Tag Archives: dress

A new dress for Lilo!

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I’ll spare you a long story and just say I got some Disney animator dolls, and my favorite among them right now is Lilo.  She’s really cute, and like all of them, has an OK price to quality ratio, by which I mean she was inexpensive, but her hair/clothing/accessory quality leave a lot to be desired, especially if you know how to sew and can see where corners were cut during construction.  She came in a cute, simple red dress with a leaf print, but the inside was not finished at all.  That’s no big deal with a tightly-woven fabric, but this is synthetic and fraying already, and the hems are only turned once.  I feel like they could have heat-sealed the fabric at least if they weren’t going to serge it together, but can’t complain too much, since I got the doll on sale for $22.

If you’re reading this blog, I’m reasonably sure you know how to sew too, so here is a pattern for you to make your Lilo (or any other animator doll) a better dress!  It’s fast and easy, just the thing to help you recover from all those pleats in the summer sew-along! 😊 Leave off the sleeves to make her yellow/green dress from the movie or experiment with the suggested cutting lines to make all kinds of variations.  For many kids, having different clothing for their dolls adds a HUGE amount to their play value.  I’ve commented before that sometimes props/outfits can spark the imagination, and while it’s perfectly fine for kids to practice structuring a narrative by acting out a movie with their dolls, it’s even better to come up with their own stories/ideas/adventures!

Get the pattern here

This dress would be a fantastic canvas to stencil Hawaiian motifs like these which are available as a font here: http://www.pickafont.com/fontauthor/pokelele

More info about stenciling with freezer paper and maybe making a quilt for your Lilo here:

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/stenciled-tea-dress.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/nanea-quilt.pdf

Don’t have an animator doll?  I grabbed a flyer at the store that said there’s going to be a sale July 12-16 that you can get 25% off with coupon code 102PE50462500 which would make the dolls about $20.  (I have no affiliation or financial interest in this, just trying to help you save a few dollars if you want!)

Speaking of easy alterations, if you already have the Island sewing pattern set you can copy the AG version of the muumuu at 80% to fit Lilo!  Before you go skipping gleefully down to the copy shop with all your AG patterns in hand though, note that their body shapes are different, so it won’t work with everything, especially pants, fitted bodices and possibly sleeves. Also note that the earlier editions of the Animators are smaller in the torso too, so if that’s who you’re using it for, you should close the back with an overlap.  More about resizing and what fits them in a future post!

If you don’t have the Island pattern set and just want the muumuu pattern by itself, I’ve put it in a separate listing on etsy here which includes the original 14″ (Wellie) and 18″ (AG) and the resized 16″ pieces to make the dress Lilo is wearing in the pic above.

To reiterate…this is the same pattern that comes in the Island sewing pattern set with the addition of extra pattern pieces for 16″ dolls.

Summer Sew Along Week 1

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Yay, it’s time for the summer sew-along!  If you’re new to the blog, this is an event to motivate you to complete a mini wardrobe on a theme for your doll by sewing one garment each week.  This year it’s an Edwardian summer wardrobe AND a bunch of accessories, mostly sewn, some crafty!

Here’s how it will work:

Each week’s sewing pattern will be posted on Thursday – make sure to get it that day!  Most of these can be easily shrunken for 13-14″ dolls like Hearts for Hearts and Cheries by copying the slim size at 77% and you’re welcome to do that if you don’t have any 16″ dolls like AGAT, Sasha, etc.  If you miss a week, the patterns and their associated accessory will be available in AG and AGAT sizes on Etsy afterwards.

Sew along each week and post pix of what you made.  Get inspired and comment on others’ photos here. Note that I sometimes like to share your pix from there on the blog, so make sure to have sharing turned on/off if you do/don’t want that to happen.  Complete each week’s outfit and get the related accessories pattern free, complete all the weeks and get the bonus sewing/accessory pattern!

To reiterate:

Step 1: post pic of what you made each week here:  https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

Step 2: enter your email and the link to your pic here by next Thursday: https://goo.gl/forms/iA85Pu6rpSlCMxW62

Step 3:  Receive your accessory pattern by email next Friday.

This week we have an Edwardian Garden Party dress:

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Get the pattern here TODAY ONLY

 

 

 

 

 

Nanea’s Pearl Harbor Dress

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Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  Although Nanea’s book was not super engaging for me as an adult, the event did play an important part in her life, and marked the beginning of WWII for the US.  See more here from history.com

This pattern is actually from 1944, which is a little late for Nanea’s time, but similar versions of what makes it unique (the pointy yoke) can be found in commercial patterns from both earlier and later.  This one seems to only have been available in sizes for toddlers.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because I feel AG bodies are very well suited to those styles, but if you want to make something similar for a smaller size doll, check out this post which has something similar but a little easier for Sasha and Hearts for Hearts sizes.

Get the pattern here

A Lottie Wardrobe

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Lots of Lottie goodies this week!

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First of all, a “housing your Lottie” guide is here

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A free pattern for cute and easy felt clothes is here

And finally, a set of basic patterns to make a variety of play and dress clothes for Lottie is here

 

And your last SSA reminder:  If you missed the first deadline, you can enter until July 31 on this form and you will get your Nosy pattern Aug 1.

Summer sew-along week 2

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A super-long post with lots of dollie updates but feel free to scroll past it all to the bottom for this week’s sew-along pattern!

As I mentioned last week, our “Betsy paper doll” SSA will run the whole month of June this year, and I’m setting up automated posts to appear for the two weeks I’ll be gone, but won’t be able to see your flickr pix or respond to comments and my etsy shop will be closed during that time too.  I’ll leave all the patterns up for the duration of the sew along, and then they may transfer over to my etsy shop.  If you sew all the outfits and post your pix on Flickr by the end, you can get a bonus pattern for Nosy!  More info when the deadline approaches.

Where are we going?  Korea!  And now, let’s talk about Lottie.  They’re related in a VERY roundabout way 😊  So, I’ve mentioned her a few times on the blog but haven’t had one of my own until recently, but now have a whole bunch.  Let me explain…  I got the book below because all my “international” doll mooks so far came from Japan.

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This one, published in March, 2017 was the first Korean doll mook I’ve seen that is not just a translation of a Japanese one, but actually features Korean dolls and designers.  Even though it was expensive with shipping, I wanted to get it also to encourage more of these types of books to appear.

This isn’t a book review but…the book is OK.  Maybe not worth the high price I paid when shipping is factored in, mainly because there are scant instructions/patterns to actually make the cutest things they show but it does have lots of nice color photos for inspiration.  Most disappointing was the part called “Furniture for my doll” that has no furniture, just a tutorial about putting two squares of ?wood? together and covering them with wallpaper to make a backdrop. ☹  Anyway, it’s full of really cute dolls about 7-8” tall that cost hundreds of dollars if you can even find them outside of Korea with some extremely basic patterns that I (although probably not everyone) could have drafted in a fairly short time.  Oh darn, this is turning into a book review…  If you have these dolls and speak/read Korean and have limited sewing knowledge, this is the book to get.  If you’d like to know what’s trending as far as small doll clothes/settings in Korea and want a lot of inspirational photos to inspire you to create your own woodworking plans and embroidery patterns for all the cute little felt things, this is also the book for you.

OK, so how does this relate to Lottie?  I figured she might be about the size of the dolls in the book, which is correct-ish.  She’s the same height, but has a child body instead of the mature bodies of the book’s dolls.  My toy store (Grandrabbit’s in Boulder) had a large display of them, and I grabbed “Forest Friend” mainly because of a) red hair and b) super cute packaging.

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And then I did a post (no, you didn’t miss it, it just hasn’t appeared yet) on making little stuffed forest friends for her, because compared to the rest of them, Forest Friend is pretty lacking in the outfit/accessory department.  Other dolls come with multi-part outfits, for example, “School Days” comes with glasses, blouse, skirt, socks, shoes, scarf, backpack, leadership cards.  Forest friends comes with a dress, shoes and headband for the same price.  The back of the box instructs you to collect them all, and I’m doing my best 😉.  Their website also found me a new toy store I was unaware of (Jake’s Toy Box if you live near Arvada) with a super-friendly staff, some Lottie stuff in the clearance section and a deal on a Fossil Hunter Lottie!  That was a great day!

We took FHL to DMNS and got some really cute pix!  When I explained to some staff that this Lottie was special for promoting STEM activities for girls, specifically paleontology, and I wanted to put pix of her at the museum on my blog, they happily even let her hold a real fossil (of a trilobite below)!  Taking museum photos is challenging because the lighting is often dim to preserve artifacts and using a flash is frowned upon for that reason.  So, yes, not all of these are lit as well as I’d like, and there is some graininess in some of them.  This was lit with a flashlight:34271350034_e7eb096ccb_z

Check out the cute detailing on the soles of her shoes!

In addition to photos of her demonstrating her actual size (with trilobite above and ammonite below)

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DH was also having fun trying to do what’s called “forced perspective” with her.  If you’ve seen the special features of the Lord of the Rings movies, you might know how they play with placing things in relation to the camera to cause them to look bigger/smaller.  If you place tiny Lottie super close to the camera, it’s possible to make it look like she’s more life-size.  That’s a triceratops skull in the background; they are about 4m tall when “fully assembled”.

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Last year, when April was the Wrenfeathers GOTY, I took her to the same museum, and you never saw a lot of those photos because they didn’t all come out well, and it’s kind of a pain hauling around a doll about the size of a human infant and trying to pose her and hoping she doesn’t fall.  On the other hand it was SO much fun taking photos of Lottie because she slips easily into your purse when not needed and barely weighs anything.  People seemed to find her cute and engaging as we were taking pictures too.  She can also balance in small spaces, like ledges, where she watched a restoration in progress:

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and have other amazing adventures!

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See all the Lottie museum cuteness here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskY4QTr9

So, feeling like I needed a little travel doll for our vacation, I headed back to Grandrabbit’s to get a “School Days” Lottie intending to make her a hanbok and take pix of her all over Korea.  Sadly, there was an issue with that doll, (dents in her face caused by her glasses being on too tight) but when I contacted the company, they were very nice about it, and fixed the problem immediately.  Lottie has GREAT customer service compared to a lot of other doll companies out there right now, some of which can be a nightmare to deal with (cough, ruby red galleria).

With some searching I randomly found that lots of people, including those who paint the dolls in my Korean doll book above, are also loving and repainting Lotties!  And no, not in a makeup-y kind of way, but in a soft, sweet style that is in keeping with her creators’ intent to have her look like a real child:

[image on pinterest and here: http://www.imgrum.org/media/1304215656421827321_3161993446%5D

OK, so in other news, the best thing ever happened!  An amazing person gifted me with her childhood treasures…an 18” Madame Alexander, and a Ginny and Tiny Betsy!  And clothes!  And patterns!  I was over the moon with happiness and skipped to the sewing room with glee to make new dresses for them!  They are totally in keeping with this summer’s 1950s sew-along theme and I have plans to feature them too, but this post is getting too long already so…

now the part you scrolled down for:

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This week’s dress is from May 1959, and if you’re looking at this pic and saying, “I’m positive that was NEVER a Betsy paperdoll dress” you’re partially right!  I love Piet Mondrian and the dresses that are even today inspired by his work.  My brain was kind of focused on a half-baked plan to make some little bojagi (보자기) bedding for “Hanbok Lottie” to sleep in while I was making this dress and it hit me that this was almost the same!  Bojagi is a form of mainly square/rectangular patchwork in Korea that uses unusual (to my Western eye) color combinations and often uses thin fabric with the seams as a decorative element, forming a dark outline very similar to what Piet Mondrian did in some of his paintings:

( image is not mine – from: https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/18c1d-15259050_1324361700928275_6914702621332733952_n.jpg?ig_cache_key=MTM5NTI2NDEzMTA0MDQyMTEzOQ%3D%3D.2

I took the color scheme from a hanbok, whose picture I unfortunately can’t find right now and came up with Betsy’s dress – inspired by Mondrian, who ?maybe? got some inspiration from bojagi and now the circle closes and Betsy’s Mondrian dress goes bojagi 😊  Of course you can make it the original way too!  Our craft for this week is a mid-century table, because who doesn’t love mid-century furniture and there’s a serious lack of it out there for 14” dolls!

Pattern link is here

 

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: