Tag Archives: jenwrenne

Bonne fête nationale!

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Or Happy Bastille Day if you speak English ūüôā

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 Рnever 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? ūüôā

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Click here

This was the second folk costume to appear for Fran√ßoise 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 ūüôā ¬†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

Summer sew along week 5

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***Important Etsy note: ¬†Etsy’s been having issues since July 1 with processing payments if they’re not done through paypal. Their policy is not to make the files available to the buyer until the seller has received payment. People using credit cards and apple pay have not been able to download their patterns immediately. ¬†I apologize on their behalf and as an etsy seller who prides myself on good customer service am VERY upset about it. ¬†If¬†you’re having trouble downloading a pattern you purchased from me on Etsy during this time please¬†contact me!*** ¬†I would suggest you pay through paypal if you’re using¬†etsy, or I can always send you an invoice if you’d prefer.

Oh wow! ¬†It’s the end of the sew-along already? ¬†Well, I saved the best for last!

This gorgeous wrap dress has an Asian feel in these fabrics¬†with a wide obi-style belt, but also looks adorable in any colorful cotton print! ¬†Why is it the “best” dress of the sew-along? ¬†The entire thing can be outlined in PIPING! ¬†My favorite trim of all time! ¬†If you’re intimidated by piping, this dress is a PERFECT choice for you¬†to practice your skills because of the long, relatively straight seams AND the fact that you don‚Äôt need to line it afterwards. ¬†If you’re a really new sewer, you can use bias tape instead of piping. ¬†I’m almost finished with a tropical-looking one for my AG and this¬†pattern should¬†be available in all the major sizes in a week or two.

Download it free in Paola Reina size here for this week only!

Please post your creations in the Wrenfeathers group here:¬†https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/. ¬†I’m hoping to ¬†find time to really look at what everyone’s done and do a retrospective next week!

In other news, I’ve been seriously playing dress up with my Wellie Wisher to see what I’ve already made that fits her. ¬†There are a lot, and here are a few that are especially cute – note that these are all previous patterns you may already have!

And then, of course I had to do some NEW things too!

Ballerina dress, Owl cape and treasure pouch

Storybook character dress (this is a variation of the puff-sleeve blouse pattern) with apron and corset

See the intro to the Wellie Wishers Dress up Box here

I was SO hopeful the H4H fairy patterns would fit them, but the bodices are a bit too tight.  You can, however, use the skirts, wings, jacket, etc. from the H4H fairy pattern with the bodices from the WW dress up box pattern.  

What about princess dresses?

¬† I drew out about a dozen princess dress ideas, intending¬†to include one in this collection and then couldn’t decide which one to make. ¬†Renfaire? ¬†Disney? ¬†Historical? ¬†Ethnic? ¬†So I gave up and decided¬†the collection would be fine without one. ¬†Then I had a dream (yes, I’m such a dork) that Willa was hunting all through her dress-up box and turned to me with a heartbroken little face and said, “There’s no princess dress?” ¬†So one or more of my sketches WILL become a princess dress pattern in the near future because I can’t bear to see her looking so sad. ¬†ūüôā

Summer sew along ends tonight!

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Happy Canada Day!


Saila is modeling the hoodie that¬† will be in the free pattern tomorrow if you get your entries in on time! ¬†Please do not email me asking to bend the rules just for you. It is a slippery slope, and if I¬†do it¬†for you then I have to do it for everyone else, and it’s not fair to the people that followed the directions. ¬†About 60 people so far were able to successfully put pictures onto Flickr and submit those links correctly in the form…so yes, it CAN be done!
To reiterate:
Once you’ve finished with everything, make sure all your photos are in the group here.

And then go here to submit all your links at once.

  • Yes, you can¬†just put one link if you put all your items in one pic!
  • Yes, it’s fine to have a friend/family member post your pic for you from their account and put it in the group, just ¬†make sure to ask them for the¬†¬†links to your¬†work¬†to submit with your email address.
  • There are a few people who submitted only their email address but no links to any pictures. If you did that, you will NOT be on the list, so make sure to put in a link to your pictures!

The pattern for week 5 and a bonus pattern will be emailed to you on¬†Thursday, so you need to submit your entry by the evening of July 1st. ¬†I’ll compile the list and send out the new patterns July 2nd in the¬†morning as soon as I’ve had enough tea to feel awake and able to complete that task ūüôā

Hoodie from above resized for Paola Reina

If you have been on vacation or for some other reason could not participate, you can get all of the patterns including week five and the bonus dress pattern right now on Etsy!

I wanted to share some clever things people have done and a few  of the many color combos I like:

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DorrieBelle is using Disney princess dolls. ¬†I always see them at Target and want to get one and then think, “What could I sew for them besides princess dresses?” ¬†Modern clothes, it turns out!

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Kelly turned the boatneck top into a super cute jacket!

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Rosetownjoy resized for her sweet little Tonner Sophie

Penny used really unique fabric to make a beach coverup

Grandmaknits reused a child’s dress and turned the boatneck top into a dress!

Melangel’s clever fabric placement made a neat top for Clem!

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slpslee chose a really cute mix of fabrics for her doll!

As did NurseEeyore

This one from quickdrawannie coordinates not only with itself but its surroundings too.  Using the same color for tank and skirt here makes it look like a dress.

Pink looks good on most dolls, but orange can be a tricky color to use successfully.  KB did a very nice job of that!

Ok, it’s summer, but sewbig’s dolls are ready for fall in this elegant combination! ¬†(boy’s shirt pattern free¬†here)

I like the nautical feel of Silke’s combo here

and the very summery feel of Reagie’s

[If your photo is shown here and for some reason you don’t want it to be, just let me know and I’ll take it down!]

Thanks to everyone who participated in the sew along and get your links in by tonight!!