Mid-century Madness


Happy Thanksgiving!


So I have to admit I was a little let down that not everyone loved the Prettie Girls as much as I did.  There will be patterns coming for them, just not a series. When the voting closed, a historical series had won, so I scrolled through all the blog survey responses and decided to do the 1770s and then was at Goodwill and found an AG, and really, no matter what condition it’s in, if you find an AG at a thrift store you buy her!  This one unfortunately seemed to have had her head/wig sprayed with perfume :P but was in otherwise good condition.  Her coloring reminded me of Chatty Cathy and I changed track completely and decided to do that as the historical series.  You can argue with me, as DH did, that the 60s are not “historical” but in my mind, if it happened before I was born, it falls into the category of history.  Long story involving vinegar, borax, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, shampoo, laundry detergent, etc. short, the perfume smell seems to be there to stay, and after looking at countless Chatty Cathies (um…in the interests of researching their dresses, of course!) I ended up getting one, since “Stinky” is clearly not suitable to model all the things I’ve been making.

Right now you’re either saying “Chatty Who?” or “I had that doll when I was little!”  You can see a 1960 commercial showing the original dolls and their clothes here  and a documentary about them posted by Mattel here:

So get ready for several weeks (months?) of retro marvelousness!  The outfits that will appear are a mix of things based on Advance & McCall patterns, dresses commercially available for her and paperdolls.

Unless otherwise specified, these were drafted by me based on pictures of vintage outfits made to fit a modern AG.  After I got Cathy, I was pretty happy to find out she’s quite similar to a modern AG.


22682501193_80a21377d9_zAs you can see, they can share clothes just fine!

Click here for this week’s pattern

A “Prettie” new Girl


So there’s a new line of dolls called “Prettie Girls”.

Image credit: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/diverse-dolls-inspire-retailers-toy-change-article-1.2283279

Well, the line is not exactly new, there already was a series of dolls by that name that were basically Barbie-sized.  The line that’s new is the “tween” version, and what’s kind of exciting about them is:

  1.  There are 6 ethnically diverse versions of the doll to choose from
  2.  They’re designed by Tonner
  3. They have articulated 15.5″ bodies just like his old Little Miss Matched or Maudlynne
  4. Their hair is really nice and silky
  5. They’re under $25!

The one I chose was Lena (in the center).  You can see she’s a little taller and a lot slimmer than Paola Reinas or H4H.  In fact, her torso measurements are quite similar to Leann/Marley/Senson dolls.

Her measurements are below (in inches)

bust waist inseam arm btwn should neck-waist head Height
5.5 4.5 6.25 4.25 1.875 3 9 15.5

So now’s your chance to weigh in about her.  I’m thinking we need a short series and am debating between something historical or some coordinated pieces for the Prettie Girls.  What would you like?  Vote below!

The poll is closed.  The votes were:

Historical – 46%

Prettie Girls 34%

No series 18%

1950s and 60s dress patterns are here!

Wow, this has taken a long time!  As you might be able to tell by the green grass in some of the pix, I started these over the summer.  And finally, now that it’s snowing this week there are TWO sets of dresses premiering.  All of them are historically accurate and based on outfits for girls from that time.

A 1960s collection sized for both AG and slim 16″-18″

(yes, including the new Girl for all Time, Sam!!)

Lots of mod styles and color-blocking to be found here!
This was a girl’s dress, but looks very much like a pink one made for Sashas…

A 1950s collection sized for AG.

  It doesn’t say so in the etsy listing, but two of the dresses in this set (the blue flowered one and the pinafore dress) do include tested pattern pieces for slim 16″-18″.
This flowered one is my favorite
Or maybe this one…it’s hard to decide!
Click on any of the pix to go to the listings and see more!

And as always when I introduce collections, there’s a coupon code, just in time to get some patterns in anticipation of holiday sewing!  Use the code 20OFF20 from now until midnight Sunday to take 20% off any purchase of $20 or more.

On the blog survey one person asked for a 1930s outfit for Ellowyne based on the covers of Nancy Drew books.  That sounded like a fun project, but when I started looking at them it was hard to choose which one I liked the best.  If you were that person and have a specific dress in mind, could you please email me or leave a comment?  A pic would be super helpful.

Japanese Dollhouse bedding


So…this week was supposed to have more wood furnishings and bedding for the Japanese dollhouse, and it ended up just being the bedding because I spent last weekend dealing with furnishing for MY house instead.  Much as I love Ikea, after spending several hours there on both Saturday AND Sunday, I really had no energy to do much beyond put furniture together and clean.

So this week, here is a pattern for Japanese bedding to put in your dollhouse (or wherever your doll sleeps).  More will eventually be coming for the Japanese dollhouse, but it’s going on hold for a little bit.  I’m starting a class and not sure how much free time I’ll have, so you may see posts or I may drop off the radar for a while.  With something like a math class, you can say, “I need to complete 20 problems and it will probably take me 30 minutes” But this is a graphic design class, and the thing about art classes is you never know how much time the homework will take.  You might get a great idea you can execute immediately or you may fill a recycle bin with paper waiting for things to “click”.  Even if I’m gone, rest assured I’m expanding my creative horizons and stretching my mind in new ways which, ideally, will make for a better blog when I’m back.  :)

The plan for next week is to debut several new 1950s dresses for AGs AND a 1960s collection sized for both slim 16″-18″ and AG dolls.  Let’s hope this weekend is quieter and I’m able to get it done!

Japanese dollhouse week 2


Were you anxiously awaiting the next installment of the Japanese dollhouse or wishing I would stop with the woodworking and get back to sewing?  :)  Yes, sewing will reappear next week with a project you can probably use even if you decided not to make the house.

This week’s installment of the dollhouse project has instructions for built-ins like doors, windows and shelves as well as some printable tatami.

Click here to download

If you missed last week get it here:https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/a-japanese-dollhouse/

A Japanese Dollhouse


When I did the blog survey, I was surprised how many people asked to see Little Darling return to Japan, and also by the number of people that asked for furniture, room settings and even a dollhouse for bigger dolls like H4H and AG!   While there are some furniture projects in the works for the big girls, this week we’re starting a series to make a Japanese dollhouse.  YES, there’s lots of info on how to convert it to your preferred size, although this one is sized for 6” dolls.  Target has a new line of 6” mini OG dolls called “Lori” and DH surprised me with this one, named Tama:

Although the house was intended for my Azone, Tama fits it too and is much cheaper and readily available.  Yes, Tama and her friends do have a cute little loft made by Target if you’re not into woodworking!  It’s rare to find nice inset eyes on tiny dolls because it can be a difficult process to put them in.  For the price these dolls are quite nice, and they’re the same size as the older mini AG dolls with cloth bodies.

In order to not overwhelm you, I’m breaking the dollhouse project into 3 (maybe 4) weeks.  This week will be the basic “bones” of the house, with more details added next week and some furnishings the following week.

Click here for the intro

Click here for week 1

Speaking of Japan, Saskia sent me the pictures below of her bald Sasha dressed as a Buddhist nun using modified patterns from this blog.  Although it looks like she’s in a Japanese garden, it’s actually in the Netherlands!  You can click the photos to see more on her blog.

Get ready for Halloween!


OK, Halloween is coming!  Need a unique costume for a human or a doll?

How about a kitsune?

Click here for the pattern for masks for both sizes and info on this interesting creature

And I just have to share something I’m super proud of…

These shoes took forever to make, since all the sewing was done by hand except for some topstitching.  I think I broke 3 needles in the process but am SO pleased with the final result!  Yes, I made the jeans too if you’re wondering :)  The shoes were made as “outies” but formed on a last with a modified version of this pattern also see more here.  Should you be inspired to try some (easier than this) people or doll shoes check out these links: