Cricut (or scissors) sandals for Nancy Famosa


So, summer’s been over for me for a few weeks now, and it’s been a rough/busy start to the school year! 

Even though (or maybe because?) the blog posts were less frequent, this summer was filled with all kinds of sewing and crafting.  Over the summer, I set myself a challenge called “ANDED” (A new dress every day) for two weeks for a special new Effner/Boneka doll, and somehow got caught up in researching and learning new embroidery stitches/techniques from India. 

I told myself these dresses would become blog posts, and I’d do a little series on embroidery, but it was just so much fun sewing I didn’t want to stop and take pix and write about it! 🙂  Anyway, she’s got some AMAZING new dresses and even some half-finished furniture piled in a box, and I’m hoping to get to those embroidery posts eventually.  I also did a lot of sewing for my Petworks Usaggie, who welcomed some new bunny and cat companions, and then started a house project for all of them which also might appear here eventually.  

(jacket pattern is from Dolly Dolly #20)

Non-doll-related crafts included indigo dyeing and finally getting around to learning kumihimo on a marudai, after years of doing it on foam discs.  Some decluttering happened in the craft room, and all my colored pencils finally got organized into little drawers, which ended up being WAY better than I even anticipated!  In the past, I’d often choose which brand to use for a project and get them all out of their case onto the desk, then have to hunt through another brand’s box in frustration when that one specific shade of pink wasn’t available and then spend a long time reorganizing and cleaning everything up at the end.  Having all the soft, compatible pencils I use most (Coloursoft, Prisma, Polychromos, Pablo) organized in one place means it’s so easy to just pull out all the drawers of one color and choose exactly the one I need, and slide them back in when I’m done.  Specialty pencils (like Derwent Inktense or Graphitint) are still relegated to their original boxes, because they aren’t easily interchangeable, but the boxes are easier to get to with all the other pencils categorized together. 

Messiness and creativity often DO go hand in hand, but a clean, organized workspace can really put you in the right frame of mind to be creative!  

Another thing I thought would be a good idea and inspire summer crafting, but really hasn’t been worth even its discounted purchase price so far was a Cricut Maker.  Their customer service is good when you have a problem, but the maker is not as foolproof as I’d like.  I mean, a cutting machine that cuts into itself and doesn’t notice and stop immediately?  Yeah, that happened.  Also cutting in the wrong spot and wasting my materials.  Grr.  Cleaning up the sticky mat afterwards is not a lot of fun either, and then there’s the annoying software which is web-based but for some reason keeps needing to install updates on my computer.  Anyway, I used it because I wanted some precise cuts on these sandals and was pretty pleased with the results. 

Obviously, you can cut perfect rectangles with a rotary cutter and ruler, but the precision of the scallops and soles on these sandals really delighted me.  My final step in shoemaking is usually trimming/sanding the soles so they all line up perfectly and it wasn’t necessary this time! Tip:  I used faux leather that had a shiny side and a fabric backing (check the upholstery or costume sections at the fabric store) with the shiny side down to help with cleanup. The regular (fine point) blade worked fine with the super grip mat and the material set to bonded outdoor vinyl.  In the close-up pix, you can see some raggedy edges of the fabric backing of the vinyl.  If that bothers you, make sure to choose vinyl with a non-fray type of backing that looks like felt or knit.

Here is the link to the pdf

with instructions and a printable pattern you can cut out with scissors. These sandals were for my Nancy Famosa (reedición) but the fit is forgiving since they’re sandals. They could potentially work for any doll with a similar or even a little larger size foot like Animators/Sasha/AGAT. If you’re cutting out by hand, it’s very easy to adapt the sole to fit your favorite doll.

I *think* you should be able to access the cricut version of the project with the link below. Make sure the long ankle strap measures 4″.

There’s an AMAZING dress coming next week to go with these sandals. It’s a bit of a challenge, but if your sewing space is your happy place, it will be a perfect way to relax over the 3-day weekend 🙂

Mini Maru collection and SALE!


The long-awaited mini Maru collection is here!  People kept emailing me about whether the 20” collection (link) would fit their little ones…nope.  But now it will!  If the mini Maru dolls are new to you, here’s a comparison:

L-R : Wellie wisher, Paola Reina las Amigas, mini Maru Tanya, Little Darling, 14″ Betsy McCall

Yes, they’re almost exactly the same size as Little Darlings, with longer arms.  They’re also like Little Darlings in that they’re sculpted by Dianna Effner.  The difference is in the price…they’re around $100.  My favorite of the larger ones is Tanya, so I ordered the smaller special edition to be her little sister; it’s always fun when dolls can coordinate like that!  

They definitely look like siblings, but the mini’s skin doesn’t have quite the same golden glow, her eyes are darker, and just due to the smaller size the face painting is not as detailed.  Are you thinking I don’t like her as much?  Not at all!  Don’t tell the big ones…but the mini is even better!  I remember doing the photos for the original size ones, and it was rough.  A 20” doll is a pretty major thing to haul around through a forest taking pictures.  Their tiny feet relative to body size and weight make them precarious to stand on uneven ground, so they often had to lean on things for safety. 

My mini Tanya and all her clothes packed up easily in a small plastic box with a handle and headed out for pictures.  She balanced easily in fun places…

Held lovely, natural-looking poses, and the camera just loved her!

Even better – this size is large enough to sew for easily on the sewing machine, but small enough that it doesn’t need a lot of fabric.  If you’re used to sewing for larger dolls, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that your scrap bag can provide all kinds of bits and pieces to clothe your little ones – for free!

Yes, Little Darlings can share these clothes too!

Best of all, the mini Marus have two boys, and this collection is perfect for them too!  The button front shirt, fitted pants, elastic waist pants, standard T and raglan T will form the core of a great basic wardrobe for boys!

See all the patterns in the collection in my etsy shop here

Through Saturday take 20% off your purchase of $20 or more with code 20OFF20

Smocking an insert panel


A while back, Brenda sent me this adorable pic:

She used the machine smocking designs from this collection.  If you don’t have an embroidery machine, you can use the guidelines in today’s tutorial to smock by hand if you know how, or there are mock-smocking directions in this pattern which, incidentally, will also provide you with a sloper to use for drafting your own version for whatever size doll you’d like

Here’s my version of Brenda’s dress on Disney’s NEW Animator Mulan. Yes! They’ve changed the faceups of several dolls including Mulan, Jasmine, Snow White, Cinderella, etc. They have improved them tremendously in my opinion, and though it doesn’t show well in the photos, Mulan and others have a thin strip of gold paint in their eyes that just glows in the sunlight! I’ll probably be collecting the rest as soon as they’re on sale!

Get the smocked dress tutorial here

SSA Week 5: Let’s go to the beach and…nap?


No snow this week, but I was in a coat while taking these pix. Good thing dolls don’t get cold like people or they definitely would not have stayed out by the lake so long in these outfits!

Get both sizes of this pattern (AG and 16″) here:

Let’s go to the beach and…nap?  😊 While I’m sure there are a lot of people who think that’s a fine idea, most children probably go to the beach to swim!  So, were they swimming in these beach pajamas?  Nope!  Here’s the scoop:

By this time, swimsuits for actual swimming looked similar to what we’d wear now, just with a bit more conservative of a cut, especially at the leg openings – what we call “boy short” swimsuits today.  Based on the old catalogs I’ve perused, they were often made of wool, but a new fabric called “lastex” was beginning to catch on.  It was made from a rubber/cotton or rubber/rayon yarn, and must have been so much more comfortable, especially when wet! 

Here is a pic (not mine) of Shirley in a 1930s swimsuit:

Unlike today’s beaches and resorts, where people stroll around in swimsuits all day or maybe just throw on a pair of shorts over them to go to dinner, the 1930s were a bit more glamorous.  The style icon Coco Chanel popularized beach pajamas a decade earlier, when it was still a bit scandalous for women to be seen in pants in public, and by the 1930s they were ubiquitous attire for strolling the boardwalks and being seen in resorts.  

As children, their mothers may have worried about tearing the lace on their petticoats climbing trees, but I imagine these little girls who experienced the freedom of running around to play in pants continued to influence fashion by choosing pants for casual/recreational wear as they grew up!

Can you believe this is already the last week of the sew-along? I’ve been feeling a bit of a disconnect with it this year because of the pix being scattered in random places, so it feels like there’s no way I could be seeing them all which is really the “funnest” 😉 part of the SSA for me. Keep posting your pix though and inspiring everyone else! Here are a couple to whet your appetite to check out the flickr and instagram pages:     

There are some great ideas on the flickr page, like these dirndls (click to go to flickr and see who posted them!)

SAL week 3, dirndl

And this one I actually had to look twice, because at first it wasn’t clear that it was the nightgown from week 2, cleverly styled as a robe!

SSA 2019 - Starlette Robe for KNC doll

The tagging on Instagram might not be putting all the pix in one spot for everyone to see…you actually have to tag me in the photo, not just use a hashtag for it to show up on this page.  You can see which ones have shown up here:

One great idea I really wanted to share was using bias instead of rickrack on this dirndl:

Yes, it’s the end of the sew-along, but don’t be sad, there are TONS of fun things coming up in the next couple of weeks!

SSA Week 4!


OK, we’re 3 weeks in, are you keeping up? After last week’s dirndl and blouse, you might be ready for a quick and easy project – here it is!  Living where we do, it’s pretty much a given that there will be a snow picture as part of the summer sew along, and here it is:

Apologies for not responding to comments/emails as well of the lack of explanation/etc. in this week’s post. It’s move-in week for my mom and we’ve been incredibly busy trying to put in new flooring and get things ready at her new place. Next week will be better 🙂

Get the cape pattern here

Summer sew-along week 3


The best part of the SSA for me is seeing what you’ve made!

Some of you have posted on the Wrenfeathers Flickr page here:

You can also see more lovely creations on instagram here:

Shirley starred in “Heidi,” an adaptation of the Johanna Spyri book in 1937.  Movie costumes can either follow or inspire the style of the present day, and my guess is that this dress from the pattern was influenced by the Heidi aesthetic.

Traditional folk costumes of Europe often have a specific name in their language.  In German, the word “Trachten,” refers to all folk costumes, and the specific women’s costume is called a Dirndl.  The generic type you might see girls wearing at Oktoberfest or an event like that is often a jumper made of a cotton print and has a gathered blouse underneath.  There are much fancier versions and specific regional variations as well.  The blouses today usually have elastic or drawstrings to gather them, but for a doll it’s easy enough to sew the gathers in place, which is what was done with this one.  A real Dirndl almost always has an apron too, but that wasn’t the case with these costume versions.

Although it’s not authentic to Trachten, I really like the embroidery on the sleeve! Printed transfers were not new at this time.  McCall had an iron-on transfer called a “kaumagraph” since at least the 1920s, but the popularity of stamped/printed designs was increasing, especially with flour and feed sacks.  It was possible to find flour and feed sacks with designs printed on them that you could embroider over, and then wash to eliminate the marks.  These would be used for functional or decorative purposes, such as towels. 

Here it is in both sizes on etsy or you can also get it directly from me (link below)

A .pes file of the sleeve embroidery is available free with purchase, just let me know you need it!

Patterns available here!


I’ve been trying and trying, but etsy is having a problem uploading files at the moment. The combinations and nightgowns in both sizes were supposed to be available there now, but aren’t. You can buy them here though, and get them emailed!

Combinations pattern

Combinations pattern in 16" and 18" sizes. This is a digital file, the .pdf will be emailed to you with the address listed on your paypal account.


Nightgown pattern

Nightgown (or shorten for a dress!) pattern in 16" and 18" sizes. This is a digital file, the .pdf will be emailed to you with the address listed on your paypal account.


Dirndl (jumper) and Blouse in 16″ and 18″ sizes

This is a digital file, the .pdf will be emailed to you with the address listed on your paypal account.