Or Happy Bastille Day if you speak English 🙂
Today is France’s national holiday, a bit similar to our 4th of July in that they both have parades and fireworks. It’s also the perfect day to introduce you to my new(ish) doll, Francoise!
I stumbled across the vintage version of this doll on Pinterest a long time ago, and she reminded me of Bleuette, a French doll you might be more familiar with. Not because they look anything alike, but because they were both associated with magazines that regularly published patterns for them. Francoise was associated with the magazine “Modes et Travaux” and was introduced around the time Bleuette’s popularity was waning. Francoise was not only a much more durable doll, but associated with a magazine moms may have already been getting for themselves, unlike Bleuette’s “La Semaine de Suzette” which was intended for children.
Her inaugural pattern in 1951 had the following introduction: (my translation – please excuse any errors)
We present to you “Francoise” whom your parents will be happy to offer you for Easter, if, as we don’t doubt, you have been wise and have worked hard in class during the second trimester. Francoise is a ravishing doll of celluloid with beautiful porcelain eyes shaded with natural eyelashes specially designed to be easily dressed. You are beginning to sew and knit, you will therefore be very proud to be able to make for yourself, like your mom, all the clothes for your little girl. To that effect we will give you in every issue models destined for Francoise with all the explanations, patterns and advice for you to make them. M et T is not only your mom’s favorite magazine it will also be yours since in each issue you will also have “your” page.
The doll you see above is an overpriced reproduction by Petitcollin of the 1950s doll by the same name. Given that with shipping from Europe I paid about the same for this naked doll as an AG and she was actually made in France, I had high hopes for her quality. Alas, they were dashed. Her box arrived in poor shape – never a good sign. Her body is made from some kind of squishy plastic, like a substantial dog toy or a rubber duck, and her head is harder plastic. The squishy part was covered in some kind of powder, and when it was washed off, it was clear she had a lot of random scratches, rubs and marks.
some of her seams are quite poorly trimmed/filled out
I also ordered some expensive (~$15) shoes at the same time and they don’t match. One has circle cutouts, one looks more like stars.
But…I had waited SO long for her (shipping took ~3 weeks) and didn’t want to deal with the nightmare of exchanging her. She has such a unique face and I had already made her a TON of clothes that I fitted on my Sasha. All of those patterns might be ready as soon as next week!
Ok, Jen, I scrolled past all your text, where’s my free pattern? 🙂
This was the second folk costume to appear for Françoise in 1953. It claims to be from Marseille, but after doing some research I feel like it might be typical of Provence. There is an amazing blog for folk costume enthusiasts called: http://folkcostume.blogspot.com/. This image from Provence is from that blog and looks very similar to Francoise’s costume in my opinion!
Since it includes several pieces, we’ll do half of them this week and half of them next week. Don’t have a Francoise? It works fine on slim dolls like Sasha and Magic Attic too!
Were you wishing for something for the Wellies instead? I’ve gotten a lot of requests for this:
And came up with:
I know, you just want to put your doll in those jammies and read her a bedtime story right? Even if she is being naughty and jumping on the bed 🙂 Several people have emailed me or posted pix of things they had already made for H4H and similar-size dolls that fit the WW, and it gave me an idea…
Here’s how to get this PJ pattern:
- Make something (or find something you already made) from an OLD Wrenfeathers pattern that fits the Wellie Wishers (free on this site or from my etsy shop, it doesn’t matter)
- Post a pic of it here (or somewhere else online if you can’t figure out flickr – do NOT just email me the pic!)
- Post a comment with the link to your pic and I’ll email you the PJ pattern!
If I don’t have a Wellie can I still have the PJ pattern?
Um…not right now. I’m not being mean here! Obviously not everyone has a Wellie Wisher, but I also know that those who do want to sew for them. And how cool is it to find out you might already have patterns that fit? I got out a TON of old H4H clothes and some of them fit my Wellie Wisher, but taking and posting all those pictures was daunting. I’m offering the PJs as an incentive for people to do some of the picture taking and posting for me so we all can share the news about what fits!
It would be super great if you could find things that are NOT already posted; those would be the A-line jumper, puff-sleeve blouse and smocked A-line. There are several cute things in the international collection that fit, other things from that same H4H sew-along, etc.
Princess dresses including this one coming soon!
Totally off-topic but if you want a colored pencil comparison…
I know lots of you do other crafts besides sewing and I do too! There’s been a wildfire burning about 20 mins northwest of our house, and in my stress I’ve been sitting in my dirty house doing a lot of drawing. Why waste time cleaning when it might all go up in flames, right? I recently picked up Wendy Hollender’s book on botanical drawing, and got it into my head to do one tulip from that book in all my different colored pencils. I have so many sets because it’s impossible to decide which one is “the best”. Ironically, Wendy suggests only a small set of polychromos, but lacking those I thought I’d see what came closest. I think if for some reason I had to limit myself, I’d choose Derwent Coloursoft as my softer, main pencils, and either the Durer or Polycolor as my “detail” pencils, although I’m saving up for some Polychromos, so maybe I’ll add that info in the future.
In order to not have differences in the drawing detract from the pencils, I just did one, then scanned and printed it out multiple times on Strathmore 75lb mixed-media paper. The scanner doesn’t quite do justice to the colors, but the settings were the same for all:
Colored pencil comparison