Author Archives: jenwrenne

Snowflake Dress

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The final post for 2019 is here! Appropriately timed too, since we’re about to get a lot of snow tomorrow 🙂

This dress came from the Winter Dress Contest entry by Noel Devine – see her original sketch in the pattern here. Doll is Our Generation Meagan available here: https://www.target.com/p/our-generation-doll-with-pet-golden-retriever/-/A-76150961

The tutorial details how to use cricut holographic film to create snowflake designs like I did, but note that even though I followed the package instructions to the letter, a couple of the snowflakes started peeling off at the edges a few hours later. ☹ I’d probably use freezer paper stencils and fabric paint if I were doing it over again, even though the sparkle effect is so cute.

Here is the png file for the snowflakes I made – see more info in the pattern.
Right click and choose “save image as” to download it in most browsers.

Party Dress Collection

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The party dress collection includes 5 dresses I loved so much from the contest that I just had to make them too.  🙂  The unifying theme here is a party, but many of these would make perfect casual or historical dresses just by changing the fabric.  It’s also possible to mix some of the sleeves and skirts with different bodices for even more variations.  Here is a compilation of the original entries, followed by the actual sewn versions.

Dena’s reminded me a little of the original Pleasant Company Samantha Christmas dress, and I changed the sleeves to leg-o-mutton for a more Victorian feel.  It always bothered me a bit that Samantha was touted as a “Victorian” doll when her time was 1904…which was of course, Edwardian! 

Kelly’s dress reminded me of French Bebe costumes often seen on Jumeaus and others from around the 1880s.  I changed the skirt and cuff trim placement to bring it more in line with those.  This is a dress that would be fabulous in all kinds of fabrics from flannel to velvet to satin. 

Ronel’s dress introduced me to a new fabric I hadn’t heard of before called SeShweshwe.  Learn more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shweshwe The amazing layers of fullness in this skirt would make it a favorite for any little girl, and, although it’s not necessarily traditional, give it so much potential for mixing fabrics!

Dianne’s dress is the one in the collection that’s not really adaptable to an everyday cotton dress – which is precisely why I included it!  Every doll needs something in her dress-up box that can transform her into a fairy princess or flower girl and this is perfect!  With a shortened skirt she could also be a ballerina, but in any case, this dress is unabashedly for special occasions only!

Ryan’s dress made me think of a dress for a little girl to wear to her big sister’s premiere of the Nutcracker.  With the short sleeves of the jacket though, it could easily adapt to a spring or fall dress too, just by changing the fabric.  Of course, leaving off the jacket gives a simple summer dress, so it’s really suitable all year round!

You can get the collection here:

As you read this, there’s one more day of school before winter break and I am SO ready for it!  With the party dress collection finally finished, I’m hoping to have a lot of relaxing hours playing with fiber in various forms.  There’s a fun multi-color spinning/plying project that’s been on hold for a bit, and it seems like I’m going to be spending a LOT of time with my new loom, learning the intricacies of tying up a countermarch system and finding out if it was really a good idea to upgrade to 16 shafts!  🙂  It was more than a little scary to see the PAGES of “useful knots” that have to be learned for the process in an entire BOOK of how to tie up a countermarch.  For someone accustomed to a jack loom that took literally seconds to snap a chain onto a shaft and treadle, it feels very daunting.  I am thrilled to know my old loom found a good home, though, and in a way glad to have it gone, because it would be SO easy to fall back into my comfort zone and use it for my next project instead of really getting to know the new loom.

I’ve also become very interested in Saori weaving which, ironically, only needs 2 shafts, but whose patterns are inspiring me to haul out yards and yards of fabric I wove and never turned into anything and start draping them on my dummy.  So every part of the fiber-to-garment process from spinning to weaving to sewing is almost here, and I can’t wait!  🙂

There will be one more winter-dress-contest-entry pattern, probably appearing here next week, but aside from that, my focus will be on people-size things for a while.  You might have noticed I usually get a doll for Christmas, and she always inspires some awesome new outfits, but with the loom being my present for every holiday/anniversary/birthday/etc. for roughly the next decade, there surely won’t be a Christmas or birthday doll this year.  Taking stock of the doll storage room though, that’s really not a bad thing!  Even if I sold half of them, there would still be more than enough to model just about anything I could design.  If I can tear myself away from the loom over break and choose a few of them, there is a half-baked plan in the works for a really ambitious series that may appear sometime after the new year…

Warm Weather Holiday PJs

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The good news is, after a ton of sewing last weekend, all of the party dresses are finished!  There’s a lot to do still to turn them into the finished patterns, but they should be ready by next week!  YAY!

Your holiday-dress-contest outfit for this week

Stuck in the northern hemishphere as most of us reading this blog are, and buried in the snow as I am, it can be hard to remember that winter below the equator actually falls at the opposite time of year!

Ronel from South Africa submitted several entries, one of which was these cute PJs:

My dolls are totally ready for parties with all the recent fancy dress sewing, but I haven’t yet gotten around to making the pajamas they’ll want to wear afterwards. Luckily, you kind of have the patterns for Ronel’s PJs already…

For the top, shorten April’s dress from this post: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/april-snowstorms-bring-may-flower-dresses/

Place the bodice pieces about an inch in from the fold or edge to add fullness and gather. Substitute lace or trim instead of piping at the bottom edge of the yoke

Use the pants from here: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/summer-wardrobe-part-2-and-what-about-the-boys/

Happy sewing!

Reindeer embroidery!

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Whenever I have a break from my “real” job, it’s time to work on my “other” job – this blog. 😊 I’m a very scheduled person, who can set goals for things to be done in a certain timeframe, and usually that works really well.  Except when life throws you a curveball like…a broken sewing machine over Thanksgiving break.  Really?  I had a whole week to sew, and a clear plan of what was getting made when, and thanks to an uncooperative sewing machine the party dress collection got severely delayed, and all the December blog projects got put on hold.  I also got exposed to unscrupulous repair services.  My machine, which is not even a year old, was giving an error code indicating the motor was broken, and an online repair quote for that was $599.  Is that a joke or a decimal point error? Because you could get a really nice new machine for that price!  “If that’s the code, that’s what’s wrong, and that’s what it will cost to fix it…”  So, on Thanksgiving, instead of relaxing and enjoying the day, the Best Husband Ever took the machine apart all over the dining room table to find out the problem was…a blown fuse, which he was able to order for a few dollars and replace in minutes once it arrived.  Incidentally, he also looked up the price of a new motor during the troubleshooting process and it was only $29.

Anyway, there were lots of child/adult joint entries in the winter dress contest and I wanted to share several, but only got as far as digitizing the reindeer from this entry by K. [name not used to protect privacy, but they know who they are 😊]

Get the pes file free here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/bmnzrb87y52mscd/k%27s%20reindeer.pes?dl=0

Note that dropbox has changed a bit…click the link above, and you might get a message saying it can’t be previewed. Just click the button at the top right corner where it says open, and scroll down to click download.

  It would go great as a center panel on the Anna dress, or put it on a sweatshirt or make a tunic like in K’s design using this pattern: https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/summer-sew-along-2013-part-7-aline-dress1.pdf

By request, here is the pdf format of the reindeer. Use it for hand embroidery, or cut the pieces out of felt and applique.

Need a loom?

So Santa apparently isn’t bringing me the Our Generation CJ I asked for, because she’s still not available in stores or on the website, but he IS bringing me a 16 shaft loom! YAY! On the condition that my current 8-shaft loom disappears before Christmas. So, if you happen to live in CO and are in need of a loom, (or know someone who fits that criteria) here are the details:

https://denver.craigslist.org/art/d/arvada-harrisville-8-shaft-loom/7031111897.html

OG Meagan is rushing to finish her sash before the loom disappears!

Contest winner!

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WOW, thank you for your amazing participation!  There were around 50 entrants, and some people submitted multiple outfits, giving me waaay too many choices 😵 

I put all my top contenders onto the screen at once and asked hubby to help me narrow down the choices, and then I said, “But this one’s not negotiable, you can’t eliminate it,” and he said, “Well, then you just found the winner!”  😜

I like it because it could be modern or historic, shirt or dress or jammies.  Lengthen the skirt, shorten the sleeves, make it in eyelet and it’s a 1970s flowergirl dress for a garden wedding.  Add a collar and eliminate the bottom ruffle and it’s a WWI era dress.  Make it in knit fabric with some fun iron-on designs and it’s a modern holiday dress…or shorten the skirt for a top and pair it with coordinated leggings, or make in a cozy flannel for pajamas.  The center panel gives you SO many options for decorating like a contrast fabric, embroidery, lace, beadwork, quilted panel, pintucks, buttons, woven ribbons, etc.  See how great it is?  

Everyone who entered the contest will get this pattern emailed to them, but if you didn’t enter you can also get it on etsy here:

What about all the other amazing entries that I wanted to make too?  After choosing the winner, there were several more that I really thought you’d also like to make, so phase 2 of the contest is…the party dress collection (coming soon!) AND some of your designs as FREEBIES here on the blog all through December!

Contest reminder!

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Thank you! The participation so far has been AMAZING! I wasn’t even going to post a reminder because there are already so many choices, but just in case you’ve been procrastinating, tomorrow is the deadline to get your entry in. As a reminder, entering the contest gets you a free pattern for the winning holiday dress and the winner gets their actual dress made by me.

If you already entered and you’re wondering why you didn’t get a response, I’ve been doing my best not to peek, and just putting all the entry emails into a folder to open up at once Saturday morning and choose. I have to say though, sometimes the attachments download quicker than I can transfer the email to a folder and I’ve gotten glimpses of your amazing designs. There are about 8 front runners from among them right now 😉 . In the event of me being unable to choose, which could totally happen, I’ll put my top picks into a random choice app and let it decide the winner.

Happy designing and good luck!

Holiday Dress Contest!

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So, OG has released holiday dolls before, but I’ve never felt compelled to get one because it’s usually just the standard-face dolls with a holiday theme dress; great for a Christmas gift but not necessarily collectible.  This year’s dolls, however, both seem to have the new facemold that Mienna has, which I just LOVE.  That face and the Melina face are the best they’ve produced, in my opinion.  And when I saw there was not just one…but TWO dolls with that face as Christmas dolls, I took screenshots and texted them to Santa, even though I’m normally a very one-season-at-a-time girl and we’re not even at Halloween yet.  Their names are CJ and Noelle, and both have the “bendy” bodies I’ve really been liking, and if you like awesome eyes, zoom in on the pic below – CJ really has them:

http://s3-ca-central-1.amazonaws.com/media.ogdolls/20190729160221/BD31245_CJ-Deluxe-holiday-doll-NEW.png

Plus the PJs and accessories that come with them are really cute too! [As I was pasting links, CJ has disappeared off their website, hopefully that’s just temporary!]

Anyway, we were at Target and I happened to have a 20% off OG coupon in my phone and Noelle was there in person!  So, yes, I just bought myself a Christmas doll in October, and no, I didn’t even put her away until December.  She’s out of the box and needs your help!

https://www.ourgeneration.com/shop/dolls/noelle#care/

The holiday dress she comes with is cute, but she told me she would like something different.  😉

We haven’t had a contest in a long time, so here’s a new one for you:

Download this croquis and sketch your original design for a fabulous winter-holiday-of-your-choice dress (historical or modern)

  1. Scan and email it to me by November 1st
  2. Winning dress design will be announced November 15th
  3. The winner will get their actual dress made in OG size by me
  4. Everyone who enters the contest will get a FREE pattern to make the winning dress
  5. If you don’t enter the contest, the pattern will be available for purchase after the contest is over

Yes, you can enter more than one design.  If you are under 18, a parent or guardian must send in the designs for you.