Monthly Archives: December 2015

The WrenFeathers GOTY

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REMINDER:  You can get one or both Chatty Cathy patterns from my etsy store FREE until Jan 1st – Post a picture of something you’ve made during this Chatty Cathy series (for your CC or any other doll they’d fit) here and send me a link (jenniebagrowski at gmail dot com).  For each thing that you’ve made you can request either “Nursery School” OR “Sunday Visit”.  If you want both patterns, you’ll need to post 2 things you made during this series.  If you just post on flickr, I don’t have your email, so make sure to send me a link and tell me which pattern you want!

I’m going to guess you’ve either gotten the new AG catalog or seen the leaks online by now.

The AG GOTY dolls’ back stories lately are so realistic and relatable to regular kids’ lives, right?  I mean, when MY grandparents’ bakery in France was struggling, MY family dropped everything, hopped on a plane and helped save it, just like Grace!  And then this year is even MORE relatable, because, you know, lots of kids get to abandon their lives here in the US and go live in Brazil, and all of Brazil is just rainforest, fruit stands and treehouses…right? 😉 

So I happened down the Our Generation aisle at Target and check out my find:

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No, not Saila, the science set.  Pretty awesome, huh?  For around $6 you get the safety glasses, flask, test tubes and microscope.  It gets better…there’s an actual light and a lens you can focus on the microscope!!  No slides, but those are easily made from scraps of clear plastic.  As I was taking apart the packaging to toss in the recycling, something caught my eye…http://www.ogdolls.com/free-the-children

This was so reminiscent of my dearly departed H4H and Karito dolls I actually went back to Target and really LOOKED at the dolls themselves.  I always pass them up as generic “imitation” dolls, and in all the stores I’ve visited, their ethnic diversity has, until recently, been sadly lacking.  The April doll caught my eye, primarily because of her beautiful green eyes that are similar to mine.  Most doll manufacturers do a grassy green color that is blatantly unrealistic, and that’s sometimes the case with red hair too.  AND April came with glasses…just like me, poor thing.  She lacks freckles but I’m thinking some time in the high altitude sun should cure that 🙂

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So, even though I was super excited about the release of AG Lea, who disappointingly just looks like Rebecca with longer hair, and Melody, who Amazon led us to believe was also getting released Jan 1, I bought April instead, and she’s going to be the WrenFeathers GOTY for 2016.  Why an OG?  AG is just getting shameless with their price increases and big-ticket items and I don’t always see quality to match those prices.  I love my AGs, I love going to the AG store, but it seems the “store experience” has become a thing and they’re skimping on quality while you help pay their rent in the most expensive shopping districts in that area. In contrast, probably everyone has a Target within a reasonable driving distance and goes there anyway to get other things and the doll aisle is just a bonus.  Based on the devastation of the OG aisle at my local Target right before Christmas (hubby commented it looked as though it had been looted), OG dolls are hugely popular with kids.  They’re affordable, supposedly responsibly manufactured, and giving back some of their profits to help kids in developing countries.  Plus, this doll is more relatable to real people than one that’s jetting off to live in Brazil and needs you to buy her a $400 tree house to live in and a $150 fruit stand to run.

The “GOTY” plan is that every month there will be a free pattern or craft for her, sort of like a year-long series and I will try to make an effort to relate those to her hobbies, interests, etc.  (Don’t worry, I’ll still do other dolls too!)  As I examined the OG offerings, they’ve really stepped up their game in terms of creating trendy, cute things.  Unfortunately, it’s rather hit-or-miss as to whether you can actually find what you want for sale at your local store and when you order online, apparently they don’t really have what you ordered.  I found Zuri, who has a beautiful new face mold, on the Target website and ordered her just before Christmas, thinking she and April could be friends.  A few days before she was scheduled to arrive, I got an email saying my order was canceled without any explanation why.  I was pretty sad, and am hoping the birthday fairy might come through and you’ll see her here soon…

So, you might not be able to get the OG outfits you want, and since they’re trying to mass-produce them for a reasonable price, the quality might not be the same as what an experienced seamstress could do at home for her own dolls, and for those reasons I might do versions of some of their outfits in this series too.  Look for the first installment next week!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Do you have a favorite OG outfit you can’t find and want to make?  Suggestions for April’s “back story” (hobbies, interests, etc.)?  Post a comment below!

Happy New Year!

 

Oh no, the last Chatty Pattern?

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I bet some of you want the CC series to just keep going, but there’s lots of fun modern stuff on the way for those that didn’t! 🙂  I actually did a few more things for Cathy, namely her “Nursery School” and “Sunday Visit” dresses.

 The Nursery School and Sunday Visit patterns are available on etsy 

 

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This week’s free pattern is based on a paper doll, but the pattern was so similar to a vintage commercial pattern, I just used it instead, omitting the tucks down the front.  Neckline of blouse and jumper are faced with bias.  You might want to make the hem deeper for AGs to get the same look.

 Download it here

Is this OK?  Read on…

Does scanning parts of an old pattern and uploading them violate copyright law?  Well, when I looked into it, I think it’s OK in this situation.  First off, it’s possible they may be in the public domain, since the back of the envelope says it was copyrighted in 1963 (and thus expired 28 years later unless renewed) but there is no copyright info listed on the pattern pieces themselves.  Second, if they were renewed for the additional 47 years permitted, they’d expire again in 2030, but  section 108 of US copyright law says during the last 20 years of any term of copyright protection of a published work libraries and archives free to the public…“may—for purposes of preservation, scholarship, or research—reproduce, distribute, display, or perform in facsimile or digital form a copy or phonorecord of the work or portions of the work… ”  

So, as a website which has a rather large archive of my own doll patterns, I’m uploading these pieces for you here free for the purpose of preserving them, since the paper is aging rapidly.  You can download them for purposes of research/scholarship, (i.e. learning to sew a historical garment) but despite what some ebay sellers would have you believe, it’s probably not legal for you to reproduce this pattern and sell since the law also states “the reproduction or distribution” must be “made without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage”.  

Chatty’s smock dress

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I was on the Wrenfeathers Flickr group and found some cute holiday pix to share:

This one is shrunken versions of last week’s pattern on Ann Estelle and Linda McCall by Rosetownjoy:

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And this gorgeous photo of Sam is from Mary D.  dressed in a pleated dress from the 1960s collection.  Not many dolls could pull off fabric with such a bright, bold pattern, but her neutral coloring and orange tights set it off perfectly!

Sam’s been on my to-buy list for a while, but I got really bummed that Girl For All Time had a bunch of holiday promotions and didn’t include her, so I guess I’ll have to wait a bit.  Speaking of doll purchases, if you’re a US customer who was getting your Maplelea “fix” from amazon, you may have noticed there’s very little left in stock.  I actually emailed Maplelea about that and they said they were having such strong sales in Canada, they had to hold stock back from amazon’s US site.  They do plan on restocking though!

This week’s Chatty pattern is her smock dress, shown in the center of the pic below:

 

Get it here

Next week will the last week of the CC series 😦 but two more dresses (Sunday Visit and Nursery School) will be available on etsy.  In the meantime, preview originals of those dresses here and here.

 

Candy Cane Christmas Dresses

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This is my favorite week of the CC series so far!  I thought it would be fun to do two entirely different outfits from the same fabrics, and then pose them as though a mom had made the sisters coordinated outfits and taken them to a department store for Christmas portraits.  This red striped fabric, reminiscent of candy canes, seemed perfect.

To the best of my knowledge, there were two Chatty outfits labeled “Peppermint”.  One was a pink dress with a peter pan collar and eyelet pinafore called “Peppermint Stick”, and the other was an eyelet blouse over a sundress that had a red yoke and red and white striped skirt.  This second one was also produced in medium blue, or sometimes blue bodice and light blue skirt and I’ve seen it called “Sundress” “Blue Party Dress” or “Two-tone Jumper”.  There were both Canadadian and US versions and sometimes they varied a bit.  For the pink-striped “Peppermint Stick” dress, the sleeves of Canadian version had integral sleeves, and the American had puffed horizontally striped ones like those above.

Get the pattern for the pinafores here

You’ll also need pieces from the rickrack dress here

This series will probably go for two more weeks, but there are more Chatty things based on her original factory outfits in the works.  If I were you and wanted to get those patterns for free, I might start sewing and posting pix of my dolls in these outfits here.  More info on that to come!

 

Sweet Dreams, Chatty!

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When my sister was little, she had a creepy and hideous doll called “Baby Talk”.  (See it here)  It was battery operated and talked in response to your voice or just randomly when you moved her.  That awful doll would sometimes talk during the night, which woke us up, and I was thinking in that respect how much better Chatty Cathy was, since you had to pull a string to make her talk!

This week’s pattern is based on her original PJs, which were covered in rickrack.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find rickrack and pink flowered flannel that both matched, so I had to do without the trim.

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I’m having a little too much fun with the 1960s filter on one of my photo editing programs!  🙂

23348138252_e7e306ee37_zAnd, of course, it looks great on modern dolls too!

Get the pattern here

And remember you can post pix of what you’ve made either for your childhood Chatty or your AG here