Monthly Archives: May 2013

The end of the sew-along and a contest…


A huge thank-you to everyone who participated in the sew-along and encouraged me with your kind words and lovely pictures!
I made one final pattern in my sew-along fabrics, which is based on Japanese smocks that look great layered over everything. (search etsy/ebay for Japanese sewing pattern books to see what I mean) Your doll can also wear it belted as a dress, or shortened as a jacket to layer over other pieces from the sew-along.


Then, in my continued love for Japanese pattern books, I also made this:

It doesn’t really fit with the layer/mix-match ideal of the Summer sew-along, so I put both patterns together in a set to fit AGs, their slim cousins and little sisters.

You can buy it here or get it FREE (keep reading…)

So I originally bought a package of shrink plastic to make a small rigid heddle for myself to use as a belt backstrap loom. It came out so small I thought…ok, I’ll give it to the dolls. But then I thought…why not a “real” loom? If you are a weaver you are probably swooning with delight right now (I know I was when this became a reality!)

Get the pattern and tutorial to make it here

anna weaving

Instructions for how to use it

And then my husband said those fateful words: “Just think what else you can make for your dolls out of it!” I thought the loom was the coolest thing that I could possibly have made, but I was wrong. Check out this pocketknife:

It’s based on the Spyderco “Dragonfly” and actually works.  It opens and closes and the blade locks!  Should you be dying to make one of your own, Spyderco sells a kit to make a wooden (people-size) knife and I based my pattern on that.  (see below) I’d recommend waiting and drilling your holes on the second handle piece after you shrink to make sure they line up.

I admit those things may be beyond some people’s crafting skills, so I also created some that are simple enough for you to make with children (they may need help cutting out small areas). Check last week’s post to find watch and belt buckle patterns
I personally cannot stop crafting things with this product, which is nothing more than number six plastic that you might have in your recycling bin! But I am betting that all you crafty people out there who follow my blog also have some wonderful ideas! And so to celebrate the end of the summer sew along and the more than 200 followers the blog now has, I am holding a contest to see what awesome ideas you can come up with to make out of shrink plastic for your dolls.

Contest Rules:

  • Item must be made at least partly of shrink plastic, which goes by trade names of Shrinky Dinks – (available at Hobby Lobby) Grafix (available at JoAnn/Amazon) clear, rigid #6 plastic (from your recycle bin)
  • The item must be an appropriate scale for a 16 to 18 inch doll and must be entirely your own work/your own pattern
  • By entering the contest you agree that your work may be shared here online
  • If you’re a child, you need an adult to enter you in the contest (Why?  because I am a firm believer in internet safety for kids and if you win you will have to give me your name and address so I can send your prize and a child should never EVER be giving that info to  anyone online!).

Everyone who enters the contest gets my new pattern set free!

Winner gets their choice of a custom-made Wrenfeathers denim/twill jacket for doll of their choice OR a coupon for any pattern you’d like from my etsy store (and yes, you can hold onto it for later, there are some awesome things in the works for this summer!)
How to enter:
●Post a picture of your item and (if necessary) pix of pattern/steps to make it (to flickr, picasa, photobucket, etc) by midnight June 9th.
●Email me your name and the link to your pix at jenniebagrowski at gmail dot com (Yes, if you REALLY can’t figure out how to upload photos you can email them to me, but I’m trying to create a pinterest board for this so everyone can share ideas)

If you’re really un-crafty but have a great idea you wish you could make, you can enter by emailing your idea to me

Winner will be chosen by me unless there are waaaaaay too many good ideas, in which case I will assign you all a number and use a random number generator to choose.

If you are wondering how to scale things, here is a handy tip:  Most shrink plastic will shrink in the neighborhood of 30-40% of its original size.  So using things that are “human scale” as your pattern and shrinking them will generally make something about the right size for a 1:3 scale (18″) doll.

Another tip to help you win:  There are hundreds, if not thousands of ideas already out there for jewelry.  I am looking for creative, original doll accessories.  Think about real things that are small to medium size, flattish and made of metal/wood/plastic that your doll would like to have but can’t because normally you might have to cut those things with a saw or cast them in a mold.  You can do “mixed-media” projects too (like my loom that combines wood and shrinkies).

Summer sew-along week 8…bags and accessories



Ok, we’re in the home stretch here.  Monday is Memorial Day, the “unofficial” start to summer which means the (almost) end of the summer sew-along.  How are you doing?  Already made everything and eagerly awaiting more or planning to use the long weekend to catch up?  Is your doll thrilled with her new wardrobe and ready to head off on vacation?  Here’s a collection of fun stuff to add “play value” to your summer wardrobe and get your doll ready for her trip.  There’s something crafty for everyone in this post:  sew-ables, printables, and a couple that will require shrink plastic, AKA Shrinky Dinks – (available at Hobby Lobby) Grafix (available at JoAnn/Amazon) or clear, rigid #6 plastic (from your recycle bin)

To use shrink plastic, rough it up with sandpaper (if necessary) and color with colored pencils.  Use “permanent” markers with extreme caution; anything but a black sharpie could stain your doll if the item gets wet!  My experiments have shown those big, colorful packages of markers that say “permanent” (like Bic) are really just water-resistant and some colors will rub off of the plastic (even when not wet) and may run/blur horribly when sealed/mod-podged.  You have been warned! Cut out the item and bake on a piece of brown paper grocery bag at around 275-300F for about 2 mins. Use mod podge or acrylic paint sealer to seal it.

Click here to get a HUGE .pdf to make: diary, magazines, ipad, phone, passport, “money”, plane ticket, watch, belt, hair accessories, purse, carry-on bag (note that the carry-on bag is probably more suited to intermediate sewers)

Check this post for colored pencils and a backpack:

Summer sew-along week 7


Quick, easy and versatile are some of the best words to look for when choosing a pattern! The more versatile a pattern is, the more money you will ultimately save, because you can make many different things from the same pattern, and the easier it is the more likely you will be to make things from that pattern again. This pattern is free, which definitely meets the above criteria, and you can vary it to make it even more special.  In general, a-line dresses and skirts are excellent blank canvases for your creativity. Experiment with embroidery, appliqué  or novelty trims, make a belt out of self fabric or a ribbon, make each of the ruffles out of different fabric, etc.
Check out the differences in these two dresses, which were both made from the same pattern.  (yes, that bag pattern is coming soon…)

(Did you notice my spring flowers are finally coming up?)


At first glance you may not think that this pattern could be a mix and match one to fit the theme of our sew-along, but consider these possibilities for coordinating it:
Shorten it a little and wear it over capris or shorts

Layer it over a T-shirt like a jumper (widen the armholes a little if necessary)
Layer it under the denim jacket

Ok, kinda off-topic and enabling here, but…an awesome deal I had to share:  Tuesday Morning has some of the totally adorable Jun Planning Ai BJDs for $30 right now.  Yes, seriously, $30! (they go for $100 and up elsewhere!)  They are just 5″ tall, (same body as the very expensive “Pocket Fairy” BJDs) so they could easily be dolls for your 18″ dolls or a treat for yourself.  You can justify it to your significant other by saying “I NEED them because I’m sure Jen’s going to post some fairy patterns for them soon!”  (soon = sometime after the sew-along finishes)

Free bag pattern


My apologies for the lack of a summer sew-along post this week!
As of now there are officially two weeks left of the school year, and I am drowning in paperwork and unfinished business! While all my projects for the sew along are finally finished and ready, it takes a lot of work to get the patterns ready, take pictures, etc.
In the middle of all the end of the school year stress, my favorite bag that I have had for three years finally died, and I was forced to make a choice whether to buy or make a new one. I made two of them this week, but neither was one that I could see myself carrying for the next three years. So, after finding this lovely Japanese fabric at the Fancy Tiger in Denver, and consultation with my husband, who is both opinionated about/obsessed with technical bags, I came up with this one. I think it is absolutely perfect! It is a crossbody bag, which is comfortable to carry and secure. It’s just big enough to hold the essentials, like a wallet, phone, etc. but not too big that things will get lost in it. On the outside it also has two pockets, a regular one, and a more secure zippered one.


You can download the pattern here.

There are a few things I would like to point out to make your bag look professional, instead of homemade. The first one is fusible fleece. It will give lovely shape and body to thin, quilting weight fabrics, and enable you to use them as you would a thicker fabric.

The second is topstitching. It helps to add some structure to your bag, and adds a beautiful, professional touch.
The last one is hardware. And guess what? You don’t need to spend a lot or go to a specialty store to get it! The fabric on your old bag may be beyond repair, but it’s very easy to cut off the hardware and reuse it on a new bag! If you don’t have an old bag you’re willing to part with, check your local thrift store. People often get rid of their bags because the fabric gets worn out, but the hardware is still usable. I found a few bags last week for two dollars each and all of them had hardware that was in excellent condition.
Take a break from doll sewing, and make something for yourself for a change! (Ok…if you NEED this for a doll, copy the pieces at 33% and hand-sew it out of felt or something non-fray so you don’t need to line it)

Summer sew-along will be back next week.
In the meantime, check out what others have done on the Flickr page, and please feel free to add your own photos to it! I know I have said this before, but I really enjoy seeing new interpretations of my patterns.  There are some really nice color/fabric combos to inspire you and a few re-sized for Hearts for Hearts (I dare you to look at those photos and not “need” that doll!)

Summer sew-along week 5: embroidered top/tunic/dress


There are some lovely things being posted on the flickr page: including the outfits on a variety of different dolls, some creative ideas and cute coordinates!

Here is a versatile new pattern that is one of my favorites in the summer collection!  Make it

  • Short for a top

  • Tunic length for a beach cover up

  • Tunic length to blouse over capris/shorts

  • A  longer dress


I had been hoping by now to be able to take these pix outside but just as the last snow was melting and my crocuses felt brave enough to come up, once again a snow storm came through.  While we high-altitude-desert dwellers are always grateful for precipitation, it would be nice if it could fall as rain  (it’s May for crying out loud!).  This morning there were 10″ of snow on the ground and it was 10 degrees F.  It can be challenging to take good pictures in snow, especially when the doll has medium to dark skin like the AG above.  You are liable to either lose detail of your snowy scene or have your doll not show up well enough to see her clearly with all the extra reflected light from the snow.  The morning pictures came out awful.  This pic below was taken in the afternoon.  The sun was shining on her back, so her face was in the shadows and then I used a fill-in flash.

In other news, as I write this, this blog is almost up to 200 followers! If we can exceed that by the end of the sew-along, I’m planning another contest – it won’t be sewing related, but it’s something fun, easy and do-able by anyone and you may even have what you need in your recycle bin!  Stay tuned…