SSA will start next week!

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If you are on the Bex/Elinor pre-order list, you probably got the recent email that they are delayed even LONGER now due to bad weather and not expected to arrive until May 22 and then have to clear customs, get shipped, etc.  😦

SO, that’s the bad news, the good news for you is even though the initial plan was to start the Summer Sew-Along after they arrived because I was so excited to have them to model the SSA outfits, I’m giving up on waiting and we’re starting the SSA next week!  If you’re waiting for yours too, you can get a head start on sewing, and just think how happy they’ll be to have some new clothes to change into after their long voyage!

This year, based on your votes, it’s going to be an Edwardian summer wardrobe AND accessories!  We’ll follow some English dolls from “Wrenton Abbey” 🙂 and see how they might have spent the summer!  It’s been a really fun challenge so far coming up with themes and finding pattern ideas to go with them and I can’t wait to share!

With summer vacations, you’ve said it can be hard to follow along for the whole series, so this year, there’s an  incentive each week of a related craft or accessory pattern if you finish the outfit.  That way, even if you can only participate for a week or two, you can still get a fun freebie by sewing along!  If you are a super seamstress and finish everything, there will be a bonus sewing pattern at the end.  Each week’s pattern will be released on Thursday and only available that day in AGAT/Sasha/etc. size.  After you make it and post a pic, you will be able to get the accessory pattern.  Here’s a sneak peek of one of the outfits:

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So Microsoft broke my hard drive…

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If you’re wondering where I’ve been, it hasn’t been online, because Microsoft broke my hard drive.

Beginning of rant, scroll down to skip 🙂

Yep, I’m totally serious.  The latest updates led to my computer getting stuck in a reboot loop that literally broke my hard drive.  I do back up my data on a regular basis, but of course, the most recent is often the most important, so we had to get someone to remove the hard drive and retrieve all the data (I’m pretty tech-savvy but that was beyond my capabilities) and then struggle with whether to just buy a new computer or replace the broken hard drive, and then whether to just switch to Linux…which I wish we had done, but there aren’t a lot of machine embroidery options available for it.  Then came the waiting and waiting for the new HD to arrive and be installed and all the fun of reinstalling windows and being terrified the updates would break the new HD.

So I had to temporarily close my etsy shop, since while all that was going on I no longer could access all my files, and every sewing project I had been in the middle of (summer sew-along, some resizing, a new AGAT collection) got disrupted.  After many hours (about 8 so far) of re installation, all the software we had is not completely reinstalled, and some that is isn’t still fully functional, and some has been updated to new versions that are messing other things up.  Yay.

And THEN I got the email that Bex and Elinor, who had been scheduled to arrive sometime in late March/early April (AKA in time for pix for the SSA) were not leaving China until April 18th and that slow boat from China would take 3 WEEKS (May 9th) and then they have to clear customs (another week? month?) and THEN get processed through their warehouse and THEN get actually shipped (at least another week…?)

Long story short…yes, your votes for the SSA were to start it in May, but with all of this going on we’ll just call the start date “ASAP” 🙂

Start here to skip the rant

On a happier note, I’d like to introduce you to a really nice new face mold from OG that’s currently on 2 dolls, Melina, a beekeeper and Julieta, a ballerina.  If you thought you could never find a use for the flight suit from a while back, here it is!  Make your doll a beekeeper outfit!  Or just buy Melina, because her accessories are really nice and the new face mold is so attractive.  (Note that there’s another beekeeper  that has gorgeous eyes but the old face mold) To me, Melina’s face has something special about it that looks like it was designed by an artist to be completely different, and it’s just a bonus that the doll happens to be an OG and therefore inexpensive!  Her freckle pattern looks realistic and her hair is nice and soft too, in comparison to my older OGs; I don’t know if the hair is a new upgrade for all their dolls from now on or specific to her, but it’s nice!

Since I never met anyone with the name Melina, I did some searching and found out it’s Greek, and related to the word for honey, how cute is that for a beekeeper doll?

Image from Target here: https://www.target.com/p/our-generation-professional-doll-beekeper/-/A-52894721

You know how you look at the OG outfits online and then go to your Target and they don’t have them?  Yeah, that’s pretty much always the case for me, and it’s really hit-or-miss about which OG items they’ll ship and which are “in-store-only” kind of things.  This was the latest one:

Image from: https://www.target.com/p/our-generation-deluxe-retro-outfit-beach-party/-/A-52894766

So if you wanted it too and can’t find it guess what?  I pattern-ified it for you! Although OG outfits are usually a bargain since they come with cute shoes and an accessory or two, like this one!

I will caution you that I’m using some different versions of my old software and it’s been working fine so far when I compare my new, scaled printouts to old ones, but if you happen to have printed this pattern out the same way you always print my patterns (with no scaling) and it’s not correct, could you please let me know?

Get the pattern here

Is there another OG outfit you want and can’t find?  Post a comment with the link!  Melina needs more new clothes and we need something to do before the SSA!  She’s partial to summery and retro things at the moment… 😉

There’s also, by request, a resizing of an 8” pattern for 13”-14” dolls.  It was made for Little Darling, but will also fit the Wellies and others in between (H4H, Cheries, etc.)

 

Retro playsuit

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(background image in public domain from https://www.floridamemory.com/photographiccollection/)

Did you get the latest AG catalog and think, “I MUST have Maryellen’s new airstream!” and then have sticker shock at the price and the fact that the campfire, etc. was extra?  Me too.  So here’s an enabling post:  I made a pattern for a similar playsuit with much easier construction than the original, and with the money you save making it, you can totally justify that new camper! 😉

Spring is usually a VERY snowy time in the mountains, but the weather has so far been pretty nice – although much too windy to take doll pix outside unfortunately!  This project is perfect if you’re really looking forward to warm weather.  It’s not as quick as I initially anticipated, but should be do-able for an advanced beginner, since it’s not much more complicated than making a pair of pants.   Try the playsuit part as a swimsuit for Nanea, or maybe even Melody if you shorten the legs.  In case it’s not obvious, you could also turn the facing to the inside so it doesn’t show and in that case you could just pink the raw edges and not have to deal with the hassle of turning it under.

If your doll is brand new, this playsuit might be loose on her.  See inside the pattern for “Are AGs losing weight again?”  If you need a tight fit, I would suggest sewing the side seams first and basting the center front seam.  Pin the back in place and then take in any excess at the front.  For that reason, I changed the front facing piece to have a CF seam, instead of a fold as you see here.  Make sure to adjust it the same amount that you take in at the front.

Get it here

 

New Year’s Resolutions

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I know it’s February, just bear with me!  A couple of days into January, I was flipping through the radio and an annoying DJ was prattling  that she had made a resolution to lose weight and then ate something yesterday that made her give up on everything.  I rolled my eyes and flipped to another station but have been thinking about that.  We make resolutions in the first place because we realize that making some changes in our lives could potentially make us healthier or happier, but there is a big difference between a WISH and a RESOLUTION.  A wish is, “I should lose weight, I’m totally gonna do that this year!” and that’s far different from a resolution, which needs to be an ongoing process maybe involving multiple steps and, potentially, a commitment to a different way of living.  If, for example, you decide to make a change for your health, like starting a walking program, and then it snows so you stay inside, your resolve to get back outside tomorrow and continue is what makes for a resolution instead of a wish.

I’m saying all this because my resolution was to add more yoga to my fitness routine, which got completely derailed by an injury.  I injured my foot and the subsequent changes to how I walked started giving me back pain and everything is off track now.  Even though I’m required to rest right now, rather than just giving up on my goal, I’m eagerly awaiting the day I’ll be able to get back to it.

Dolls don’t have to let pain or weather or distractions deter them from their goals, though!  What about choosing a doll and dressing or accessorizing them as a reminder of something you’re aspiring toward?  A smock and paintbrush if you need a reminder to practice your art skills, an ethnic costume for a foreign language you’re learning, or in my case, a yoga outfit to remind me I WILL get back to it!

My reminder is:

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Pants with this cuff detail were all over my pinterest searches for a while, (anyone else hate promoted pins?) but I thought they would be great for yoga.  You might have other ideas for them, like gardening pants to remind you the snow will melt eventually and you can get outside again, or make all the different pieces from different quilting fabrics to remind you of that complicated quilt you’re working on piecing.  Share your “resolution outfit” here!  This pattern will fit 16” dolls like Girl for All Time.

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Download the pattern here

Some other things I’ve been up to include BOY CLOTHES!  This pattern will fit AG size boys and includes variations to make all the shirts you see here.  It should cover any button-up shirt need you have for boys, and of course, works for girls too!  There are options for a casual collar version or a dressier stand collar and variations for straight or curved hems.  Several sleeve options are included for plain or dressy, cuffed or hemmed, short or long.  What can you do with this pattern?

This shirt pattern coupled with this pants and denim jacket pattern will help you on the way to a ton of great combinations for boy or girl dolls!

By request, the Lederhosen were resized for AG.  You know I’m all about versatility, and if you’re thinking they only work for German folk costumes,  I invite you to think outside the box.  A number of European folk costumes for boys use this kind of pants or something similar, because many folk costumes were variations of “regular” clothing available in the 18th century.  For that matter, try them as part of a historical ensemble for Felicity’s time.  Paired with a very full shirt (that I might be talked into making a pattern for if anyone is interested..?) that outfit could work for a fairly wide historical range.

The adorable sheep with him is Charlsea’s from Maplelea

What?  The SSA already?

Well, it’s “only” about 3 months away!  Yes, I already have some ideas, but as in the past few years I’d like to get your input!  For newer followers, the SSA is the Summer Sew-Along, where we have a variety of patterns on a theme and everyone shares pix of their creations and there’s usually a bonus pattern as a prize if you finish everything!

I’m focusing on AGAT dolls this year, that’s not up for debate, so don’t even try 😉   Depending on the fit of the patterns it may not be too hard to resize them and if that works out, there will be directions to do that or maybe a separate set of pattern sizes available on etsy.

The SSA originally started with a mix-match wardrobe, and although that’s not stayed the case, it might be fun to get back to something like that this year.  There are a couple of options that are historical because these dolls just look so good in period clothing.

There’s also a vote for the timing, because some people would like to get their sewing done in May to either avoid vacation time or have a summer-ready wardrobe, while others would like something to do while stuck in the house with the AC on once it gets warmer.

  • The first option is an Edwardian wardrobe with outfits and possibly some accessories appropriate for different activities an Edwardian girl might have engaged in during summer
  • The second option is a modern (possibly mix-match) wardrobe for spring/summer
  • The third option is a complete, upper-class Tudor/Elizabethan outfit including all components from undergarments to outer dress, shoes and cap. These patterns would be as authentic and detailed as I can make them for their size, so suitable for intermediate seamstresses and above.

 

The poll will be open for a week but the results will be a secret until the SSA actually starts!

 

 

Bienvenida, Luciana!

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So, Luciana didn’t come home with me on her launch day, but the birthday fairies surprised me with her later!  I would love so much to pose her in the Mars habitat, but unless its price goes down significantly, that probably won’t happen and she’ll have to be content to be photoshopped into whatever backgrounds NASA has available.  Actually, there are quite a few space-related images they’ve put online for the public to use, so we’ll see if any of them result in some cute doll pix! 🙂

I had a request from Mandy M. to copy a school uniform and turned it into a tutorial on box pleats that you can adapt to any A-line dress for other size dolls too.  There are a lot of extra links in the pattern too, so you can experiment and explore.  Enjoy!

Get the pattern here

Boy dolls and photoshopping without photoshop!

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Just like you might have done, I also lined up outside the AG store before they opened on Jan 1st!  The original plan was to get Luciana, and, like, all her stuff 😉 but instead I ended up with…a boy doll!  Longtime followers know that boys had a major part in the blog at the beginning when I was smitten with the Kidz n Cats, and Sasha’s Gregor and Caleb have appeared from time to time too.  The opportunity to do more with boy dolls was compelling, and instead of Luciana, I ended up with the doll you see above, who has a couple of names/themes right now I’m trying to decide between.

I had actually made the coveralls you see him wearing for Luciana before I saw them in person, inspired by pix people had leaked of her flight suit, but lacking the right color zipper to make a blue one.  When I finally saw it, I liked mine better, even though it was challenging to make.  The AG flight suit just has fake stitching to simulate pockets and iron-on prints for patches.  It seems like quality is going downhill lately, with terribly cheap shoes on the truly me dolls and a much cheaper body.

When I put the coveralls on the new boy, DH said he looked just like an air force pilot, so I put him into a pic to make it more realistic.

Get the pattern and photoshopping without photoshop tutorial here!

Yes, this pattern is kind of challenging, especially if you’re doing real pockets.

Looking for something similar but easier?

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/halloween-animal.pdf

Here are some more of my free patterns that are perfect for AG boys:

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

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/welcome-su-jin.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/mix-match-week-31.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/ag-mix-match-week-2.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/missing-sleeve.pdf

 

 

We wish you a retro…solstice!

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Today is the winter solstice and the end of our retro Christmas series!

Get the pattern here

The last installment of the 1950s Christmas pattern was supposed to be a sock doll and dress.  I debated for a while about the sock doll – it certainly seems possible to cut up a doll sock and turn it into a doll’s sock doll, but good ones are hard to come by and I hated to sacrifice a good doll sock.  It also meant asking you to hunt down the same one I had and cut it up, all to make a doll that, honestly, I just don’t find to be that cute.

Instead, I made a pattern for a dress similar to the one the sock doll is wearing and you can put on a doll for your doll, like a Lottie and probably a mini AG/OG although I’m too tired to go hunt one of those down to check at the moment!  Those dolls will fit in the stocking from last week, and in case you’ve missed them, here are all the other retro Christmas pattern links:

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/we-wish-you-a-retro-christmas-part-3/

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/we-wish-you-a-retro-christmas-part-2/

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2017/11/23/we-wish-you-a-retro-christmas/

 

Back next year with lots more doll fun!