Tag Archives: 1950s

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. 🙂

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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!

 

 

 

 

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

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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:

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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. ❤

The ideals of beauty…as reflected in dolls

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You might remember a few weeks ago, I posted a link to an article about bias in film toward an “idealized” beauty of the 1950s.  Kodak skewed their color film to bias a blue-eyed blonde with red lips and an overall cool tone to her coloring.  But it wasn’t just the coloring that epitomized the era; I’ve written before about how doll bodies conform to the fashion sensibilities of their times, like Patsy with her roly-poly body that looked great in sweet little 1930s bishop-style dresses. Likewise, 1960s Barbie’s outrageously strange proportions have morphed into Lammily in our times.

This week I’m comparing a hugely popular 1950s doll, Toni, with a similar-sized modern one, Wellie Wisher Emiko.

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You can see first of all here, their body shapes are very different, even though their bust/waist measurements are almost the same.  Emiko’s torso is flattened out, whereas Toni’s is cylindrical.  The same dress can be made to fit both, but ends up looking very different!  See both in the same dress here and here or in the pattern below.

It’s also interesting to note that Toni looks quite “made up” with a fussier hairstyle, heavy lipstick and blush, and even some eye shadow, whereas Emiko’s coloring is more natural, yet both dolls are beautiful reflections of their own time.

I’ve been on a vintage sewing spree lately for 18″ dolls (more to come on that soon), and decided to also sew for Toni, using vintage Butterick 7973, supposedly sized for her.  (image below from Pinterest)

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Well, I bought the original 14″ version, but it didn’t really fit too well, and since I was altering it anyway, I thought it would be fun to see if I could make the same pattern look nice on both body shapes.  It took more adjusting than I had anticipated, but so far it’s going well!  Toni’s body lends itself to darts, which were a major feature of 1950s bodices at the waistlines, even for little children who didn’t really need them.  Those same darts made the dress quite ill-fitting on the Wellie body.

The pattern was re-released a few years ago, as Butterick #5865 without any indication of who it would fit, and I posted some pix on flickr of one dress I made on a variety of dolls, noting that it seemed to fit the Journey Girls the best.  It’s also a reminder that my photography skills have improved a lot since 2013, because the pictures are not that great! 🙂

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Anyway, I’m hoping to do a little sew-along of 1950s styles to fit 14″ dolls and hope you’ll join in!  They are quite easy to sew, and a great place to show off your small bits of vintage fabric and trims!

Get the pattern here

Share your pix on the Wrenfeathers flickr page here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

Speaking of the flickr page, I LOVE seeing what you’ve made with my patterns, and even though I’m on yet another historical bent, it’s nice to showcase sewing for our modern dolls that reflects modern interests and different cultures.  Check out what Lisa did with clever use of prints that mimics embroidery on the kamiz:

And Carol shows us that Little Darling’s Karate Gi will fit the Wellies too:

 

 

 

Japanese dollhouse finished, new 1950s patterns, coupon code and poll!

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Remember the Japanese dollhouse from last October?  If not, check these links:

I never added a kitchen because I a) ran out of wood and b) wasn’t really sure how to go about furnishing it.  So the other day I found a new rement set called “Country Life” that cried out, “Hey! Finish that kitchen and furnish it with me!”:

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And then, along with that there’s another new-ish set, “Grandparents’ Home”:

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[Images from re-ment website, click them to go to it]

If you’re into de-boxing pix, check the flickr album here.  While you’re on flickr, check the Wrenfeathers page where you can see a cute Wellie getting ready for bed by gammerangel:

And some really cute animal costumes made from this pattern by KB:

I know I said it was versatile, but I never would have come up with a skunk, which is why I LOVE when people post their ideas!

So, back to the original topic, I cajoled DH into cutting some wood and constructed a very simple, basic kitchen addition. (<– click that to download) to complete the Japanese dollhouse.

If you prefer sewing to woodworking, there’s a great new collection available on etsy now to fit Sasha and similar-sized dolls.

The other 1950s collection has dresses for AG size dolls.  This new one is specifically for the smaller girls and has 6 outfits with very versatile combine-able separates

As always, when I introduce a large collection, a coupon code appears!

 Use the code 20OFF20 to get 20% off any order of $20 or more until midnight on Sunday.


What happened to April?

Um…I’m thinking she went to summer camp and forgot to bring her journal? 🙂  Actually, she disappeared for the summer after you voted for the SSA to focus on Paola Reina and then the Wellies came out and I got carried away by their cuteness.  With the summer now over (for me anyway) I’m feeling very sad and guilty, because I had all sorts of travel plans and was going to take pictures of her at various interesting places here in CO. She’s actually been sitting in the same chair in the same outfit ALL summer long – although at least she missed my rattlesnake encounter at Garden of the Gods!  So anyway, I can bring April back and start making patterns for her again, or if you’d rather, I can focus more on the Wellie Wishers/H4H sizes in anticipation of their re-release in a few months.  This poll will close next Tuesday:

 

 

 

1950s and 60s dress patterns are here!

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Wow, this has taken a long time!  As you might be able to tell by the green grass in some of the pix, I started these over the summer.  And finally, now that it’s snowing this week there are TWO sets of dresses premiering.  All of them are historically accurate and based on outfits for girls from that time.

A 1960s collection sized for both AG and slim 16″-18″

(yes, including the new Girl for all Time, Sam!!)

Lots of mod styles and color-blocking to be found here!
This was a girl’s dress, but looks very much like a pink one made for Sashas…
AND

A 1950s collection sized for AG.

  It doesn’t say so in the etsy listing, but two of the dresses in this set (the blue flowered one and the pinafore dress) do include tested pattern pieces for slim 16″-18″.
This flowered one is my favorite
Or maybe this one…it’s hard to decide!
Click on any of the pix to go to the listings and see more!

And as always when I introduce collections, there’s a coupon code, just in time to get some patterns in anticipation of holiday sewing!  Use the code 20OFF20 from now until midnight Sunday to take 20% off any purchase of $20 or more.

On the blog survey one person asked for a 1930s outfit for Ellowyne based on the covers of Nancy Drew books.  That sounded like a fun project, but when I started looking at them it was hard to choose which one I liked the best.  If you were that person and have a specific dress in mind, could you please email me or leave a comment?  A pic would be super helpful.