The WrenFeathers GOTY


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:


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…

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 🙂


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!


39 responses »

  1. Honestly, the reason I haven’t bought any OG clothes is because I look at them and think, “But I could sew that myself.” That doesn’t mean this doesn’t sound like an awesome series! I am looking forward to it!

  2. What a terrific idea, zoning in on the OG dolls. Zuri is a really pretty doll. I hope you are able to get one. Those outfits you pictured are really cute. I’m looking forward to your posts on each one.

  3. Your OG April is a cute one. I’ve been enjoying viewing all of the outfits others have made from your great patterns and posted on flickr. So many varieties.

  4. Valid points about cost of AG items. When you live in Canada, as I do, and factor in our currently terrible exchange rate it becomes prohibitive!

  5. You expressed my feelings. Until November I was an AG only girl. I was disallusioned with ag and haven’t bought a new doll in two years. I have more than twenty of them and they’re becoming all the same. In November I purchased two Maplelea dolls one for my granddaughter and one for myself. They are equal to AG in every way and in others they are superior. Both the dolls and the clothing are high quality, they cost much less, and they have a flat rate of $9 shipping.
    I haven’t purchased og dolls yet but I intend to in the near future.

  6. Went and bought an April doll. Have been wanting a redhead for a long time and she is very pretty. Looking forward to your GOTY plan!

  7. April looks like my niece (in her 20’s now). She grew up in the country, loved animals (even helped raise baby goats) and was (is) super smart.

  8. April is ADORABLE!!! I’m sooo glad they’ve come out with better eyes/prettier dolls, so now may consider one for my small collection. Before now, I thought their eyes were a bit ‘creepy’, so hadn’t purchased any. LOVE the idea for a GOTY series for OG — I leave it up to to you; your ideas are always the BEST, both in patterns and crafts!!! Happy New Year to you & yours, Jen!!! ;~)

  9. This was very well written. I agree. The AG dolls and their extras are getting way to pricey. I wish Mattel had never purchased the company. I am thrilled that you will be designing for the OG dolls. I have three of them and love them.

  10. I bought my grand-daughters AG dolls for Christmas which took a little organizing in that AG don’t sell outside the US and we live in Australia. They are delighted with them. I don’t know the OG dolls – will the patterns you make for the OG fit the AG dolls too?

  11. Though I definitely could afford to buy myself an AG doll, I too fell in love with OG dolls and more specifically April……….just something about her face, hair and glasses that won my over.

  12. I shop the OG aisle a lot at Target. Recent Retro outfit of a car hop waitress with actual shoe top roller skates was exceptional. I have one for my dolls and gave one as a gift at my doll club Christmas party. I like their mini dolls and they have outfits.

  13. I love your posts. I began following you after a friend, Sarah Jean, told me about your delightful site. I haven’t tried your patterns out yet, being an extremely slow and procrastinating sort of gal, but I look forward to it. I still have my original Canadian (there is a difference!) Chatty Cathy doll from 1964. I also own 14 AG dolls (I couldn’t help it) but I do have a few Target dolls, and they are adorable. Journey Girl dolls are good too, and Newberry dolls by Sears. Happy New Year and thanks for all the info you post. Your blog is Very Entertaining.

    • Yes, the Canadian Chattys seem to have been better quality? At least, they always seem to go for more on ebay as far as I can tell. I just looked up the Newberry dolls since I hadn’t heard of them before. Sadly it looks like they’re only available in Canada…but a great alternative to OGs with gorgeous faces and some REALLY nice accessories

  14. I love this doll! Although, I love Lea, she could be me 50 years ago. Sunbleached hair, green eye, tanned skin, & could have been sent anywhere by the military. I say Grace’s family had money. Maybe Lea’s family does, too or government jobs.

    For April her hobby could be sewing, knitting, crochet, gymnastics, or gardening. I mention gymnastics because the summer Olympics are coming up. Gardening could be a good hobby. The garden set for OG would be good to use. Of course, there are many tutorials for gardening, fruit stands, so forth available. It could be a good story. Growing veggies & fruits from Heirloom seeds, starting in the house, then transplanting, could even have a little greenhouse or cold frame or hoop house to protect her seedlings. A delay in planting because of rain & cool weather. It happened in Texas last year. Just a thought. Good luck. April was on my list, too.

    • Planting in CO is often delayed, especially here in the mountains. One year I prepped the garden in mid-May and put in seeds for “cold” things like peas and lettuce. I was planning to transplant my seedlings the next day and we woke up to at least a foot of snow 🙂

  15. Funny, I bought that same OG doll when they were on sale around Christmas, with my Cartwheel discount she was $15. She is replacing my other OG doll who needs a hair transplant – lol! I liked her glasses and red hair. I always take at least one OG doll to the craft shows I do being not everyone can afford an AG doll but still need dolly outfits.

  16. Your redhead April is beautiful – I look forward to seeing your creations for her. The OG outfits are lovely , especially the pink suit and pillbox hat set. I would love to see outfits like this

      • I second the pink outfit–I’ve been looking at it at Target but the loose-woven fabric that was used for it turned me off. I’d love to make a version of my own with better fabric.

  17. This OG GOTY idea is great! Just like you I love what OG makes and I love the affordable prices! Unfortunately since Zellers and then Target closed in Canada, they are very hard to find. My local bookstores carries some of the dolls and a couple of outfits (and much higher prices than Target), so it’s better than nothing, though. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you create for this GOTY! 🙂 Happy New Year!

    • That’s interesting, I was under the impression Battat (the designer of OG) was based in Montreal. Seems logical that they’d distribute their dolls in Canada too, although if I lived there I’d probably have a huge closet full of Mapleleas instead 🙂

    • Hi Sophinette! I’m a transplant from Canada to Florida, so I’m a lucky one with a Target just around the corner to get my OG fix – my mom wanted to get one herself so she can make my daughter some clothes and know the size – they are carried by Mastermind Toys! They seem to have a good variety on the website as well. I think I also heard something about Shoppers Drug Mart also caring them soon, but don’t quote me on that! 🙂

  18. I have a variety of dolls and some I have turned into boy dolls.I like the variety because the population most likely has a less expensive doll and buyers like to see their brands being sewn for also. I would love to have a Maplelea doll and seeing this new OG doll I want one with the new face mold too. OG is always affordable and frequently go on sale for around $20.00. The accessories are also much more affordable.

  19. What a great idea! I have donated OG dolls to Toys 4 Tots for several years. They are nice dolls and have really cute extras. I have always found the ethnic OGs to be my favorites. That said April is pretty dang cute! I for see a run on her at Target stores. Think I will run over and check out my local Target today!

  20. Wonderful ideas. My granddaughter has three dolls, none of which are AG, as the prices are prohibitive for our family, so it’s good to see others are getting on the non-brand bandwagon.

  21. I really like your April doll. I hadn’t really zoned in on her in the other online photos I’ve seen. I enjoyed the eye comparison shot. I normally am not that fond of green eyes in dolls, but hers are pretty nice. The OG doll that I’ve been keen on is May Lee. I like Zuri’s looks, but I think she needs a haircut. Another Target doll line that I’m really liking is the Lori dolls.

    I think the monthly series for April is a great idea. I will be looking forward to the first installment. It will also be fun to see how her personality and interests develop.

  22. April is cute! I love the glasses. I like OG’s accessories and think they are a good value for the money. But the quality of the outfits vary. So I’m looking forward to your patterns. Last year I ordered that pink suit from, but ended up returning it because it was so poorly made. It didn’t even fit the doll.

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