Tag Archives: magic attic

Shoe school 101

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So, it’s kind of a long story why, but I’ve started making shoes.  No, not for dolls, for me.  But I’m learning a lot in the process, and it’s certainly applicable to doll shoes, so I thought it would be nice to share and help you either start or improve your doll shoemaking skills.
Not covered:
Sandals: For doll size, you just cut two pieces of craft foam to fit her foot, then find some ribbon to use for straps. Tape the first sole onto the doll’s foot, arrange ribbons as desired and glue to bottom of first sole, the glue on the second sole, sandwiching the raw edges of ribbon in between.
Moccasins can be found here: https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/tlingit.pdf

For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting “Shoe School” which will likely include:
• Turnshoes (medieval and modern)
• Out-stitched shoes
• Lasted shoes

These will be posted in order of complexity, so you can follow along and learn something new every week!

Putting sandals and moccasins aside for the moment to focus on closed-style only, there are three basic ways a shoe gets made, and they fall into the categories of “innies” and “outies.” The first kind of “innies” are some of the oldest European footwear we know about, recovered from Scandinavian bogs and Medieval excavations. They’re called “turnshoes” and refer to the way they are constructed, by sewing all the seams and turning them right side out. I would say the majority of doll shoe patterns available commercially these days involve this kind of construction. It works great with materials like felt, fabric, and thin, flexible leather or leather substitutes.
This is a modern reproduction of a 10th C shoe from http://leatherhelms.com

It shows the unique triangular back found on many shoes from that period, and interesting (but not necessarily authentic) closure. Many shoes of this type were constructed with really ingenious leather “buttons” like this:

From the Barefoot Cordwainer on etsy.

And what does the doll version look like?  Well, I used wool felt, and then couldn’t just let the shoes stand on their own, noooo, I had to make a whole Viking costume to go with them!

Get shoe pattern here.   Get Viking outfit instructions here.

Get embroidery designs in .pes format here: 4×4 or 5×7

Where’s Jasmine?

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Ok, time for the next contest!!

Jasmine is west of the Mississippi.  She’s pictured below dressed for the 40th anniversary of an annual event that just happened in March.  First 3 people to guess exactly where she is (specifically the building she’s in!) win the new pattern collection available here!  Post your answer here: https://www.facebook.com/wrenfeathers

So, a Carpatina Julia joined our doll family recently and demanded to be dressed like a princess.  With my love of other cultures and their clothing, the one or two European princess dresses I was going to make expanded into a collection of 6!  And then the AGs got jealous and it just spiraled out of control.    🙂

The collection “officially” comprises:  Medieval England, Renaissance Italy, Ming Dynasty China, Ancient Egypt, Medieval Persia, and a modern sort-of Princess…the Jingle Dancer Powwow princess pictured above!  But lots of the patterns could be used for other things too.  With a bit of imagination, the Egyptian one could turn into a Balinese dancer, the Chinese one could turn into a Korean Jeogori and you could probably even shorten the medieval English dress and turn it into a modern Irish dance dress or even something from the 1940s.

Carpatina Julia in a “tomboy” version of this princess “dress” using just the bodice with leggings.

A girl for all time Clementine as “Lady of the Lake” – Medieval Celtic Princess

Carpatina Julia in an Italian Renaissance gown

My AG “Violet” as an Egyptian princess

Magic Attic Rose as a medieval Persian Princess

Pattern also includes a Powwow Princess jingle dress and Ming dynasty Princess.  See more here

Also, by request, more patterns are available for Saila (or other 18″ dolls) like my version of this calico parka called a kuspuk (pictured below) .

With all these new patterns, I’ve reactivated the coupon code 20off20.  Paste that in at checkout on etsy and it will take 20% off your purchase of $20 or more.  It expires at midnight on April 15th.

Sorry, it’s been a while…

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Did you miss me?  Probably you didn’t notice I was gone… 🙂  Just as my neck was finally feeling better enough to sew after my car accident, I was drowned in IEP paperwork and parent-teacher conferences, so you’ve all been craftier than me lately! Here are some new ideas people have shared to inspire you:  (I did my best to link to their creators or where these were originally posted, if one of these is yours and doesn’t link right please let me know!)

Margo used the Hogwarts shirt pattern to make a blouse with unique cuffs for her unique (OOAK) KnC:

And Eva-Lotta did a very nice job sewing faux leather to make this toasty jacket and skirt for her KnC:

Marge made the Fall gathered pocket skirt for Spring.  Modeling it is her new Toys R Us Journey Girl, and if you’ve ever debated getting an inexpensive 18″ doll you just can’t go wrong with them.  They are leaps and bounds nicer than the Target dolls, and cost only a little more (around $32).  All of them have beautiful face sculpts and eyes, with a solid neck plate which allows for wearing tank tops without a fabric body showing AND gives them tilt-able heads.  Added bonus?  They’re a bit smaller than AGs, so if you make something that comes out a little too tight, the JGs are thrilled to have it.  🙂

Carol made two sizes of the Navajo outfit to go with a storyline for AG and H4H.  She says  “This is my imagining of the Route 66 adventure Molly went on, and that the little Navajo girl, whose clothes Molly admired, actually gave her an outfit to wear!”

Can you guess what pattern this next one came from?

Believe it or not, Elisana used the Halloween pattern to make this cute reversible jacket!  (Click pix to see more on her blog)

Have you made something you’re proud of lately?  Share a pic here

Speaking of Facebook, Jasmine was in Chichicastenango, Guatemala for the last contest.  Kayla and Clemetine were “vacationing” there when they met her and they made a scrapbook of their travels you can print and fold into a doll-size book.  Folding instructions are here   scroll to the page that says:  “Folding the magazines and diary”

Get the tutorial for the huipiles she was selling here

And an embroidery design I digitized based on photos of the “real thing”.  One will fit in a 4×4 hoop, but requires re-hooping.  The other is for a 5×7.  I think I have a way to post these now, so you don’t have to email me for them, let’s hope this works!!

SMALL .pes huipil design

LARGE .pes huipil design

A bunch of fabulous new patterns and another “Where’s Jasmine” contest are in the works for (I hope) the end of March…stay tuned!

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!  

Hooray…new dolls and new patterns!

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Hearts for Hearts dolls has been teasing us with Mosi for a very long time now. At first, I wanted her as a Christmas present (That was in 2012) but she wasn’t out yet. Then I wanted her for my birthday (which is in January) and she still wasn’t out yet! Finally in March they posted on their Facebook page that she would be available this summer along with Shola, an incredibly beautiful new doll who is supposed to be from Afghanistan. To celebrate the arrival of the doll I have waited for for such a long time, blog readers are getting a free pattern! When Mosi was originally introduced, she was supposed to be Navajo, so the outfit I created for her is a traditional Navajo skirt and blouse.

You can download it here  It’s sized for Mosi as well as American girl and Magic Attic, just in case you haven’t gotten around to getting Mosi yet.

Guess what else?  There are 2 new pattern collections!


The first one is a set that represents many of the countries that the Hearts for Hearts Girls come from, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, India, Mexico and more. Not only do they fit the Hearts for Hearts Girls, they are also sized to fit larger dolls like American Girls, Kidz n Cats and Sasha.

The second set is a unique concept I came up with to re-create most of the folk costumes of Europe!  These patterns are sized to fit slim 16 to 18 inch and AG dolls, and include instructions for how to adapt them to fit Hearts for Hearts.

When I put out the Feedsack Fun book, I did get a couple of requests to remove and sell individual patterns from the book. The way it was structured, it was difficult to break it up into individual patterns.  So this time I am breaking up each collection into parts.  You can get Europe or each of the other individual countries’ patterns separately, or broken into two sets – Europe and Ethnic set#1.  For all my wonderful blog subscribers, for the next three days you can use the code blog20 in my etsy shop to get 20% off if you buy both collections – that’s 245 pages of pattern pieces, photos, inspiration and instructions.

Click here to see the collections:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/jenwrenne

If for some reason you are having problems with Etsy, please email me and I can send you a PayPal invoice instead.

Not into ethnic clothes?  By request, the overalls and motorcycle jacket patterns are being resized to fit AGs!  They will be bundled into the patterns that fit the slim dolls.  Look for them in the etsy shop in the next few days!

Vote for the next FREE Mosi/Kaya project or submit a fabulous idea here:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DBHWTYM

Summer sew-along week 7

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Quick, easy and versatile are some of the best words to look for when choosing a pattern! The more versatile a pattern is, the more money you will ultimately save, because you can make many different things from the same pattern, and the easier it is the more likely you will be to make things from that pattern again. This pattern is free, which definitely meets the above criteria, and you can vary it to make it even more special.  In general, a-line dresses and skirts are excellent blank canvases for your creativity. Experiment with embroidery, appliqué  or novelty trims, make a belt out of self fabric or a ribbon, make each of the ruffles out of different fabric, etc.
Check out the differences in these two dresses, which were both made from the same pattern.  (yes, that bag pattern is coming soon…)

(Did you notice my spring flowers are finally coming up?)

CLICK HERE FOR PATTERN

At first glance you may not think that this pattern could be a mix and match one to fit the theme of our sew-along, but consider these possibilities for coordinating it:
Shorten it a little and wear it over capris or shorts

Layer it over a T-shirt like a jumper (widen the armholes a little if necessary)
Layer it under the denim jacket

Ok, kinda off-topic and enabling here, but…an awesome deal I had to share:  Tuesday Morning has some of the totally adorable Jun Planning Ai BJDs for $30 right now.  Yes, seriously, $30! (they go for $100 and up elsewhere!)  They are just 5″ tall, (same body as the very expensive “Pocket Fairy” BJDs) so they could easily be dolls for your 18″ dolls or a treat for yourself.  You can justify it to your significant other by saying “I NEED them because I’m sure Jen’s going to post some fairy patterns for them soon!”  (soon = sometime after the sew-along finishes)

https://www.tuesdaymorning.com/toys.jsp?page=6

Summer sew-along week 5: embroidered top/tunic/dress

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There are some lovely things being posted on the flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/groups/summersewalong/ including the outfits on a variety of different dolls, some creative ideas and cute coordinates!

Here is a versatile new pattern that is one of my favorites in the summer collection!  Make it

  • Short for a top

  • Tunic length for a beach cover up

  • Tunic length to blouse over capris/shorts

  • A  longer dress

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I had been hoping by now to be able to take these pix outside but just as the last snow was melting and my crocuses felt brave enough to come up, once again a snow storm came through.  While we high-altitude-desert dwellers are always grateful for precipitation, it would be nice if it could fall as rain  (it’s May for crying out loud!).  This morning there were 10″ of snow on the ground and it was 10 degrees F.  It can be challenging to take good pictures in snow, especially when the doll has medium to dark skin like the AG above.  You are liable to either lose detail of your snowy scene or have your doll not show up well enough to see her clearly with all the extra reflected light from the snow.  The morning pictures came out awful.  This pic below was taken in the afternoon.  The sun was shining on her back, so her face was in the shadows and then I used a fill-in flash.

In other news, as I write this, this blog is almost up to 200 followers! If we can exceed that by the end of the sew-along, I’m planning another contest – it won’t be sewing related, but it’s something fun, easy and do-able by anyone and you may even have what you need in your recycle bin!  Stay tuned…

Hinamatsuri

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Hinamatsuri is a holiday that needs to be international – it’s doll festival day!!  I struggled with when to post this.  March seemed reasonable, but the festival falls on March 3rd, which wouldn’t give you enough time to get things done.  I also wanted to do Chinese New Year, which falls on February 10th this year, and for that I designed a Chinese dress and started a set of felt food.  Well, I was sick for almost 2 weeks and then spent an entire weekend at a (kind of boring) conference, so not much has gotten done for the blog, and my ambitious plans fell a little short.  So there’s a Chinese dress pattern (and some ready-to-wear ones) coming soon to my etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/jenwrenne but  this post will focus just on Hinamatsuri.

As a doll-loving child I absolutely adored all of Rumer Godden’s books.  In particular Little Plum and Miss Happiness and Miss Flower captivated my imagination.  If you have not read them, your local library probably has some of her books.  The Story of Holly and Ivy is one of the loveliest Christmas stories ever and I re-read it every year and cry happy tears at the ending.
Anyway, in  Little Plum the childrens’ little Japanese dolls celebrate a “dolls’ doll festival” which I’ve wanted to do ever since I first read the book, and this year I’m finally getting around to it.  Though what ends up on the blog always seems to me to fall short of all the great ideas I had in my head, I bet your dolls would enjoy it as much as Miss Happiness and Miss Flower did.  (What I would enjoy is some more ethnic diversity in the KnC product line but that’s another story)

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The most important part of the festival is a set of dolls that are often family heirlooms.  They are arranged on a set of red steps with gold folding screens behind them and other props such as trees and lanterns.  A large set can be used to represent the royal court of Japan, but minimally you need the emperor and empress.  (click photo above to enlarge)

Here is an explanation of all the dolls: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinamatsuri

and here are links for the paper ones I made:
http://www.yamaha-motor.co.jp/global/entertainment/papercraft/seasons/03/index.html

The pattern for the Kimonos is here and the other dresses are an adaptation of the sweater from the ballet pattern.  These outfits will all be for sale on etsy in the next week or so, but if you’d like to email me (jenniebagrowski at hotmail dot com) to order them before that,  I will pay shipping!

Since these dolls are heirlooms, kids are obviously not permitted to play with them, so other “play” versions can be found as well, such as stuffed Emperor/Empress Hello Kitty, re-ment sets, etc.  I made the ones Lena is holding, which are similar to kokeshi dolls as a play version, but of course you could set them up as your whole display if you want!

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Traditional foods include delicious diamond shaped cakes called hishimochi and the ever-popular chirizushi.  Click here to get a .pdf of crafts (dolls and food) for hinamatsuri.
Even if you don’t like to eat it, you have to admit sushi is beautiful, especially if you arrange a lot on a plate to get a variety of colors and textures.

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And thank you to everyone who voted/commented on the Spring pattern.

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Responses were strongly in favor of vintage 40’s-50’s with a comment about matching coat/dress ensembles so I am thinking about maybe doing something like this:

 sweet sue pattern

From an old McCall’s Sweet Sue pattern

Retro Butterick doll patterns…reissued

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So, it’s Butterick’s 150th anniversary this year and to celebrate they are re-releasing some old patterns…or possibly re-drafting them, I’m not entirely sure.  Anyway, I was at JoAnn today where these CUTE 18″ doll patterns were on SALE and since the dolls in the pictures look slim I picked up these two  in the hope that they’d fit the KnC.  Well, in case you’re wondering the same thing, I took some comparison pictures of the size of the pieces next to my standard KnC bodice sloper with ¼” seams added.  (Yep, hard to believe, but many of my patterns begin their lives being traced from those little pieces of paper.)

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You can see the Butterick ones, while adorable, are a little too large, I would guess they’d fit Magic Attic loosely and  Journey Girls just fine, but could be baggy on the KnC.  I didn’t check the pants.  (Have you made any of these?  Send me pix!) I’m debating about re-drafting some of them, maybe for a vintage dress/coat Spring ensemble?  UPDATE:  GO HERE TO SEE HOW THEY FIT. Yes it’s January, but definitely time to think about Spring fashion!  You can decide here what the free Spring/Easter dress pattern will be!

Stay tuned for the February blog…I’ve been sewing and crafting furiously and I think you’ll like it!

Doll Hakama Pattern

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What kind of husband gives up part of his weekend to help his wife contort dolls into Aikido poses?  A wonderful one.

 

On the wall behind them are the 2 things found in every dojo (school).  A poster that says Ai Ki Do and a picture of O-Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba (the founder of Aikido).  Many of the movements start with “Grab my wrist…” (shown above)

 

Your partner then uses your energy to throw/push/pull you around.  This (above) is part of Ikkyo.

Using your opponent’s energy means even a weaker person can “throw” a stronger one.  Here, Galina shows the end of the Ikkyo movement.

 

Knowing how to fall properly is essential.  Here, Alister demonstrates a forward roll.  Your hand hits first and your body rolls along.

 

 

More practice with the ever-important front rolls.  Galina rolls over Alister.

Twisting arms into various painful positions can disable your opponent immediately.  Alister is doing Shiho Nage on Galina and she shows a kote gaeshi pin on him.

 

If you want to see these in action, youtube has many examples. A search for Steven Seagal and Aikido will entertain you for a while.

 

And if you just want your dolls to look cute click here for the hakama pattern