Monthly Archives: June 2015

Summer sew along week 4


Summer has officially arrived in our canyon and all the birds are busy feeding their babies!

Are you trying to contact me?   Between comments, emails, etsy conversations, people asking questions about the sew-along via Flickr and etsy and … my inbox is a mess!  Also I used to have a hotmail and a yahoo account, neither of which I check  anymore.  SO, you can contact me by posting a comment at the bottom of this page.  It goes directly to my email for moderation first.  If you did that and didn’t get a reply or see your comment posted, probably the spam filter flagged it and I didn’t see it.

You can email me with my first (jennie) and last name  (bagrowski) put together at gmail.

OK, we’ve gotten that out of the way!  Time for this week’s pattern:

Update:  The sew along is over.  If you missed it, all the patterns and a bonus dress are included in this etsy listing 

Also…have an AG?  Take her to the store through the end of June and request FREE ear piercing at the salon!!  I had thought they’d just drill the holes and I’d buy earrings, but it included some earrings…FREE!  AND I  got a coupon for $10 off $100 good any time in July.

Perhaps I’ll pass that coupon along to DH, we do have an anniversary in July…


(Hint hint)

Summer Sew Along week 3


Get the pattern for week 3 here

Make sure to get it NOW because like last week’s, this link will disappear on Sunday!

To reiterate…you do NOT need to send me links to your pix every week, but keep posting them on Flickr.  You’ll send all the links at once after next week and then you’ll get week 5 and a bonus pattern for the outfit below emailed to you!  

I love doing the summer sew-alongs, partly because I love seeing what everyone makes!  Even these simple patterns have been customized in so many cute ways – have a look at what people have made here.  You can also comment and encourage your fellow sew-along participants.  I did a whole bunch of that the other day, and then our internet went down and my comments seem to have disappeared!  We’ve been having so many thunderstorms that knock out power it’s incredible, but it’s supposed to warm up and dry out soon, and then maybe we can finally turn off our heat for the summer!

Oh look…another Paola Reina!!  This is Dasha.

I made this from the infinity dress pattern, using the placket instructions to make a slit at the neck.  The apron design was inspired by the Middie Blythe in the Oski Tebya Lyublyu series.

And more eye candy…Cassie sent me these from her blog :


Even though they were originally 1930s style dresses, they look totally up-to-date in these modern fabrics!

Speaking of modern fabrics, I just love this take on Kit’s sundress from Debra W.  A unique fabric that looks almost like taffeta and is perfect with Caroline’s eyes!

Need a break from sewing?  It’s rare, but sometimes I do!  If you’re into arts as well as crafts, specifically drawing, I just found some GREAT colored pencils!

[image from dickblick click to see on their site]

 Like a lot of people I have a love-hate relationship with prismacolor.  Love the color laydown and blendability, hate the leads breaking every time I sharpen and dulling so quickly.  So I’ve been doing a little research and ran across these oil-based pencils by Koh-i-noor called Polycolor.  They’re not too expensive, and are very smooth and so BLENDABLE!  The only downsides are that they don’t blend well with some colors of non oil-based pencils, so you can’t necessarily mix brands, and the white is not that functional for much but blending, since it doesn’t show up well over other pencils or watercolors.  But unlike many other pencils, there’s no waxy buildup and you still get the bit of sparkle of the paper underneath even with lots of layers of color.

I should have chosen something more colorful, but this was a drawing I happened to have done in the new pencils. I’m working my way through this excellent book that I gifted myself as an end-of-school-year present:

 If you like birds, this is a fabulous book!  It’s not like most “how to draw x” type books where you just get a bunch of examples to copy.  He gives a nice grounding in bird anatomy from bones to feet, eyes, feathers, etc. and encourages you to get outside and draw what YOU see.  Sadly there are no chickens in his book, which is the bird I see the most.  🙂  However, going through his instruction and explanations inspired me to take the time to really look at “lap chicken” (yes, we seriously have a chicken that likes to hang out on my lap if I’m sitting outside) today in a different way, and see how similar she is to other birds I’ve been drawing.

  Click the book to go to his site where you can see sample pages.

New pattern and second week of the summer sew along!


You have summer sew along questions?  I have answers!  Keep posting your photos for each week here.  The pattern for week 1 is still up here so you can join in the fun if you haven’t started yet, but these downloads will disappear on Sunday so get them now and start sewing!

When you’ve finished week 4, the super simple summer sew along submission form is here.  All you need to do is put in your email and a link to each week’s photo.   Then I’ll email everyone on the list the pattern for week 5 AND a really nice bonus pattern where you can use your new knit-sewing skills.

And in new pattern news…

As you may have noticed, I’m now the proud owner of not one, but TWO Paola Reina las Amigas dolls!  It’s rare these days to find dolls made in Europe, and even rarer to find companies who respond to your inquiries quickly with good customer service, so PR has both of those things going for it and I’m hoping to add a few more of their dolls to my collection later.

Unfortunately for me, but good for them, both dolls came in soccer uniforms, which meant they needed new clothes, leading me  to peruse the PR website for ideas.  You might remember Liu’s outfit from a few weeks ago, and after enlarging the pic below and seeing the little matryoshka embroidered on the bodice, the cuteness was too overwhelming to resist and I just had to make something like it for my Cristi!

Image above from PR website, where you can get Cristi in this dress


 So many commercial doll dresses have very basic forms and what makes them unique is their fabric, color, trim, etc.  As I was sketching out ideas, I started thinking…hmm…what about a collar like this?  And puffy sleeves?  Oh, wait!  I could use this to…  Things spiraled out of control and became a new pattern concept…

The Infinity Dress 

This pattern has a variety of sleeves, collars, and skirts to fit the basic bodices shown below.  It’s called the infinity dress, because it’s infinitely versatile. From these basic pieces you can make just about any style of basic dress you could want for a huge variety of dolls.


Those are just basic pieces, right?  So what’s different about this collection?  Most sets of patterns I’ve ever purchased that claim to fit multiple dolls start with one sloper and just increase it by a percentage based on height like this: bodices 1 There’s no guarantee it will fit your dolls of that height, because all dolls have different proportions, so you either get lucky and it fits, or you toss the pattern away in frustration.  bodices2

MY new pattern was re-designed for dolls with each different (child) body type that you’ve seen on the blog.

There are eight different pattern sizes are on separate pages, so you can just print the ones you need, as well as a fitting guide to help you use them for other dolls too.

These were my main models but the pieces will also fit all the dolls below and more:

All these dresses were made from this pattern:

OK, that alone should have you running over to etsy to get the collection.  Need another reason?

Included in this set you will get as .pdf files:

  • Croquis and sketching ideas
  • Pattern pieces
  • Fitting guide
  • Construction directions
  • Special decorating ideas and tutorials
  • Photos of outfits for inspiration

That’s almost 150 pages of instructions, inspiration, patterns and eye candy!

Need another reason?  How about free machine embroidery designs?

One of my other recent projects was coming up with a collection of machine embroidery small and dainty enough to be suited to smaller doll clothes.  There are all sorts of combinations of heirloom-style florals you know from hand embroidery, like french knots and bullion-style roses. See what’s included in the embroidery collection here.  If you have software that lets you combine/edit designs, you’ll be happy to know these are all “pre-cut” as tiny separate pieces so you can move them around easily!

Some designs from this embroidery set (.pes format only) are pictured on the dresses above, and can be used on anything, but fit so well with this new set of patterns I’m offering it FREE WITH PURCHASE of the new infinity dress collection.  Just put in the “notes to seller” box at checkout that you’d like the embroidery files!

Purple dress made from free pattern here:

And bodice was enlarged to fit Little Darling, (~120% maybe?) and paired with a rectangular skirt.

Summer sew along week 1


Time for the summer sew-along!

I was paging through an old issue of Sew Beautiful magazine, and there was an outfit with a long sleeved T as part of it.  They actually said something like, “If you don’t sew knits, use a purchased shirt”.  I thought…are you kidding me?  This magazine, now out of print, was for very advanced sewers that could smock, embroider, shape lace, etc. and they didn’t think their readers were all capable of sewing with knits??  Well, I won’t let that happen with my readers!  🙂  This year’s summer sew-along will be a step-by-step sewing school to build up your skills and make you confident about sewing knits.

The sew-along patterns start very easy and get a little harder, but should be do-able by even beginning sewers.  At the beginning, I want you to be able to focus on technique, not worry about how complicated pattern pieces fit together.  Your incentive for finishing the sew-along is a free pattern for an outfit that will put all your new sewing-with-knits knowledge to work and will only be available to participants that complete at least 4 of the 5 weeks!  More details to follow…

These patterns have been sized for AG/Maplelea.  This week an untested version for Sasha and 14″ dolls is also included, but I can’t promise that for every week, so if you have an AG/Maplelea, I’d suggest you use her as your model.

Last year, to keep you accountable, you had to submit a pic each week and email me to get the following week’s pattern.  It took FOREVER to compile each week’s list – time better spent sewing or enjoying your photos, in my opinion.  🙂  So this year, I’ll post each pattern on Thursday as usual, and then take it down over the weekend.  You’re responsible for downloading, sewing, then putting it in the group here:  At the end, you’ll just need to submit one form with a link to your pix to receive the free pattern.