Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lottie’s Sidekick

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Thank you everyone for your kind comments after last week’s post! Yes, I’m still sick but getting better. 🙂

This week’s bunny doll project poses with an activity that’s keeping me calm and happy… (Spindle by Tracy Eichheim – his spindles are among my favorites. They have excellent craftsmanship and spin an AMAZINGLY long time. I’ve gotten them in person at wool markets but he has a website here: http://www.woollydesigns.com/spindles/)

So, we had planned to go to Japan last summer, but had to delay it for family reasons.  Then we were absolutely positively going to go this summer…or now probably not… ☹

You might remember a few years ago when I took Lottie to Korea: (sorry, wordpress won’t post the link, but if you search “Lottie Korea” in the search box at right you’ll find it. This year I had been planning to take either her or Jossie/Usaggie (below) to Japan, and was planning the summer sew-along to be a wardrobe for for them for the trip, but instead of getting new clothes, they are stuck in the craft room making socks for me on the knitting machine instead:

If you are an aficionado of Japanese doll magazines, you are aware of the existence of Petworks Odeco and Nikki, and a few minutes on Instagram or your favorite picture hosting site will give you even more Odeco/Nikki pix that people have taken of them in various locations in all kinds of cute outfits.  My favorite is the artwork here: http://p.booklog.jp/users/petworksdoll?p=3 Although I do have a Nikki, I find Usaggie easier to pose due to her head being more in-proportion with her body. 

Even if the Petworks dolls are new to you, readers of this blog are certainly aware of Lottie, who’s about the same size!  If your vacation plans have also been postponed, there’s a FABULOUS new series coming for you!  Best of all, it uses a tiny doll that you can sew/craft for with tiny scraps of things from your stash so you don’t even need to leave the house. It’s Lottie’s (virtual) Spring Break in Japan!  🥳 And to kick it off, we’re going to make her a sidekick (or you might need to just make the bunny if you don’t have a Lottie and Amazon’s estimated delivery date for the one you ordered last week is April 30th) Best of all, being an animal doll, it can be an anthropomorphic girl or boy or just a bunny.

Get the pattern here

And in other doll news…

Last year, Ruby Red Galleria came out with a new, larger bodied doll than their normal small sizes.  The series was called “Girls of the Orient” and they were named and costumed along a theme.  I was SO excited because of the great poseability that Ten Ping and the 12” Girls in Motion have, and also the lovely face.  The face mold fits in well with the Ten Ping family as well as the 12″ YuMa.  Unlike the smaller dolls, however, who have hard plastic bodies and sophisticated joints, this body seems to be all the same type of hard vinyl, with simple stringing and articulation at the elbows and knees, much like the Girl for all Time dolls.  It’s possible mine is defective or maybe they did something special for their promo pix (below), but mine does not pose her arms in quite the same way. 

Image from: http://rubyredgalleria.com/

[BTW, my Kadinana’s original, unworn costume and shoes pictured above are for sale for $60 plus actual shipping – contact me if you’re interested]. The same body was used again for a brand-new line with a face sculpt by Dianna Effner in (I think) late fall of last year.  These new ones are called Fashion Friends and at $129 have a somewhat friendlier price point than the $179 MSRP of the GotO.

I’ve gotten a few requests/questions about the FF dolls, and they are VERY difficult to get ahold of right now, so here is a comparison of my Kadinana to other dolls of similar sizes you might be more familiar with.

In case you’re wondering…yes, there are patterns in the works eventually.  I actually started sewing for Kadinana in October when I got her, but none of her lovely creations have made it to the blog yet.  🙂 She’s pretty much the same size as the MIM and Kish Chrysalis dolls and I was able to use the patterns from the infinity dress collection here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/235471701/infinity-dress-pattern-for-dolls-from-10

Speaking of 14” dolls…if you’re looking to use your sewing skills to contribute to a worthy cause, check out Stitchin’ for Kids.  They create wardrobes for 14” Hearts for Hearts dolls to give to children experiencing long hospital stays.  More info here: https://www.stitchinforkids.org/

Sew your bunny or find your Lottie, her “vacation” posts start next week!

Stay home and healthy! ❤

Hand embroidery as stress relief

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I find the dentist stressful under the best of situations, and recently had a more-stressful-than-normal visit.  I tried to help my mind go to a “happy place,” like a favorite hiking spot, but strangely enough, where it went was…lazy daisy stitches.  Yep, that’s a weird, random thing, especially for someone that doesn’t do a whole lot of hand embroidery, but as strange as it was, seeing the needle pulling thread through the fabric and forming each little flower petal in my mind was completely absorbing and I could ignore everything else. 

I came home and started a project, based on a 1930s Patsy dress, and this morning, when our school district announced a two-week closure, I sat down and focused on nothing but lazy daisies and French knots and finished it.

If you are stressed right now, maybe this will help you too. 

Go find a scrap of white/solid-color fabric in your stash and a few yards of embroidery floss and get started embroidering this collar.  Make sure to leave enough extra fabric around the design to cut out the collar later – maybe about 4″ all around measuring from the center of the biggest flower. We’ll make the rest of the dress (to fit 18” dolls) and there will be a more complete post next week!

If you need a refresher on how to do these stitches here are some links:

https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/how-to-make-a-french-knot-1177545

https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/working-stem-or-outline-stitch-4125848

https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/work-the-detached-single-chain-stitch-1177573

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!