D.A.M. Week 3:  Laughter and sleep


An unintended but awesome consequence of last week’s post was perfectly in line with D.A.M. – laughter!  I had so much fun reading the comments on last week’s post and if you need a laugh, please check them out!  I especially loved the comment that they were made from leftover inmate fabric🙂  Laughing has been found to actually reduce stress hormones, along with a lot of other health benefits.   With the internet you have no excuse for not finding something you think is funny, whether you’re streaming a comedy radio station, some stand up comedy on netflix or just checking out facebook to see the silly baby animal videos a friend posted.  Find something funny and laugh!

This week’s other focus is sleep.  Sleep disturbances are so prevalent in people with depression that they’re actually part of the diagnosis, with most people sleeping too little, but a small percentage sleeping too much.  In my mind, what’s frustrating with the sleeping too little part is the chicken/egg dilemma.  Are you depressed because you’re not getting enough sleep or not able to sleep because you’re depressed?  This study found  that people with insomnia are about 10 times more likely to develop depression than people without insomnia, and 17 times more likely to have anxiety!  Though I’ve left it out of the posts so far, MANY people who suffer from depression also have anxiety.

Since sleep problems can be a symptom of other things too, it’s a good idea to consult a physician to rule them out.  Aside from medication, you might be told to follow a sleep hygiene routine to help you fall asleep.  There are lists all over the internet with tips, and a nice, uncluttered, printable one is here:


It doesn’t mention that a really groovy retro flower quilt will almost always do the trick to make dolls fall asleep, but it will😉  Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until next week to see it.


“Hoooneeey…the sewing machine is making a funny noise…”  It was growling while I tried to wind a bobbin, and then said bobbin was put into the machine and the stitches would not lock properly.  Turns out there was a thread wrapped around the belt that drives the bobbin winder, and fixing that probably fixed the problem.  But my husband is not a halfway kind of guy, and took apart the ENTIRE machine to check it out, just because!

Wow!  Turns out my sewing machine was working on a felting project of its own:


What’s amazing is that usually during winter break, the craft room gets reorganized and DH takes apart the main sewing machine (Kenny) to clean and oil it, so it’s only been about 10 months since the last major cleaning!  What’s also amazing is that Kenny was able to function as well as it did with all that fluff in its moving parts!  My stupid Brother PE 770 embroidery machine completely breaks down and ruins your project with a horrid nest of thread if even a ½” scrap of thread breaks off anywhere inside it, and then it takes a few hours (I’m not exaggerating!) to unscrew and take the thing apart to find the little scrap and put it back together.  I can’t say enough good things about my Kenmore, which is made by Janome!  Not only does it do a great job with tension on a variety of fabric and thread types and tolerate all sorts of rough handling, it’s VERY easy to take apart to service, whether for just a cleaning or to replace a part.

Anyway, the machine was out of commission for much of the weekend, and then I had to work on DH’s Halloween costume when it was finally fixed, so the blanket should be here next week!  I suggest you use that time to watch/attend/listen to something funny and clean out YOUR sewing machine.🙂

D.A.M. week two: Exercise and Social Connections!


Exercise is a great mood-booster even if you’re not depressed/anxious.  In addition to last week’s tips, getting someone out of the house for a brisk walk can be SO helpful.  Yes, even if they’re trudging along behind you muttering, “I said I wanted to stay home.  I want to go home.  I can’t do this.”


Continuing in the vein of vintage patterns, this week’s is a mid-century gym suit.  Doing a quick google search, it seems something similar to these one-piece uniforms were the norm for quite a while, from maybe the late 1940s through at least the mid-1960s, when my mom was in high school. This blue color seems to have been regulation in most of the country, with obligatory embroidery of your name on it.  Anyone live during the era of these gym suits and want to share “fond memories” (I say that in the most sarcastic tone possible) or info about color/style?

In plain solid colors, it will make a great historical gym uniform for Molly/Emily, Mary Ellen or Melody.   

This was kind of a time-consuming pattern to figure out and sew, and normally I put such things on etsy rather than free on the blog.  In lieu of payment, if you download this pattern please get SOMEONE outside with you a few times this week to exercise!  You’ll be boosting mood AND creating/reinforcing a social connection – both of which are essential to good mental health.

A podcast you might like that explores our attitudes toward exercise and motivates you can be accessed here:  http://www.wbur.org/magicpill.  You can even sign up for a 21-day motivational email-a-day to get you exercising!  I haven’t heard them all yet, but episode 2 did have a sentence or two not suitable for children, so it might be best to read or listen with headphones if you have kids in the room.


October is Depression Awareness Month


A while ago I heard a radio piece http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2016/08/25/emotions-college-students that mentioned how to help your college-age kids be more “authentic” online.  They brought up the fact that we all feel pressure to keep things “happy” when we post on social media, and I’m no exception. I do my best to keep this blog happy and upbeat even when I’m feeling the opposite of that.  This October we’ll acknowledge (celebrate?) Depression Awareness Month.  Projects chosen for this month are, of course, fun doll crafts – yes, I can apparently work a doll project into any theme!  :) But each one was chosen for a specific reason.

I hope this wouldn’t happen, but let’s just pretend you overhear someone saying this to someone else:

  • You’re stupid
  • You’re useless
  • You never do anything right
  • You’re a failure
  • No one likes you
  • You’re ugly
  • No one wants to hear what you have to say
  • You’re garbage
  • I wish you’d never been born

Are you already plotting how you’d intervene?  Of course!  But what about if you can’t hear it?  One part of living with depression is YOUR OWN BRAIN saying this kind of thing to you.  Imagine this… Your friend has had that sound track playing in her head ever since she woke up at 3am, insomnia and bad thoughts both courtesy of her depression.  She actually managed, despite all of this, to take a shower, get dressed, choke down some cereal and drive to work!  Yay!  And then she opened her email and checked her to-do list and went and hid in the bathroom and cried for five minutes because it was too overwhelming.

How can you help?

You’ve heard the expression “The elephant in the room”?  Depression can be just that.    Here is a good site that gives helpful tips for talking to someone who’s depressed:


 This week’s project is based on McCall #419 from the 1930s and resized to about 3”, which is a good stuffed animal size for a variety of dolls or small enough to keep out as a reminder of “The elephant in the room”.  Make it in feedsack print scraps for Kit or period fabrics for any doll after her era.


Download here

Wellie Wardrobe Week 4



Willa is ready for school – with her own touches!

She took the jumper from Week 1 and “Wellified” it with a warm, new felt coat on top, then accessorized with her ladybug boots and acorn bag.

Get the blazer pattern here

If you missed Week 1-2, they’re available now on etsy – week 3 and 4 which are free here will also download with them for your convenience.  Her bag is from the Wellie Dress up Box pattern

Some eye candy for you from the Wrenfeathers flickr page:

It’s a GREAT resource for getting ideas, sharing your ideas and seeing how things fit on different dolls!  Although I don’t always comment, I do look at everything and just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who posts there!  Sometimes when I’ve had a massive pattern failure, I visit that page so I can get inspired to pull the little garment out of the trash, fix the mistakes and keep creating for you!


Clementine as a vintage Girl Guide by gammerangel


Mosi showing how well she can share with the Wellies by Mermade

Wrenfeathers Wellie Fall Sewing

BarbNW is making me wish I had Kendall🙂

Wren_4-Seasons16-wk2_Gathered Blouse

Karen made these for her Cheries and they look SO adorable!


Wellie Wardrobe Week 3



This week’s leggings will be a permanent pattern here

They match well with the items from the previous two weeks as well as just about anything else!  Made in thin fabric they are a good substitute for tights to tuck into the “Wellies’ Wellies”🙂 without excess fabric on the foot to make them fit too tightly.


Wellie Week 2


So this doll didn’t get properly introduced last week.  Obviously she’s a Wellie Wisher and the name she comes with is Emerson. 99% of the time I don’t change doll names if they come with one, but it sounded too boyish to me because it’s my nephew’s middle name, so I altered it to Emiko (笑子).  After I got her, I sketched plans for a really big wardrobe inspired by various Japanese pattern books for kids, but after getting Melody and wanting to sew for her, poor Emiko’s wardrobe has been pared down to a 4-week series.  Week 2 of the sew-along for a multi-piece ensemble is this blouse

(link removed)

Wellie Ensemble part 1


So I made it through Melody’s second book and found out last week’s dress was actually for New Year’s/ BIRTHDAY, not Christmas.  I had a little rant here about her accessories and the inappropriateness of her bedtime book, and DH suggested I delete it…

I’m thrilled AG has given us a doll from this important era in American history and adore the doll herself.  Although she and Cecile have the same face mold, the changed eyes and hair make them look very different and I’m happy to have added her to my collection.  More projects will certainly be appearing for her on the blog!  There’s a new 1960s dress available now for her in 18” doll size.  It was previously the “Alpine” dress sized only for 14” dolls.  I’m pretty sure it would be a great fit on the Wellies too, but can’t find it to take a picture.  il_570xn-700856644_rysw

The green version of this dress was based on one from the Sears catalog from 1966. When I re-did it in the larger size, I decided to be creative and change to a print.  It was a little too busy with a pleated print front, so I switched to white instead.  I loved the old dress, but this new one might be even better!  With an unpleated bodice insert and narrower or pleated skirt, it could work as a 1930s dress too.


Get it here

This week we’ll also start a series of Wellie/H4H outfits to combine into a 4-season outfit, similar to Little Darling’s from two years ago. 

These patterns will be available free on the blog for one day only and when the series is over they will appear all together on etsy.  The first pattern is a jumper/sleeveless dress because…well, read about why in the pattern! 29334258636_b7cd25a3ef


Congrats to Joy, who found the original 1966 Sears dress and sent me a pic: