Summer sew-along week 2

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A super-long post with lots of dollie updates but feel free to scroll past it all to the bottom for this week’s sew-along pattern!

As I mentioned last week, our “Betsy paper doll” SSA will run the whole month of June this year, and I’m setting up automated posts to appear for the two weeks I’ll be gone, but won’t be able to see your flickr pix or respond to comments and my etsy shop will be closed during that time too.  I’ll leave all the patterns up for the duration of the sew along, and then they may transfer over to my etsy shop.  If you sew all the outfits and post your pix on Flickr by the end, you can get a bonus pattern for Nosy!  More info when the deadline approaches.

Where are we going?  Korea!  And now, let’s talk about Lottie.  They’re related in a VERY roundabout way 😊  So, I’ve mentioned her a few times on the blog but haven’t had one of my own until recently, but now have a whole bunch.  Let me explain…  I got the book below because all my “international” doll mooks so far came from Japan.

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This one, published in March, 2017 was the first Korean doll mook I’ve seen that is not just a translation of a Japanese one, but actually features Korean dolls and designers.  Even though it was expensive with shipping, I wanted to get it also to encourage more of these types of books to appear.

This isn’t a book review but…the book is OK.  Maybe not worth the high price I paid when shipping is factored in, mainly because there are scant instructions/patterns to actually make the cutest things they show but it does have lots of nice color photos for inspiration.  Most disappointing was the part called “Furniture for my doll” that has no furniture, just a tutorial about putting two squares of ?wood? together and covering them with wallpaper to make a backdrop. ☹  Anyway, it’s full of really cute dolls about 7-8” tall that cost hundreds of dollars if you can even find them outside of Korea with some extremely basic patterns that I (although probably not everyone) could have drafted in a fairly short time.  Oh darn, this is turning into a book review…  If you have these dolls and speak/read Korean and have limited sewing knowledge, this is the book to get.  If you’d like to know what’s trending as far as small doll clothes/settings in Korea and want a lot of inspirational photos to inspire you to create your own woodworking plans and embroidery patterns for all the cute little felt things, this is also the book for you.

OK, so how does this relate to Lottie?  I figured she might be about the size of the dolls in the book, which is correct-ish.  She’s the same height, but has a child body instead of the mature bodies of the book’s dolls.  My toy store (Grandrabbit’s in Boulder) had a large display of them, and I grabbed “Forest Friend” mainly because of a) red hair and b) super cute packaging.

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And then I did a post (no, you didn’t miss it, it just hasn’t appeared yet) on making little stuffed forest friends for her, because compared to the rest of them, Forest Friend is pretty lacking in the outfit/accessory department.  Other dolls come with multi-part outfits, for example, “School Days” comes with glasses, blouse, skirt, socks, shoes, scarf, backpack, leadership cards.  Forest friends comes with a dress, shoes and headband for the same price.  The back of the box instructs you to collect them all, and I’m doing my best 😉.  Their website also found me a new toy store I was unaware of (Jake’s Toy Box if you live near Arvada) with a super-friendly staff, some Lottie stuff in the clearance section and a deal on a Fossil Hunter Lottie!  That was a great day!

We took FHL to DMNS and got some really cute pix!  When I explained to some staff that this Lottie was special for promoting STEM activities for girls, specifically paleontology, and I wanted to put pix of her at the museum on my blog, they happily even let her hold a real fossil (of a trilobite below)!  Taking museum photos is challenging because the lighting is often dim to preserve artifacts and using a flash is frowned upon for that reason.  So, yes, not all of these are lit as well as I’d like, and there is some graininess in some of them.  This was lit with a flashlight:34271350034_e7eb096ccb_z

Check out the cute detailing on the soles of her shoes!

In addition to photos of her demonstrating her actual size (with trilobite above and ammonite below)

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DH was also having fun trying to do what’s called “forced perspective” with her.  If you’ve seen the special features of the Lord of the Rings movies, you might know how they play with placing things in relation to the camera to cause them to look bigger/smaller.  If you place tiny Lottie super close to the camera, it’s possible to make it look like she’s more life-size.  That’s a triceratops skull in the background; they are about 4m tall when “fully assembled”.

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Last year, when April was the Wrenfeathers GOTY, I took her to the same museum, and you never saw a lot of those photos because they didn’t all come out well, and it’s kind of a pain hauling around a doll about the size of a human infant and trying to pose her and hoping she doesn’t fall.  On the other hand it was SO much fun taking photos of Lottie because she slips easily into your purse when not needed and barely weighs anything.  People seemed to find her cute and engaging as we were taking pictures too.  She can also balance in small spaces, like ledges, where she watched a restoration in progress:

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and have other amazing adventures!

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See all the Lottie museum cuteness here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskY4QTr9

So, feeling like I needed a little travel doll for our vacation, I headed back to Grandrabbit’s to get a “School Days” Lottie intending to make her a hanbok and take pix of her all over Korea.  Sadly, there was an issue with that doll, (dents in her face caused by her glasses being on too tight) but when I contacted the company, they were very nice about it, and fixed the problem immediately.  Lottie has GREAT customer service compared to a lot of other doll companies out there right now, some of which can be a nightmare to deal with (cough, ruby red galleria).

With some searching I randomly found that lots of people, including those who paint the dolls in my Korean doll book above, are also loving and repainting Lotties!  And no, not in a makeup-y kind of way, but in a soft, sweet style that is in keeping with her creators’ intent to have her look like a real child:

[image on pinterest and here: http://www.imgrum.org/media/1304215656421827321_3161993446%5D

OK, so in other news, the best thing ever happened!  An amazing person gifted me with her childhood treasures…an 18” Madame Alexander, and a Ginny and Tiny Betsy!  And clothes!  And patterns!  I was over the moon with happiness and skipped to the sewing room with glee to make new dresses for them!  They are totally in keeping with this summer’s 1950s sew-along theme and I have plans to feature them too, but this post is getting too long already so…

now the part you scrolled down for:

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This week’s dress is from May 1959, and if you’re looking at this pic and saying, “I’m positive that was NEVER a Betsy paperdoll dress” you’re partially right!  I love Piet Mondrian and the dresses that are even today inspired by his work.  My brain was kind of focused on a half-baked plan to make some little bojagi (보자기) bedding for “Hanbok Lottie” to sleep in while I was making this dress and it hit me that this was almost the same!  Bojagi is a form of mainly square/rectangular patchwork in Korea that uses unusual (to my Western eye) color combinations and often uses thin fabric with the seams as a decorative element, forming a dark outline very similar to what Piet Mondrian did in some of his paintings:

( image is not mine – from: https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/18c1d-15259050_1324361700928275_6914702621332733952_n.jpg?ig_cache_key=MTM5NTI2NDEzMTA0MDQyMTEzOQ%3D%3D.2

I took the color scheme from a hanbok, whose picture I unfortunately can’t find right now and came up with Betsy’s dress – inspired by Mondrian, who ?maybe? got some inspiration from bojagi and now the circle closes and Betsy’s Mondrian dress goes bojagi 😊  Of course you can make it the original way too!  Our craft for this week is a mid-century table, because who doesn’t love mid-century furniture and there’s a serious lack of it out there for 14” dolls!

Pattern link is here

 

Summer sew along week 1: swimsuit

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Time for true confessions…I took the whole month of May off from blogging to deal with “work-work” and also work on the SSA.  During that time I managed to complete a bunch of stuff for a new AG series, some super cute patterns for Lottie and drafted (but didn’t sew) 3 dresses for the SSA.  Then, in a panic, I finished 2 SSA outfits today!  🙂

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Based on your votes, this year’s summer sew-along will be 1950s dresses for Wellie Wishers inspired by Betsy McCall paperdolls.  Being gone for so long, I have about a million things to say, but am running out of time, so will just quickly post this and get to the rest later.

The good news is our “Betsy paper doll” SSA will run the whole month of June this year, starting on the first!  The good/bad news is I won’t be here for all of it.  This year, for the first time in more than 10 years we’re actually taking a vacation!  Yay!  So, I’m setting up automated posts to appear for the two weeks I’ll be gone, but won’t be able to see your flickr pix or respond to comments and my etsy shop will be closed during that time too.  This year, I’ve also hoping to have a 1950s-style craft associated with each week that might anything from a simple papercraft to a woodworking project.

Are you new to the concept of the summer sew-along?  Here’s how it works:  You sew along with each week’s project and post your pix on flickr here:

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

If you finish all the weeks you can get a bonus sewing pattern, which this year will be for Betsy’s dog, Nosy sized to be a companion for 14” dolls, or maybe a mini dachshund for 18” dolls.  I did finish him already and he’s super cute!

Ready to get started?

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Note:  you will want to use thin fabric like batiste/muslin weight if you’re doing the ruched sides! (Thank you, Sophie!)

Here’s this week’s pattern

Here is this week’s craft project (an entire doll-sized magazine full of Betsy paperdolls!) and here’s how to fold it

 

 

Reminder!

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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.

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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!

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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:

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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!

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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!

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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 :

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

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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).

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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!