Author Archives: jenwrenne

1920s Pattern Collection!

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Happy almost Labor Day!  If you’re looking for a project over this long weekend, many Etsy shops (including mine) are having sales AND there’s a new pattern collection to inspire you!

The sale in my shop is active now through the end of the long weekend and is 20% off  any purchase of $10 or more, no coupon code required!

You might have noticed the Animators have been featured a lot on the blog lately, and Tiana ended up being a favorite for a similar reason to Lilo – she’s more relatable because she’s an average person, not a princess.  At least, not at first.  Unlike many of the other princesses who are in some random time period categorized as “long ago” she’s firmly set in New Orleans of the 1920s, which is not quite modern, but pretty close.  That’s a rather unexplored genre in my pattern collections, so when I got her, it seemed the perfect excuse to go back to that time period.  The movie also has a storyline that her mom is a seamstress, so of course, these had to be extra special to reflect that!  I ended up being inspired by patterns produced by McCall that included Kaumagraph transfers.  They were basically heat-set transfers made by a stamping process, which was fairly new technology at the beginning of the 20th century, but must have seemed like such a time saver for those used to tracing patterns themselves!

Of course, you can use the embroidery designs for other dresses too, simplify them even more to modernize them or just make the dresses in a cute print and eliminate the embroidery.  They’re included as templates for hand embroidery and available for embroidery machines in .pes format free with purchase of the collection, just put in the notes to seller that you want them!

You can see all the original inspirations here:

Figuring out/scaling the embroidery down to doll size was a bit of a challenge, so I ended up aiming for something that was not too small or complicated but still retained the feel of the original.  Likewise, you’ll notice some of the “real” patterns have more detail than these doll versions, which were simplified for ease of construction.

The round-collar dress above and combinations below actually WERE intended for dolls, and I was all set to include the adorable little combinations pattern in the new collection, but couldn’t make it work for AGs without major modifications and didn’t want to do two sets of instructions.  So I decided to just do a 16″ version and gift it to you instead –

Get it here and wear it under all these cute new dresses!

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I’m onto a tangent of reducing clutter and sewing for myself at the moment.  Read more about that here.  For the time being, I may reduce the blog posts while I get things in order.  It may be hard to believe, but the blog is actually NOT some magical pattern-generating machine that spews something out every week, but rather, a person who has to spend many hours to get just one pattern onto the blog to give away for free and who gets tired/busy/etc.  So just enjoy the patterns if they do appear, and if nothing gets posted, know that my house is getting cleaner, and maybe think about filling a box of your own things to donate instead of sewing this week?  🙂

 

 

Drafting a circle skirt pattern

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The problem with the Animators is that once you buy one, you can’t stop!  This is Elena, who seems to have a less cartoon-y face than Lilo, but an adorable expression with one slightly lifted eyebrow.  My Elena came in a cute dress whose cut reminded me of some traditional Mexican dance dresses.  They have very full skirts with ruffles along the bottom and watching a group of dancers twirl so the colorful, ribbon-covered skirts billow out is a beautiful sight!  Children’s dresses are often less complicated than adults’, with a simpler top that looks similar to this one.  The construction of the “real thing” would probably use elastic at the top for more ease of movement,  (for example, Simplicity 3863) but I avoid it on doll clothes whenever possible because a) it will eventually stretch out and all your hard work will be wasted and b) dolls generally don’t need much ease for movement added to their clothes unless maybe they’re the Raggedy Ann dolls from the Johnny Gruelle books that “come to life” and run around having adventures as soon as people are gone.  😉

Here is a quick tutorial on drafting a circle skirt for any size doll, and another animator pattern for a bodice/top similar in cut to the one Elena comes in.  Enjoy! 

I’m hoping to be back with a new set of historical patterns in time for Esty’s Labor Day sale – fingers crossed!

Shorts for Animators!

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I’m really in love with the animator dolls lately and haven’t been posting because I’m working on all kinds of fun stuff for them!  Do you like them too?  Who’s your favorite?

Here is a fast, easy pattern for shorts to fit the animators or similar-size dolls.  Make them with a drawstring waist or elastic, whatever you prefer. Use them for play, boy swim trunks, PJs, etc.  They combine perfectly with Lilo’s dress pattern shortened to be a T-shirt.  Get it here: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/a-new-dress-for-lilo/

Get the shorts pattern here

Lilo’s embroidery on her t-shirt is modified a bit from: https://family.disney.com/craft/lilo-stitch-ohana-means-family-cross-stitch/

If you have problems clicking the links, please paste them into your browser.

 

 

This is Scrump…

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“This is Scrump.  I made her!  But her head is too big, so I pretend a bug laid eggs in her ear and she’s upset because she only has a few more days to…” (From the Lilo and Stitch movie – here’s a youtube link to the scene)  I had not seen the movie until recently and found it pretty cute…and then of course the animator Lilo doll had to come live with us!  🙂

Does your Lilo need a Scrump?  The one she comes with is fine for a child to play with, but an adult collector might prefer something a little more detailed to display with her.  Lilo says she made hers in the movie, but this pattern is a challenge, even for an adult at such a tiny scale, so don’t attempt it unless you have experience making tiny plushies and some patience!

Get the pattern here

I was too busy cleaning today to get the rest of the pix for this post up, but I found an adorable cross stitch pattern on the Disney Family site:  https://family.disney.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Disney-Family_Lilo_Stitch_Cross-Stitch-Pattern.pdf  and put Stitch’s head onto a T-shirt for Lilo using last week’s dress pattern.  It’s super cute…and will hopefully appear next week!

A new dress for Lilo!

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I’ll spare you a long story and just say I got some Disney animator dolls, and my favorite among them right now is Lilo.  She’s really cute, and like all of them, has an OK price to quality ratio, by which I mean she was inexpensive, but her hair/clothing/accessory quality leave a lot to be desired, especially if you know how to sew and can see where corners were cut during construction.  She came in a cute, simple red dress with a leaf print, but the inside was not finished at all.  That’s no big deal with a tightly-woven fabric, but this is synthetic and fraying already, and the hems are only turned once.  I feel like they could have heat-sealed the fabric at least if they weren’t going to serge it together, but can’t complain too much, since I got the doll on sale for $22.

If you’re reading this blog, I’m reasonably sure you know how to sew too, so here is a pattern for you to make your Lilo (or any other animator doll) a better dress!  It’s fast and easy, just the thing to help you recover from all those pleats in the summer sew-along! 😊 Leave off the sleeves to make her yellow/green dress from the movie or experiment with the suggested cutting lines to make all kinds of variations.  For many kids, having different clothing for their dolls adds a HUGE amount to their play value.  I’ve commented before that sometimes props/outfits can spark the imagination, and while it’s perfectly fine for kids to practice structuring a narrative by acting out a movie with their dolls, it’s even better to come up with their own stories/ideas/adventures!

Get the pattern here

This dress would be a fantastic canvas to stencil Hawaiian motifs like these which are available as a font here: http://www.pickafont.com/fontauthor/pokelele

More info about stenciling with freezer paper and maybe making a quilt for your Lilo here:

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/stenciled-tea-dress.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/nanea-quilt.pdf

Don’t have an animator doll?  I grabbed a flyer at the store that said there’s going to be a sale July 12-16 that you can get 25% off with coupon code 102PE50462500 which would make the dolls about $20.  (I have no affiliation or financial interest in this, just trying to help you save a few dollars if you want!)

Speaking of easy alterations, if you already have the Island sewing pattern set you can copy the AG version of the muumuu at 80% to fit Lilo!  Before you go skipping gleefully down to the copy shop with all your AG patterns in hand though, note that their body shapes are different, so it won’t work with everything, especially pants, fitted bodices and possibly sleeves. Also note that the earlier editions of the Animators are smaller in the torso too, so if that’s who you’re using it for, you should close the back with an overlap.  More about resizing and what fits them in a future post!

If you don’t have the Island pattern set and just want the muumuu pattern by itself, I’ve put it in a separate listing on etsy here which includes the original 14″ (Wellie) and 18″ (AG) and the resized 16″ pieces to make the dress Lilo is wearing in the pic above.

To reiterate…this is the same pattern that comes in the Island sewing pattern set with the addition of extra pattern pieces for 16″ dolls.

One more addition to the sew-along…

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If you were looking for something for your dolls to do while wearing their Rainy Day dresses, I have something you’re going to love!  Anna Sobolesky drew a set of paperdolls for dolls (it doesn’t get any cuter than that!) based on all the summer sew-along outfits.  She sent them to me and agreed to share them with you too.  Here is a pic of her doll cutting them out:

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You can download the paperdoll here.  

Notes from Anna: “I recommend cardstock or a similar medium weight paper, and small, sharp scissors or maybe an exacto knife.  I keep some pointy little scissors on hand for this sort of work.”

If you missed any of the patterns from the sew-along, or would like them in both AG and AGAT size, they are all on etsy now, including the Rainy Day dress.

I bet you want to know what’s coming next on the blog…me too!   I’m sort of adrift right now on a sea of ideas, but the wind isn’t strong enough to push my boat very far in any one direction.  That’s my metaphoric way of saying, “Wow, you would not believe how many different dolls in half-finished garments are cluttering up the craft room/kitchen table right now!”  🙂

Summer sew-along bonus pattern reminder

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This dress will be the bonus pattern for summer sew-along!

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To get the final bonus pattern:

Step 1: post pic of everything you made here:  https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

Step 2: enter your email and all links to your pics here by June 24:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSevoGKl3vjEQH7Hnnm-xkCwfH5vaqSIUTa_U4I11PR0WhgF4A/viewform?usp=sf_link

Step 3:  Receive your accessory pattern by email on Monday