Tag Archives: saila

The WrenFeathers GOTY

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REMINDER:  You can get one or both Chatty Cathy patterns from my etsy store FREE until Jan 1st – Post a picture of something you’ve made during this Chatty Cathy series (for your CC or any other doll they’d fit) here and send me a link (jenniebagrowski at gmail dot com).  For each thing that you’ve made you can request either “Nursery School” OR “Sunday Visit”.  If you want both patterns, you’ll need to post 2 things you made during this series.  If you just post on flickr, I don’t have your email, so make sure to send me a link and tell me which pattern you want!

I’m going to guess you’ve either gotten the new AG catalog or seen the leaks online by now.

The AG GOTY dolls’ back stories lately are so realistic and relatable to regular kids’ lives, right?  I mean, when MY grandparents’ bakery in France was struggling, MY family dropped everything, hopped on a plane and helped save it, just like Grace!  And then this year is even MORE relatable, because, you know, lots of kids get to abandon their lives here in the US and go live in Brazil, and all of Brazil is just rainforest, fruit stands and treehouses…right? 😉 

So I happened down the Our Generation aisle at Target and check out my find:

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No, not Saila, the science set.  Pretty awesome, huh?  For around $6 you get the safety glasses, flask, test tubes and microscope.  It gets better…there’s an actual light and a lens you can focus on the microscope!!  No slides, but those are easily made from scraps of clear plastic.  As I was taking apart the packaging to toss in the recycling, something caught my eye…http://www.ogdolls.com/free-the-children

This was so reminiscent of my dearly departed H4H and Karito dolls I actually went back to Target and really LOOKED at the dolls themselves.  I always pass them up as generic “imitation” dolls, and in all the stores I’ve visited, their ethnic diversity has, until recently, been sadly lacking.  The April doll caught my eye, primarily because of her beautiful green eyes that are similar to mine.  Most doll manufacturers do a grassy green color that is blatantly unrealistic, and that’s sometimes the case with red hair too.  AND April came with glasses…just like me, poor thing.  She lacks freckles but I’m thinking some time in the high altitude sun should cure that 🙂

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So, even though I was super excited about the release of AG Lea, who disappointingly just looks like Rebecca with longer hair, and Melody, who Amazon led us to believe was also getting released Jan 1, I bought April instead, and she’s going to be the WrenFeathers GOTY for 2016.  Why an OG?  AG is just getting shameless with their price increases and big-ticket items and I don’t always see quality to match those prices.  I love my AGs, I love going to the AG store, but it seems the “store experience” has become a thing and they’re skimping on quality while you help pay their rent in the most expensive shopping districts in that area. In contrast, probably everyone has a Target within a reasonable driving distance and goes there anyway to get other things and the doll aisle is just a bonus.  Based on the devastation of the OG aisle at my local Target right before Christmas (hubby commented it looked as though it had been looted), OG dolls are hugely popular with kids.  They’re affordable, supposedly responsibly manufactured, and giving back some of their profits to help kids in developing countries.  Plus, this doll is more relatable to real people than one that’s jetting off to live in Brazil and needs you to buy her a $400 tree house to live in and a $150 fruit stand to run.

The “GOTY” plan is that every month there will be a free pattern or craft for her, sort of like a year-long series and I will try to make an effort to relate those to her hobbies, interests, etc.  (Don’t worry, I’ll still do other dolls too!)  As I examined the OG offerings, they’ve really stepped up their game in terms of creating trendy, cute things.  Unfortunately, it’s rather hit-or-miss as to whether you can actually find what you want for sale at your local store and when you order online, apparently they don’t really have what you ordered.  I found Zuri, who has a beautiful new face mold, on the Target website and ordered her just before Christmas, thinking she and April could be friends.  A few days before she was scheduled to arrive, I got an email saying my order was canceled without any explanation why.  I was pretty sad, and am hoping the birthday fairy might come through and you’ll see her here soon…

So, you might not be able to get the OG outfits you want, and since they’re trying to mass-produce them for a reasonable price, the quality might not be the same as what an experienced seamstress could do at home for her own dolls, and for those reasons I might do versions of some of their outfits in this series too.  Look for the first installment next week!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Do you have a favorite OG outfit you can’t find and want to make?  Suggestions for April’s “back story” (hobbies, interests, etc.)?  Post a comment below!

Happy New Year!

 

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.

Maplelea Boots!

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So, I finally got around to making Saila’s boots (kamiik) into a pattern for you.  Maplelea doll feet are about the same as Karito kids, which means they’re too long and thin to fit most AG shoes.

Now you can make her some like these!

Download kamiik pattern here (yes, 1/4″ seams are included)

Also, in other news, the fleecy fun resizing is complete and you can get the pattern here.  Although it wasn’t my original intent when I first conceived it, it actually turned out to be quite a nice unisex pattern that works great for boy clothes too:

More Maplelea stuff…

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So Saila “said” she needed a sled.  In Inuktitut these are called qamutiik.   I have seen some amazing antique ones made out of caribou antlers and bones, but nowadays most are made of wood.  They are made to be pulled by dogs/snowmobiles, and probably by kids having fun. 🙂

Amazingly, these sturdy sleds are lashed together, not nailed or glued.  Historically, nails would have to be imported, and glue even now needs certain temperatures to cure and might not hold up in snow/wet/subzero temperatures.  Lashing the qamutiik together with cords means you can make it in any weather with materials you have at hand and make repairs easily, even if you’re far from home out on the tundra.  It’s a pretty amazing sled!

So, Maplelea makes a qamutiik for Saila, but it has holders on it to keep her sitting up straight, which I didn’t see much of while researching real ones.  I made one that looks more authentic.  It’s slightly less useful than the Maplelea one, since she will tip if you try to pull her around on it, but as a prop it’s pretty cute and easy to make.

Download sled pattern here  and Download snowshoes here and her boots (kamiik) are also coming soon!

I’m getting around to a body comparison post, but Maplelea and AG do differ a bit in body type and size.  Fitted AG pants look baggy and too short on Maplelea dolls, so I drafted some just for Saila.

The pattern is on etsy here

I also put together a toasty winter wardrobe with cutting lines for AG and Maplelea.  For shirts and baggy/stretchy pants, it works to just extend the hems to accommodate Maplelea’s longer limbs.  I called it “fleecy fun”

It includes leggings, looser pants with a contrasting panel,  a colorblock top and a zip front top.  The tops can easily be turned into vests by leaving off the sleeves.  You can get it here  Yes, it will include slim pattern pieces in the next week or two.  They’re done, I just need to make final versions and take some cute pictures.  If you already bought it, you should be able to download the smaller size pieces from etsy when they’re available! 

Last but not least… Facebook.  I had made it a new year’s resolution to get better with moderating comments on the blog.  I do read and value ALL of them (even from the mean people who complain about what I haven’t done, rather than thanking me for what I have done) but I usually end up responding individually, and I would like to make things more interactive and see pictures of what you’re making.  SO I started a FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/wrenfeathers.  Right now all that’s on it are some Kidz n Cats pictures my husband took last year, but I would LOVE to make it a forum for you to share your doll/sewing/crafting thoughts and pictures of your creations.  Also remember you’re welcome to sell things you make from Wren*Feathers patterns and you can put links to those on the FB page too!

Since I’m apparently in charge of ordering my own birthday presents, I’m getting an Adora Jasmine next week:

I was supposed to get a Kidz n Cats Henrietta, and I did, but she arrived severely damaged.  (I’m having bad luck with that lately, so keep your fingers crossed Jasmine is ok!)  KnC wanted us to mail her to Germany for them to try to repair her, since she was a limited edition and couldn’t be replaced, but honestly, when I’m paying THAT much for a doll, I see no reason she should not come out of her box in PERFECT condition.   I refuse to pay overseas postage and wait a month or so to end up with a re-worked,  second-quality doll, so Henrietta went back.  I’m bummed, because the KnC are so poseable I LOVE photographing them, but I’m kind of excited for Jasmine, because she looks so ambiguous there are lots of interesting ethnic outfits in my sketchbook for her right now.  Look for her to appear (maybe in a Carmen Sandiego-type contest on Facebook?) soon!

Make doll snowshoes!

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Happy New Year!

So, Santa brought me a Maplelea Saila!  Sadly, Christmas morning was ruined by the shiny spots on her face probably due to the box lid rubbing on her during shipping:

Maplelea nicely offered to exchange her, but the cost and annoyance of international shipping, plus awful past experiences with exchanging damaged dolls made me think twice.  And I learned a valuable new thing:  30-40 mins of gentle rubbing with steel wool is fabulous for removing shiny spots from vinyl dolls like Maplelea and AG!  In fact, DH practiced on a thrift store AG and really made her look a lot better!   After recovering from her “plastic surgery”, Saila wanted to get out in the snow, so I made her some snowshoes: (and jeans, boots and parka)

Yeah, we do have snow, but it’s blowing past the house at 30mph, so I had to take the pix inside. 😦

Download the snowshoe pattern here

And then I was making this vest for myself from handwoven fabric and the colors made me think of the arctic, so I made a tiny one for her too, from the scraps:

If you’re a weaver and want to know, it was Harrisville shetland and “Paint box” brand yarns (similar to Noro Kureyon) in the warp sett at 9 epi and just the shetland in the weft at 9ppi.  The human size pattern is the “kimono” vest from Paw Prints pattern company.  It’s a very easy pattern that goes together quickly and fits well, as long as you make a smaller size than you normally wear.  I changed the shape a little to make it fit a doll’s body better.

Download the vest pattern here

Coming soon:  A sled for Saila, jeans and boots made especially to fit Maplelea, a set of toasty mix-match fleece garments, and possibly the parka in the snowshoe pic (I know it doesn’t look like it, but that parka pattern was SO hard to figure out…even harder than Lederhosen and overalls which previously tied for the title of “hardest thing I ever drafted”)

Stay warm!