Tag Archives: free

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:

 

 

 

Nancy and Emiko on Safari

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So, back in October I got a reproduction Nancy Famosa, who didn’t actually make it onto the blog for a while.  In the meantime, I got obsessed with the 1970s, since that’s the era she was from, and also got Crissy’s cousin Velvet and did some sewing for her.  There are a ton of half-finished things for Nancy, and also an interesting post started about Velvet’s clothes.  I try to keep the blog relevant and interesting to the greatest number of people, although I also sometimes post things here just because I like them. For instance, Nancy is probably not super popular in the US, because she’s hard to find, but I adore her.  31647189795_376eb16cfa

Some blog readers want to see something awesome, download the pattern and make it for that exact doll.   Others say they are interested to see a variety of dolls here, even if they don’t have them and maybe let the photos inspire something they’d like to make for another doll.  What do you think?

 

This week’s pattern is a sort of hybrid outfit for Nancy based on her originals “Kenia” and “Safari”.

If you lengthen the sleeves and pair it with these pants, you can make a few more variations of her original outfits too!  I was going to break this up into two posts, but decided instead to do both parts (skirt and blouse) this week and might skip posting next week.  The skirt will also fit Girl for all Time, but the top is too small.  The whole outfit also fits the Wellie Wishers but looks best with the hems of both top and skirt shortened a bit!

Get the pattern here

In case your dolls have nothing to wear for the holidays yet, I was on the Wrenfeathers flickr page and found some nice holiday dress ideas that are not just red and green:

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 This cute gingerbread Sasha outfit is by Mary Davis.

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And this sparkling blue party dress is by Penny Tennerman

You can post pix of YOUR dolls celebrating in their Wrenfeathers dresses here

 

Bienvenida Nancy!

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Happy Thanksgiving!!

I am so thankful for all your support and encouragement!  The coupon code 20OFF20 is active in my shop from now through Monday to help you get a head start on your holiday sewing!

 

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This is from an early Nancy Famosa catalog.  She’s a doll that was made in Spain starting in the late 1960s.  It says, “I’m Nancy.  I want to be the most elegant of all the dolls you have.  I present to you all the ensembles with which you can make me happy.  How happy I will be if you give me all of them!”

Wow.  Talk about presumptuous!  The parents should not just buy the child a doll but ALL her outfits too!

I don’t think anyone could argue that fashions of the 1950s and early-mid  1960s were anything but stylish.  Once you get to the late 1960s through the 1970s, it’s a whole different story.  Most of us don’t have to research any farther than our own family photo albums to find clothing from that time period that, in retrospect, we might label “hideous”, no matter how stylish it was at the time.

In the US at this time, Nancy’s counterparts would have been Crissy and her cousin Velvet, and when you compare the two, Nancy’s clothing really did look a lot more elegant.  I started doing a little research and realized the 1970s did have a certain style and it was THE era for handmade stuff and decorative clothing!  There was actually a toy series called “The Sunshine Family” and their accessories included a craft store with a spinning wheel and pottery wheel!  They had a truck they drove around to craft fairs with and all their sets came with little booklets for kids to make miniature crafts from household materials for the dolls to “sell”.  They get my vote for “BEST TOY EVER!” even though they were a little before my time and I never played with them.

OK, back on topic.  I recently got a reproduction Nancy Famosa called “Yo quise ser tenista”.

The 1970s were the first time pants were really considered appropriate women’s attire for any occasion, and Nancy had a profusion of them!

Elastic waist pants are great for doll garments intended for kids, but not so much for adult collectors.  Firstly because after many years the elastic eventually stretches out and your garment is ruined, and also because it can make for a bulkier waist, which limits what type of top you can pair with the pants.

Perfectly-fitted non-elastic pants can be just as difficult to draft for dolls as for people, and I’ve avoided it for my AGAT Clementine by telling myself it wasn’t appropriate for her era.  Someone requested wide-leg pants for her Sam a while back, but I wanted a nicely-fitted waist, so it’s taken a while!  Awesome news:  AGAT and Vintage-Repro-Nancy can share pants!

More awesome news: Two versions of well-fitting 1960s-70s pants are now available in one pattern here

The pattern includes two versions – one with slightly-flared legs and and one with super-wide legs that you might call “palazzo pants” or “elephant bells” depending on your age.

They make for a perfect repro of the 1970s “hippy” outfit for Nancy, who some of you might have guessed will be making some appearances on the blog.  The original pants appear to have had painted flowers, but I digitized them for machine embroidery.  The .pes file is free with purchase of the pants pattern – just put in “notes to seller” that you want it!

Here is a free pattern for her T and necklace

In case you’re wondering how big she is, here is a comparison photo:

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L-R 1970s Sasha, Fisher Price My Friend, Nancy Famosa Reedicion, Kimberly, New Nancy Famosa, Crissy, New Kidz n Cats

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)

 

D.A.M. week two: Exercise and Social Connections!

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Exercise is a great mood-booster even if you’re not depressed/anxious.  In addition to last week’s tips, getting someone out of the house for a brisk walk can be SO helpful.  Yes, even if they’re trudging along behind you muttering, “I said I wanted to stay home.  I want to go home.  I can’t do this.”

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Continuing in the vein of vintage patterns, this week’s is a mid-century gym suit.  Doing a quick google search, it seems something similar to these one-piece uniforms were the norm for quite a while, from maybe the late 1940s through at least the mid-1960s, when my mom was in high school. This blue color seems to have been regulation in most of the country, with obligatory embroidery of your name on it.  Anyone live during the era of these gym suits and want to share “fond memories” (I say that in the most sarcastic tone possible) or info about color/style?

In plain solid colors, it will make a great historical gym uniform for Molly/Emily, Mary Ellen or Melody.   

This was kind of a time-consuming pattern to figure out and sew, and normally I put such things on etsy rather than free on the blog.  In lieu of payment, if you download this pattern please get SOMEONE outside with you a few times this week to exercise!  You’ll be boosting mood AND creating/reinforcing a social connection – both of which are essential to good mental health.

A podcast you might like that explores our attitudes toward exercise and motivates you can be accessed here:  http://www.wbur.org/magicpill.  You can even sign up for a 21-day motivational email-a-day to get you exercising!  I haven’t heard them all yet, but episode 2 did have a sentence or two not suitable for children, so it might be best to read or listen with headphones if you have kids in the room.

 

Wellie Wardrobe Week 3

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This week’s leggings will be a permanent pattern here

They match well with the items from the previous two weeks as well as just about anything else!  Made in thin fabric they are a good substitute for tights to tuck into the “Wellies’ Wellies” 🙂 without excess fabric on the foot to make them fit too tightly.

Enjoy!