SSA week 4

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This week’s dress is from the same set of paperdolls as the week 1 swimsuit.  Betsy wore it to travel to visit a friend.  Pleats and plaid/checks just seem to go so well together, but you could easily change this up by using a cute print or making the skirt gathered instead.

Get the pattern here

One more day and we will be home!  I’m very hopeful our house-sitter didn’t have any parties, or least cleaned up from them well 🙂 and that you’ve had fun sewing and posted your pix here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/ so I can have fun seeing them as soon as we’re back!  It makes me kind of sad to not be sharing awesome versions of everyone else’s outfits here, but even if you’re not participating, please check out the flickr link above to see other creative versions of these patterns!

 

SSA week 3

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In the same set of paperdolls from last week is what I’m going to call “flower garden” dresses.  The instructions are for the tulip one, but you could get inspired to do all sorts of amazingly creative floral things!

Post your pix here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

Reminder:  your comments go to my email first and don’t show up until they’re moderated so if you do post one, I won’t see it and it won’t show up until I’m back from vacation.

Get the pattern here

 

I’m not avoiding you…

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but if you try to contact me and don’t get a response it because we’re in Korea!  Likewise, if you post a comment, it won’t show up until it’s moderated.  Our farm sitter is an extremely capable person, but can’t answer your sewing/blog questions, so you’ll have to wait until I’m back 🙂

 My going away present to you and your Lottie:

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Get the pattern here

Summer sew-along week 2

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A super-long post with lots of dollie updates but feel free to scroll past it all to the bottom for this week’s sew-along pattern!

As I mentioned last week, our “Betsy paper doll” SSA will run the whole month of June this year, and I’m setting up automated posts to appear for the two weeks I’ll be gone, but won’t be able to see your flickr pix or respond to comments and my etsy shop will be closed during that time too.  I’ll leave all the patterns up for the duration of the sew along, and then they may transfer over to my etsy shop.  If you sew all the outfits and post your pix on Flickr by the end, you can get a bonus pattern for Nosy!  More info when the deadline approaches.

Where are we going?  Korea!  And now, let’s talk about Lottie.  They’re related in a VERY roundabout way 😊  So, I’ve mentioned her a few times on the blog but haven’t had one of my own until recently, but now have a whole bunch.  Let me explain…  I got the book below because all my “international” doll mooks so far came from Japan.

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This one, published in March, 2017 was the first Korean doll mook I’ve seen that is not just a translation of a Japanese one, but actually features Korean dolls and designers.  Even though it was expensive with shipping, I wanted to get it also to encourage more of these types of books to appear.

This isn’t a book review but…the book is OK.  Maybe not worth the high price I paid when shipping is factored in, mainly because there are scant instructions/patterns to actually make the cutest things they show but it does have lots of nice color photos for inspiration.  Most disappointing was the part called “Furniture for my doll” that has no furniture, just a tutorial about putting two squares of ?wood? together and covering them with wallpaper to make a backdrop. ☹  Anyway, it’s full of really cute dolls about 7-8” tall that cost hundreds of dollars if you can even find them outside of Korea with some extremely basic patterns that I (although probably not everyone) could have drafted in a fairly short time.  Oh darn, this is turning into a book review…  If you have these dolls and speak/read Korean and have limited sewing knowledge, this is the book to get.  If you’d like to know what’s trending as far as small doll clothes/settings in Korea and want a lot of inspirational photos to inspire you to create your own woodworking plans and embroidery patterns for all the cute little felt things, this is also the book for you.

OK, so how does this relate to Lottie?  I figured she might be about the size of the dolls in the book, which is correct-ish.  She’s the same height, but has a child body instead of the mature bodies of the book’s dolls.  My toy store (Grandrabbit’s in Boulder) had a large display of them, and I grabbed “Forest Friend” mainly because of a) red hair and b) super cute packaging.

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And then I did a post (no, you didn’t miss it, it just hasn’t appeared yet) on making little stuffed forest friends for her, because compared to the rest of them, Forest Friend is pretty lacking in the outfit/accessory department.  Other dolls come with multi-part outfits, for example, “School Days” comes with glasses, blouse, skirt, socks, shoes, scarf, backpack, leadership cards.  Forest friends comes with a dress, shoes and headband for the same price.  The back of the box instructs you to collect them all, and I’m doing my best 😉.  Their website also found me a new toy store I was unaware of (Jake’s Toy Box if you live near Arvada) with a super-friendly staff, some Lottie stuff in the clearance section and a deal on a Fossil Hunter Lottie!  That was a great day!

We took FHL to DMNS and got some really cute pix!  When I explained to some staff that this Lottie was special for promoting STEM activities for girls, specifically paleontology, and I wanted to put pix of her at the museum on my blog, they happily even let her hold a real fossil (of a trilobite below)!  Taking museum photos is challenging because the lighting is often dim to preserve artifacts and using a flash is frowned upon for that reason.  So, yes, not all of these are lit as well as I’d like, and there is some graininess in some of them.  This was lit with a flashlight:34271350034_e7eb096ccb_z

Check out the cute detailing on the soles of her shoes!

In addition to photos of her demonstrating her actual size (with trilobite above and ammonite below)

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DH was also having fun trying to do what’s called “forced perspective” with her.  If you’ve seen the special features of the Lord of the Rings movies, you might know how they play with placing things in relation to the camera to cause them to look bigger/smaller.  If you place tiny Lottie super close to the camera, it’s possible to make it look like she’s more life-size.  That’s a triceratops skull in the background; they are about 4m tall when “fully assembled”.

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Last year, when April was the Wrenfeathers GOTY, I took her to the same museum, and you never saw a lot of those photos because they didn’t all come out well, and it’s kind of a pain hauling around a doll about the size of a human infant and trying to pose her and hoping she doesn’t fall.  On the other hand it was SO much fun taking photos of Lottie because she slips easily into your purse when not needed and barely weighs anything.  People seemed to find her cute and engaging as we were taking pictures too.  She can also balance in small spaces, like ledges, where she watched a restoration in progress:

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and have other amazing adventures!

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See all the Lottie museum cuteness here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskY4QTr9

So, feeling like I needed a little travel doll for our vacation, I headed back to Grandrabbit’s to get a “School Days” Lottie intending to make her a hanbok and take pix of her all over Korea.  Sadly, there was an issue with that doll, (dents in her face caused by her glasses being on too tight) but when I contacted the company, they were very nice about it, and fixed the problem immediately.  Lottie has GREAT customer service compared to a lot of other doll companies out there right now, some of which can be a nightmare to deal with (cough, ruby red galleria).

With some searching I randomly found that lots of people, including those who paint the dolls in my Korean doll book above, are also loving and repainting Lotties!  And no, not in a makeup-y kind of way, but in a soft, sweet style that is in keeping with her creators’ intent to have her look like a real child:

[image on pinterest and here: http://www.imgrum.org/media/1304215656421827321_3161993446%5D

OK, so in other news, the best thing ever happened!  An amazing person gifted me with her childhood treasures…an 18” Madame Alexander, and a Ginny and Tiny Betsy!  And clothes!  And patterns!  I was over the moon with happiness and skipped to the sewing room with glee to make new dresses for them!  They are totally in keeping with this summer’s 1950s sew-along theme and I have plans to feature them too, but this post is getting too long already so…

now the part you scrolled down for:

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This week’s dress is from May 1959, and if you’re looking at this pic and saying, “I’m positive that was NEVER a Betsy paperdoll dress” you’re partially right!  I love Piet Mondrian and the dresses that are even today inspired by his work.  My brain was kind of focused on a half-baked plan to make some little bojagi (보자기) bedding for “Hanbok Lottie” to sleep in while I was making this dress and it hit me that this was almost the same!  Bojagi is a form of mainly square/rectangular patchwork in Korea that uses unusual (to my Western eye) color combinations and often uses thin fabric with the seams as a decorative element, forming a dark outline very similar to what Piet Mondrian did in some of his paintings:

( image is not mine – from: https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/18c1d-15259050_1324361700928275_6914702621332733952_n.jpg?ig_cache_key=MTM5NTI2NDEzMTA0MDQyMTEzOQ%3D%3D.2

I took the color scheme from a hanbok, whose picture I unfortunately can’t find right now and came up with Betsy’s dress – inspired by Mondrian, who ?maybe? got some inspiration from bojagi and now the circle closes and Betsy’s Mondrian dress goes bojagi 😊  Of course you can make it the original way too!  Our craft for this week is a mid-century table, because who doesn’t love mid-century furniture and there’s a serious lack of it out there for 14” dolls!

Pattern link is here

 

Summer sew along week 1: swimsuit

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Time for true confessions…I took the whole month of May off from blogging to deal with “work-work” and also work on the SSA.  During that time I managed to complete a bunch of stuff for a new AG series, some super cute patterns for Lottie and drafted (but didn’t sew) 3 dresses for the SSA.  Then, in a panic, I finished 2 SSA outfits today!  🙂

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Based on your votes, this year’s summer sew-along will be 1950s dresses for Wellie Wishers inspired by Betsy McCall paperdolls.  Being gone for so long, I have about a million things to say, but am running out of time, so will just quickly post this and get to the rest later.

The good news is our “Betsy paper doll” SSA will run the whole month of June this year, starting on the first!  The good/bad news is I won’t be here for all of it.  This year, for the first time in more than 10 years we’re actually taking a vacation!  Yay!  So, I’m setting up automated posts to appear for the two weeks I’ll be gone, but won’t be able to see your flickr pix or respond to comments and my etsy shop will be closed during that time too.  This year, I’ve also hoping to have a 1950s-style craft associated with each week that might anything from a simple papercraft to a woodworking project.

Are you new to the concept of the summer sew-along?  Here’s how it works:  You sew along with each week’s project and post your pix on flickr here:

https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

If you finish all the weeks you can get a bonus sewing pattern, which this year will be for Betsy’s dog, Nosy sized to be a companion for 14” dolls, or maybe a mini dachshund for 18” dolls.  I did finish him already and he’s super cute!

Ready to get started?

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Note:  you will want to use thin fabric like batiste/muslin weight if you’re doing the ruched sides! (Thank you, Sophie!)

Here’s this week’s pattern

Here is this week’s craft project (an entire doll-sized magazine full of Betsy paperdolls!) and here’s how to fold it

 

 

Reminder!

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Just a reminder today is the last day to use the coupon code 20OFF20 to get 20% off your order of $20 or more.  I also just added a sundress from last year’s summer sew-along that’s finally been resized and fits a variety of sizes like Paola Reina/ Wellies/Sasha/AG/Maru.

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You can’t see in this pic, but there’s about 15″ of snow outside right now.  Thank goodness for computer magic! 🙂

And yes, I did go see Z at the AG store yesterday, and didn’t get her because I already have the doll above and they’re just too similar, but I liked her a lot and did get some accessories so there may be some fun patterns and pix coming eventually for her to a blog near you…

A new 1950s collection and contest winner!

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If you weren’t able to join in the 1950s sew-along for 14″ dolls because you didn’t have one, guess what?  A new collection for 18″ dolls is available!

From our contest last week, Google’s random number generator came up with “3” which was the number the spreadsheet assigned to Pauline’s entry, so she wins the new collection of patterns! **Apologies if you had trouble entering on Wednesday!  I had set it to close to entries Wed at midnight, but the computer interpreted that as the midnight when Tuesday became Wednesday.  I fixed it as soon as I found out!**

You might remember that when I got April I mentioned it was primarily because of her gorgeous eyes.  Target has a new OG doll named Peggy, who is a retro 1950s doll and also has really cool eyes.  I justified buying her because I don’t have MaryEllen and after getting her saw her next to this fabric that perfectly matched her eyes and HAD to make a dress out of it:

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And then she couldn’t even be grateful for one dress, she had to ask for a whole wardrobe! 😉

One of the reasons I love embroidery is that it’s an easy way to get a perfectly “period correct” look without having to hunt down vintage print fabrics.   When I did my previous 1950s collection, there was not a lot of embroidery included.  Embroidery on clothing was somewhat less popular at that time than in previous eras, partly due to the ready availability of cheap trim and the styles themselves, and maybe partly due to the increased number of outfits one would have, thanks to washing machines.  A 1930s mom might be willing to spend much longer embroidering a few dresses that her daughter would wear over and over than a 1950s mom whose daughter had far more of them.  With a lot of searching antique and resale stores and hunting online, I came up with a nice selection of outfits from the era that did include embroidery and am thrilled to share them with you!  Although the designs are available in .pes format for embroidery machines, in many cases I chose ones that would be quick and easy to hand embroider too, for example, the slip and dressy coat that are mainly just French knots.  If you’re lucky enough to have a stash of vintage fabric, or even a nice selection of checks/dots/plaids, you can also forgo the embroidery completely!

One thing that is the same about this collection is a focus on fashions moms were sewing for their daughters, rather than the easier doll patterns that were available at the time.  This makes the dresses a little more challenging to sew, but lets you dress your doll like a mid-century little girl, rather than a doll!

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Get the new pattern collection here

If you’d prefer 1950s outfits for a 16″ doll like Sasha, check out this collection!

Until Sunday, use the coupon code 20OFF20 to save 20% on any purchase of $20 or more!!

And now I’m taking some time off the blog to work on the summer sew along, which will be Betsy McCall paperdoll-inspired outfits for 14″ dolls and some other surprises!  The biggest challenge for me right now is paring down the number of Betsy outfits I LOVE so our SSA doesn’t last until winter. 🙂