives you 20% off if you spend $20 or more.

Learning to share

I’m always excited when dolls can share clothes!  Remember how I said when I got Tanya I was upset that I couldn’t scale patterns up or down from any other doll to fit her?  Well, I recently got a Paola Reina Las Amigas Cristi doll and was thrilled to find many of the Maru patterns I’d been drafting work when copied at 60% for her!  This is great news, because the PRs are smaller than Hearts for Hearts, and now I don’t need to start from scratch to clothe her!  (size comparison pic here: https://flic.kr/p/pjDNJa)

Who else can share clothes with Maru?  Well, you’ll be happy to hear Journey Girls can share a lot of patterns.  As a rough guideline, you can adapt many of the Maru patterns to fit the JGs like this:

  • Shorten long sleeves by ¾” (2cm)
  • Shorten skirts by 1.25” (3cm)
  • Loose-fitting pants may work, shortened 1.25″ as for skirts, but tight-fitting pants definitely won’t, since Maru’s legs are skinnier.

Check out this cute, easy and FREE dress pattern:

savannah t dress

Click here for T-shirt dress pattern

Instructions included in pattern for adaptations for Journey Girls, Cheries, Sasha, AG, etc.

Wear it by itself or with a sweater and leggings if it’s already getting cold where you are

What have you been up to?

I love seeing your creations and inspirations from my patterns!  You’re always welcome to send me links to your pix or blog posts showing what you’ve done.  Katy did a blog post about the summer sew-along here: http://1960sgirl.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/wrenfeathers-summer-sew-along-2014/  Her pic of Shola illustrates that the right fabric can be decoration enough…and that maybe I need to take a trip “across the pond” to stock up on some Liberty fabrics :)

Speaking of other websites you might enjoy, check out this free printable for a cute little pop-up book that seems to be a nice size for 18″ and larger dolls:

http://www.thetoymaker.com/Toypages2/100TheSecretGarden/100TheSecretGarden.html

Coming soon:

Another free and very easy Maru pattern

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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/