Monthly Archives: April 2013

Summer sew-along week 4 – halter top or dress


If you’re an AG fan, you probably saw (and maybe wanted!) this in their most recent catalog:

Yeah, me too.  But $28?  Well, now you can make the top (and a pattern for similar bottoms is here:


Remember a few weeks ago I said your wardrobe would look more authentic if you mix in something besides quilting fabrics?  I used the A-line skirt pattern from last week for this denim skirt:

But your dolls may also want some twill/denim shorts?  A jacket?  If you sew for the smaller dolls, you may already have this pattern: and probably (like me) considered it for autumn.  Well, what about making the jacket in a lightweight white or khaki twill to throw on during a chilly summer evening?  

And the pants can easily be turned into shorts like this:


by sewing a tiny tuck before cutting them out and using the pocket lining as the outside pocket.  I made the belt from grosgrain ribbon and the buckle is from my Army-Navy surplus (they are sold there for making bracelets out of parachute cord)

If you are sewing for bigger (AG) dolls a new pattern is available in my etsy shop that includes the jacket in their size as well as a pants pattern I call “versatility”  It includes shorts, capris, pants and jeans with variations like real pockets, cuffs, belt loops and two styles of waistband.  It’s NOT elastic waist, so it provides a nice smooth fit under Ts, etc.

The happiest news ever!  Just in time to coordinate with the launch of my newest pattern, Etsy now supports instant downloads!  What does that mean for you?  No more waiting for me to email it to you!  If you need to sew something at 2am, now you can!  Also, no more annoying emails back and forth about a file being too big or your firewall blocking multiple files!  How exciting is that?  Check out all the patterns available instantly here:

Happy sewing!

Summer sew-along week 3 – A-line Skirt


There are some lovely pictures pouring in from people who are taking part in the summer sew along.  You can see them here:

I have to say, I am very jealous of the pictures of the dolls with greenery behind them.  As I write this we are in the middle of yet another winter storm and there are about 18 inches of snow blowing around outside my window.

Our project for this week is a simple A-line skirt. <–click there to get it.  If you’ve already made the other projects, you should now have four separate pieces to mix-and-match, resulting in four separate outfits.

Just a reminder, you can copy/print the slim 16″-18″ size of this at 77% to fit Hearts for Hearts dolls!

This skirt is the perfect blank canvas for your creativity!  It’s so fast and easy you can make several and spend extra time giving it decorative touches:  Use contrast bias and turn to the outside for a waistband.  Add ruffles or trim at the bottom or all over, piece the front from different fabrics, add cargo pockets, sew a fake seam and zipper in the front for a denim skirt, embroider/appliqué/iron-on/silkscreen matching motifs onto a plain skirt to match the top, etc.

Summer wardrobe part 2…and what about the boys?


Part 2 of our sew-along is a wardrobe necessity:  Pajamas!  You can also use it to make a T-shirt and capris/shorts.  Get the pattern here

What about the boys?  Glad you asked!  There’s not as much variation in boys’ clothing as there is with girls.  So  you can easily make a cute boy’s summer wardrobe using just a few patterns starting with the ones from this week.  Make the pants as baggy skater/Hawaiian shorts with a T (iron or silkscreen on logos/graphics, etc.)

 The Hogwarts shirt here: can be enlarged to be a loose Hawaiian shirt or make it in a cute little-boy print to layer over a t-shirt.  Copy it at 110-115% (less for Sashas-more for KnC) then shorten the sleeves and hem.  Consider making a more casual  straight (instead of curved) hem at the bottom.  If you have the jeans and jacket pattern, shorten the pants to make twill/denim shorts and think about additions like cargo pockets.  Some ideas to modify that pattern are coming in a week or two.

Unrelated to the sew along, but… I’ve gotten a couple emails that etsy is annoying to use and one from someone who preferred not to purchase stuff online.  My answer to all of them is YES, you can always contact me directly to order patterns and I can send you a paypal invoice, or I am happy to take personal checks.

You can see pix of this week’s outfits in the pattern or here:

Does your doll need a wardrobe?


Maybe.  Why would your doll need a wardrobe?  And what constitutes a wardrobe vs. a bunch of clothes?  Planning a wardrobe is a wonderful long-term goal to work toward.  Instead of sewing whatever strikes your fancy at the moment, you can have an organized list of pieces to make.  Choosing a specific time period or theme is fun!  You can delve in as deeply as you’d like to research historically correct garments, or get creative making a fantasy wardrobe or planning clothing and accessory pieces for a theme like sending your doll to summer camp.  And as far play, or even collection value goes, a doll with a special wardrobe will be worth more even if she’s not in perfect condition. 

So what constitutes a wardrobe vs. a bunch of clothes?  A wardrobe is not necessarily a huge amount of clothing, but rather a collection with the necessary variety of pieces that all go together for some reason.  My Sashas and Kidz n Cats have several HUGE bins full of clothes to share, and my Bleuettes and AGs…let’s not even go there.  There are WAY more doll clothes in my house than people clothes, but I don’t consider most of those huge bins “wardrobes”, because (with a few exceptions) they lack a unifying element.  What can “unify” your collection?  Here are some ideas:

  • Pieces that all work together with coordinating fabrics/colors to mix and match.  This can be as simple as 5-6 really versatile pieces that give different looks when combined.
  • Pieces for a specific season/occasion (back-to school wardrobe or pieces to go in a little suitcase for a summer vacation)
  • Costume/fantasy (e.g. a fairy or princess wardrobe)
  • Clothes for one special doll to cover every eventuality – underwear, dresses, skirts, pants, sweaters, swimsuits, pajamas, coats, bags, accessories, etc.  This can be a real challenge representing years of work!
  • Historically based (representative pieces to cover a specific year – e.g. a few dresses, some undies, a coat and PJs from 1914)
  • Reproductions of entire historical wardrobes (like Daisy or Mary-Marie’s wardrobe from the Mary Frances sewing book)
  • Ethnically  based (garments representing many ethnicities or the variety of costumes found in one country)

Last summer I made a couple of “wardrobes”.  The first was a reproduction of a historical wardrobe from the Mary Frances sewing book sized to fit my Kestner Daisy (who happens to be KnC size!).  I’ll get around to posting about that someday…it was a lot of fun!  I also created (and blogged a little about) the fairy collection.

Starting now, there are about eight weeks until Memorial Day, the “unofficial” start to summer.

So in the spirit of the theme of this post, which is wardrobes, I would like to offer you a summer wardrobe sew-along:  8 (or maybe 9…) weeks of FREE patterns to sew/crafts to make. 

I am putting together a coordinated summer vacation wardrobe for my “new” AG doll (a sad little thrift-store rescue that was in horrible condition) along with everything she will  need to travel, and sizing the patterns to fit both American girl dolls, as well as our slim 16 inch to 18 inch dolls. You can even sew-along for your Hearts for Hearts dolls by using the Sasha patterns copied at 77%!  Most of these patterns are very easy and suitable for beginners.  So if you want to teach a child to sew or start yourself, this is a great opportunity!  An experienced seamstress can easily make any of the free patterns in under an hour.

There are two projects this week: a sewing one and a “crafty” one.  (see photo below)  Click here to get them!

anna at DIA

Anna at Denver Int’l Airport

(click to see enlarged and not so blurry – background image is in public domain and taken from

 I started a Flickr group for everyone to share pix of their wardrobe creations.  To keep it “safe” from random people posting inappropriate content, you need an invitation to join.  If you want an invitation to post on it, email me at jenwrenne at yahoo dot com.