Tag Archives: dress

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:

 

 

 

April’s Halloween Dress

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April should have appeared before Halloween, but everything got off a week because of Kenny’s “illness”.  Luckily this dress is good for any time of the year, with a sweater or jacket over it for cool weather.  April’s cardigan from January would probably be perfect, just not buttoning in front.  NOTE:  It was fitted on April, who’s a bit slimmer than some of my new AGs. It’s fine on Journey Girls and would be a bit loose on newer KnC bodies.  You can see in the pattern pix it fits the newer AGs, but the fit is quite slim – probably too slim for larger-bodied older AGs!

Download her Halloween dress here

 

Read her journal here

(yes, some months are missing but it explains the costume and ties in depression awareness month)

 

Summer sew along 2016!

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Yay!  It’s summer sew-along day!

The first SSA started with me deciding a mix-match vacation wardrobe would be a fun project, and I encouraged people to sew it along with me, with the goal at the end being a bunch of pieces that worked well together.  It was SUPER popular, and the following two years I did the same type of thing (mix-match) but you HAD to post a pic to get the next pattern for free.  A lot of people liked that, because it’s fun to share your accomplishments and it keeps you on track to complete all the pieces, but some people who weren’t as comfortable with technology found it difficult.

This year for the first time it won’t be a mix-match, but thanks to your votes it will be a series of sundresses and sandals (alternating weeks) for the whole month of June, and focus on Paola Reina’s Las Amigas.  The first dress pattern and sandals will be up permanently free on the blog, the other two dresses will be available in PR size free for a short time only and then available on etsy in all sizes.

Who will these fit?

They’re designed for Paola Reina’s “Las Amigas”.  It’s a company I like because the dolls are made in Europe, and if you watch their video on youtube, it shows their factory roof is covered in solar panels.  Makes me feel less guilty buying things that are a little more environmentally friendly rather than made in China!  If you live in the US, you can sometimes find them for a reasonable price on ebay or  amazon.   Another not-too-expensive option, (around $40) and readily available in the US is Corolle Cheries.  Some other options include Bleuette (will need length modifications) and Little Darlings.

Does this pic look familiar?

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Yes, I actually made the dress last year and featured it under the hoodie, which was the final project of last year’s SSA.  Both the hoodie and the leggings from last year, and maybe even the long-sleeve T can pair nicely with sundresses, so if you have those patterns handy, think about how you could combine them to make a multi-season ensemble.  If you didn’t participate last year, all the patterns are available here

Get this week’s pattern free here

One of the things that makes the summer sew-along so much fun is that the patterns are simple. Depending how much time/sewing experience you have, your dress can be as easy or as elaborately decorated as you’d like.  It’s a lot of fun to share what you’ve done, as well as get inspiration from others, and you can do that on the Flickr group!

Post photos of your creations and see what others have done here!

 

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

 

Valentine Tea Dress

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Who’s the bendiest of them all?  Surprise – it’s Barbie!

Around Christmas I was in Toys R Us and an overwhelmed grandma asked me if I knew anything about dolls.  Um…yeah, a bit 🙂  I tried pointing her to the fabulous Journey Girls, but her GD apparently was into Barbie, which I’m not.  I strolled down the Barbie aisle with her though and found a new one called “Made to Move”.  The price was right (about $15) and I bought one for research purposes, thinking there was no way it was as good as Obitsu.

I finally got around to doing a pose comparison this week, and I was shocked!  When compared to my bendiest dolls in that size range, Barbie is able to do more realistic yoga poses:

L-R – Ruby Red Senson, J-doll, Azone picconeemo, Momoko, obitsu 23cm with little Pullip head, MTM Barbie

Can sit in an actual lotus position

And can bend her knees nicely to sit in the Japanese pose called seiza

Yes, the Obitsu can do pretty much all these things too, but her body is floppy and arms are too short to do realistic arm-over-the-head poses.  There are a few more pix here  if you’re interested.

 

So, when I was asking for suggestions about April and which OG outfits you liked, Brandy asked for this as a Valentine’s dress:

I decided April and her mom and their friends have a Valentine’s tea and dress up for it.  More to come about it in her journal, but for now, here’s the

VALENTINE TEA DRESS PATTERN

I’m digitizing results of the Valentine heart contest from last week and basing the winner on which design looks best when embroidered.  It’s taking a while so I will post the winner next week.

The computer-generated images were fine, but please be aware that if you scanned your drawing as grayscale (L) instead of black and white, it shows up like the pic on the right when I convert it to B&W and it can’t be used.

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Also, if you did scan as B&W but drew with pencil, sometimes it got grainy when it scanned and can’t be used without a ton of editing or re-drawing.

If you’d like to re-scan and re-send your drawings in the next day or two, you can.  Thanks to everyone who entered!

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.

 The Nursery School and Sunday Visit patterns are available on etsy 

 

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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”.