Bonne fête nationale!


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? 🙂


Click here

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:  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!

Treasure Hunt

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:

  1.  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)
  2. Post a pic of it here (or somewhere else online if you can’t figure out flickr – do NOT just email me the pic!)
  3. 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

41 responses »

    • What a beautiful costume! That doll is Francette I think? She was on my list to buy also, but I was unhappy with the quality of my Francoise, so I’m waiting for a better price…

      • Yes, it is Francette.
        Francette is more beautifull than Françoise, to my taste
        Sorry, for my english (help with google translation).

  1. Je n’arrive pas à accéder ailleurs pour envoyer une photo. Ce pyjama est adorable ainsi que tous vos modèles. Amitiés Colette

    2016-07-14 8:20 GMT+02:00 Wren*Feathers :

    > jenwrenne posted: “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 acr” >

  2. je possède plein de patron pour cette poupée Françoise de Modes et Travaux. Il y en avait 1 par mois, depuis mars 1951 dans le journal de couture,tricot.

  3. Françoise and her sisters, which came later, were my doll children when a little girl and quality, I think, was much better in those days. My mothers made them new clothes we (my 2 sisters and I) would discover them on christmas day with ravishment.
    You cannot imagine how happy I’m to read your post and discover your pattern.

    • I think everyone has a special place in their hearts for childhood dolls and the clothes they or their moms used to make for them! Mine were Fisher-Price My Friend dolls. There will certainly be more of Francoise on the way!

  4. I just wish to add two things. First I do sympathize with you on reading how dreadful it must have been to know the fire was so near and getting nearer, second most patterns made by Modes & Travaux can fit the Kidz and cats with slight adjustments, mainly the lengths of the arms and legs.

  5. Your Françoise look quite beautiful in her own retro/antique way! I’m sorry that she isn’t made with the quality you were expecting, though (and I’m surprised as I thought Petitcolin was a brand of high quality). The first outfit you are showing us is really beautiful and so perfect for her! It is indeed a Provençal outfit, as Marseille is located in Provence. I like Provençal printed fabrics. They are so beautiful!

    I love national costumes from all around the world, they are so colorful! When I was a little girl (well, up to my adult age, actually), I was a collector of dolls wearing national costumes. My godparents travelled a lot and would always bring me a doll from their trip to Europe, South America or Asia! Later, I added my own choice of dolls from my own trips. I loved learning about the various countries through clothing! I still have all those dolls stored in a box and can’t talk myself into parting with them…

    As for your coloring, wow! You did draw a lot of tulips, and it is great to see the difference between the different brands of colored pencils. I never thought there would be such a difference between the brands! I have always been a fan of Prismacolor, so those are the ones I have at home.

    • Oh goodness, I feel so stupid! I should have done more geography research before posting that, thank you! 🙂 National costumes are obviously one of my favorite things to dress dolls in also. If you can find the book “World Colors Dolls and Dress” I highly recommend it. I don’t have very many folk-dressed dolls really from other countries, but looking at the book is the next best thing.

  6. This is my photo of Wellie Wishers Ashlyn wearing a H4H-sized dress that was made from a pattern from the 2014 Summer Sew Along. Love the new PJs pattern!

    Barb Warrington

  7. I cannot get the entire French costume pattern–just the cap and blouse shows up when I try to download it. Where are the skirt/apron/vest parts? Any suggestions? Thanks.

  8. This morning, I saw your new Wellie Wishers P.J. pattern and your offer to email it free to those who made an outfit for Wellie Wishers using one of your former patterns. So, I found the Marina’s Beach Dress pattern, downloaded it, and modified the pattern to fit Wellie Wishers by extending the back edges of the top and skirt to fit around the doll. A picture is posted on your Flicker site. Here is the link to that picture. Ashlyn looks so cute, and I am so excited to have a new dress for her! Thanks! And thanks for your generous offer to send the P.J. pattern in reply.

  9. ps the Raincoat for Paola Reina also fits the Wellies, just added a little to the sleeve length, about1/4″

  10. Hello Jen! Thank you for all your great patterns! I recently purchased your knit clothes set on etsy from a previous summer sew along and have been having great success with knits thanks to your tips. Now knits don’t seem so hard. I just got Camille a few days ago and have made her a blouse and jumper. They look great! Now I’ll have to get started on some knit items for a back-to-school wardrobe! Here is the link to my picture on pinterest:

  11. Though I don’t have a WW doll (yet), I still sewed a new dress and posted a photo of my H4H Mosi wearing her new Adorable A-line dress from 2014’s SSA (and see others have used that same pattern) which works as an awesome pattern for a WW. It can be changed/embellished in so many ways that it would provide lots of outfits for those lucky WW doll owners! Hope your fire danger has ended, Jen!

  12. I made the “Smocked Shirt or Dress” pattern sized to fit a Wellie Wisher doll. I used the pattern for slim body dolls printed at 75% and added 2.5 inches to the skirt to make it long enough to be a dress.


  13. Used a dress I made from a previous Summer Sew Along for H4H-pic attached. My Ashlyn ha not yet arrived but I think this will fit with little or no alteration. Please send me the pajama pattern. Doll w/wardrobe will be a 6th birthday gift for my granddaughter in January. Thanks for all the free patterns, and all the beautiful patterns I have purchased in the past few years.

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