Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy New Year!!

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Really, Jen?  MORE doll clothes?  YES!  Doll clothes are a vital part of play for children, helping to spark imaginations and create new scenarios. I’m a speech-language pathologist, and at work I see a big difference between language-disordered and typically-developing kids in how they play with dolls.  I have a few sets of wooden dolls with magnetic clothing covering everything from princesses to sports outfits to swimsuits.  For a kindergartner I might give them the dolls and hold on to the clothes, pretending I’m “the store.”  A typically-developing kid will walk her doll over to me and say, “I’m going to the beach, can I buy a swimsuit please?”  A language disordered kid is more likely to say something like, “I want a pink one.”  If they like the dolls, this is a great way to teach vocabulary. “Oh, you want a pink swimsuit.  I bet your doll is going swimming, what else does she need to take with her?”  It can also help scaffold stories.  First, the doll gets her suit, towel, etc., next she drives to the beach, etc.  So, although many people might not think of them that way, doll with a nice variety of clothes can be a really educational toy, especially if an adult is willing to add to the wardrobe/join in the play.  For older kids to adult collectors,  sewing for dolls is a wonderful way to “play” with them and develop a valuable skill at the same time.

The New Year always brings a statistics summary from WordPress.  One of the things they list is my top five referring sites:

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I wasn’t surprised Pinterest was at the top, with 15,272 referrals, as well as referrals from my own site to other patterns on the site.  A big surprise for me was how many referrals came from http://www.ravelry.com/ and http://www.agirlforalltime.com/. I guess I hadn’t even realized they knew who I was!  In thanks to AGAT, and because I know a lot of people got a new Clementine for Christmas, I’m offering this new, authentic 1940s snow suit pattern FREE!

It’s been snowing and far below zero for a couple of days, so Clementine took advantage of the “heat wave” (15F/-9C) to make some snow angels and go sledding today.  I made her outfit based on this 1940s Carolyn Lee paper doll drawn by Queen Holden.  I share Nicki’s Baba’s opinion about white mittens, (anyone get that reference?) so I made them red. 🙂

 

Get the pattern here 

Thanks for reading the blog! I wish everyone a fabulous 2015!!

 

Little Darling in Japan: Week 7

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 You may have already opened your Christmas doll, but the holidays aren’t over yet!  We still have New Year’s to celebrate!

My Christmas doll was adorable, but came with a stained head from her wig 😦

See more pix of her here


This next photo comes to you from http://poupeesdeline.blogspot.com/.   She made a little house for her Cherie and Paola Reina Liu.  The wonderful teapot is actually a people-size tea infuser. I also like the little touches like ikebana (floral arrangement) and that their belts are different colors 🙂

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I had really grandiose plans for this post, but you know how sometimes the universe seems out to get you?  Yeah, that was this week.  Nothing went right with my crafting projects, so let’s just call it a miracle I managed to get this done.

Click here for Kimono Pattern

Note that this outfit was originally going to have authentic undies.  You can make them from batiste/thin silk using this skirt pattern, and the top from the karate gi.  Shorten the sleeves and leave off the collar, or make it a contrast color. She’s missing shoes too and doesn’t have a bento to eat!  Like I said, the universe was out to get me.  🙂  Try here: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/hinamatsuri/ for food and shoes you can adapt smaller.

Click here for printable money and envelopes

Little Darling in Japan: week 6

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Apologies for unanswered comments/emails form last week!

Also, an etsy note: I’m now going to be re-downloading and checking patterns as soon as they’re listed, because something seems to be happening from time to time that pattern pieces mysteriously change shape.  So far that has happened with the arctic parka, a sleeve from the 1940s collection and the Maru “versatility” pants.  SORRY!! If you have those patterns you should have gotten an email about it with pieces that will print correctly.  If not, please let me know and I’m happy to resend!  If ever a pattern piece doesn’t look right, please let me know and I will make it right!

Ok, on to this week’s post:

So I had kind of a revelation last week about gathers and pleats and fullness in general in historical Asian garments. You know about the pleats in week 3’s hakama, and this week we have a pleated skirt-type hakama to wear over a summer kimono (yukata) as Little Darling celebrates Obon.  (Apparently she’s time traveling too, back to summer!)

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And then I started thinking about Chinese clothing, for example, the unusual skirt made in two pieces and attached with little frogs (see it here)

Even in Southeast Asia, garments were more often pleated, for example, sarong-style skirts and saris.
Korea seemed to be an exception, with the women wearing wide, full skirts. I had always assumed they were gathered, but the other day I was watching a historical K-drama where they did a close-up of a dress after she flung it over a dressing screen. Turns out, it was pleated with many tiny pleats!

So, I asked myself…why no gathers? In my opinion, gathers are easier to do than pleats. OOOH, unless you’re sewing by hand. (that was the revelation)  Pleated garments can also be folded and stored more easily to avoid wrinkles, especially in drawers and chests, which was the common storage method in most parts of Asia. There’s a bit more polished elegance to pleats as compared to gathers, and finally, these loose-fitting pleated garments were very easy to adapt to different wearers or body changes. Remember when Scarlett O’Hara had to get out the seam ripper to alter a dress before a party because her waist had increased by a couple of inches? That would never have happened with most garments being worn in Asia in that same time period!

Pattern for this week’s outfit  is here

Also, here is a printable shoji-style lamp.  You can use it as a room decoration or to help your doll celebrate Obon.  Print it as “shrink to fit” on cardstock, fold and glue.

If you like pleats and want something more Western, there are TWO new patterns for 13″-14″ dolls in my etsy shop.

The first one was done as a custom request based on a family photo and named for its original wearer.  It features a unique asymmetric front bodice with a pleated skirt and closes down the back. The pattern includes some vintage illustrations and hints about “period correct” fabric and color choices.The other was based on a dress from the Fall/Winter Sears catalog from 1966. I named it the “Alpine Dress” because the embroidery and front band reminded me of Lederhosen. 🙂  Embroidery can be stitched by hand or is available in .pes format.

Little Darling in Japan week 5

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There are two new patterns coming soon to my etsy shop, but, thanks to some computer problems, apparently not this week 😦

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For this week’s “Little Darling in Japan” we have some soft furnishing projects.  If you have a 5×7″ embroidery hoop, you can get the free machine embroidery designs in .pes format in the pattern.

 

More details and free pattern here

Also…a poll.  When I started this, I made a list of everything I wanted to do, and it was about 12 weeks long.  I limited myself to finish by the end of the year, and next week’s post is almost done.  The last post, however, is as-yet nebulous.  The original intent was an outfit and accessories (printies, clay food, etc.) to celebrate New Year’s, which is a major holiday in Japan, but there are some other things I wanted to do and didn’t get to, like modern stuff (Harajuku/wa-loli/etc.).  So, if you have an opinion, please vote below for the final post of the year:

[poll is now closed] The votes were 47 to 31 in favor of a traditional New Year’s celebration.  Look for the post after Christmas!

 

Little Darling in Japan: Week 4

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Ok, we’re more than halfway done with our “trip” to Japan.  Still to come: sashiko quilting and some furnishings, a skirt-style hakama to wear with a yukata, and  celebrating the New Year.  As I put all of these on my calendar and schedule the posts, it’s amazing how quickly the holidays will be upon us.  Wanna know what I asked Santa for?

I actually wanted the one in the hat outfit below, but it’s been sold out for a while and Santa couldn’t find it.  Also he mentioned something like, “Why do you care what outfit it comes in?  You’re just going to rip off the clothes and leave them in the box forever anyway!”

Hmmm.  I see his point.  And I bet you can guess what I’ll be making first for my Christmas doll… 🙂

Ok, back to dolls I DO have already!

So this is my favorite outfit in this whole collection, and I was saving it for later, but decided to post it now.  This peasant-style outfit consists of “straw” sandals, monpe pants and a hippari jacket made with boro-style quilting.  The “little ragamuffin” look can be so endearing on dolls, and is perfect for Little Darling’s wistful face.

Get the pattern here