Author Archives: jenwrenne

Reminder!

Standard

Just a reminder today is the last day to use the coupon code 20OFF20 to get 20% off your order of $20 or more.  I also just added a sundress from last year’s summer sew-along that’s finally been resized and fits a variety of sizes like Paola Reina/ Wellies/Sasha/AG/Maru.

34363350725_37f93d172e

You can’t see in this pic, but there’s about 15″ of snow outside right now.  Thank goodness for computer magic! 🙂

And yes, I did go see Z at the AG store yesterday, and didn’t get her because I already have the doll above and they’re just too similar, but I liked her a lot and did get some accessories so there may be some fun patterns and pix coming eventually for her to a blog near you…

A new 1950s collection and contest winner!

Standard

If you weren’t able to join in the 1950s sew-along for 14″ dolls because you didn’t have one, guess what?  A new collection for 18″ dolls is available!

From our contest last week, Google’s random number generator came up with “3” which was the number the spreadsheet assigned to Pauline’s entry, so she wins the new collection of patterns! **Apologies if you had trouble entering on Wednesday!  I had set it to close to entries Wed at midnight, but the computer interpreted that as the midnight when Tuesday became Wednesday.  I fixed it as soon as I found out!**

You might remember that when I got April I mentioned it was primarily because of her gorgeous eyes.  Target has a new OG doll named Peggy, who is a retro 1950s doll and also has really cool eyes.  I justified buying her because I don’t have MaryEllen and after getting her saw her next to this fabric that perfectly matched her eyes and HAD to make a dress out of it:

il_570xn-1188716052_p7t8

And then she couldn’t even be grateful for one dress, she had to ask for a whole wardrobe! 😉

One of the reasons I love embroidery is that it’s an easy way to get a perfectly “period correct” look without having to hunt down vintage print fabrics.   When I did my previous 1950s collection, there was not a lot of embroidery included.  Embroidery on clothing was somewhat less popular at that time than in previous eras, partly due to the ready availability of cheap trim and the styles themselves, and maybe partly due to the increased number of outfits one would have, thanks to washing machines.  A 1930s mom might be willing to spend much longer embroidering a few dresses that her daughter would wear over and over than a 1950s mom whose daughter had far more of them.  With a lot of searching antique and resale stores and hunting online, I came up with a nice selection of outfits from the era that did include embroidery and am thrilled to share them with you!  Although the designs are available in .pes format for embroidery machines, in many cases I chose ones that would be quick and easy to hand embroider too, for example, the slip and dressy coat that are mainly just French knots.  If you’re lucky enough to have a stash of vintage fabric, or even a nice selection of checks/dots/plaids, you can also forgo the embroidery completely!

One thing that is the same about this collection is a focus on fashions moms were sewing for their daughters, rather than the easier doll patterns that were available at the time.  This makes the dresses a little more challenging to sew, but lets you dress your doll like a mid-century little girl, rather than a doll!

il_570xn-1235923309_31j0

il_570xn-1235923355_739z

Get the new pattern collection here

If you’d prefer 1950s outfits for a 16″ doll like Sasha, check out this collection!

Until Sunday, use the coupon code 20OFF20 to save 20% on any purchase of $20 or more!!

And now I’m taking some time off the blog to work on the summer sew along, which will be Betsy McCall paperdoll-inspired outfits for 14″ dolls and some other surprises!  The biggest challenge for me right now is paring down the number of Betsy outfits I LOVE so our SSA doesn’t last until winter. 🙂

It’s daffodil time!

Standard

This is my favorite time of year!  Birds are singing and flying around busily with twigs and bits of fluff for their nests and every little flower pushing its way up out of the dirt makes me smile.  Every time I go for a walk I keep taking deep breaths to smell the beautiful blossoms on all the bushes and trees.

This week’s dress celebrates daffodil time!  It’s such a simple pattern, it seems to cry out for lace and embroidery and trim, but in this case I stuck with the simplicity of a daffodil – just some petals and a ruffle.

Get the pattern here

This is the final pattern of our 1950s series for 14″ dolls, have you been keeping up?  Posting pix?  If you haven’t, how about this for an incentive:  I’ve been working on some REALLY cute 1950s dresses for AG size that feature embroidery and other special touches and you can enter to win the new collection of patterns!  Here’s a sneak peek:

How to enter:

  • Post pix of all the outfits you’ve made from this 14″ doll 1950s series here. (Yes, you can take one photo of a bunch of dolls in all the outfits if you prefer)
  • Enter the link(s) to your photos here before April 26 at midnight [Contest is now closed]
  • The winner will be chosen at random by a number generator and announced next Thursday!

There is NO other way to enter.  Do NOT try to enter this contest by emailing me photos or ask me to enter you any other way.  You must post your photo(s) on the flickr page and then submit the link(s) in the form.

Don’t feel like going through all that work to enter a contest?  The new 1950s AG collection will be available on etsy next week!

 

 

 

 

And the winner is…

Standard

So the vote from last week ended up with the Betsy patterns as a winner, and I have to say

a) I’m happy we’re going in that direction and

b) I’ll have some more fun 1950s crafts besides the Betsy dresses!

This week, we’re back to our scheduled sew-along of adapted Butterick 7973.  For the bodices and blouse so far, I had to make a lot of changes for a nice fit.  This week’s pattern includes both the original and some notes and altered pattern pieces to adapt for Wellies and other dolls with a similar torso.  As a reminder, their measurements are similar but proportions/shape are different, especially at the waist.  So more fitted pants were difficult to have fit both equally well.

IMG_6713r

IMG_6720r (2)

Get the pattern here

Need a blouse? Get it here: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/green-and-white-1950s-style/

OK, and that’s all the time I have to post so I can go get the guest room ready for the weekend. Our guest bed is usually covered with dolls awaiting fittings/photo shoots, and piles and piles and piles of outfits, but when your niece gets a last minute flight, you have to run in there and shove all the poor dolls back into their boxes and do something with all those outfits…  Note to self:  visit her next time instead 🙂

Summer sew-along vote!

Standard

No, it’s not Thursday or summer yet, 😉 but I’m not on schedule to finish this week’s outfit and get pix/pattern done in time and got a little sidetracked by brainstorming ideas for the summer sew-along.  So there may not be a Thursday pattern post this week, but don’t worry, at least two more outfits from this series are on the way, just a little delayed!

If you’re new to this concept, the summer sew-along is a favorite of many here on the blog because it follows a theme, sometimes introduces new skills (like sewing with knits, making sandals) and sometimes also ends up with a coordinated wardrobe.  People share their ideas on flickr and inspire each other to do more creative things.  Speaking of the SSA on flickr, I went on today and found two recently posted pix made from patterns from last year and the year before!

This one was a bonus pattern from the knits sew-along two years ago if you completed all the weeks and posted pix of them – it looks gorgeous in this print by quickdrawannie modeled by Maplelea Saila :

DSC06049

And this perfectly piped one on Wellie Emerson by firstladycpm was from the sundress/sandal sew-along last year:

IMG_0059

What will it be this year?

Even though you won’t see it until June or so, my planning and pattern drafting has to start now!  I thought I had made up my mind after lucking into a HUGE stash of actual vintage Betsy McCall paperdolls and ads for original Betsy dolls. If you don’t know what they look like, you can see online versions here. It seemed like it would be fun to choose summer outfits representing different years from the paper dolls and make them for the Wellies/Toni, since that size seems to be a favorite at the moment.  And THEN I saw Betsy’s bunny beach cover up (below left).

betsy blythe

If you are around kids, you might know the animal “theme” is very popular at the moment in kids’ clothing, from hats to backpacks to hoodies with animal ears/dinosaur scales/bird beaks/etc.  In fact, my Wellie owl cape is THE most-requested custom order ever, and even the Wellie Wisher Willa comes with little bunny ears.  In the Japanese doll world, animal themes have been popular for quite some time too, (for example, on Blythe above right) and I just figured it had finally made its way into kids’ clothes, so to see Betsy’s bunny beach cover up from 1951 made me think it’s not just a trend, it’s a great idea that’s been around for a long while!

Since both options sound great to me, I’m going to leave it up to you readers.  We’ll be using ~14” dolls as models, so Wellies, Hearts for Hearts, Toni, etc. will be able to wear these clothes.

Your summer sew-along choices are:

  • Betsy McCall paper doll outfits from the 1950s (yes, one of the weeks would be that bunny one, the rest would be regular summer clothes like swimsuits, dresses, etc.)  If I get super motivated, I might try to make Wellie paperdolls with the outfits, but no promises about that!
  • Cute, modern animal-themed outfits & accessories like hoodies, bags, etc.  This one could potentially have tips for sewing different types/weights of fabric, like fake fur

Please vote below – poll closes at the end of this week!

 

Green and White – 1950s style!

Standard

OK, green was not necessarily a 1950s color, but after making all the other things in pink and blue, I needed a change.  When I went to take the pix, I noticed it was “green and white” outside too, thanks to a snowstorm falling on the just-beginning-to-emerge grass.

33597990651_1651069224

The outfit for this week is a blouse/pants combo that looks perfect and vintage on Toni.  Girls in the 1950s might have worn this as play clothes or maybe for gardening or some other task, but it wouldn’t have been appropriate for, say, school.  On a modern doll like my Della, it seems to hint “vintage” in a really sweet way.  This would be an adorable outfit for a young child too!

33597987921_f10dd7bc0c

Get the pattern here

Have a look at what’s new on the Flickr group or post your own pix here:  https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

There are a number of new things on the flickr page, and here are some cute ones from the recent 1950s patterns, just in case you need more inspiration to get you sewing them:

Adapted pattern from Wrenfeathers

Willa in a “double dots” dress by Nonniebelle07

WrenFeathers2017

Great idea by Karen to shorten this for use with leggings

 

Wellie Wishers 50's dress2 jen bagrowski 005

How did I never realize Camille’s boots have little fins?  They are too cute and a great match for gammerangel’s sweet seersucker dress!

20170329_141812

And this gingham dress by Marge makes me feel like Camille just kicked off her boots to run through the grass to a picnic!

Let’s make more 50s clothes for our smaller dolls!

Standard

For this week, we have another easy-to-sew mid-century dress that’s equally adorable on vintage or modern dolls.  You’ll notice this skirt is MUCH wider than last week’s.  Skirts in the 1950s were very wide, but it can be hard to gather enough fabric onto a smaller bodice to get that look.  Poly-cotton blend gingham is usually on the thin side, which meant more of it could be used than if I’d chosen a heavier-weight fabric.  A puffy petticoat can hold it out to Toni’s width, or you can let it hang naturally like Emiko’s for a less fussy look.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I was going for a vaguely “Dorothy” look on Toni with the shiny shoes 🙂

Get the pattern here

Share your creations:

https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

If you post pix, it tells me you are enjoying the 1950s series and more things will keep appearing!  I spent last weekend on some 50s craft projects that your dolls might like and am also working on some larger size outfits too!

They don’t even need to be 1950s-inspired.  Check out the princess dress with clever crown from gammerangel:

Wellies at Target?

Yep.  Well, some of the SuperTargets anyway, as my husband noticed, which led to a “Awesome Husband” award last weekend.  I’ve had a rough couple of weeks and was super stressed out about work and DH wanted to go hiking and get my mind off things.  When he opened my car door, look who was waiting for a hug:

🙂

It’s the Wellie Wisher Kendall, whom I’m calling “Della” for short.  Apparently she’s the crafty/DIY gal of the group which he thought was a good fit for my personality.  It seems almost unreasonable that I’d like her so much – she’s just a piece of plastic, right?  But I can’t stop smiling every time I see her!  Receiving her this way made her a symbol that my husband acknowledged I was super stressed, and went out of his way to do something that would  make me smile. ❤