Tag Archives: american girl

April snowstorms bring…May flower dresses!

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Thank you everyone for your condolences about Jasper!

It was brought to my attention that not everyone may be able to complete both a dress and sandals in a week during the summer sew-along, so I’m probably going to break it up, but your dolls DO need some cute sundresses, because they are (possibly) the perfect layering piece!  At the bare minimum, it’s a cute dress on its own with sandals.  Depending on the season, you can add leggings/cardigan/blouse/jacket/boots/hat, etc.  Little Darling did a series with a “4-season” dress here: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2014/10/

Since April is an OG, I’ve been trying to do patterns at least inspired by OG outfits once a month for her, and this month’s is loosely based on: 

Instead of a ruffle, this one has a piped round yoke, which to me makes the dress look more elegant and higher-end.  I named this dress “May Flowers” since the daffodils are finally up and growing even though our April “showers” were more like April “dump-five-feet-of-snow-overnight”:)

It’s a slim fit on an OG with a flush closure in back, looks great on Journey Girls and will fit the newer KnC dolls more loosely if closed with an overlap in back.  It will likely work for Sasha copied at 80%, but make a muslin first to check.  Have an older/bigger AG?  See the end of the pattern here: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/august-free-pattern-for-kidz-n-cats-and-sasha/ for a tutorial on adding some width at the back with buttoned closures.

Get the pattern here

Please keep posting your fabulous creations on the Wrenfeather flickr page here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

Some recent cuteness for your inspiration:

A-line for mini AG by sewbig

Sasha as Maid Marion by Theresa

 

April’s journal and the rest of last week’s outfit…

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I had planned to post Aprils’s journal once a month, but thought the first installment might help you learn more about her and enjoy the series more.  You’ll meet her new friend Julika (who was Santa’s gift to me)

And April’s own “new” doll, Sienna (who I bought a long time ago and was never able to work into a blog post)

 See April’s journal so far here

(note: this is a dropbox link, and will work now but may change when I update her journal)

If it looks grainy, click the “open” button and scroll to “open in adobe reader”

The cardigan to go with last week’s blouse is also ready:

Get the cardigan and socks pattern here

And if you’re a Star Wars fan, you might appreciate this:

Cassie resized and adapted some of the Little Darling in Japan patterns as Star Wars cosplay outfits to fit AGs and has generously shared them on her blog here

Oh no, the last Chatty Pattern?

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I bet some of you want the CC series to just keep going, but there’s lots of fun modern stuff on the way for those that didn’t! :)  I actually did a few more things for Cathy, namely her “Nursery School” and “Sunday Visit” dresses.

These patterns won’t appear on the blog, but here are two ways to get them:

1.  They’re available on etsy  OR

2.  Get them FREE until Jan 1st – Post a picture of something you’ve made during this Chatty Cathy series (for your CC or any other doll they’d fit) here and send me a link (jenniebagrowski at gmail dot com).  For each thing that you’ve made you can request either “Nursery School” OR “Sunday Visit”.  If you want both patterns, you’ll need to post 2 things you made during this series.

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This week’s free pattern is based on a paper doll, but the pattern was so similar to a vintage commercial pattern, I just used it instead, omitting the tucks down the front.  Neckline of blouse and jumper are faced with bias.  You might want to make the hem deeper for AGs to get the same look.

 Download it here

Is this OK?  Read on…

Does scanning parts of an old pattern and uploading them violate copyright law?  Well, when I looked into it, I think it’s OK in this situation.  First off, it’s possible they may be in the public domain, since the back of the envelope says it was copyrighted in 1963 (and thus expired 28 years later unless renewed) but there is no copyright info listed on the pattern pieces themselves.  Second, if they were renewed for the additional 47 years permitted, they’d expire again in 2030, but  section 108 of US copyright law says during the last 20 years of any term of copyright protection of a published work libraries and archives free to the public…“may—for purposes of preservation, scholarship, or research—reproduce, distribute, display, or perform in facsimile or digital form a copy or phonorecord of the work or portions of the work… ”  

So, as a website which has a rather large archive of my own doll patterns, I’m uploading these pieces for you here free for the purpose of preserving them, since the paper is aging rapidly.  You can download them for purposes of research/scholarship, (i.e. learning to sew a historical garment) but despite what some ebay sellers would have you believe, it’s probably not legal for you to reproduce this pattern and sell since the law also states “the reproduction or distribution” must be “made without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage”.  

Hurry up, Spring!

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Spring is my favorite season of the year!  The birds singing, the snow melting, and colorful bulbs pushing up through last year’s leaves make it a magical time.  It might even BE spring where you live, but where I live we apparently have a few more months to wait.  And what better way to wait than sewing a dress your dolls can jump into as soon as those crocuses come up?

Maybe it’s because of the abundance of pastels in 1930s prints, but to me many 1930s styles seem “springy” and this dress, shown on a Maplelea Friend doll is no exception:mina with flowers

It’s based on a Bleuette dress from May, 1933, and has been resized to fit Maplelea/AG.  What originally attracted me to it was the lovely cross stitch motifs, but it’s a nice, basic pattern that could work for a lot of modern outfits too!

Make it in T-shirt fabric, iron on a glittery motif and wear with leggings.  Find a fabulous print and take it to the next level with ruffles/ribbon/rickrack.  More ideas are in the pattern.

Click HERE to download

And if you’re still wanting to make stuff to wear right now when it’s cold, check out Anna’s cute slippers here:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/129049505@N06/16554605595/

She added a few touches to turn the felted slippers into little mice!

Have you seen the new BeForever limited edition sets?

They are all very cute, but at $48, not exactly an impulse buy.  Is there one you like enough to want to see it appear here as a pattern?  Go check them out, then come back here and vote below for your fave.  Stay tuned to find out the winner!  (poll closes in a week)

[poll is now closed]

Célébrons le carnaval!

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Carnaval/Carnival is celebrated in many countries of the world as a sort of “last hurrah” before Lent.  Traditions range from dressing up in costumes and eating fried food (Europe) to parades and “King Cake”.  In the US, it is usually short, and centers on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Pączki Day in Chicago).  Apparently, in Quebec City, it’s a looong festival that ends this weekend.  Unlike many other areas of the world, where this time of year is warm and pleasant, the Quebec version is all about snow…the mascot is even a snowman!  (see more here:  http://carnaval.qc.ca/en/)

So to participate in the festivities, I made my doll a toasty new hat.  This style is sometimes called lumberjack or trapper hat.  It’s most traditional made in plaid flannel with furry lining, but also looks good made to match your doll’s other winter gear.  (Yes, in the pic she’s really on a mountain in CO, not at Carnaval, but I couldn’t find any public domain images to photoshop her into, so use your imagination!):)

Click here for free pattern to fit Maplelea and AG

Pictured above is my new Maplelea, KMF10 renamed Mina.  Several of you emailed/commented and said you had ordered a new Maplelea after my blog post about them being on Amazon and you’ll be happy to know more projects are coming for them!  If you’re wavering, and need some “enabling”, their quality is the same, or maybe even a little better than AG, but the price is less!  Also, their boxes are very robust and perfect for storage of a doll and many outfits, and instead of the AG access to a boring website you get with their modern dolls, with Maplelea you get a cute little journal in English and French that your child (or you) can fill out to help define the doll’s personality.  You can see some pages from my doll’s journal here.

 

I also wanted to share this gorgeous Maru outfit made by Katy

(see the full post here: http://1960sgirl.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/fine-feathers-make-fine-maru/)

If you explore her blog, you’ll find she puts a lot of thought into choosing fabrics that match each doll’s coloring,  meaning outfit and doll complement each other perfectly!

Little Darling in Japan…week 1

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This might be my most ambitious series yet.  People have said they enjoy the multi-week series I’ve done, like the summer sew-alongs or shoe school, and I also find it enjoyable to explore a theme in more depth.   When I’m doing the blog, I definitely welcome input on what you’d like to see, but also, as the number of followers grows, I have to remember the old saying, “You can please some of the people some of the time…”

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 When I made Little Darling this school uniform, she looked so cute, I thought about a whole series of her in other traditional clothing from Japan.  And then I decided she needed some accessories and furnishings too, since they add so much to a display, and what she’s got now is enough to furnish a little room!

Chances are, if someone says “Japanese clothing” to you, your mind conjures up a yukata, the single-layered cotton kimono tied with a thin matching belt or possibly an obi.  But historically, there have been lots of different types of Japanese clothing suited for various purposes.  Little Darling seemed like a good choice to showcase these, because she can easily share clothes with other readily-available dolls like Corolle Cheries, Natterer 13” dolls, Betsy McCall,  Hearts for Hearts, and even some BJDs.  Another advantage is that she is just small enough that it wouldn’t be too hard to make (and store) some cute furniture and accessories.

A few weeks ago I put a request for resizing help on FB, with the result that I can also bring you the AG size.  (Thank you, Beth!)  Sadly, no one volunteered to check the versions for Sasha/KnC/Maru/Ann Estelle, so I’m testing those myself and may be selling the pattern with all the sizes and more complete directions sometime in the future.

Pattern for school uniform (AG and 13″-14″) is here

Tutorial for some school accessories is here

While I’ve tried to convince DH that we actually need to go there to take the photos, we don’t have a reliable farm-sitter to take care of our pets, which means I haven’t actually been out of the Denver metro area in years.  I’ve been scouring the web for public domain images and just taking the pix in CO, letting your imagination pretend she’s in Japan.:)

I hope you and your favorite little doll will have as much fun exploring Japan through these sewing and crafting projects as I did!

 

Suggested Reading: (a few books I own and love)

The Book of Kimono by Norio Yamanaka (good English-language reference on traditional Kimono and how to wear)

Make Your Own Japanese Clothes Patterns and Ideas for Modern Wear by John Marshall (modern adaptations by a Westerner, but good basic patterns)

Japanese Homes and their Surroundings by Edward S. Morse (Fabulous reference, not just about houses but how people in Japan lived in the 1860s, right as Japan opened to foreigners.  This is in the public domain and also available as a ebook on archive.org)

A Japanese Touch for Your Home by Koji Yagi (nice pix of interiors)

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (children’s fiction) by Rumer Godden

Little Plum (children’s fiction) by Rumer Godden

ドールハウス和のしつらえ (Japanese Dollhouses) by Takako Mizohata and Kozue Kuboki (hard to find and shipping is expensive, but worth it if you like miniatures!)

 

Free LEGAL downloads of a few ebooks:

https://archive.org/details/japanesecostume12guns (book on Japanese costume from 1923)

http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1580&context=tsaconf (paper on historical clothing)

https://archive.org/details/bookofkimonodesi00kabu kimono design book from 1884

Folk tales:

https://archive.org/details/ancienttalesandf00gordrich

Tale of Genji as a Manga!

https://archive.org/details/manga_Asakiyumemishi-TheTaleOfGenji-v01

https://archive.org/details/manga_Asakiyumemishi-TheTaleOfGenji-v02

 

This is a list of other Japanese and Asian-style patterns I’ve done that are free on the blog:

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/free-pattern-for-february-kimono-geta-obi.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/geta-and-sandal-update-for-ag-dolls.pdf

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/hinamatsuri/

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/hinamatsuri-crafts.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/free-pattern-for-february-kimono-geta-obi.pdf

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/doll-hakama-pattern/

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/hakama.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/asian-jacket.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/asian-vest-final.pdf

Printable origami paper:

http://www.origamiway.com/printable-origami-paper/

 

 

 

Is it really back-to-school time already?

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Where we live in the mountains, none of the houses have air-conditioning, since at our altitude it rarely gets unbearably warm.  In fact, last week, we actually had our heat on because it poured rain for two days and the high was 50F!  Down on “the flat” where I work it’s a different story…always at least 10 degrees warmer and without the afternoon showers that cool things off.  And now it’s mid-August.  You know, the hottest time of the year when people would prefer to be up in the mountains?  And yet, we go back to school next week, which means it’s time to go on a spending spree with the large budget of zero dollars my district provides their SLPs to buy fun stuff like tissues, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, stickers, markers, glue sticks, lollipops, etc.

I had a professor in my undergrad SLP classes who told us all the time, “You should be able to do therapy with nothing but a paper clip!”  Her point was not to rely on pre-made materials to motivate and instruct, but on yourself and your own knowledge and skills.   I agree with her wholeheartedly, but when a kid sneezes on your paper clip and has snot running down her face, you also need tissues and hand sanitizer.  :)

Maybe your doll needs something cute, cool, and comfortable to deal with her un-air-conditioned classroom, or maybe she’s still on summer vacation.  Either way she will love this dress and you can learn about the three different types of angles you might want to use to clip various seam edges so they press perfectly after you turn them.

DOWNLOAD THE PLEATED DRESS PATTERN FREE HERE

A few more things:

I realized later there wasn’t a clear link to the smocking pattern last week, so I updated that post, but here it is again: https://www.etsy.com/listing/196456657/classic-smocked-dress-set-for?ref=shop_home_active_1

If you don’t have a paypal account, my etsy shop is now set up to accept credit cards AND etsy gift cards!  I organized it a bit too, and you can see categories now in the sidebar to help you quickly find things.  Here’s the link

I had planned to list a bunch of pre-pleated kits for smocking in case you are eager to try machine smocking but don’t have a pleater.  I went out and bought a bunch of fabric, washed and dried it, and then realized it might be a big task to make them in all the different sizes and keep them organized somehow, so…

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This is what I have available right now.  It’s a lightweight poly/cotton blend gingham.  The one that looks black is actually navy blue.  Let me know what size doll you need it for and I will pleat the front panel for you according to the pattern measurements and include enough fabric to make the rest of the dress for $8 plus shipping (about $2 probably)

If I don’t melt in the heat, more Back To School projects are coming soon!  Also stuff for Sasha Baby, and there’s still a big historical project in the works…

IMG_0350 a R If you’re new to the blog, there’s a GREAT post with backpack, lunch,  and assorted school supplies tutorial here

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Unless your dolls are going to back to school at Hogwarts, in which case, they’ll want the stuff here:

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/hogwarts-spellbooks-for-dolls-tutorial/

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/hogwarts-robe-pattern-for-slim-18-dolls/

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/harry-potter-costumes/