Tag Archives: free doll sewing pattern

Rococo challenge

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Congrats to more than a hundred people who successfully completed the summer sew-along this year!!  You can see everyone’s beautiful work here and if you didn’t participate, you can get all the patterns here.

If you’d like to keep up the sewing momentum, I started a new (and long overdue!) group for ALL the Wren*Feathers stuff you make!  It’s here (https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/pool/)

You can post anything you’ve made from my patterns in it.  And to encourage you to post, I have a challenge for you AND some tips for better doll photos.

Paola Reina’s las amigas have a collection of dolls in gorgeous dresses called “época” (pic above from their site) that are based on a mid-1700s pattern.  Their dresses have the hallmarks of this period, including a tightly fitted bodice with a fake stomacher done as a contrasting center, straight, elbow-length sleeves ending in big flounces, and wide skirts with a contrast center.  If you lived back then, depending on your socio-economic status, a lot of your dresses would be basically of this cut but more or less elaborate in fabric and decoration.  Since this WAS the rococo period, overflowing with decoration of every kind, and these dolls are small enough to not require too much fabric or trim, I thought it might be fun to see how decorative we can get!  Lace, embroidery, brocade, ribbons, ruffles…

Download the FREE rococo challenge pattern here

(it’s not a contest, just a challenge for fun!)

I also put together a highly opinionated guide:

Tips for better doll photos

I said it’s opinionated!  So as you read the guide, remember I’m trying to be helpful, not judging your photos!  If you look back at my early blog doll pix and the first pix in the guide, you’ll see I used to do most of the things that I’m now telling you NOT to do.  After taking thousands of doll pix I’ve become more aware of what makes them better, and you can just read the guide and skip the taking of a thousand pictures to improve yours.  No, you don’t even need a fancy camera!  I looked at one of the sew along pix and thought, hmmm, she did a nice job on that, let me just scroll down and see what kind of camera she used…it was an iPhone!

Something new is coming for Ten Ping next week and there are so many other things half-finished I can’t predict which ones will appear here unless I open a factory and hire people to finish them! 🙂

Liu

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You know that sunny day I keep waiting for?  Apparently it’s not going to happen any time soon!

Yes, that’s snow.

 But on to happier things…

I have wanted a Paola Reina Liu ever since I first learned of their existence a few years ago.  I kept asking Santa every year, telling him if only he could get me one I wouldn’t ask for anything else, and he kept telling me that no one would ship one to the US, or at least not for a reasonable price.   When you want something for a really long time, you do run the risk of being disappointed if the actual product does not live up to the high expectations you’ve built up for it.  Thankfully, that was not the case with my Liu!  Even though the one I eventually got came in a hideous soccer uniform, and had stains from her black shorts, I am thrilled with her and immediately set about making the outfit that I wished she had come in.

This is the original catalog/advertising photo

And this photo is of the actual doll (not a production sample) I found on Pinterest, with the front looking a bit different and kind of wonky.  It appears to close with a flap or something at the front,  but it ends up looking thick and out of scale with those large buttons.  The pants are also in a different print.

So, I was happy I didn’t pay a lot more for “Purple-Outfit-Liu” and the blouse pattern I came up after learning how weird the front could look when closed with a flap, closes in back and looks similar but, in my opinion, more wonderful!  The front panel can be made in a contrast fabric, have decorative topstitching in a contrast color, or you can do something creative with the seams like rickrack or piping.  It has nice simple lines, sews up quickly and still manages to look sophisticated. Pair it with the pants pattern here, or maybe a cute ruffled skirt.  My pants are a little longer and less full to look more like something a modern girl is wearing right now.  You could make them in a knit print and pair with a hoodie – just alter last week’s raincoat to be shorter!  And yes, based on the results of last week’s poll, you like this size so more patterns will be appearing!

Get the free pattern here

And just for silliness…

When I was taking Kit’s chicken pix, I spent at least an hour getting the chickens to come near her and stop moving enough for a picture.  When I set Liu down by this log, they were very curious and just wouldn’t leave her alone, hence “Liu and the Giant Chicken”

And now I’m pining after this special edition of Dasha (by La Lalla) that’s not available in the US…

 

Sasha’s purple blouse…and mine

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Wow, I didn’t anticipate such a response to the Maru dolls!  Remember in June when I did that survey about what you’d like to see on the blog?  Maybe one person mentioned Maru dolls.  And all of a sudden, a flood of people said, “Yes!  Make patterns for them!”

maru survey

So I will.  A few more even said, “I voted no, because I don’t need patterns, but would still like to see pix of what you make”  A few of you are already sewing for them.  Click here to see a French blog with tons of nice sewing and knitting for Maru and many other dolls.   She has used some of my slim doll patterns for them, adding an extra .5cm (that’s ~.25″) around the outside.

Along with about a dozen other projects, there are several things in the works for Maru and friends.  As soon as the paperwork fairy appears at my work and waves her magic wand, sparing me from about 20 hours of reports and IEPs, I will get them out to you!  🙂 For right now, here’s a blouse I made for Sasha over the summer.

sasha reading to baby

Sasha reads to baby while sporting an authentic 1970s embroidered blouse (click to enlarge)

Yes, it also fits Kidz n Cats and should fit Hearts for Hearts dolls copied at 77%.

I know you want it to fit AG Julie too, right?  It might not be a perfect fit, but I would suggest copying at 120% and shortening back to its original length.  You’ll probably need to shorten the AG sleeves back to its original length too after enlarging.

Click here to download pattern

(link for free embroidery design is in pattern)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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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!  

Panama!

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Thanks to everyone who participated, we had a winner in the “Where’s Jasmine?” contest VERY quickly!  I know not everyone uses FB, but I did it as a facebook contest so all the entries would have the same “time stamp.”  Sometimes when I send things from one email  to another (like forward things from work to home) there’s a lag of several minutes, and I wanted to make sure it was fair to everyone.  Also, you can see immediately what other people guessed.  The winner will be getting a shirt like this:

And everyone gets the pattern for it here

I have the embroidery in .pes format, just email if you want it.  Note that there are a LOT of little strings to cut but it’s still WAY faster than doing it the “real” way.

I’m so happy with my new Jasmine!  The universe must have seen the issues I was having lately with Saila and Henrietta and finally smiled on me.  Not only did I get Jasmine, I also got an Adora Kayla, and look what they got me for my bday.  (Thank you, Bday Fairy!)

AND best of all, they had no stains, scratches, shiny spots and are very nice quality dolls for the price.  They are not quite the same size as AG/Maplelea, as they are a little thinner and shorter, with shorter limbs.  You can see the difference a little in the photo with Jasmine and Saila above.

Too cold where you live to think about making that blouse?  Check out what Elisana did with the Halloween pattern:

See more on her blog here: http://costuraquasereta.blogspot.com/2014/01/costurando-pra-netinha-parte-1.html

Mix and Match part 1

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Well, everything I planned to have ready today is not appearing yet.  Here’s why:   I took some of my time off to go through old bank statements (yes, I know, I should have been more “on the ball” about it…) and found out someone somehow stole my debit card number and has been having fun with it.  For a while.  And so, at first, I was too upset to do anything, and then, when I finally calmed down, it was a nonstop marathon of checking through mountains of financial records, and then making phone calls to the bank, police, various companies the charges were made at, etc.  It seemed every time I sat down at my sewing machine the phone rang again, to the point where I wanted to toss it out the window.  Moral of the story, learn from my mistake and CHECK YOUR STATEMENTS IMMEDIATELY!

So, needless to say, many of my fabulous patternmaking plans for this week got put on hold.  But let’s talk about the contest, shall we?  The hard thing about a contest like this is…you have to choose a winner.  Being a pretty indecisive person, it was SOO hard to choose one!  I had planned to post everyone’s entries here, but technical difficulties are preventing that.  Most people sent them as .pdfs, and I can’t find a way to display them without downloading each one separately, saving to my computer, then uploading them here with a separate link to each one.  I’m reasonably certain of two things:  one, you’d rather have me making patterns than spending hours down/uploading stuff, and two, you’re pretty unlikely to want to separately click to open 40 or so pdfs.  So, just a few examples…

There were many good ideas, and several people submitted a lot of them, so there were close to 40 in all.  I was especially touched by how many mother-daughter entries there were.  Should I pick my favorite?  Hmmm, which one would that be?  There were a few that were fantasy-style, elegantly draped, or had details I LOVED, but got pretty complicated when turned into the “real thing” and never made it past the muslin stage.  (Yes I made (or at least tried to make) muslins of the entries I especially liked)

This one, for example, (by the talented paper-crafter Marge from http://maricopastamper.blogspot.com/) had lovely draping at the shoulders and tucks and a laced up back.  But I will tell you that it is super difficult to get perfect tucks in satin, and downright impossible to get them to line up in the front, even with patience and advanced sewing skills.

There were several entries by children who had some great ideas, and went the “extra mile”  not just drawing dresses but  also accessorizing their outfits with hats, jewelry, etc. like these:

Then there were some really special ethnic and historical entries, by Ryan M, whose daughter is the beneficiary of his amazing paperdoll drawing skills

 

Then the more I thought about it, I figured since everyone couldn’t win an outfit, the best idea would be to pick something everyone might like to get as a pattern, and would be accessible to newer sewers too.  Since there were multiple entries that looked to be from the Edwardian era, I ended up choosing one elegant “grown-up” one as the winner to get the outfit, and then merging ideas for several others together for a more child-like dress as well. They will appear together in one pattern set as soon as I can get them finished.  Resizing and trying to make interesting variations for 3 different dolls takes way longer than you’d think!

I’m keeping everyone’s designs in my “stuff to maybe make in the future” file, and if your design gets used I will send you that pattern free!

One thing I DID manage to accomplish was the first installment of the mix-match wardrobe.  YAY!   DOWNLOAD IT HERE.  More will be coming next week.

New patterns and tigers and bears…oh my!

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Ever wonder happens when you buy one of my patterns?  (Well, obviously, you print it out and go sew)  Me?  I do a little happy dance, and then I add that total to a list I keep on my fridge.  That’s my budget for buying new dolls, fabrics, trims etc.  Buying new fabric and dolls inspires me to create new patterns for you, but you are also encouraging me to produce more free patterns.  I try to give back to the doll community and keep a good ratio of  free patterns to more complex ones that end up being for sale. If you’re thinking, oh… that’s nice… another free pattern, I will share with you some of the emails that I have gotten. There are moms and grandmas out there who literally have to save up to buy the little girl in their life a Hearts for Hearts Girl or Target’s version of AGs.  I have gotten more than one email from them saying they can’t afford to buy patterns or new fabric, but are so thankful they can use my free patterns and cut up old clothes to make things for their little girl’s doll.

The newest collection I’ve created is a Regency era set.  Most of the pieces are based on AG’s Caroline wardrobe, and I was doing this as a personal project, thinking that I might end up with a Carolyn for Christmas.  Well, “Santa” informed me that probably won’t happen, but Lanie was nice enough to fill in as a model.  If there’s going to be a Caroline at your home soon, or your other dolls love to pretend they are in a Jane Austen novel, these patterns will let you clothe them in AG-style outfits for a lot less than it would cost you to buy the “real thing”.  Everything you see below is included in one set of patterns to fit AG-size dolls here:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/165050561/regency-sewing-pattern-set-for-american?ref=shop_home_active

And since I won’t be needing any Regency-era outfits, you can have a chance to win the whole collection of outfits pictured above!   **Any purchase you make in my Etsy shop between now and November 10th is your chance to win the whole collection if you put the word “Caroline” in the notes to seller.**  (In case it’s not clear, doll, shoes, and socks are not included )  I will put all of your order numbers into a box and choose one on November 11.  If you have made a purchase in the last week or so and want to enter the drawing, just find your order number and send it to me in an email with the word “Caroline” in the subject.

Need another incentive? Use the coupon code 20off20 and save 20% off any $20 purchase! It’s good until Nov. 11

Last year, someone (I think it was Barb) asked for Halloween costumes that could be creative, like something other than the standard witch, ghost, etc. Well, it took a year, but I came up with something that can fill a wide variety of costume needs!  It can also serve as cozy pajamas, and it’s just adorable when dolls dress up as teddy bears, no matter what time of year it is!
Violet wanted to go as a tiger this year, and Atsuko decided to be a teddy bear. There are no instructions included with this pattern, it’s fairly straightforward.  If you can sew a raglan T-shirt and basic pajama pants, you can sew this.  (CLICK photo to enlarge)

IMG_0343orig sizer

DOWNLOAD THE COSTUME HERE

I apologize that I did not have time to resize this for Sasha/Kidz n Cats. Enlarging the 13-14″ pattern to 133% should work, although you may need to adjust the length of sleeves and pants.  Quarter inch seams are included.

You know how I said two new historical collections were coming?  Well, the next one has been delayed a bit, because it’s inspired by Molly, who AG is retiring at the end of this year 😦 and Clementine, the new doll from “A girl for all time,” who is supposed to be from the 1940s.  She was supposed to arrive mid-September, then late September, then was supposed to ship this week…well she hasn’t yet, but when she finally does arrive, she’ll have lots of new clothes ready and waiting for her!

Her measurements are similar to Sasha’s, but she is jointed like the earlier Kidz n Cats.  When the company first started, I sincerely contemplated Matilda, but you had to order the dolls from the UK, which meant high postage costs.  They now have a US website: http://www.agirlforalltime.us/ which is offering free shipping at the moment should you want to get one (which really makes me regret pre-ordering Clementine in August!)

So I leave you with a “sneak peek” of what’s to come next week (assuming Clementine arrives soon for her photo shoot):