Monthly Archives: August 2014

A masterpiece of machine embroidery for a really big doll…


This blouse was a lot of effort, but I’m REALLY pleased with the results!  It took about 3-4 days to make, from drafting the pattern, arranging the embroidery, and figuring out how to do mock-smocking  with no pleater needed that could work at people size with only at 5×7 hoop, to being able to wear the actual finished product.  An experienced machine-embroiderer could probably finish it over this long Labor day weekend!  If you don’t have that much time, make a quick and easy version with elastic in bias casings.


 (note that the doll version is easier and not wide enough for smocking)


(read printing instructions before you try printing the pattern pieces!)


***IMPORTANT PRINTING UPDATE*** Do not try to print directly from the internet, it will not work correctly!  Download to your computer (click link and then CTRL+S to save) then open and print from Adobe Acrobat.  If you only have Adobe Reader (not the full version) click POSTER and make sure it shows it’s printing on 12 pages.  The latest version is available here:

Cut and Sew Panels!


A mid-week post?  Unusual, I know, but remember that little girl on “Annie” who walked around saying, “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!”  I feel that way right now, but in a good way and I just had to share my happiness!

This all started because I wanted to dress my newest Sasha in the dress she came in, but our high altitude sun fades things terribly, even when they’re only in indirect light.  I had visions of accidentally leaving her out on the sofa and the dress being ruined by the sun.  There were absolutely no fabrics at the store remotely like that one, so…what to do?  The obvious choice would be to silkscreen my own, but for such a tiny pattern it would be annoying to cut a stencil, and burning the screen (with chemicals and light) seemed a little silly when I only needed a small amount of fabric and would likely never re-use it.

And THEN I realized there are places that will print fabric for you!  And I wouldn’t even need to convert from my favorite graphics format, I could just upload, pay, wait a couple weeks and boom!  There it was in my mailbox!  Kinda like magic… 🙂  A small amount is expensive, but costs go down the more fabric you buy, so I created 4 different cut and sew panels for myself.  IMG_2567r

This is the one that started it all!  Although it would have been much easier to scan and reproduce the original exactly, the pattern I ended up making is a little different, because I wanted to make sure no one would mistake it for the “real thing” at some point in the future!  I also made a little bandana similar to the one Gregor from that era had with the light denim outfit.  It says “Gregor” instead of Sasha! 🙂

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Then I created 2 A-line dresses with short sleeves in fabric designs based on actual 60s and 70s fabric,

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The Mexican blouse was a no-brainer…it’s one of my most popular patterns on etsy, but this version is even more detailed and requires exactly zero minutes of embroidering, coloring, etc.  Just cut and sew!

Saving the best for last!  Caleb is one of my favorite dolls.  He just seems to have a sweet, easygoing personality and will happily wear the same shirt for a year.  This is a dashiki, an African shirt that was extremely popular in the 60s and 70s.  You bought it either ready-made or as a panel to sew yourself.  I based this on a hybrid of about 10 “real” dashikis, simplifying the patterns a bit to have them still visible at such a small scale.  Then, just for fun, I added fabric for a bag that looks like it’s made of kente and bogolanfini (AKA mudcloth)

Designing some of these was easy, others took much longer (about 5 hours to design and place all the little patterns on the dashiki to my liking).  I was quite pleased with the quality of the fabric and printouts, although you can see some of the text was a little “off”.  The star in Wren*Feathers inexplicably moved over, but my greatest fear had been that the colored areas would feel like thick,  painted-on designs that you find in some cheap cut and sew panels or low quality calico.  Nope!  The fabric is 100% cotton and has a nice thread count.  It’s also thin enough to be perfect for doll clothes!  Off to sew with more pix to follow!  And yes, there’s a possibility I will offer these  cut and sew panels for sale in the future!

I’m a pinterest junkie, and it bothers me when stuff I love won’t pin!  So if you’re trying to pin the pix of the dolls, you can do it from here:

Original on the left, my version on the right.  It’s lighter, I changed the flowers a little, and if you get up close, the color is much more even.

Is it really back-to-school time already?


Where we live in the mountains, none of the houses have air-conditioning, since at our altitude it rarely gets unbearably warm.  In fact, last week, we actually had our heat on because it poured rain for two days and the high was 50F!  Down on “the flat” where I work it’s a different story…always at least 10 degrees warmer and without the afternoon showers that cool things off.  And now it’s mid-August.  You know, the hottest time of the year when people would prefer to be up in the mountains?  And yet, we go back to school next week, which means it’s time to go on a spending spree with the large budget of zero dollars my district provides their SLPs to buy fun stuff like tissues, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, stickers, markers, glue sticks, lollipops, etc.

I had a professor in my undergrad SLP classes who told us all the time, “You should be able to do therapy with nothing but a paper clip!”  Her point was not to rely on pre-made materials to motivate and instruct, but on yourself and your own knowledge and skills.   I agree with her wholeheartedly, but when a kid sneezes on your paper clip and has snot running down her face, you also need tissues and hand sanitizer.  🙂

Maybe your doll needs something cute, cool, and comfortable to deal with her un-air-conditioned classroom, or maybe she’s still on summer vacation.  Either way she will love this dress and you can learn about the three different types of angles you might want to use to clip various seam edges so they press perfectly after you turn them.


A few more things:

I realized later there wasn’t a clear link to the smocking pattern last week, so I updated that post, but here it is again:

If you don’t have a paypal account, my etsy shop is now set up to accept credit cards AND etsy gift cards!  I organized it a bit too, and you can see categories now in the sidebar to help you quickly find things.  Here’s the link

I had planned to list a bunch of pre-pleated kits for smocking in case you are eager to try machine smocking but don’t have a pleater.  I went out and bought a bunch of fabric, washed and dried it, and then realized it might be a big task to make them in all the different sizes and keep them organized somehow, so…


This is what I have available right now.  It’s a lightweight poly/cotton blend gingham.  The one that looks black is actually navy blue.  Let me know what size doll you need it for and I will pleat the front panel for you according to the pattern measurements and include enough fabric to make the rest of the dress for $8 plus shipping (about $2 probably)

If I don’t melt in the heat, more Back To School projects are coming soon!  Also stuff for Sasha Baby, and there’s still a big historical project in the works…

IMG_0350 a R If you’re new to the blog, there’s a GREAT post with backpack, lunch,  and assorted school supplies tutorial here

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Unless your dolls are going to back to school at Hogwarts, in which case, they’ll want the stuff here:




Free cut and sew dress for Sasha and NEW smocking in the hoop!


Apologies that not all of these will pin to pinterest…you can pin most of these pix from my flickr page here:

and here’s a link directly to the pin for the dress

This dress was originally produced as a cut and sew fabric panel for Sasha around 1979.  But you lost another ebay auction and can’t make it…or maybe you have the fabric panel but don’t want to cut into it because it’s a collector’s item.

Well, get out your fabric markers, we’re going to make it!  What?  You don’t have a Sasha?  Copy it at 77% to fit dolls like Corolle Cheries, and an AG size is included also.



What else is new in the wren’s “nest”?

dresden picnic

Remember this?  I got a request for the smocked pattern on the left, but you may also have seen from a few weeks ago I’ve been doing a bit of machine smocking lately.

Well…these two things converged and a new pattern emerged.  Versatile?  Oh my goodness, yes!  Easy?  Well, if you have an embroidery machine, you can smock in the hoop in a fraction of the time with a TON of free designs included with the pattern.  Pattern and embroidery designs available here

smockingClick to enlarge!  These are just some of the designs included in the pattern – see all the smocking designs here

Low yoke with or without easy collar and short puffed sleeves

High yoke with rolled collar and puffed sleeves, low yoke without sleeves

Shortened skirt, high yoke and long sleeves

And just for fun I made it without smocking too…Sasha’s having an “Anne of Green Gables” phase 🙂

(embroidery design on her pinafore is not mine – it’s from here:

It also includes a smocked in the hoop bishop-style dress you can shorten into a blouse and make with short or ruffled “angel-wing” sleeves

Welcome Sasha 105 (long green dress) who was an anniversary present last week from my husband of 17 years!

I made her a little “Bauernkind” (Farm Child) Ensemble.  Shhh! don’t tell her! but it is available for sale.  Interested?  Contact me at jenniebagrowski @ (remove spaces)

Includes red checked drawers that close with a drawstring (no elastic to wear out!), chambray skirt and muslin petticoat with featherstitching sewed onto one waistband and closed with hook and eye, black gingham apron, white cotton blouse with functional, slightly mismatched buttons, and shawl made from handwoven fabric.  Hat,  shoes, and doll NOT included.