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update:

Thank you all SO MUCH for your support and kind words! I wish I could hug to everyone who responded – you are the reason I do this blog. 珞  I’ll be back next week with more stuff your dolls will love…

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My apologies if last week’s post was offensive, I responded via email to the originator of those comments, as I do sometimes when a reply to a comment would get too long to fit.  There are many insensitive representations of  not just Pueblo, but all Native tribes online and it’s hard to understand why this blog is being singled out for attack when misinformation is being corrected, for example that this is a Pueblo outfit.  It is sad to know non-authentic Pueblo and other misrepresentations labeled as “Native” doll  patterns are currently available all over etsy and also see here  here  , as well as pixiefaire  and here’s another from pixiefaire .  McCall, Vogue, Simplicity have manufactured patterns labeled as “Native American” for quite some time, including this one labeled as “American Indian”.

Is that OK?  No, but according to the law.

The final rulings in the IACB Protection of Products of Indian Art
and Craftsmanship https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/03-14827.pdf

§ 309.9 When can non-Indians make and
sell products in the style of Indian arts and
crafts?
A non-Indian can make and sell
products in the style of Indian art or
craft products only if the non-Indian or
other seller does not falsely suggest to
consumers that the products have been
made by an Indian.

As for the term “costume”:

noun: costume; plural noun: costumes

  • a set of clothes in a style typical of a particular country or historical period.

synonyms:         outfit, garments, (set of) clothes, ensemble

  • a set of clothes worn by an actor or other performer for a particular role or by someone attending a masquerade.
  • a set of clothes, especially a woman’s ensemble, for a particular occasion or purpose; an outfit.

It means “complete ensemble of clothing” and on this blog, as in literature regarding costume, it is used for all cultures, for example, on this blog you can find it used in:

this Polish “costume” https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/polish-folk-costume/  or French “costume” https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2016/07/21/marseille-costume-part-2/  and lots of others: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/hooray-new-dolls-and-new-patterns/

Native artists have been representing their culture in doll form for quite a while, including selling those dolls in traditional outfits to non-natives.  It takes a lot of research to find authentic examples among all the inauthentic stuff on the internet.  Learning about, honoring, and appreciating ALL other cultures is something I love.  Sharing that love by disseminating information and helping people learn more about sewing, history, dolls, and other cultures is what is great about this blog.  Correcting misinformation, such as that those incorrectly labeled modern doll outfits I linked at the beginning are authentic, is an educational service that I really take to heart.

It’s sad when someone gets upset without knowing the whole story.  I created this as part of an awesome collection of patterns from various regions that was going to be free for a donation as a fundraiser for http://collegefund.org/.  Whether that will happen with the other patterns now remains to be seen.

 

 

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46 responses

  1. I did not read the comment that you are writing about Jennie, nor do I have a sense of how acrimonious the exchange was. I will say however, that what drew me to your patterns and to your blog was my appreciation for the painstaking care that you take with your research and with your patterns and with the accompanying text. I have been reading your work for several years now, and have found your costumes of various cultures to be accurately and well researched. I very much hope that you will continue with your project.

  2. I am sorry that you have to go through this. I find your patterns to be wonderful. I have read the comments and it sounds like they are not happy that a pattern with their tribes name on it is being made for a doll. If I am reading correctly, only they can make a doll an outfit of their tribe. I understand but I do know that you try to be as realistic as you possibly can. These wonderful designs can also be a learning experience to teach the young about different tribes and to respect the tribe’s heritage. To be honest, today I find it very hard to say words, to even smile at someone or simply make a doll an outfit to please a little girl without offending someone. Our society has become very strange. I personally have given up on trying to please everyone. I know I try to be as kind as I can to everyone and I have many friends of all colors, religions and nationalities. I simply have chosen to be myself. I am now 70 and I have never ever seen things to be the way they are. Many today are always angry about something somewhere. Just too much hate. We have forgotten to laugh and to simply enjoy life. I do hope you will continue to make your wonderful patterns. I know that you try very hard to be as authentic as you can. Those of us who choose to make a doll an outfit, do it for pure joy. We simply love to sew and find sewing for dolls wonderful. I love sewing all kinds of Historical clothing and the learning experience that accompanies it. Keep up the good work.

  3. This is a matter of semantics, and also a matter of extremism on the part of some peoples in ALL groups who wish, quite reasonably, not to be made light of, or fun of, by other cultures. I AGREE with the law that protects their businesses by not allowing an item to be labeled “Indian Made” unless it was, indeed, made by a tribal member. But of what tribe???? A Cherokee can make a Seminole patchwork shirt – and this has happened – and sell it as a genuine Indian-made article, signed with her name, even. Caveat emptor – only if the buyer looks her up himself will he find that she is not on the Seminole tribal register, that she lives and works in Tulsa (not on the rez) and that she makes these shirts to create additional income above and beyond her work as a travel agent. And she books tours to Southwestern states that include the opportunity to visit the Hopi mesas – although there are certain respected – and heavily guarded – areas where no non-Hopi may go, and certain rituals which cannot be photographed. And shall we discuss Kachina (Katsina) dolls, which are made and sold by both the Hopi and the Japanese? None of the sold objects are true representations of the sacred figures which they claim to depict. (Real ones are indeed sacred objects made (only) for the instruction of Hopi young – and for museums and collectors with heavy wallets and no respect. Not all of those are ancient artifacts, and even if they were, they they should never have left the sacred mesas or been touched by non-Hopi people.) So I agree with those writers in this respect – your items should be labeled “in the Style worn by the Hopi”, or maybe “Similar to and inspired by traditional tribal wear of the Hopi” or some such disclaimer. And if those patterns don’t contain the notation that “All proceeds will be…”, then they should. Then the Right Wing can moan, “Just another way to take our young people from us!” Because most of those who do go out and get that education come back only for brief visits to relatives. And the nay-sayers should note that ALL cultures should be known and respected; each has good answers for some of life’s great questions. Badger does not maintain his integrity by staying in his hole – as a matter of fact, he often shares it with a couple of rattlesnakes!

  4. I am sorry that your moccasins caused such a strong reaction, I can see it was very disheartening to you. I have always valued your authentic and well researched doll clothing. I like to learn about history and other cultures, but I sometimes have difficulty “connecting” with what I read unless I have extra visual information. Details about a culture like clothing, tools, baskets or other artifacts, as well as foods eaten, really help bring history to life for me. So thank you for what you share on your blog! You are quite right that there is a mass of misinformation on the internet, and you have provided a wonderful haven for doll lovers.

    I share your definition of the word “costume”. Unfortunately, many associate the word with commercial Halloween costumes, which tend to be horribly researched, overly generic or stylized, and often culturally offensive. On the one hand we have thoughtlessly stylized representations everywhere, and on the other are the people who (rightly) protest the cultural appropriation. But a well researched outfit can do so much for educating others, and be such a powerful counterpoint to the rampant misinformation! The only conclusion that I can draw is that we must always be respectful and use the best research we have. I hope that you are able to share some of your other Native doll clothes with us. I too love learning about other cultures, and would like to see what you have put together.

  5. What stupid no it all gave you trouble about the Indian doll clothes patterns. I recently purchased a Native American Doll and intend to make the outfit for her. I have traveled all over the Southwest and been to many of the Indian pueblos and also paint and draw them in pencil. Any kind of Indian history I read and research. Just because one stick in the mud gets upset over your items, don’t let that stop you from posting them as the rest of us normal people view this as a continuance of the pleasure of Indian dress. Linda

  6. moi je dis merci pour toutes ces jolies créations et continuez pour nous qui avons le plaisir de les découvrir et de les faire par la suite !!

  7. Your post wasn’t offensive. I live in southeast MT and just last year I saw girls with your Crow blanket on the Kaya dolls where I worked. There is a very aware acknowledgment of Native American society, history and culture where I live in MT (probably because we have several spoken Native languages) but I like to see the culture spread. I learn things from your blog about other tribes and how they adapted, and the moccasin history was pretty cool.
    Costume has become associated with Halloween, but the word just means a set of clothes or style to a particular country or historical period. So… I see you doing nothing wrong. You did it with Korea and Japan, and we learned things. Why can’t we learn things about our own country? smh.

  8. I am so sorry this happened. I love your patterns. The descriptions of the era or outfit that you do. You do a lot of work explaining the background of all of your patterns. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate all you do.

  9. I’m so sorry you had a bad experience with the comments you’ve received. Thank you for your response.

    ________________________________

  10. I had no trouble with last weeks outfit. You said it was a costume and did not try to pass it off as Native American work.

  11. I’m with you. Not only do I believe you did nothing wrong, it is a positive thing to celebrate the cultures of Native American peoples.

  12. feel very sad that you were attacked like this–think the world would be a better place if every one followed the golden rule–

  13. I can respect the Pueblo secrecy (though I admit I want this pattern). Hoping the others in the collection do NOT receive the same response. I’ve had native women in my area admire my native costume creations, especially little beaded mocassins. Good luck with the rest of the collection.

  14. I have always enjoyed your ethnic clothing patterns for dolls, and really appreciate the time you put in to trace the history of your designs! They are well done, creative, and educational!

  15. urgh.it would be impossible to truly recreate any outfit from human size to doll size and there are many different tribes and traditions .when I see a doll outfit or even a Halloween costume I see it as a nod of respect for our differences.Especially as very few people are 100% one race or culture.what do these people say about the new hijab wearing Barbie? is that bad? if its designed and made by a non muslim? people have begun looking for arguaments…..basicly I wont think you did anything wrong.something you offered with a pure heart was reduced to a nasty arguament and that’s whats wrong with humans these days/

  16. Please continue to share your work and love for your craft with us. Don’t let these negative comments get you down. Your intentions are honorable. Remember, you can’t please all of the people all of the time

  17. I can not claim to understand the reasoning for the previous post’s comments. Your patterns are always so well researched that there can be no question of the respect you have for the culture and customs of the groups represented.

  18. Oh, Jenny, I’m so sorry that you were flamed for your last post. I know that you do this in all good faith and with a desire to help people learn about various cultures. Your posts are always so well written and so instructive. I know that you put a lot of effort and generosity in each of them. I admire your open mind, and your care for the minorities.

    I was thrilled with your Navitve culture series, thinking it would be a great way to learn more about various Native tribes. But I am not a Native, thus my point of view can be different as to what is cultural appropriation and what is a tribute to other cultures. For some it might seem offensive, but for others it can be seen as a reaching hand in hope that we aknowledge the existence of their people and want to establish a dialog.

    I hope that you will keep on helping us learn about Native cultures and other cultures through your blog and your doll projects!

    • Ok, I read the comments on previous post after sending my comment here. I understand that it is a matter of what is sacred for a people. Most comments were made in a respectful way and I can totally understand their point. Still, I say that you did all of this in good faith and with no desire for cultural appropriation.

  19. I love your blog! It has become nearly impossible to do anything without someone deciding there is something momentously wrong with it. Keep doing the great stuff you are doing and ignore the over zealous haters. 🙂

  20. Don’t let their comments bother you. Unfortunately, I have found some people don’t just carry a chip on their shoulder, they carry an entire Family Tree, and will tend to over-react to whatever offends them…. Thanks for all your wonderful patterns and the educational comments with them!

  21. I so look forward to your posts Thursday mornings. My sister in law (Coast Salish) and I were especially looking forward to these items. She has just purchased a Kaya ❤💗 and I am teachinges her to sew. We have hand sewn both of the moccasins and we’re really looking forward to your upcoming pattern set. You do such a wonderful job! Please keep up the post as I really love them.
    Thank you so much. Kathy and Tina

  22. Dear Wren Feathers,

    I was not offended, I can’t wrap my thoughts around anyone who would be. There are so many stupid rules in North America and what can be said and not said. Indigenous people are calling everyone out now and it’s become ridiculous. Don’t feel you need to apologize, what you have made for dolls is just that…it’s made for dolls. Some people need to get their crap together!

    One very thankful member…..

    ________________________________

  23. So sad that everything now must be “politically correct” instead of just enjoying the creativity. Some just like to cause problems I guess but I wish they would take a chill pill and keep their opinions to themselves and let the rest of us enjoy life since they seem to only enjoy finding fault. How sad!

  24. This person is on a power play with you. What you just wrote is correct. I have dolls from all over the world and the term used to describe them is usually traditional folk costume or traditional German costume for example. If this person is saying anything else, they are misinformed.
    Hang in there.

  25. I am so, so sorry that you had to deal with whomever contacted you in such a negative way.

    I appreciate every single post and pattern you have provided via your blog. I have purchased several on Etsy, too. I especially LOVED your amazing book of patterns and teaching tools.

    It is always exciting to see your email in my inbox. I learn something EVERY post and have made adorable items for my dolls; dresses and accessories.

    Please do not give up on all the folks who LOVE what you do because of one fractured individual. I grew up reading Aesop’s Fables. One of them was about not being able to please everyone. So, you know your path. Go forward with strength and perseverance.

    Thank you so much for all the fun and knowledge that you have provided me over these past years.

    Best,

    Ruth Bryant Austin, Texas

  26. Please do not gaslight First Nations peoples by telling them they don’t have the whole story. The whole story is this – you are not of these tribes. You created patterns without input from these tribes and used language they found inaccurate and/or offensive. Members called you out, and instead of simply apologizing and taking it down, you are getting offended. And now you are digging a deeper hole. This is called whitesplaining.

    First Nations people take just as much offense to the links you posted above and do all they can to get such items and patterns taken down. But people like you whine and cry about their rights to make such products and they stay up. As a very very white person, it sickens me that I am yet again seeing an oppressed group talked over by the majority yet again.

  27. Being English and thus part of a nation which has been multicultural for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and having no national costume of our own, I find it hard to understand why anyone should be so precious about what appears to be genuine attempts to produce costumes in-the-style-of various native groups, and thereby educate a large number of people that broad terms like American Indian cover a wide variety of groups of people all with their own separate identities. I have found it particularly interesting to realise that not all moccasins are the same, and that there are excellent reasons in both the available material and the terrain for those differences. To whoever it was that said or implied that your post was offensive, I have learnt more about native footwear from a couple of posts about dolls clothes than I have anywhere else in the UK. You should be thanking Wren Feathers, and giving her helpful criticism about areas you think she may have wrong, rather than intimidating her into stopping this interesting series.

  28. I am really disappointed to see and read some of the hostility against your cultural exchange and pattern design shares. I love the research and work you put into your blog posts and pattern shares. I definitely see your sensitive attempts at honoring each culture and celebrating the unique forms of dress and cultural expression with each new post and item of doll clothing. I suspect no one can ever please everyone. But, I do see your work as honorable. As a descendant of a First Nations or indigenous foreparent, I have to say, the detail found in your ensembles and regalia have ALWAYS been spot on. Your work also allows me an additional platform to share my history with younger family members and keep the dialogue active and fluid. Thank you, Jen. I am also glad to see that your blog engenders the level of response and exchange that it does. I appreciate reading all points of view. I do hope you continue to share and educate.

  29. I am so sorry that your generosity is being repaid by upsetting comments and inconsiderate people. I have not actually read the comments because knowing myself, I would probably become engulfed in a pointless argument. I hope you realize that a few people do not speak for the masses. Thank you so much for all the wonderful FREE patterns and ideas you offer. Your kindness is very much appreciated by me and I’m sure many, many others.

  30. Jen,

    There are many people online that are willing to attack without getting the full facts and even when presented with the facts, refuse to accept the truth. I’m sorry you felt it necessary to remove the last post. Please continue with what you’re doing. By exposing people to different cultures – even simply through doll fashions as you do – encourages people to learn more about other people that they may never have personal exposure to. Please, please do not let one person’s hate stop you.

    Rochelle

  31. Oh deary me .. WOW! I am not sure what to make of these comments; other than I truly hope this doesn’t stop you from making/sharing what you do for us that follow you, download and make the outfits.

  32. Jenny, I am struck speechless. I really enjoy reading all your posts, and find everything you write very informative. I have no words regarding this previous post so I will wisely say nothing.

  33. It is so sad when there are those who would ruin it for everyone. My opinion is that you have always shared delightful stories and free patterns through your generosity. Not once have I ever considered you meant harm to anyone. Maybe these touchy folks should question their own intentions. Thanks for what you do! I have always enjoyed your blog!

  34. So sorry to see such a response to your previous free pattern. Hope it will not deter you from gifting us in the future with your wonderful patterns.

  35. Hi Jen. The Native American clothing is considered “Regalia” when worn at a Pow wow, etc. It is very special to them in a religious sense, and each piece and pattern has a special meaning. However, you are right, there are tons of examples of not so great Native American “costumes” all over the place that are not very respectful or representative of the tribe they’re supposed to be for.

    I was always taught that as long as the outfit is not exactly like someone else’s and it has never been blessed, then it’s o.k. to use in doll form. For instance I was going to make a pipe for one of my dolls and I was told to not make it a working pipe, as this would be sacrilegious.

    You do such fabulous and very respectful patterns and you’re research is shared and very educational. The lady mentioned that fact as well. This was her personal opinion, not that of the majority. I love your work and love your research.

    If she really has a complaint, I would suggest she start with the “Native American Princess” outfits often made for Halloween costumes or just in general. I find those disrespectful myself and I’m not even Native American. I realize that is not her tribe, but still.

    Please do not let one person’s opinion ruin your lovely work. You do not go outside the boundaries of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. Your pattern is much better than the on in “Craft Manual of North American Indian Footwear” by George M. White (pg. 40).

  36. So sorry that this has happened. I haven’t read the comments you are talking about. A few years ago, I posted what I thought were sweet pictures of my dolls dressed as pilgrims and Indians sharing a Thanksgiving meal. Most people thought it was nice, but one person made a lot of negative comments about my dolls dressed as Indians. I certainly did not set out to offend anyone. It seemed to be done in a hateful way instead of a nurturing way, educational way. A lot of times, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Let’s all get along.

  37. Just wanted to let you know that I am not offended. Neither do I spend all my time being the internet police in areas that I am not an expert. Please don’t let people that may just be know-it-all types drive you over the edge. I find your designs perfectly lovely and I hope a bad egg won’t change your mind about adding to the collection.

    Looking forward to the next design, Ellen

  38. Wow, I think what you do honors the heritage of the native American community!!!!! I wish people would stop getting their panties in a bunch over everything these days.

  39. Good heavens, I step out for a few weeks, and crazy stuff happens while I am not watching! Jen, try not to take the uninformed comments to heart too much…. those of us who have followed you for awhile know of your love of history–everybody’s–and historical dress, and your integrity and warmhearted generousity. Unfortunately, there are trolls under every bridge. I am 61 years old and have always loved historical dress also. In the 70’s it was called ethnic or traditional or folk clothing, or costume, or fashion,…. and I am sure some terms I don’t recall. When we were in Europe (lo, these umpteen years ago), what it was called changed by region and so did the clothing items. Or the time period! And it was a living and changing art form, too. What ‘native’ locals wore, changed with contact with other cultures. Some examples: ‘traditional peoples’ colors on blankets’ were adopted from Hudson Bay blankets, Seminole skirt patterns now considered ‘traditional’ they didn’t have until other contacts, and ‘Navaho’ shirts and blouses were adapted from what they saw or had. So do these things ‘belong’ to one people or another? Don’t even get me started on the research on clothing on the Arabian peninsula or the Silk Road, which Westerners were latecomers to. Nobody lives in a vacuum, or owns ideas or inspiration. Sometimes things changed because of availability of dyes or other things. There is not just one Polish or French or Russian or Chinese or Indian outfit, there are multiples. And of embroidery styles or rug colors or hat styles or anything humans make. So if you want to do a fundraiser, you go ahead. If you want to offer patterns, or if you don’t, be true to yourself. Noone ismaking the nay-sayers participate. To paraphrase Dear Abby, “If you want Somebody to do something or change something, well, YOU are Somebody”. They should DO and not criticize. Jen, The rest of us like and appreciate you just the way you are and are excited to see your posts. We think you should keep up the good work. You have broadened many sewers and recipients lives that you don’t even know of! Sincere Thanks, Dana

  40. I just wanted to say I did not find any of your “costumes” offensive. From what I have seen on Facebook you are not the only designer who had extremely negative comments about a “costume”. I love seeing costumes of all the different cultures. Even as a young girl I loved seeing dolls dressed in clothes from different eras or cultures.