Monthly Archives: June 2016

Summer sew along week 4


Are you caught up with the last three weeks?  Great!  Because this week there are not one, but TWO sandal variations!  The first one is so simple, you really have no excuse for not making it.  The second one is more delicate and dressy and requires you to have cutting and gluing skills at the “SuperCrafter” level or beyond due to the tiny pieces you’ll need to cut out and fiddle with.  It was based on a tropical-looking sandal I found on Pinterest, with hot pink/lime/yellow straps, but when I saw it, my first thought was, “That’s a 4th of July sandal if I ever saw one!”  Obviously you can make it in all one color if you want.

 Here is the sandal pattern for this week

Since it was pdf-ified in a different way than I normally do it, I have to just cross my fingers that it comes out OK and all the pieces print to size.  PLEASE measure the inch box, check it by overlaying the soles onto the fisherman sandal pattern and maybe even wrap the pieces around your doll’s foot to check the sizing before you start cutting into your fabric.    It will work for Wellies (obviously) as well as Paola Reinas, Cheries, etc.  It’s in only one size, since the curved back piece makes it hard to quickly/easily resize.

Due to all the pdf problems, (thanks, new computer!) instead of the normal tutorial I’ll have to refer you to the photos below and the instructions from:

The brown ones are a nice, sturdy, basic sandal.  For the 4th of July version above, I thinned out the back piece a bit to make it less “rugged” looking and more dressy.  Feel free to do the same!

Are you thinking, “She promised us Paola Reina for the sew-along, what’s this Wellie Wisher doing here?”  Well, she’s just so cute I keep smiling every time I look at her and thought you might want a smile too. 🙂  I actually made the brown sandal pattern last year for my PR, and guess what?  It fit Willa!     Hmmm…what else can she share?

The sandals from week two and the espadrilles from the shoe school two years ago will fit her too:

The basic puff-sleeve blouse/dress from the sew-along 2014 fits her:

And this mock-smocked top can be made to fit too:

I’m working on the pants pattern she’s wearing above as well as some more really cute things for her…


Wellie Wishers Review!


I bet you’re super excited to find out how they compare to other dolls, so I’m fighting with the new computer to bring you this post.  Luckily you’re not here to hear the swearing!  Here goes:

Since I’ve been to the AG store on Jan 1 more than once and seen a line stretching far out the door, I expected something similar for the release of the new Wellie Wishers.  I actually arrived at 9:30 (they open at 10 according to the website) and there was NO ONE outside!  Weird, huh?  Then I saw someone walk into the store and realized they must have opened early.  I braced myself for a crowd, but turns out I was only 1 of maybe 7 shoppers in the whole store!

My first impression of these dolls, echoed by a few other people I heard in the store was, “wow, they’re small!”

In fact they are close in size to the hearts for hearts girls:

A few in-store photos with apologies for the poor lighting – it was definitely not designed for taking pictures!


A ballerina costume and  a fairly nice stage.  It has fabric curtains and two backdrops


All the Wellies outside their “Big Ticket Item” house ($250) with the sad little bunny


The obligatory pink princess dress


Cute, nicely made jammies


This accessory set was my fave; apparently Kendall is the crafty one?  I may go back and get her…


This is what was in her apron


A mud pie set/potting bench that comes with the house


I LOVE the idea of this backpack!  If I had a child that was transporting her doll I’d surely have gotten it!

They are all so adorable it was hard to choose, but the salesperson I talked to said Willa was the most popular so far, and I’m pretty partial to freckles! 🙂

Here she is in her box

The picture on the front of the box is a little deceiving (deceitful?). In the photo on the box she is clearly tilting her head.  I love dolls with the ability to do this, because it makes for more expressive photos. It turns out she can’t really do that.

She was anchored in with a tie and some rubber bands around her feet.

It was annoying that they sewed part of her headband to the top of the box. That kind of thing seems more associated with cheaper dolls like Barbie

Even without the tilting head she poses OK, stands well on her own and is very cute!

Size comparison

In comparison to the Sasha and AG cylindrical bodies, the very young-looking Wellies faces with the hourglass-shaped torso is slightly odd.  Their target market here is about the 4-6 year old age-range, and young kids have bodies more like Sasha.

  The dolls with straight hair at the store had beautiful, silky hair.  Willa’s curls are possibly held in place with some kind of product, since it’s not as soft.  She’s probably also stuck with eternal pigtails, since this is how it looks in back:

She feels quite a bit more substantial than the H4H, but at more than 2x the price, you’d hope so!

She has very visible torso seams at the sides and shoulders that at first looked like cracks:

But they aren’t loose at all, so it must just be part of her construction.  The torso is made of a harder plastic than the rest of her and has molded undies with a “W” logo.

Clothing quality is on par with other AG items:

And thank goodness her wellies are lined with fabric!  This makes them more stain-resistant as well as easier to put on.

Now for the most important thing:

As you can see they’re just a little bigger than the H4H!  I’m experimenting with enlarging some of those patterns in the neighborhood of 106%, although loose H4H sized items, like maybe the dress from week 1 of the sew-along might fit!

Verdict/Enabling:  Yes, I like her.  She’s a good quality doll, and I love sewing for dolls in that size range.  The hard body is also a plus.  Knowing what I know now, yes, I’d still drive all the way down there and buy her again, although the price seems a little steep, especially if you’re buying in-store and paying an additional tax on top of their base price of $60.  $50 would have been more reasonable, so I may wait for a sale before getting another.

Off to sew! 🙂


Actually it’s NOT week 4 yet :(


Dearly beloved,

We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of Jen’s old computer.  Although it will soon be stripped for parts at to the computer recycling center, we fervently pray its data is safe on the external hard drive and will be able to be transferred to the new computer that interesting blog posts may live again.  🙂

My apologies at the break in the summer sew along for this week.  With the death of my old computer, and Dell’s delay of about a week in shipping out the new one I’m pretty much limited to my phone for most of my computing needs.  I do have a work computer here at home with me, but since it won’t interface with my printer/scanner or external hard drive it’s kind of useless for anything beyond email/internet browsing.

The good news is I am pretty fanatical about backing up all my data every few weeks on an external hard drive, so I may not have lost that much work when the old computer died. Please keep your fingers crossed that everything is there and will transfer to the new computer and I don’t have to re-create very much lost work.  Assuming that is the case, I hope to be back with the next installment of the sew-along next week!


And seriously, what are you doing at your computer reading this anyway? Didn’t you camp out in front of the AG store last night in anticipation of the release of their new line of “Wellie Wishers” today?  😉  I admit I will most likely make the 60+ minute drive to my AG store this weekend to check them out.

Although they’re a little cartoon-ish-looking and remind me somewhat of the Disney Princess dolls, I’m pretty thrilled about an AG line of hard-bodied dolls.  First of all, it means no more worries about how much stuffing your doll has compared to someone else’s and how the clothes will fit!  Second, the hard bodies will be far less expensive to produce, and as I write this it’s rumored these dolls will sell for roughly half the price of their cloth-bodied big sisters.  Kudos to AG also for including a variety of skin colors and face molds in their initial lineup AND having one with gorgeous, realistic green eyes.



Summer sew-along week 3


There were some really nice sandals posted on the flickr group; here are a few to inspire you:


Brenda made these with a vinyl table pad and used little loops as a closure


Maribell used two colors of foam and hair elastics at the ankle


Dianna made a gorgeous metallic version

And for our pattern this week:


I’m really excited to see your creative interpretations of this week’s dress!  It can be a cute, casual dress made in cotton or something dressy like I show here on Maru Tanya or it would make a great fairy costume with a little collar of leaves or…


Really important:  The free pattern includes a Paola Reina size only and this link expires Saturday at midnight, so DOWNLOAD IT NOW.

If you missed it, or want other sizes, it’s available on etsy here

The multi-size version on etsy includes patterns for:

12-13″ Paola Reina, les Cheries, Little Darling
14″ Hearts for Hearts, Betsy McCall
Slim 16″-18″ like Kidz n Cats, Sasha, Girl for all Time
18″ American Girls
20″ Maru and Friends

Post a photo of your creation and check out everyone else’s pix here:

Several pix that are SO CUTE either don’t have settings that permit sharing them or possibly there’s just a problem with flickr…  I need to be able to paste a BB code into this editor for them to show up, so if your settings don’t allow that, I can’t share your photo here.

Oh wow, it’s Wednesday again already?


I know you’re reading this Thursday, but obviously I do the posts a day or more in advance.  Here I was, going full steam ahead with yet another a new project (Yes, really, despite the unfinished Prettie girl, Ten Ping and Sasha baby projects) and suddenly it was time to post week 2 of the summer sew-along.  How did that happen? 🙂  This week we’re making these fun, easy sandals:

To help you with resizing, there’s a foot comparison chart here.  You’ll notice the PRs are not on it, since I didn’t have them at the time.  Their feet are just a teeny bit shorter than the corolle cheries, but this pattern fits both dolls well.

Here is the free sandal pattern

I’m having so much fun seeing your dresses from last week!  If you haven’t already, check them out here

There were a few I wanted to post here, but the upload settings didn’t permit sharing a link…

I wanted to call your attention to a comment that the AG size sundress may be too small for some bodies:

(Thanks to GrandmaKnits for pointing this out)

But it does fit others, as in this knit version by Lydia Weber:

It can be shrunk for AEs:


Photo above by Rosetownjoy

And lengthened:

Photo above by Elizabeth Gibbons

And have piping and decorative buttons:

Photo above by gammerangel

And (I’m guessing the H4H size) can fit the super cute vintage Betsy McCall:


Photo above by Violava loves dolls

There’s also a strapless version here:

Summer sew along 2016!


Yay!  It’s summer sew-along day!

The first SSA started with me deciding a mix-match vacation wardrobe would be a fun project, and I encouraged people to sew it along with me, with the goal at the end being a bunch of pieces that worked well together.  It was SUPER popular, and the following two years I did the same type of thing (mix-match) but you HAD to post a pic to get the next pattern for free.  A lot of people liked that, because it’s fun to share your accomplishments and it keeps you on track to complete all the pieces, but some people who weren’t as comfortable with technology found it difficult.

This year for the first time it won’t be a mix-match, but thanks to your votes it will be a series of sundresses and sandals (alternating weeks) for the whole month of June, and focus on Paola Reina’s Las Amigas.  The first dress pattern and sandals will be up permanently free on the blog, the other two dresses will be available in PR size free for a short time only and then available on etsy in all sizes.

Who will these fit?

They’re designed for Paola Reina’s “Las Amigas”.  It’s a company I like because the dolls are made in Europe, and if you watch their video on youtube, it shows their factory roof is covered in solar panels.  Makes me feel less guilty buying things that are a little more environmentally friendly rather than made in China!  If you live in the US, you can sometimes find them for a reasonable price on ebay or  amazon.   Another not-too-expensive option, (around $40) and readily available in the US is Corolle Cheries.  Some other options include Bleuette (will need length modifications) and Little Darlings.

Does this pic look familiar?


Yes, I actually made the dress last year and featured it under the hoodie, which was the final project of last year’s SSA.  Both the hoodie and the leggings from last year, and maybe even the long-sleeve T can pair nicely with sundresses, so if you have those patterns handy, think about how you could combine them to make a multi-season ensemble.  If you didn’t participate last year, all the patterns are available here

Get this week’s pattern free here

One of the things that makes the summer sew-along so much fun is that the patterns are simple. Depending how much time/sewing experience you have, your dress can be as easy or as elaborately decorated as you’d like.  It’s a lot of fun to share what you’ve done, as well as get inspiration from others, and you can do that on the Flickr group!

Post photos of your creations and see what others have done here!