4-season dress: winter

Standard

When the weather is gray and all the colorful leaves have disappeared, it’s time to break out the bold colors for winter.

This is not just about a coat, but about seeing the “bones” of a pattern and using what you have in a different way.  Yep, you already have the pattern…it’s the felt coat from two weeks ago!

With a bit of ingenuity and totally different construction method, it turned into this puffy winter jacket:

Hat/boot info and a picture tutorial to adapt the felt coat pattern to make this is here

In pursuit of perfect piping, I’m taking next week off from blogging so I can focus on a project that’s been causing me more grief than I would have anticipated.  Then Little Darling will be doing some traveling to bring us a really fun set of posts full of sewing and crafting on a theme that should last us all the way to the New Year!

4-season dress: fall

Standard

The colder it gets, the more layers we need…this week I added leggings and a scarf.  The leggings pattern here will fit Little Darlings/Cheries and can be lengthened for H4H.  For 16″-18″ dolls, there’s a tights pattern in the ballerina/ice skater set, the Maru pattern combo, and the Kidz n Cats fairy set.  (all available here) Just cut off to desired length to make leggings, which usually fall anywhere from just below the knee to ankle.  Stretch cotton  or fleece make perfect doll scarves because they don’t need hemming and usually drape nicely.  Cut a scrap from your leggings remnants or add some color with another fabric.

Click here for 13″ leggings pattern

If you’d like an “indoor” look, it probably goes without saying that adding a long-sleeved T underneath also makes a sleeveless dress work for colder times too.  This pattern can be adapted to make a nicely fitted long-sleeved T (Missing AG sleeve is here)

I also did a T for Maru and Friends and forgot to ever post it here or put on etsy or something.  It would look nice under the A-line dress for them too!

Click here for Maru T 

(jeans pattern available here)

I just love when you share interesting new things you’ve created with my patterns!  Sr. Sarah Jean made the dress below using the bodice from the basic dress (from this year’s summer sew-along) (https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/summer-sew-along-part-2/)  and skirt from this: https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/pointed-yoke-a-line.pdf.  

I love the subtle contrast she got from using two shades of the same color

srsarahjeancherie

4-season dress: spring

Standard

We’re going a little backward with the seasons this week with a felt jacket for spring, or any other season that needs some extra warmth, really.    It’s so easy, you can quickly make a few in different colors for each season.  Alternatively, make it in a neutral color and use the same jacket for all seasons.  This week’s pattern also includes instructions to give it a springy touch with a rickrack flower pin that would also look nice on a hat or headband.

Get the pattern here

The jacket came from a modified version of this one:

IMG_2890r

Free pattern for an easy felt coat for maru

You know how with your craft projects things don’t always go as planned?

The beginning of this outfit was me trying to digitize a very simple, quick little flower as machine embroidery to decorate the felt jacket.  Circles are about as easy as it gets, and I quickly made a few little circular flowers and arranged them in a pleasing way.  Then it came time to choose the colors… pastels for spring?  While that would’ve been the logical choice to go with the rest of this post, all the beautiful autumn colors outside my window were irresistible.  And then while I was working on it, someone sent me this pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/241364861255359480/ and my few simple flowers on a jacket turned into an embroidered vest and a skirt border, and eventually became this harvest outfit.

Blouse and skirt from the European folk costume pattern copied at 77%.  Also check out this post for the same outfit with different embroidery and a downloadable machine embroidery file for a vest.

The 4-season dress: Summer

Standard

Even though I’m a doll collector, and your etsy purchases help support my “habit”, I never in a million years thought I’d have a Little Darling.  A while back, DH walked past the computer, where I was looking at some pix of them and said, “Wow, those are pretty, why haven’t you ever asked for one of those?”  When I explained the cost ($375+) and wait time to obtain one of these amazing, hand-painted dolls (6-15 months) he closed his mouth and quickly walked away.   I do most of my doll pictures outdoors, and more times than I care to remember, they’ve slid off logs, tried to “fly” out of trees with their little fairy wings on, or just done a flat-out face plant in the dirt.  With most dolls, you can bring them inside, wash them off, and do the occasional steel-wool “repair” of a shiny spot.  But there’s no way on earth I’d take such a special doll outside!  And really, why buy it to have it sit in a box gathering dust?  So I stuck to less expensive and second-hand dolls and just admired other peoples’ pix of the Little Darlings.

Well, it turns out the souvenir doll for this year at the UFDC convention was none other than…

But no, I didn’t go to the convention, and the dolls were selling on ebay for insane prices last I checked.  So, cross that off my list too.  And THEN I was at a doll show…and I saw one…for an absolutely amazing price.  Had I been there on my own, I wouldn’t have done it, because it was my entire budget and I hated to spend it all at once on just one doll, but DH talked me into it  ran back to get it when we saw the same doll two tables away for twice the price.

And now comes the question you knew I’d be answering…What will fit Little Darlings?

Thankfully, she [who-has-not-yet-been-named] LOVES to share!  The pink dress above was made many years ago for  my 14″ Betsy McCall from one of the Rosemary Ionker books.  She tried on all of the summer sew-along dresses from this year and they look GREAT on her.  The pic below shows her with some other similar-size dolls.

Her torso is most like the Natterer Minouche (L) but legs are more like Cheries (second from right)  With length adjustments, she can wear Hearts for Hearts patterns easily, which also means most of the Sasha patterns work at 77%, shortening long sleeves and skirts a little .

These dolls look perfect in classic kids’ clothes, and as you can see she fits into the H4H size smocked dress pattern available here with long sleeves shortened by about 1/4″ (5-6mm).

A 4-season dress

Remember the survey back in the summer? Lots of you said, “More modern stuff” as well as “more separates to combine”.

The other day, I took one modern separate
https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/free-pattern-for-august-heirloom-sundress.pdf

and resized it for my smaller doll by copying the original at 77%.  This will also work for other 13″-14″ dolls like Hearts for Hearts/Cheries/etc.  Note that the button bands become too small to be usable at that size, so you can eliminate them and add a little to the back if you want an overlapping closure.


But it’s only a summer dress, right? Wrong! Over the next few weeks I’ll show you how I added different pieces and accessories to turn it into a 4-season dress. This will work with any sleeveless dress, or even a short sleeve dress with tight sleeves like the T-shirt dress from last week, so you may be able to save yourself some work and use that or something you did during the summer sew-along.  If you’re making something specifically for this, my suggestion would be to make it in a neutral or muted-color print/dots/stripes so you have more options when it comes to accessories.

OK, so make a dress of your choice for your favorite doll, and your accessory for it this week (summer) is a sun hat.  Pic of hat is in the pattern.  I intended her to be wearing it, but it was incredibly windy the day we took these pix and I feared it would end up in the water as the towel did as soon as I removed the doll from it!

 

Just had to share this adorable pic.  You may have seen boxes around your neighborhood called “little free library” and anyone can add to it or take books from it.  There are a lot of them around where I work, but they are mostly just plain, painted wooden boxes on poles.  When we saw this one in Denver last weekend outside the Byers-Evans House Museum, I dragged DH over to take pix, even though the lighting was less than ideal.  Hmm, maybe there are plans for this somewhere and I can make my own with taller doors…?  Right after this pic was snapped, a gust of wind came and the doll flew to the sidewalk below before I could catch her.  I have no explanation for how it could have happened, but she threw her arms up and landed on the sidewalk on her hands and feet, kind of in a crawling position, miraculously protecting her face.

Wellie Wardrobe Week 4

Standard

29896553422_24c20e9504

Willa is ready for school – with her own touches!

She took the jumper from Week 1 and “Wellified” it with a warm, new felt coat on top, then accessorized with her ladybug boots and acorn bag.

Get the blazer pattern here

If you missed Week 1-2, they’re available now on etsy – week 3 and 4 which are free here will also download with them for your convenience.  Her bag is from the Wellie Dress up Box pattern

Some eye candy for you from the Wrenfeathers flickr page:

It’s a GREAT resource for getting ideas, sharing your ideas and seeing how things fit on different dolls!  Although I don’t always comment, I do look at everything and just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who posts there!  Sometimes when I’ve had a massive pattern failure, I visit that page so I can get inspired to pull the little garment out of the trash, fix the mistakes and keep creating for you!

29601730800_7f287327f9

Clementine as a vintage Girl Guide by gammerangel

Jen's-Wellie-Leggings_20160

Mosi showing how well she can share with the Wellies by Mermade

Wrenfeathers Wellie Fall Sewing

BarbNW is making me wish I had Kendall 🙂

Wren_4-Seasons16-wk2_Gathered Blouse

Karen made these for her Cheries and they look SO adorable!

 

Overalls for all seasons!

Standard

So you know how I’m all about versatility?  Overalls don’t really seem versatile to me, but I had a request to resize them and found a way they could work for two seasons in this cotton plaid.  I cut them short for summer and added cuffs, but the plaid is autumn-y enough that with a few additions the same piece works for fall too!

The patterns for the overalls and motorcycle jacket have been available for the smaller dolls for quite a while, but the patterns now include an AG size as well! You can get them here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/jenwrenne

If you bought the older patterns after etsy changed to digital downloads I think you may be able to re-download them with the new pieces if you need to.  If you can’t make it work or got the patterns directly from me and you need the new pieces just let me know!  Hat and boots are from McCall 6480.

If I decide I can bear to part with it, the fall version of the outfit may be in my etsy store in a few days unless someone wants to buy it directly from me.  It will probably be $65+shipping and includes overalls, tank top, leggings, boots, hat, bag and motorcycle jacket.  (I’ll pay shipping if you save me the hassle of listing it!)  Thank you for your interest, it has sold.

Also – don’t forget to vote for the next free Mosi/Kaya project herehttp://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DBHWTYM  I’ll close the survey at the end of this week!

Komo mai, Nanea!

Standard

I haven’t been this excited about the release of a new AG since Cecile!  What a gorgeous new face mold with pretty green eyes and beautiful, flowing hair.  The original AG pictures of Nanea were released in February I think, and her face looked very much like Ashlyn’s to me, so I got her in the hopes she could be a little sister and started drafting patterns which were then resized to fit Nanea.

The result was this new  big sis/little sis “1940s Island Collection”.

In contrast to my previous 1940s collection, which had clothes for all seasons, this one includes all warm-weather clothes with an authentic looking muumuu and really neat, historically-correct bathing-suit-lined dress.  Nanea and Ashlyn are so sisterly looking it was tons of fun to set up scenes from a different point of view.

crab story 1

crab story 2

crab story 3

crab story 4

Generally, I’m just trying to show the outfits to their best advantage, but for this collection I actually found/bought/made some accessories and thought the pictures through, trying to tell a story or emphasize a relationship of two sisters with some of them, rather than my standard (unwritten) caption of, “Look how cute this doll/dress is!”  No, I haven’t read Nanea’s book yet, so I don’t actually know if she even has a little sister; I’m saving it as my reward for finishing everything on my blog to-do list. 🙂

You can get the whole Island Collection now on Etsy and guess what?  I signed my shop up for their labor day sale which starts today and runs through Monday.  EVERYTHING in the shop is 20% off during the sale with no minimum purchase!  Because the Island Collection just got added, for some reason it’s not showing up with a discount in the sale, so I’ve lowered it to $20 for this weekend as its sale price.  After that it will be $25.

As you might have guessed, the next few weeks will focus on Nanea with sewing projects and crafts.  The first of them is this ukulele.  Soon to follow are (in no particular order) a Hawaiian quilt, a few dresses, quick-to-make leis, maybe some polymer clay food and printables.  Have another great suggestion?  Post a comment!

36736171142_3d5f5b4dbd_z

Get the ukulele pattern here

Wellie Wardrobe Week 3

Standard

29213659243_cdbe9b1a6a

This week’s leggings will be a permanent pattern here

They match well with the items from the previous two weeks as well as just about anything else!  Made in thin fabric they are a good substitute for tights to tuck into the “Wellies’ Wellies” 🙂 without excess fabric on the foot to make them fit too tightly.

Enjoy!

Wellie Ensemble part 1

Standard

So I made it through Melody’s second book and found out last week’s dress was actually for New Year’s/ BIRTHDAY, not Christmas.  I had a little rant here about her accessories and the inappropriateness of her bedtime book, and DH suggested I delete it…

I’m thrilled AG has given us a doll from this important era in American history and adore the doll herself.  Although she and Cecile have the same face mold, the changed eyes and hair make them look very different and I’m happy to have added her to my collection.  More projects will certainly be appearing for her on the blog!  There’s a new 1960s dress available now for her in 18” doll size.  It was previously the “Alpine” dress sized only for 14” dolls.  I’m pretty sure it would be a great fit on the Wellies too, but can’t find it to take a picture.  il_570xn-700856644_rysw

The green version of this dress was based on one from the Sears catalog from 1966. When I re-did it in the larger size, I decided to be creative and change to a print.  It was a little too busy with a pleated print front, so I switched to white instead.  I loved the old dress, but this new one might be even better!  With an unpleated bodice insert and narrower or pleated skirt, it could work as a 1930s dress too.

il_570xn-1085479929_16c4

Get it here

This week we’ll also start a series of Wellie/H4H outfits to combine into a 4-season outfit, similar to Little Darling’s from two years ago. 

These patterns will be available free on the blog for one day only and when the series is over they will appear all together on etsy.  The first pattern is a jumper/sleeveless dress because…well, read about why in the pattern! 29334258636_b7cd25a3ef

Edit:

Congrats to Joy, who found the original 1966 Sears dress and sent me a pic:

sears-1966

 

There is a Melody…

Standard

So the poll was overwhelmingly (>60%) in favor of more stuff for the Wellies and I’ve put together a bunch of really cute things that are in progress for them – stay tuned!

29334258636_b7cd25a3ef

It might also interest you to know they may soon be available at a Toys R Us near you:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/mattels-american-girl-to-be-sold-in-toys-r-us-stores-1472643023

Which might mean you will have to make a hard decision whether to use your TRU coupons on something besides the Journey Girls!

Enough people still wanted April that I will keep posting some stuff for her, probably once a month, but will discontinue her journal and just maybe post a little summary of the “back story” for that month’s outfit/craft if necessary.

With that in mind…remember how April REALLY wanted a doll like all her friends and her mom got her an OG and said maybe down the road she’d get an AG?  Well, she did!  It was Melody and her mom was so enchanted with Melody’s wardrobe she decided to sew some of the outfits in April’s size!  Is that enough rationale to post some Melody outfits? 😉

I really didn’t intend to get Melody…  My doll collection is quite diverse, but my darkest-skinned dolls don’t always make it onto the blog for their own protection.  I often find the pictures come out better with a fill-in flash or extra bright lighting/sunshine and as you may be aware, a camera flash and UV rays can be VERY damaging to your dolls’ plastic.  However, when I saw  pix of Melody in her Christmas dress, I fell in love.  It’s funny how a different dress can make a doll look so different!

I had every intention of buying the dress too, but up close the fabric looked cheap and I couldn’t bring myself to fork over $34 for it, especially when I could tell you’d only need about a fat quarter of fabric ($1-$2.50) to make it.  So I did buy her the AG sparkly party shoes and made the dress myself.  You can too!

29080468410_f0de213b94

Click here for the pattern!

This dress is technically intended to be her Christmas dress, but is so basic you can make it appropriate for any season or occasion by changing the fabric and altering sleeve length!  If you’re looking for the perfect fabric, the one pictured here is from the “buttercream” collection at Joann.

Want some more ideas for what your Melody can wear?  First of all, check here for FREE and very authentic patterns:

The Chatty Cathy patterns on etsy look great on her too:

28744524074_342f738fd8

28744604914_8581e61441

If you’re looking for a movie to watch with or sort of about Melody to get ideas for clothing, I recommend “The Watsons go to Birmingham”.  It’s a kids’ movie available on Netflix and based on a book of the same name by Newbery-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis.  The book was better, as most books are, because the movie felt like it changed/glossed over some things for me.  However, it is worth watching just to see and hear some of the vintage news footage as well as the period-correct clothing.  The costume designer did a nice job on most of Joetta’s outfits, and I’m hoping to make a version of the ivory dress she wears near the end for Melody at some point.   In the meantime, I finally finished the pattern for what turned out to be Melody’s peplum dress:

il_570xn-1081819241_3zo0

Someone sent me a link last summer to a pic of this dress, which had been “leaked” on ebay before we even had confirmation that it was Melody’s or knew what she would look like, asking if it might become a pattern.  Apparently it’s becoming a “thing” for pieces to…let’s say, “go missing” from AG’s Chinese manufacturers and show up on ebay well before they’re officially released.  All of Lea’s stuff was also find-able on ebay before she had been released, and various blogs seize this info and post it to give us sneak peeks.  On the one hand, I really appreciate this, because I’m always eager to see new AG releases, but on the other hand it also means the picture quality is sometimes poor and it’s possible to not appreciate the clothes and dismiss the collection as something you don’t want before you’ve even seen it in professional photos or in person.

Anyway, I fell in love with the mystery doll’s peplum dress and spent a really long time getting the skirt to look perfect, scanned my final pieces and forgot about it.  Now that Melody has come to live with us, I think it looks great on her!  The style is a little mature, but in the first book it’s referred to as a dress that her older sister outgrew, so then the look makes sense for a girl her age.

The pattern is available on etsy here