Tag Archives: carpatina

Shoe school 101


So, it’s kind of a long story why, but I’ve started making shoes.  No, not for dolls, for me.  But I’m learning a lot in the process, and it’s certainly applicable to doll shoes, so I thought it would be nice to share and help you either start or improve your doll shoemaking skills.
Not covered:
Sandals: For doll size, you just cut two pieces of craft foam to fit her foot, then find some ribbon to use for straps. Tape the first sole onto the doll’s foot, arrange ribbons as desired and glue to bottom of first sole, the glue on the second sole, sandwiching the raw edges of ribbon in between.
Moccasins can be found here: https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/tlingit.pdf

For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting “Shoe School” which will likely include:
• Turnshoes (medieval and modern)
• Out-stitched shoes
• Lasted shoes

These will be posted in order of complexity, so you can follow along and learn something new every week!

Putting sandals and moccasins aside for the moment to focus on closed-style only, there are three basic ways a shoe gets made, and they fall into the categories of “innies” and “outies.” The first kind of “innies” are some of the oldest European footwear we know about, recovered from Scandinavian bogs and Medieval excavations. They’re called “turnshoes” and refer to the way they are constructed, by sewing all the seams and turning them right side out. I would say the majority of doll shoe patterns available commercially these days involve this kind of construction. It works great with materials like felt, fabric, and thin, flexible leather or leather substitutes.
This is a modern reproduction of a 10th C shoe from http://leatherhelms.com

It shows the unique triangular back found on many shoes from that period, and interesting (but not necessarily authentic) closure. Many shoes of this type were constructed with really ingenious leather “buttons” like this:

From the Barefoot Cordwainer on etsy.

And what does the doll version look like?  Well, I used wool felt, and then couldn’t just let the shoes stand on their own, noooo, I had to make a whole Viking costume to go with them!

Get shoe pattern here.   Get Viking outfit instructions here.

Get embroidery designs in .pes format here: 4×4 or 5×7

Where’s Jasmine?


Ok, time for the next contest!!

Jasmine is west of the Mississippi.  She’s pictured below dressed for the 40th anniversary of an annual event that just happened in March.  First 3 people to guess exactly where she is (specifically the building she’s in!) win the new pattern collection available here!  Post your answer here: https://www.facebook.com/wrenfeathers

So, a Carpatina Julia joined our doll family recently and demanded to be dressed like a princess.  With my love of other cultures and their clothing, the one or two European princess dresses I was going to make expanded into a collection of 6!  And then the AGs got jealous and it just spiraled out of control.    🙂

The collection “officially” comprises:  Medieval England, Renaissance Italy, Ming Dynasty China, Ancient Egypt, Medieval Persia, and a modern sort-of Princess…the Jingle Dancer Powwow princess pictured above!  But lots of the patterns could be used for other things too.  With a bit of imagination, the Egyptian one could turn into a Balinese dancer, the Chinese one could turn into a Korean Jeogori and you could probably even shorten the medieval English dress and turn it into a modern Irish dance dress or even something from the 1940s.

Carpatina Julia in a “tomboy” version of this princess “dress” using just the bodice with leggings.

A girl for all time Clementine as “Lady of the Lake” – Medieval Celtic Princess

Carpatina Julia in an Italian Renaissance gown

My AG “Violet” as an Egyptian princess

Magic Attic Rose as a medieval Persian Princess

Pattern also includes a Powwow Princess jingle dress and Ming dynasty Princess.  See more here

Also, by request, more patterns are available for Saila (or other 18″ dolls) like my version of this calico parka called a kuspuk (pictured below) .

With all these new patterns, I’ve reactivated the coupon code 20off20.  Paste that in at checkout on etsy and it will take 20% off your purchase of $20 or more.  It expires at midnight on April 15th.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


I meant to post this last year and Hinamatsuri got in the way.  Don’t know what that is?  Click here https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/hinamatsuri/ to find out…also to see what my photos looked like before I got better at image processing.  🙂

Anyway, I made this Queen of Hearts dress last year for Sasha and Galina, but if you have Girl For All Time Matilda, it would look perfect on her too!  Before you ask, no, it is not sized for AGs and I have no immediate plans to do so.

galina queen hearts castle(click to enlarge…background is from publicdomainpictures.net)

Download Queen of Hearts Dress Pattern Here 

*****If you are making it for Sasha or Girl for All Time shorten sleeve by 1/2″ (~1cm)******

Other fun stuff:

A lovely photo of Galina in the mola blouse from Murray

And check out costuraquasereta’s blog for another look for the fall blouse and, I think, A-line skirt

A size chart of different doll feet  I traced to help with your shoemaking/buying

Made something from a Wren*Feathers pattern?  I love seeing your creations!!  Send me a link or post it here:  https://www.facebook.com/wrenfeathers

Stay tuned … a new installment of “Where’s Jasmine” is coming soon!!

And not doll-related, but…

School-based SLPs do a difficult job with little to no recognition [long rant deleted]  If your child gets speech-language services at school, stop at the grocery store, get a little box of Valentine’s candy and stick it in the SLP’s mailbox at school with a little note saying  “Thank you for working with______”.   I promise, it will be the nicest thing that happened to her all week!  

Hooray…new dolls and new patterns!


Hearts for Hearts dolls has been teasing us with Mosi for a very long time now. At first, I wanted her as a Christmas present (That was in 2012) but she wasn’t out yet. Then I wanted her for my birthday (which is in January) and she still wasn’t out yet! Finally in March they posted on their Facebook page that she would be available this summer along with Shola, an incredibly beautiful new doll who is supposed to be from Afghanistan. To celebrate the arrival of the doll I have waited for for such a long time, blog readers are getting a free pattern! When Mosi was originally introduced, she was supposed to be Navajo, so the outfit I created for her is a traditional Navajo skirt and blouse.

You can download it here  It’s sized for Mosi as well as American girl and Magic Attic, just in case you haven’t gotten around to getting Mosi yet.

Guess what else?  There are 2 new pattern collections!

The first one is a set that represents many of the countries that the Hearts for Hearts Girls come from, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, India, Mexico and more. Not only do they fit the Hearts for Hearts Girls, they are also sized to fit larger dolls like American Girls, Kidz n Cats and Sasha.

The second set is a unique concept I came up with to re-create most of the folk costumes of Europe!  These patterns are sized to fit slim 16 to 18 inch and AG dolls, and include instructions for how to adapt them to fit Hearts for Hearts.

When I put out the Feedsack Fun book, I did get a couple of requests to remove and sell individual patterns from the book. The way it was structured, it was difficult to break it up into individual patterns.  So this time I am breaking up each collection into parts.  You can get Europe or each of the other individual countries’ patterns separately, or broken into two sets – Europe and Ethnic set#1.  For all my wonderful blog subscribers, for the next three days you can use the code blog20 in my etsy shop to get 20% off if you buy both collections – that’s 245 pages of pattern pieces, photos, inspiration and instructions.

Click here to see the collections:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/jenwrenne

If for some reason you are having problems with Etsy, please email me and I can send you a PayPal invoice instead.

Not into ethnic clothes?  By request, the overalls and motorcycle jacket patterns are being resized to fit AGs!  They will be bundled into the patterns that fit the slim dolls.  Look for them in the etsy shop in the next few days!

Vote for the next FREE Mosi/Kaya project or submit a fabulous idea here:




Hinamatsuri is a holiday that needs to be international – it’s doll festival day!!  I struggled with when to post this.  March seemed reasonable, but the festival falls on March 3rd, which wouldn’t give you enough time to get things done.  I also wanted to do Chinese New Year, which falls on February 10th this year, and for that I designed a Chinese dress and started a set of felt food.  Well, I was sick for almost 2 weeks and then spent an entire weekend at a (kind of boring) conference, so not much has gotten done for the blog, and my ambitious plans fell a little short.  So there’s a Chinese dress pattern (and some ready-to-wear ones) coming soon to my etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/jenwrenne but  this post will focus just on Hinamatsuri.

As a doll-loving child I absolutely adored all of Rumer Godden’s books.  In particular Little Plum and Miss Happiness and Miss Flower captivated my imagination.  If you have not read them, your local library probably has some of her books.  The Story of Holly and Ivy is one of the loveliest Christmas stories ever and I re-read it every year and cry happy tears at the ending.
Anyway, in  Little Plum the childrens’ little Japanese dolls celebrate a “dolls’ doll festival” which I’ve wanted to do ever since I first read the book, and this year I’m finally getting around to it.  Though what ends up on the blog always seems to me to fall short of all the great ideas I had in my head, I bet your dolls would enjoy it as much as Miss Happiness and Miss Flower did.  (What I would enjoy is some more ethnic diversity in the KnC product line but that’s another story)


The most important part of the festival is a set of dolls that are often family heirlooms.  They are arranged on a set of red steps with gold folding screens behind them and other props such as trees and lanterns.  A large set can be used to represent the royal court of Japan, but minimally you need the emperor and empress.  (click photo above to enlarge)

Here is an explanation of all the dolls: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinamatsuri

and here are links for the paper ones I made:

The pattern for the Kimonos is here and the other dresses are an adaptation of the sweater from the ballet pattern.  These outfits will all be for sale on etsy in the next week or so, but if you’d like to email me (jenniebagrowski at hotmail dot com) to order them before that,  I will pay shipping!

Since these dolls are heirlooms, kids are obviously not permitted to play with them, so other “play” versions can be found as well, such as stuffed Emperor/Empress Hello Kitty, re-ment sets, etc.  I made the ones Lena is holding, which are similar to kokeshi dolls as a play version, but of course you could set them up as your whole display if you want!


Traditional foods include delicious diamond shaped cakes called hishimochi and the ever-popular chirizushi.  Click here to get a .pdf of crafts (dolls and food) for hinamatsuri.
Even if you don’t like to eat it, you have to admit sushi is beautiful, especially if you arrange a lot on a plate to get a variety of colors and textures.


And thank you to everyone who voted/commented on the Spring pattern.


Responses were strongly in favor of vintage 40’s-50’s with a comment about matching coat/dress ensembles so I am thinking about maybe doing something like this:

 sweet sue pattern

From an old McCall’s Sweet Sue pattern

Doll Hakama Pattern






What kind of husband gives up part of his weekend to help his wife contort dolls into Aikido poses?  A wonderful one.


On the wall behind them are the 2 things found in every dojo (school).  A poster that says Ai Ki Do and a picture of O-Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba (the founder of Aikido).  Many of the movements start with “Grab my wrist…” (shown above)


Your partner then uses your energy to throw/push/pull you around.  This (above) is part of Ikkyo.

Using your opponent’s energy means even a weaker person can “throw” a stronger one.  Here, Galina shows the end of the Ikkyo movement.


Knowing how to fall properly is essential.  Here, Alister demonstrates a forward roll.  Your hand hits first and your body rolls along.



More practice with the ever-important front rolls.  Galina rolls over Alister.

Twisting arms into various painful positions can disable your opponent immediately.  Alister is doing Shiho Nage on Galina and she shows a kote gaeshi pin on him.


If you want to see these in action, youtube has many examples. A search for Steven Seagal and Aikido will entertain you for a while.


And if you just want your dolls to look cute click here for the hakama pattern