Monthly Archives: June 2014

How fine can you knit?


Forgive (or be happy for?) the shortness of this post…long story short I just slammed my finger in a door and it’s painful to type.

As far as fiber arts go, I am a sewer, a weaver, a spinner, and I know how to knit…but I don’t consider myself a “knitter.  It’s fun doing intricate things like lace and colorwork at a small scale, but if they gave prizes for such things, I would definitely be a top contender for “slowest knitter ever.”

Looking through all the photos of the summer sew-along, I noticed a lot of you like to do small-gauge knitting for your dolls. Are you ready for a knitting challenge? We’re going to “knit” with embroidery thread and sewing needles! Don’t worry, it will be easier and faster than you think!

This is part of a new series that will appear from time to time called Sewing Tips And Techniques.  Lots of people mentioned that in the survey, so I’ll do my best to come up with a variety of them.


Get the “knit-broidered” flower tutorial here

We’re almost done with the summer sew-along!  This cute, 4-way reversible wrap dress is for week 4, and there will be one more pattern after this!

If you’re participating, send me your link by midnight and the pattern will be in your email tomorrow!  You can also get the pattern in all sizes here

What’s so special about Schoenhuts?


If you like to take pictures of dolls, you appreciate how important jointing is.  The picture above is the patent for Schoenhut’s spring-jointing system.  It was revolutionary at the time, (1910s) and it’s sad that it didn’t become more widely used, since it’s common to see those dolls still able to hold their poses even after more than a hundred years!

If you like to take pictures outside, you also appreciate durability, so that after you pose them climbing a tree, they don’t get destroyed “jumping” out of it when you step back to take the picture.  Schoenhuts had wooden heads, whose paint, I’m sorry to say, was not as good as their jointing.  Many of their faces now look ghastly, and it’s probably a very hard decision for their owners as to whether or not to have them repainted.

Can I share a cute story about doll durability?  Several years ago when my niece was younger, she brought her AG doll to a family function, and my great aunt was moved to reminisce about a doll she had as a child.  “When I was younger I had a beauuuutiful doll,” [as one of 13 children, it was probably the only new doll she’d ever had] “and I left her out in the pasture one day and a cow stepped on her head and broke it.”  [This would have been the early 1920s  maybe, and they lived on a farm.]  “I ran into the house crying and Ma took down the catalog and said, ‘We’ll send for a new head.’ ”

I like that story for a few reasons.  First, the simplicity of childhood from that era.  I’m willing to bet a lot of money that the only clothes that doll ever had were ones sewn for her at home by my great aunt or another family member.  Instead of soccer practice, swim lessons, and playdates, that doll’s owner had a bunch of farm and household chores to finish before she was allowed the privilege of playing with the doll, and that play consisted of  “adventures” or tea parties with acorn and leaf cups and saucers outdoors in the cow pasture, rather than manipulating a pile of accessories from the AG store.  I also like the “fix-it” mentality, which I do realize was a necessity under the circumstances, but how many plastic dolls have you seen at garage sales or thrift stores that were sadly abused and then discarded for a newer, better one?  (If you want to fix them up – Here’s how )

Anyway, the USPS made a replica of two Schoenhut dolls in 1997, and I recently acquired one.  It was originally dressed as a boy, but reminded me a lot of the carved-hair girls at the time like this one: [photo from Pinterest]

So “he” got a dress and became a “she” because I love little girls’ dresses from the 1910s.  🙂

In case you’re wondering, “Schoenhut” (haven’t named her yet) is a slim ~17″ doll.  By “slim” I mean more like a BFC than KnC, but since fashions of that time were loose, they can easily share.

“Schoenhut” stands alone and poses great!  The head is a little wobbly, probably DH needs to look into that…

Speaking of joints…did you know Tonner released a new jointed 10″ body this year for Patsy/Ann Estelle?  There’s also a new girl with this body named “Half Pint”.  And since someone else I know bought three new dolls in one week, I felt justified getting one for the month 🙂  Yep, I’m sewing for her too!  (See more pix of her here)

Her poseability is fair to good, although her head doesn’t tilt and she has trouble standing alone on uneven ground outside.  So does Minouche, that’s why the AG is holding their hands 🙂

I didn’t plan on it, but Half Pint’s adorable, chubby body is a perfect little sister to the AGs, so I drafted the big/little sister dresses above, and then resized also for KnC/Sasha and H4H/Cheries.   Then the dress on Galina and Schoenhut above became a prototype for this one:

You can see all the new patterns here 

Wow, this post is getting long!  The summer sew along is in full swing, and you can marvel at everyone’s creativity here

Everyone who’s participating and sends me their photo link by midnight tonight gets this easy jumper (AKA pinafore dress) pattern for their 13″-14″ girls:

If you’re participating, thank you!  If you missed last week, click the photo above to get this pattern on etsy for all sizes and jump back into the sew-along this week!  Post your pix to flickr and send me a link by Thursday, June 26th.  Next week will be a 4-way reversible dress/pinafore…I know you’ll like it!  🙂



Summer sew-along part 2 and other stuff…


Wow, I’ve never gotten as much feedback about a pattern as I have about last week’s pants.  Everything from “Hooray, these fit great!” to “They don’t fit at all”.

Two things:  First of all, make sure the pattern is printing AT ACTUAL SIZE.  There’s a square on almost every page of my pattern pieces that’s an inch.  Sometimes the text (one inch) pastes into it, sometimes not, but find the box and match it to a ruler to make sure it printed at the correct size.  Not just “Yeah, it’s pretty much an inch” but “Yes it’s exactly on the inch lines of my ruler!”


(click to enlarge)

Second, the smaller your pattern pieces, the more important your seam allowances are.  Way back when I started sewing doll clothes on the machine, I just used the edge of my presser foot to gauge the seam allowances, figuring it looked about right, and sometimes things fit and sometimes they were too tight.  What was the problem?  Most presser feet edges are 3/8″ unless you have a special 1/4″ presser foot sold for quilters.  For bigger dolls it’s not as much of an issue, but every mistake gets multiplied and magnified at smaller scale.  Click the pic below to see the difference…you end up losing half an inch all around with just a tiny bit larger seam allowance!seam allowances

If the bottoms of your pants should have been 3″ around with 1/4″ at the outseam and inseam, and you used 3/8″ seams, you just decreased it by 1/4″ at both sides (1/8″ off each pattern piece), so your pants ended up 2.5″ around instead.  It sounds minor, but can have a big impact on the fit.  The top of your pants wouldn’t match up to the waistband either!  Stick a little strip of blue masking tape onto your seam allowance guide at the 1/4″ mark to help you be precise!

Good news:  the rest of the outfits for the sew-along are loose fitting 🙂

Survey results

So, you want to sew for other doll sizes?  Yes!  That was abundantly clear from the survey.  The majority of you are intermediate sewers who sew for your own dolls and have a variety of different types.  Modern clothes and separates seem slightly more preferred than others, so the sew-along is right on track there!  Lots of you buy mini AGs to use as dolls for bigger dolls and want to sew for them (how cute!)

Rest assured, this blog will probably stay primarily about your favorite three sizes (Sasha/KnC, H4H and AG) but other dolls you mentioned in the survey may make appearances on the blog from time to time, including 10″ Tonner Patsy/AE/Half Pint who’s a favorite with a lot of people, and maybe some small to medium BJDs as well… like the very poseable Ruby Red Senson doll here:

(click photo to see an album of her poseability)

Here are the survey results: (click to enlarge, then click again to enlarge big enough to read)

blog survey

Here are some resizing charts to help you fit 10″ Tonner, mini AGs, and others.

With the warm weather, garage sale season is upon us. And let’s say you spot a fabulous doll, at a fabulous price… who’s covered with filth, nail polish, ball point pen, and other mysterious stains.  Yes! You should buy her! And here’s a tutorial on how to fix her up!

We’re now in week 2 of the summer sew-along!

This week’s pattern is a  basic dress/blouse with a wide neckline to keep the dollies cool for the summer.  Wear it with your fun interpretation of last week’s pants or by itself.  Make it plain like these:

Or dressed up with trim or contrast fabric like these

You can get it in AG/KnC/H4H sizes here

If you sent me a link to your photo on flickr of last week’s pants, you should have received this pattern in your email today.  If not, please search your junk/bulk/spam for “sew-along pattern”

If you’re participating in the sew-along, your next photo of what you did with this pattern needs to be posted to before the 20th of June, and I’ll send everyone the next week’s pattern that day.

Summer sew-along part 1: pants


Thank you to everyone has participated in the survey! The response has been overwhelming but welcome.   I LOVE reading your feedback and suggestions and am still going through all the responses.  If you haven’t done it yet, the link is here: and will be open through tomorrow.

What amazed me (so far) was that the majority of you sew for your own dolls and collect a variety of types of dolls, so you may see some more diversity in the types of dolls here.  There’s a whole closet of neglected dolls downstairs cheering about that right now, can you hear them?  🙂

I’m also working on a new resizing tutorial to accommodate smaller dolls you mentioned, like mini AGs and 10″ Tonner Patsy, as well as hunting for all the historical Ellowyne patterns I made way back in 2007 when she first appeared under my Christmas tree.

I got an email last week from Lisa, who’s part of this group:  She said, “we sew for and donate a Les Cheries doll with a wardrobe of clothes to children who have long-term stays in hospitals” which I think is a great cause!  As you start this sew-along, why not make doubles of everything (you should have enough fabric from one fat-quarter bundle to make two of everything for small-size dolls) and donate a set to stitchinforkids to give to a child?  They have free patterns for Cheries on their website too, and as a reminder, all the Sasha/KnC patterns here can be copied at 77% to fit the smaller dolls as well.

The first pattern of the summer sew-along is for pants, which I did 4 different ways, as jeans, laced-up capris, with cuffs, and ruffled bottom pantaloons.

Get the pattern and see variations here

What about next week’s pattern?  And Sasha/KnC?  And AGs?  Here’s the scoop:

You can get next week’s pattern in 13″-14″ doll size FREE by posting a pic of these pants that you made to  Email me the link to your photo(s) by Thursday, June 12, and I’ll send you next week’s pattern on Friday, June 13.  My email is jenniebagrowski at hotmail dot com.  If you miss the deadline, the next week’s pattern will only be available in my etsy store!

What about Sasha/KnC?  Copy the pants pattern at 123% and then take 1/4″ off each back edge at the waist.  They’ll be long, so shorten accordingly for Sasha.

And AGs?  More complicated…and the more time I spend making the same thing in different sizes, the less time I have for fun stuff and new projects.   The other issue with AGs is they’re so large you might need more than 1 bundle of FQs or have to get 1/2 yard cuts to make sure you have enough fabric.  These pants are similar to the Versatility Pants pattern.  I’m planning on putting resized pattern pieces for AGs in my etsy store as multi-sized separates, but come on, wouldn’t you rather just get yourself  a cute new 13″-14″ doll to sew for? 🙂

So, to be clear…the sew-along is intended for 13″-14″ dolls like Hearts for Hearts and Cheries.  The free pattern pieces you can get by participating in the sew-along and posting pix will be that size.  In most cases, they fit Sasha and similar-size dolls when copied at 123%, but some minor adjustments sometimes have to be made, usually in length.   Yes!  You are welcome to post pix of any size doll in these outfits on the Flickr group!   If you want to join in but don’t want to post pix, or want pieces resized for AG and Sasha, I’ll also put each week’s patterns in my etsy store.

photo (3)

In case you want to follow along with the same fabrics, I’m using these two FQ bundles from JoAnn