Summer Sew-Along Week 3


OK, as I write this we are at a grand total of…34 pix posted and as a reminder, we need 300 to get to the cape/bonnet pattern goal. (Scroll down to week one for more info) I’ll give it a week after week 4 is posted to get the pix up (so June 24 is the deadline)

OK! So if you missed week 1, you can get it here. If you missed last week’s pattern, you can get it here. That pattern was also resized for Sasha AND includes the sleeve from week 1 and a tutorial on how to “fake” a pinafore.

I made this for Sasha with the week 2 pattern and week 1 sleeve, but am fairly confident this week’s sleeve would work too. I don’t usually “name” my outfits, but I thought at first I’d call this “Mommy’s little helper” and how cute it would be to take pix of it on Toni in a 1950s play kitchen. That I don’t have. It’s equally cute in a forest setting, though. Doesn’t she look like Gretel ready to find a candy house?

For further inspiration – this was made for my Toni, not from this pattern, but from several different actual 1950s Toni patterns that I hybridized/modified. The embroidery was inspired by a vintage Vogart iron-on transfer you can see here:

Now on to this week’s pattern!

It was originally intended to be a nightgown/housecoat and floor length. Of course, if you have some amazing little crocheted slippers you want to peep out, you’ll need to shorten it a little 🙂 You could also shorten it a lot and turn it into a dress.

Wellie Wisher Willa gets ready to start her day
Trendon Sasha in a shorter version of the robe to wear as a dress

This week’s pattern is available here in both sizes

This is the last week of “easy” patterns – next week will be a challenge, but a fun one! 🙂

Summer sew along week 2

Reproduction P90 Toni

This week’s dress continues our series with a lovely pinafore dress. This was a style popular all through the 40s and into the 50s. I made a really cute variation of it as a dress with sleeves and a fake pinafore on top, but haven’t gotten pix yet. Check back tomorrow – it should be up then!

So as not to rehash everything, I’ll ask you to go back to last week’s post for info on how the sew-along works this year. And…we need a LOT more pix to meet the goal, so keep posting! If you go into the comments from last week, you can see links to everyone’s creations.

I also resized last week’s pattern for my 16″ Toni and found it looks fabulous on AGAT and Sasha. Should you want to make matching big/little sister dresses, you can now get it here:

A Girl for all Time Bex and Wellie Wisher Kendall

Hooray, the Summer Sew-Along begins today!!


So I’m not sharing my muse, who happens to be a P91 Toni. I’m going to continue sewing for her on my own for now, because there’s something BIG in the works!  Here is a spoiler pic:

The vote was roughly 50% for the 1950s and 25% each for 1930s and 40s, so this pattern should please 75% of the voters!  🙂 

Butterick 6349 was originally published in the 1940s, and stayed in publication through the early 50s.  I like it because it’s a little less derivative than a lot of 50s doll patterns, yet is more versatile than it seems.  There are even a lot really fun mix/match possibilities with the pattern pieces themselves, which I’ll get into as we get to those patterns.  I did need to make changes to the original pieces to make them fit, especially at the arms/sleeves, and updated a couple of construction techniques but the general mid-century feel of the clothes is the same.  For example, closing with an overlap for buttons/snaps in the back instead of Velcro. 

Doll is a reproduction Toni

Here’s how this year’s sew-along will work:  Each pattern will be available in 14” size FREE on THURSDAY.  Make sure to download it then, because it will be taken down on Friday, but yes, available to purchase in a multi-sized version later.  I’m planning on 4 weeks, which would be 3 dresses and a nightgown, but the pattern also originally had a cape and a sweet little bonnet.  Do you want me to post them too?  Here’s your challenge:  Get yourself and your friends sewing!  Instead of doing this individually and sending a pattern just to the people that finish, I’m setting a group goal.  Right now during the 4 weeks of free dress patterns, I’m aiming for 400 (total) comments with links to pix of what you sewed.  You can post your pix anywhere online that you want (facebook, instagram, flickr, etc.) and then put a comment in blog for that week with the link to your pic.  If we meet that goal, I’ll post the cape and bonnet patterns free for everyone!  If not, it will be for sale later along with the other patterns which I’m probably going to be resizing for 16” dolls too.

Speaking of Resizing:

  • These were all originally fitted on a 14” Toni (p90) with a 7.25” bust and 6.75” waist
  • They will also fit others of a similar size like Wellie Wishers (no need to resize)
  • They fit vintage Nancy Famosa if you lengthen the bodice and skirt a little. 
  • These dresses are a little loose on thinner 14” dolls like H4H and Betsy McCall – you might experiment with using the bodice and sleeve reduced at 90% but leaving the skirt measurements the same.
  • Enlarging 14” Toni patterns to 123% usually works fine for 16” dolls like Sasha/AGAT but as always when resizing, make a muslin first! 
  • In keeping with the originals, these close with an overlap, which might help them fit even more dolls if you adjust the closure placement. 

A word about darts: I don’t know what doll this was originally meant to fit, but it did have rather wide darts at the waist and fits my Toni better with them. If you’re using this for a doll with a more cylindrical shape such as Sasha, you might want to omit the darts or at least reduce their width.  For all dolls, if you are resizing and want darts, baste the bodice together first and try on the doll to check the fit.  If darts are needed, baste in place to ensure the fit is good before sewing.

I’m not answering any other resizing questions, it will take time away from getting next week’s post ready!

Summer sew-along vote!


It’s that time of year!  Vote for your choice of decade for the summer sew along below! (you might have to wait a few seconds for it to load)

I was thinking today that some of my favorite summer sew-alongs have been ones where I used vintage patterns and adapted them for modern dolls.  My doll who’s going to be featured this year is a 16” vintage one that my husband won on ebay, who actually turned out to be in much better condition than I had feared given what he paid! Nope, not revealing yet who she is, but I will say that I just cannot stop sewing for her because she looks amazing in pretty much everything you put on her! 😊

SO, I’m going to base this year’s sew-along on an actual vintage doll pattern again, with the decade based on the results of your vote.  If it matters, the size will be for a 16” doll – a little slimmer than Sasha/AGAT but the pattern will be easily resize-able/usable with vintage Nancy Famosa, Wellies, H4H, Toni, Betsy McCall, etc.

This poll closes Monday!

Machine embroidered fairy wings!


Hi everyone, I have a special treat/guest post for you today, courtesy of Susan M!

She made this adorable fairy costume for her glitter girl from this pattern:

Susan digitized the wings to do for machine embroidery and graciously agreed to share her embroidery files and step-by-step instructions with you here on the blog! I’d rate this project as something for people with at least intermediate machine-embroidery skills and enough crafting experience to know what your equipment can handle in terms of stitching through plastic when needed. If the plastic part intimidates you, you could leave the wings floppy as in the original or experiment with using an extra layer or two of water-soluble stabilizer and wetting it well, but not rinsing it out. I’ve found that often leads to a reasonable amount of stiffness for small projects.

Here is the link to the embroidery files

Susan’s instructions for using the files follow:

(I have a Pfaff Creative Sensation and the hoop I used is 360 mm X 200 mm, enabling me to put both wings on one hoop.)  If someone doesn’t have embroidery software to change the hoop, email me with your format type and hoop size you need.  I’m at

Instructions for In The Hoop Butterfly Wings:


• 505 Spray adhesive organza ( enough for hooping)
• Thin clear plastic sheet I used the sheet of very thin plastic to cut out Jennie’s wing pattern and then cut away 1/4″ all around so I wouldn’t be stitching through plastic on my embroidery machine.
• Load the same thread in both the top and bobbin. I used all black.

1.  Hoop 2 layers of organza with one layer of water soluble stabilizer in between the layers.

2.  Stitch out the step fill part of the design.  I used 3 different  colors show in the embroidery design for each wing for user control, but in my case I used only black thread with gold organza.

3.  At the second color change in the design, which straight stitches around the holes in the wings, I removed the hoop and cut away the threads from the jump stitches.

4.  Lightly spray your clear plastic with 505 adhesive and position it on the back side of the design, well away from the edge, so you won’t stitch through the plastic.

5.  Take another piece of organza, enough to cover the plastic and extending over the entire wing, spray the plastic that’s already adhered with 505, and attach the organza also, on top of the plastic.  Re-insert your hoop into the machine.

6.  Stitch the final stitching which is a satin stitch around the outer edge of the wing.

7.  Repeat process for second wing.

8.  Remove wings from hoop and cut close to the satin stitch.  I used Fray Check around the outer edge, just to be safe.

9.  I sewed a small strip of black plastic faux leather to the wings, and used black elastic straps to fit the doll. I needed my Juki 2010 to go through the plastic and wings.

Nancy A-line week 4 – Coat


What a busy couple of weeks it’s been!  I am so thankful that today begins a week of Thanksgiving Break! To celebrate that, here is the final pattern in our Nancy Trousseau/A-line Series.  Nancy had kind of a surprising number of coats, even at the very beginning of her wardrobe.  The white one that came with the trousseau set was also sold separately as “Noche de estreno,” and then she had an animal-print faux-fur one called “En las carreras,” another plain light brown faux-fur called “Días de frío” and finally, a really cute raincoat called “Bajo la lluvia” or just “Lluvia.”  You could use this basic pattern to make any of Nancy’s faux-fur coats, or check out some of the really fun fabrics available now in wild prints and colors that are so soft you just can’t stop petting them! 😊  For best results choose a furry fabric on the thin side, mine pictured here was about the thickness of a heavyweight fleece…which would also be a great option for a sportier version of this jacket and could be hemmed instead of lined.

Get the coat pattern here

Nancy A-line week 3


Not one but TWO versions of original Nancy dresses this week! The blue one is part of the original trousseau we’re recreating and the red one is an easier alternative if the scarf collar seems too challenging for you. Or make both!

These are my interpretations of Nancy’s originals from the 1960s called “De mañana” and “De tarde”

Also in the pdf is a body comparison pic of how Nancy’s shape compares to dolls that might be more familiar to you and below is a view of how the dress looks on a Wellie Wisher. Please also check the comments section last week about some other resizing ideas!

Deep breaths, peaceful thoughts, happy sewing!

Get the pattern here

[If you had a printing problem, please just re-download and it should work now!]

Nancy A-line week 2


Doll is a repro Nancy Famosa “Romántica”

Judging by last week’s comments, which is one way I gauge how popular a post was, the Soviet A-line book was not as much of a hit as I’d hoped.  In a lateral move (still A-lines, same doll, same era) I switched gears to one of Nancy’s original “trousseau” sets.  She had a few over the years, this one from the late 1960s included a dress similar to the one pictured here called “Presentación” that she came dressed in. It came in a few different colors, and was accompanied by a dress with a unique collar/scarf combo called “En la manaña” and a fluffy, white faux-fur coat.  

OK, I just have to interject that sometimes I get so excited about sewing for one doll I think, “Oh wow, I’m just going to dedicate the next X weeks/months of my life to sewing for this doll!” With a few rare exceptions, I get tired before my ideas run out, but I am hoping to take Nancy from the 60s into the 70s with sewing and crochet projects. We’ll see how long it lasts LOL

The original Presentación dress had two layers; a shorter underdress and a longer, sheer overdress.  The armholes and hemline were bound with bias or some kind of seam binding.  Not my image but you can see a pic of an original here:

In this pattern, the underdress pattern is a suggested guideline, since I didn’t do mine that way, so take it with a grain of salt and consider doing a muslin to check since I didn’t. 

To make things easier, I just cut mine the same (2 overdress layers) and basted the two layers together.  The armholes and hem were then bound with extra lace, which in my case was a bit stretchy. 

The A-line style is so adaptable, I was even able to make a couple of other dresses of hers with the same basic pattern by changing up collars and sleeves…yes, they are going to appear here soon! 😉   

One last thing:  This dress is SHORT!  It was the style at the time, yes, but for a more modern doll you might consider lowering the hemline by quite a bit (check last week’s post for a guideline) or using it over leggings/pants. 

Get the dress here

1960s…next week!


So I had found these pix that I thought were from the 1960s, because, looking at this, wouldn’t you think that too?

(image from

Well! As it turns out, it’s from 1984. Yep. Apparently, well-dressed Soviet kids were wearing tons of hand embroidery while Courtney decked herself out in stonewashed denim. 😉

So now I’m in a losing debate with myself whether to do those anyway because they are gorgeous and look late 1960s to me, or to do another plan which actually is dresses from the 1960s, which is what you voted for in last week’s poll. We’ll see what I get sewn this weekend!

I’m planning to moderate all the comments from last week later today. There were several fond stories of childhood dolls you might want to check out in the comments from last week’s post!

Embroidery for a Fall Blouse


Get the embroidery template and pattern links here:

Model is a Fisher Price My Friend Jenny…I’ve never featured them on the blog, but the My Friend Dolls are actually both how and why I learned to sew as a child! Mandy was my first one, and they included new sewing patterns every time you bought an outfit, so I amassed a small collection of them and regularly raided the rag bag, using our family’s cast-off clothes to sew for her. The patterns are incredibly easy for the experienced seamstress I’ve now become, and feature simple details like raglan sleeves, and pattern pieces with straight lines, like tote bags, or easy gathered rectangles for a slip, sundress, etc.

This Jenny is actually not my childhood one, but a replacement 1978 version that DH got for me over the summer. Jenny had 3 iterations over the years – a brown jumper, a yellow gingham dress, and a turquoise/purple athletic outfit. The face paint is subtly different between them, and the hair had minor changes as well.

This Jenny is a replacement because something happened to my original Mandy’s plastic that started making it smell bad. I don’t know if it was that she used to live in a humid climate or that she was occasionally put into the washing machine (which her tag says is OK) and at some point didn’t dry properly or something. Anyway, her smell infected all her siblings, which were stored in the same box with her, and they all got placed outside, clearly needing to be discarded, but the thought of putting them in the trash is unthinkable to me.

Some of my very first memories are of putting Mandy in my little plastic shopping cart and pushing her up and down the block with my friend Laura, who also had one. I can remember putting on her raincoat and playing outside in warm spring rain, learning to braid hair by practicing on her, making a tote bag to hold clothes she needed to go camping with me, and eventually turning into a doll collector by “needing” to acquire her friends/siblings too.  These dolls gladly wore all my hand-stitched creations, which, I’m happy to say, improved a lot over the years. 😊  As a fan of the Raggedy Ann books, I also firmly believed the stories that dolls came to life while I was at school and sometimes would creep up the stairs as quietly as possible when I got home to peer under the crack below my door and try to “catch” them jumping back into place on my bed. We had tea parties and birthday parties and countless conversations and adventures. Even though I had many other dolls, along with my dollhouse dolls and maybe Ginny and Skipper, the My Friend dolls were THE most important dolls of my childhood. So you can see the thought of getting rid of them in a meaningless way like throwing them in a landfill just doesn’t feel right, and no doll I could buy as an adult could evoke that same feeling because deep down I know it’s just a piece of plastic. Maybe they’re still outside because I’m secretly waiting for the same fairy that came for the Velveteen Rabbit.

OK, enough of my childhood reminiscing.  But maybe I’ve inspired you to share your story of a favorite childhood doll in the comments?

In happier doll news, Target has 2 new OGs with multiple joints!  Their names are Shayla and Erin.  Despite appearances, they are not as poseable as Kidz n Cats, but they do have huggable bodies, which might be important to a child.  I got both of them recently and will do a more in-depth review maybe next week.

Here is a pic of Shayla and links to both below (image is from target website):–34–ballerina-doll-with-movable-joints—38–music-box-stand—erin/-/A-79391580

And finally…

As a few of you have been reminding me lately, I got out of the blogging habit over the summer while I worked on other stuff. To get back into the groove I’d like to do some kind of series.  Some of my ideas were:

A really ambitious project that would take a while to get ready, so I’d disappear again for a bit: authentic 1880s outfits and accessories for OGs and outfits and accessories they could “make” for their dolls (mini AG/OG)

A project I could probably start right away and do week-by-week: I found the rest of the book this blouse came from and it contains “modern” 1960s outfits with embroidery (mainly cross stitch) as well as ethnic costumes with lovely embroidery for many countries from the former USSR (Slavic/Baltic/Central Asian) for both boys and girls.  So, the two choices here would be either ethnic or 1960s ensembles for Sasha or OG sizes

I’ve been learning to crochet for a few months now and am making all kinds of cute doll stuff. I’m especially thrilled by how much faster it is than knitting, as well as how effortless it is to take tiny outfits made from thread, and just redo them in thicker yarn to resize. So this option would be quick, easy, and maybe historical crochet patterns with resizing ideas for all different sizes of dolls.

Or maybe you have a great idea for a series? Write it in!

Vote below – poll closes Saturday morning as soon as I get up, and I’ll announce the winner probably next week