April snowstorms bring…May flower dresses!

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Thank you everyone for your condolences about Jasper!

It was brought to my attention that not everyone may be able to complete both a dress and sandals in a week during the summer sew-along, so I’m probably going to break it up, but your dolls DO need some cute sundresses, because they are (possibly) the perfect layering piece!  At the bare minimum, it’s a cute dress on its own with sandals.  Depending on the season, you can add leggings/cardigan/blouse/jacket/boots/hat, etc.  Little Darling did a series with a “4-season” dress here: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2014/10/

Since April is an OG, I’ve been trying to do patterns at least inspired by OG outfits once a month for her, and this month’s is loosely based on: 

Instead of a ruffle, this one has a piped round yoke, which to me makes the dress look more elegant and higher-end.  I named this dress “May Flowers” since the daffodils are finally up and growing even though our April “showers” were more like April “dump-five-feet-of-snow-overnight”:)

It’s a slim fit on an OG with a flush closure in back, looks great on Journey Girls and will fit the newer KnC dolls more loosely if closed with an overlap in back.  It will likely work for Sasha copied at 80%, but make a muslin first to check.  Have an older/bigger AG?  See the end of the pattern here: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/august-free-pattern-for-kidz-n-cats-and-sasha/ for a tutorial on adding some width at the back with buttoned closures.

Get the pattern here

Please keep posting your fabulous creations on the Wrenfeather flickr page here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

Some recent cuteness for your inspiration:

A-line for mini AG by sewbig

Sasha as Maid Marion by Theresa

 

Knotted Hat

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So…no post last week because we were digging a grave😦

jdog obit2

We’ve lost pets before, but I’m really having a hard time getting over Jasper.  Of the 9 dogs we’ve had since we’ve been married, he was hands-down the politest, smartest, best dog ever.  Like many Aussies he seemed to have a sixth sense about understanding his people, and was always unobtrusively near us.  I think being so used to him always at my side  is what makes it the hardest, because I keep looking down, wondering where he is…and then remembering he’s gone.   Every time I was in the craft room, he would sit just outside the door and I had to step over him as I went in and out.  Today was the first day being back in there without him and although it was faster to run to and from the kitchen for some water to refill the iron, it was really lonely.

OK, ready to learn a new craft?  Even if you think you “can’t” knit or crochet, if you can handle a sewing needle, you can make this!  Depending where you live, you might argue with me that it’s too warm for a hat.  The lacy effect and cotton though are still perfect for spring – at least where I live!

Click here for instructions to make this needle-knotted hat

Other than Ashley, I don’t know of resources for whatever this craft is.  It’s not really netting or nalbinding or macrame or…?  If you know of some, please share as a comment!

Here’s a really cute and spring-y version of last week’s felt mini AG dress by gammerangel

The votes are in and…

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Wow, the summer sew-along vote was very close!  The whole week long, I kept checking and it hovered around 50% for both options.  Eventually, near the end, someone must have mobilized some friends to vote for the smaller dolls and they ended up winning.  Then I realized…oops!  There were comments enabled!  I totally did not intend to do that as part of the survey, but ended up being glad I did and carefully reading all the opinions.  This blog actually started with me sharing patterns of things I was making for my Kidz n Cats since there was nothing out there for them at the time.  More and more AG size stuff got added due to requests, but thank you to those that reminded me there are already a TON of patterns out there for the 18” dolls, while our poor little ones get neglected.  

The summer sew-along will most likely be the whole month of June, and focus on Paola Reina’s Las Amigas.  I especially like the Paola Reinas because they’re made in Europe, and if you watch their video on youtube, it shows their factory roof is covered in solar panels.  Makes me feel less guilty buying things that might be a little more responsibly manufactured than some of the things made in China!  If you don’t have those, the patterns will also fit Bleuette, Corolle Cheries, Little Darlings, etc. and I’ll have some resizing instructions too!

At least the first dress pattern will also be sized for April, just to make sure you have something to sew for your “big girls” that month😉

Speaking of April, her journal is only partially ready, but she got a sewing machine for her birthday.  The OG sewing set comes with a cute little pattern envelope and a simple A-line dress pattern sized for 18″ OGs.  The first thing she made was a very basic little…

Felt dress pattern for Sienna

If you’re wondering, yes, it will fit all the dolls shown below!

  I had every intention of turning this into a contest, since it’s hard to beat an A-line dress as a blank canvas.  Then I thought about having to pick a winner and come up with a prize and how many IEPs I have to finish before the end of the school year and…yeah.  If you’d like to be super creative with your dress and post it here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/ I’m sure everyone would LOVE to see it!

(I will not apologize, I will not apologize, I will not apologize)

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to not feel guilty if I don’t post something every week on the blog.  While I have skipped weeks here and there, I seem to not be able to not feel guilty.  :(  I had SO many ideas and plans at the beginning of the whole “April thing” and then I feel terrible when they stay stuck in my head instead of appearing here.  Then there’s the whole journal, which takes away from sewing time, and with the “return” of her friend Abril, who has a really awesome weaving-related story (also still stuck in my head) I’ve been weaving up a storm, including some huipil panels:

huipil and hat

and also learned to do this strange sort of stretchable needle-knotting that accidentally turned into a very cute hat for Ten Ping:

hat

gigi hat

If only she had a sweater to match! Hmmm…

The tutorial for this fun little hat should be ready soon.  Don’t have a tiny doll?  Turn it upside down and add a strap – it’s a purse for a larger doll!  To prepare, you’ll need to make yourself a big wooden needle, and after some experiments and failures, it appears that gauge might be somewhat important.  My needle was from a 5mm dowel (that’s just under 1/4″) and roughly 3″ long.  The point should be only as sharp as a knitting needle and the hole you drill in it should accommodate worsted-weight yarn easily.  Sand and finish it satiny-smooth.

If someone in your house is obsessed with knots, you can get started now – this is ABK #3542/3544.  If that someone doesn’t have the ABK , either they’re not truly obsessed or I just told you what they want for their next birthday!  :)

 

 

Happy Birthday, April!

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Her birthday was April 1st and the journal with all the party details is coming soon.
In the meantime, get the:

Free pattern for her birthday dress here

If only there had been a way to do photography tests before I chose the WrenFeathers GOTY!  Without a bit of post-processing, April’s skin always seems to photograph a bit orange, whereas Jamie and Abril have more normal skintones in photos no matter what.  OG seems to have far more variation in the skintones and paint for each doll than AGs, maybe matching them more to the eye/hair color?
Abril’s dress is here
Jamie’s top is here and the missing sleeve is here

Oh wow, hard to believe, but…

 It’s already time to start planning the summer sew-along!

If you’re new to the blog, you might not know this, but for the past few years I’ve done a summer sew-along, where people make each week’s pattern and post pix of it.  Long-time followers are surely looking forward to it, but this year, there’s the issue of April and what to do with her during that time. I had planned to have her travel around CO this year to see historical sites, etc. but the weather has so far not been cooperative with (seemingly) record levels of snow and generally not-nice weather to take her outside in.  So…you’ve got two options:

  • Option 1:  Sundresses and Sandals –  I started this last summer/early fall when I was super “into” my Paola Reina Amigas, thinking it would be the SSA for this year.  There are several cute/easy dress and sandal patterns about halfway done in 13″ doll size, which might be a welcome change for some people from the cloth-bodied 18″ dolls. It would also address different types of sandals, which were neglected during “shoe school”.  These would be to fit dolls like PR las Amigas, Cheries, Hearts for Hearts, Little Darlings, etc. and the dresses could be enlarged for Sashas and KnC.  If we do this option, everything April-related would have to be suspended for a while.
  • Option 2:  Concentrate on April, with a summer series of outfits for her size, and maybe some craft projects for her to use while camping/gardening/sewing for her doll/etc.  Possibly a travel journal of where she’s been and pix of her at interesting/historical places around her farm and CO.

Help decide the summer sew-along theme –  vote below!  Poll closes in one week.

Salon style…at home!

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While you could take your doll (yes, even your OG!) to the AG store and pay an exorbitant price for a fancy hairdo at the salon, it’s faster and cheaper to do it at home.  After a few requests and comments on April’s hair, here is a

crown braid tutorial

If you read her journal last week, you know both April and Abril are having a birthday this Friday, so look for a new birthday dress pattern, and maybe some other goodies next week!  If you’re wondering, April is hoping her dress will look kind of like this:

 and I’ve got the pattern ready but am still trying to find some lace that would be appropriate.  Keep your fingers crossed!

(above dress by AG is available here: http://www.americangirl.com/shop/new/spring-breeze-dress-set-for-dolls-dhv57)

 

Happy Spring!

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I know…your dolls wanted some new spring clothes, right?  Well, apparently spring here means two feet of snow and two days without internet access, so I’m posting something more appropriate for that:

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Get April’s puffy vest pattern free here

Wear it over a long sleeved T and leggings from the SSA last year or here

The vest looks great over this top too:

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Yep, there’s finally a new pattern available on etsy for a plaid flannel tunic with a real front placket.  Until about the 1930s, men’s shirts pulled over the head, instead of buttoning all the way up the front like they do today.  The front was cut from a single piece of fabric, slashed at the neck, then finished with a placket.  This type of opening is still common on sport shirts like polos, and lately has become really trendy for women’s and girls’ flannel and denim blouses.  Knowing how to add make these plackets is a good skill to have in your sewing toolbox, and what better way to practice a new skill than on doll clothes?

It has one size to fit both dolls.  Originally, I made it to be a tight fit on April, then re-sized in my standard way for Knc.  I wasn’t thrilled with the fit, since the new bodies have a larger chest and the placket had to gape open.  When I tried the AG size on her, it actually looked fine, especially when belted.  That inspired me to do a comparison of the new and old Knc bodies: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5ygylg46bb2oue8/knc%20comparison.pdf?dl=0

 

A new edition of April’s journal is here

Since the majority of you didn’t want secret links to projects in her journal you can get

her verbnitsa doll pattern here.

It’s a doll commonly made in Russia for Palm Sunday or during the Easter season.  Paste this into your browser’s search window: Вербница (try using chrome with translate turned on if you don’t speak Russian) to see more examples of this kind of doll.  Yes, I know that Eastern Orthodox Easter is not until May 1 this year, but maybe your dolls need one for this weekend…:)

I was hoping to have the new Ten Ping patterns ready for this week; they’re not quite there yet, but here’s a sneak peek at some of the muslins…

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They’re taking a little longer because they will have two sizes for 8″ BJDs and 10″ Tonner AE/Patsy!

 

 

 

The kids are here!

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Since April’s family raises goats, it seemed important that she have a few as photo props.  You’d think it would be an easy matter to just find/buy a pattern, but most stuffed goat patterns I could find had bodies more similar to horses.  This challenged me to make my first foray into the world of stuffed-animal design and come up with what I think is a fairly authentic looking one.

I wasn’t sure when to post this, since people breed their goats to kid at different times, but passing a cow pasture on the way to work a few days ago I noticed a new baby had been born!  It must have happened very recently, because the calf was still wobbling around on unsteady legs, so it seemed appropriate for April’s goats to start kidding (having their babies) this week too!

Although it’s intended to be a baby goat, you could also make it with fluffier fur to be a lamb and there’s still enough time to get it made for an Easter display or to tuck into a basket!  If you, like me, are not accustomed to making stuffed animals, you might be intimidated and feel it’s too difficult or time-consuming.  Just TRY IT!  I anticipated a long and difficult project and was happily surprised to see how quick it was to make and how cute it looks when posed with dolls.

Click here for the kid/lamb pattern