Tag Archives: free sewing pattern

And the winner is…

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So the vote from last week ended up with the Betsy patterns as a winner, and I have to say

a) I’m happy we’re going in that direction and

b) I’ll have some more fun 1950s crafts besides the Betsy dresses!

This week, we’re back to our scheduled sew-along of adapted Butterick 7973.  For the bodices and blouse so far, I had to make a lot of changes for a nice fit.  This week’s pattern includes both the original and some notes and altered pattern pieces to adapt for Wellies and other dolls with a similar torso.  As a reminder, their measurements are similar but proportions/shape are different, especially at the waist.  So more fitted pants were difficult to have fit both equally well.

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Get the pattern here

Need a blouse? Get it here: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/green-and-white-1950s-style/

OK, and that’s all the time I have to post so I can go get the guest room ready for the weekend. Our guest bed is usually covered with dolls awaiting fittings/photo shoots, and piles and piles and piles of outfits, but when your niece gets a last minute flight, you have to run in there and shove all the poor dolls back into their boxes and do something with all those outfits…  Note to self:  visit her next time instead 🙂

Bonne fête nationale!

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Or Happy Bastille Day if you speak English 🙂

Today is France’s national holiday, a bit similar to our 4th of July in that they both have parades and fireworks.  It’s also the perfect day to introduce you to my new(ish) doll, Francoise!

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I stumbled across the vintage version of this doll on Pinterest a long time ago, and  she reminded me of Bleuette, a French doll you might be more familiar with.  Not because they look anything alike, but because they were both associated with magazines that regularly published patterns for them.  Francoise was associated with the magazine “Modes et Travaux” and was introduced around the time Bleuette’s popularity was waning.  Francoise was not only a much more durable doll, but associated with a magazine moms may have already been getting for themselves, unlike Bleuette’s “La Semaine de Suzette” which was intended for children.

Her inaugural pattern in 1951 had the following introduction: (my translation – please excuse any errors)


We present to you “Francoise” whom your parents will be happy to offer you for Easter, if, as we don’t doubt, you have been wise and have worked hard in class during the second trimester.  Francoise is a ravishing doll of celluloid with beautiful porcelain eyes shaded with natural eyelashes specially designed to be easily dressed.  You are beginning to sew and knit, you will therefore be very proud to be able to make for yourself, like your mom, all the clothes for your little girl.  To that effect we will give you in every issue models destined for Francoise with all the explanations, patterns and advice for you to make them.  M et T is not only your mom’s favorite magazine it will also be yours since in each issue you will also have “your” page.


The doll you see above is an overpriced reproduction by Petitcollin of the 1950s doll by the same name.  Given that with shipping from Europe I paid about the same for this naked doll as an AG and she was actually made in France, I had high hopes for her quality.  Alas, they were dashed.  Her box arrived in poor shape – never a good sign.  Her body is made from some kind of squishy plastic, like a substantial dog toy or a rubber duck, and her head is harder plastic.  The squishy part was covered in some kind of powder, and when it was washed off, it was clear she had a lot of random scratches, rubs and marks.

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some of her seams are quite poorly trimmed/filled out

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I also ordered some expensive (~$15) shoes at the same time and they don’t match.  One has circle cutouts, one looks more like stars.

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But…I had waited SO long for her (shipping took ~3 weeks) and didn’t want to deal with the nightmare of exchanging her.  She has such a unique face and I had already made her a TON of clothes that I fitted on my Sasha.  All of those patterns might be ready as soon as next week!

Ok, Jen, I scrolled past all your text, where’s my free pattern? 🙂

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Click here

This was the second folk costume to appear for Françoise in 1953.  It claims to be from Marseille, but after doing some research I feel like it might be typical of Provence.  There is an amazing blog for folk costume enthusiasts called: http://folkcostume.blogspot.com/.  This image from Provence is from that blog and looks very similar to Francoise’s costume in my opinion!

 

Since it includes several pieces, we’ll  do half of them this week and half of them next week.  Don’t have a Francoise?  It works fine on slim dolls like Sasha and Magic Attic too!

Treasure Hunt

Were you wishing for something for the Wellies instead?  I’ve gotten a lot of requests for this:

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And came up with:

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I know, you just want to put your doll in those jammies and read her a bedtime story right? Even if she is being naughty and jumping on the bed 🙂  Several people have emailed me or posted pix of things they had already made for H4H and similar-size dolls that fit the WW, and it gave me an idea…

Here’s how to get  this PJ pattern:

  1.  Make something (or find something you already made) from an OLD Wrenfeathers pattern that fits the Wellie Wishers (free on this site or from my etsy shop, it doesn’t matter)
  2. Post a pic of it here (or somewhere else online if you can’t figure out flickr – do NOT just email me the pic!)
  3. Post a comment with the link to your pic and I’ll email you the PJ pattern!

If I don’t have a Wellie can I still have the PJ pattern?

Um…not right now.  I’m not being mean here!  Obviously not everyone has a Wellie Wisher, but I also know that those who do want to sew for them.  And how cool is it to find out you might already have patterns that fit?  I got out a TON of old H4H clothes and some of them fit my Wellie Wisher, but taking and posting all those pictures was daunting.  I’m offering the PJs as an incentive for people to do some of the picture taking and posting for me so we all can share the news about what fits!

It would be super great if you could find things that are NOT already posted; those would be the A-line jumper, puff-sleeve blouse and smocked A-line.  There are several cute things in the international collection that fit, other things from that same H4H sew-along, etc.

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Princess dresses including this one coming soon!

Totally off-topic but if you want a colored pencil comparison…

I know lots of you do other crafts besides sewing and I do too!  There’s been a wildfire burning about 20 mins northwest of our house, and in my stress I’ve been sitting in my dirty house doing a lot of drawing.  Why waste time cleaning when it might all go up in flames, right?  I recently picked up Wendy Hollender’s book on botanical drawing, and got it into my head to do one tulip from that book in all my different colored pencils.  I have so many sets because it’s impossible to decide which one is “the best”.  Ironically, Wendy suggests only a small set of polychromos, but lacking those I thought I’d see what came closest.  I think if for some reason I had to limit myself, I’d choose Derwent Coloursoft as my softer, main pencils, and either the Durer or Polycolor as my “detail” pencils, although I’m saving up for some Polychromos, so maybe I’ll add that info in the future.

In order to not have differences in the drawing detract from the pencils, I just did one, then scanned and printed it out multiple times on Strathmore 75lb mixed-media paper.  The scanner doesn’t quite do justice to the colors, but the settings were the same for all:

Colored pencil comparison

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

Back to school stuff

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YAY!  Time for awesome new back to school crafts including more shrinkies, printies AND a sewing pattern!

(scroll to the bottom to download)

If you are reading this blog, stop for a minute and consider how lucky you are.  It’s more than likely that you’re a girl, and yet you still had enough education to learn how to read.  That education enabled you to reach a high enough economic level that you are able to afford a computer, and you live somewhere that Internet access is readily available.  If you live in the developed world, the only barrier to you receiving the same education as the boys in your country was being able to get to school on time, which probably involved nothing more difficult than making it to the bus stop or walking a mile or so.

There’s a documentary on Netflix called “On the way to school” that brings to light the challenges children in developing countries encounter every day just to arrive at school safely.  It might be interesting to watch with your kids if they complain about their journey to school.  I’m pretty sure they didn’t have to worry about being chased by wild animals or pushing their brother’s broken-down wheelchair through the mud!

Another documentary called “Half the Sky”, which is also a book if you’d prefer to read instead, illustrates how girls in developing countries are facing horrible obstacles just to get primary education.  Note that this documentary is NOT suitable to watch with children and might make you cry.  Both of these documentaries made me very, very grateful to have grown up where I did, with easy access to education!

The two newest H4H dolls have stories that expose the harsh realities real children around the world are facing:
(images below from the H4H facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/HeartsForHeartsGirls)  Unfortunately, their page hasn’t been updated for almost a year, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed these gorgeous dolls will stay available!

Ok, so you have a H4H and want her to go to school?  She’ll need a uniform:

Click here to get a pattern to make a H4H size uniform, and school supplies and printable books for any size.

The fit of this is loose on H4H.  For a tighter fit, use a larger seam allowance at the side seams and make your skirt pleats deeper.  Need it for a different doll?  As a very rough guide, try 138% for Sasha/Kidz and 156% for AGs.  If you’re enlarging, you will probably also need to adjust sleeve width, lengths of the blouse and at the bottom of skirt and adjust outer seam allowances for collar.  To gauge how it might fit, compare your enlargement to a shirt with a similar pattern that you know will fit, such as this one: https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/summer-sew-along-2013-part-2-t-and-capris.pdf   Please make a muslin in scrap fabric/paper towels before cutting into good fabric.

Note to people who say shrinky dinks aren’t available where they live…they are just #6 plastic!  Probably you have some in your recycle bin right now!  You can recycle old containers made of rigid plastic with a #6 recycling logo.

 

French Fashion Dolls Week 3

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Apologies for not doing a good job moderating comments and responding to emails.  I AM reading them but since being back at work don’t really have the energy to do both and have to prioritize.

LOTS of people responded to the survey and I was going to summarize it this week but realized I hadn’t given you a deadline…so thank you if you have done it, and if you haven’t but still want to, please click here to do it today!  I’ll close it on Friday and have the results for you next week.

It may be hot where you are, but this week we have lots of winter fun.  There’s a toque and muff for keeping warm while you ice skate, as well as some pastimes to do by the fire, like knitting and dominoes.  Enjoy!

Get week 3 here

Next week is the end of the French Fashion series and I definitely saved the best shoes and paper craft for last! After that there will be a post on back to school goodies with an emphasis on H4H!

 

Le trousseau de ma poupée

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What I started last summer and never got a chance to share with you:

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This book came out a few years ago.  It was $75.  Since I don’t have a French fashion doll, I was obviously reluctant to plunk down that kind of cash for the book, even though I was sure it would be pretty great.  Then I found it on Amazon for a better price, and asked my husband if I could/should get it.  Knowing me as well as he does, he thought it would probably not be a good idea, as the logical outcome of this would be me begging for a French fashion doll.  Antique French fashion dolls with a complete trousseau can go for $10,000 and up at auctions, and modern reproductions cost about as much as a really nice BJD, which is probably more than I should be spending on a doll with such limited costuming possibilities.

(image from Thierault’s via pinterest)

So, I promised not to ask for a French fashion doll, and ordered the book.  It has patterns for two sizes of dolls in it, but unfortunately, there are no measurements of the dolls these patterns were drafted on.  Looking at the photos in the book, although these dolls were meant to represent adult women of the time, they have quite small busts and a larger waist than you would expect from a corseted era.   I tried a few of the 12” muslins I had made on a variety of dolls, and the closest fit was my Corolle Cherie, but it was still a little tight.  So I enlarged it at 110%.  Now it fit Hearts for Hearts with some minor adjustments!  “Fast and easy” are great words when it comes to sewing, but sometimes your sewing soul needs “intricate and complicated” to really feel a sense of accomplishment, and these dresses definitely make you proud when they’re finished!

French fashion dolls had their heyday around the 1850s-60s.  It’s tempting to compare them to Barbie or AG, as they had similarly enormous wardrobes and lots of accessories, but these were dolls for very privileged little girls.  Their clothing consisted of exquisite hand-made dresses for every conceivable occasion just like their mothers were wearing, in the finest of fabrics.  Their accessories were often of very costly materials, like ivory and even precious metals and gems for their jewelry!

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I decided it would be fun to create my own trousseau for my Hearts for Hearts, but coincidentally, while I was working on it, AG retired Cecile and Marie Grace!  I was heartbroken, as Cecile is one of my all-time favorite AGs, but bought some furniture and accessories, and then decided Cecile could share in the fun.  You can too!  This week we’ll start a 4-week sew- and craft-along.  Each week has different projects using a variety of crafting techniques.  There are sewing projects, paper crafts, shoemaking, tons of things made from modern-day elephant-safe “ivory” (AKA shrinky dinks), as well as hats and other random items.  They were made for H4H, but most items can be easily resized for bigger dolls.

To go along with all these accessories, there are some new historical dress patterns  that include my version of two of my favorite AG dresses from that era, sized for H4H and AG dolls, and one based on a very popular style shown frequently in antique doll trousseaux. Want to get a few patterns?  Use coupon code 20OFF20 to get 20% off any order of $20 or more in my etsy shop through Sunday! 

Go find a really fabulous box to use as a trunk, and get ready to re-create history!

Get week 1 free patterns here

BTW:  This set (maybe with a new doll?) would make an amazing gift for your special little girl!  Make it now and put it away for the next birthday/holiday.

Don’t like historical stuff?

I put together lots of AG inspiration and pattern links to sew modern clothes here

It will surely keep you busy until we finish the French Fashion series!  🙂