Tag Archives: sewing

A new 1950s collection and contest winner!

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If you weren’t able to join in the 1950s sew-along for 14″ dolls because you didn’t have one, guess what?  A new collection for 18″ dolls is available!

From our contest last week, Google’s random number generator came up with “3” which was the number the spreadsheet assigned to Pauline’s entry, so she wins the new collection of patterns! **Apologies if you had trouble entering on Wednesday!  I had set it to close to entries Wed at midnight, but the computer interpreted that as the midnight when Tuesday became Wednesday.  I fixed it as soon as I found out!**

You might remember that when I got April I mentioned it was primarily because of her gorgeous eyes.  Target has a new OG doll named Peggy, who is a retro 1950s doll and also has really cool eyes.  I justified buying her because I don’t have MaryEllen and after getting her saw her next to this fabric that perfectly matched her eyes and HAD to make a dress out of it:

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And then she couldn’t even be grateful for one dress, she had to ask for a whole wardrobe! 😉

One of the reasons I love embroidery is that it’s an easy way to get a perfectly “period correct” look without having to hunt down vintage print fabrics.   When I did my previous 1950s collection, there was not a lot of embroidery included.  Embroidery on clothing was somewhat less popular at that time than in previous eras, partly due to the ready availability of cheap trim and the styles themselves, and maybe partly due to the increased number of outfits one would have, thanks to washing machines.  A 1930s mom might be willing to spend much longer embroidering a few dresses that her daughter would wear over and over than a 1950s mom whose daughter had far more of them.  With a lot of searching antique and resale stores and hunting online, I came up with a nice selection of outfits from the era that did include embroidery and am thrilled to share them with you!  Although the designs are available in .pes format for embroidery machines, in many cases I chose ones that would be quick and easy to hand embroider too, for example, the slip and dressy coat that are mainly just French knots.  If you’re lucky enough to have a stash of vintage fabric, or even a nice selection of checks/dots/plaids, you can also forgo the embroidery completely!

One thing that is the same about this collection is a focus on fashions moms were sewing for their daughters, rather than the easier doll patterns that were available at the time.  This makes the dresses a little more challenging to sew, but lets you dress your doll like a mid-century little girl, rather than a doll!

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Get the new pattern collection here

If you’d prefer 1950s outfits for a 16″ doll like Sasha, check out this collection!

Until Sunday, use the coupon code 20OFF20 to save 20% on any purchase of $20 or more!!

And now I’m taking some time off the blog to work on the summer sew along, which will be Betsy McCall paperdoll-inspired outfits for 14″ dolls and some other surprises!  The biggest challenge for me right now is paring down the number of Betsy outfits I LOVE so our SSA doesn’t last until winter. 🙂

It’s daffodil time!

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This is my favorite time of year!  Birds are singing and flying around busily with twigs and bits of fluff for their nests and every little flower pushing its way up out of the dirt makes me smile.  Every time I go for a walk I keep taking deep breaths to smell the beautiful blossoms on all the bushes and trees.

This week’s dress celebrates daffodil time!  It’s such a simple pattern, it seems to cry out for lace and embroidery and trim, but in this case I stuck with the simplicity of a daffodil – just some petals and a ruffle.

Get the pattern here

This is the final pattern of our 1950s series for 14″ dolls, have you been keeping up?  Posting pix?  If you haven’t, how about this for an incentive:  I’ve been working on some REALLY cute 1950s dresses for AG size that feature embroidery and other special touches and you can enter to win the new collection of patterns!  Here’s a sneak peek:

How to enter:

  • Post pix of all the outfits you’ve made from this 14″ doll 1950s series here. (Yes, you can take one photo of a bunch of dolls in all the outfits if you prefer)
  • Enter the link(s) to your photos here before April 26 at midnight [Contest is now closed]
  • The winner will be chosen at random by a number generator and announced next Thursday!

There is NO other way to enter.  Do NOT try to enter this contest by emailing me photos or ask me to enter you any other way.  You must post your photo(s) on the flickr page and then submit the link(s) in the form.

Don’t feel like going through all that work to enter a contest?  The new 1950s AG collection will be available on etsy next week!

 

 

 

 

Green and White – 1950s style!

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OK, green was not necessarily a 1950s color, but after making all the other things in pink and blue, I needed a change.  When I went to take the pix, I noticed it was “green and white” outside too, thanks to a snowstorm falling on the just-beginning-to-emerge grass.

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The outfit for this week is a blouse/pants combo that looks perfect and vintage on Toni.  Girls in the 1950s might have worn this as play clothes or maybe for gardening or some other task, but it wouldn’t have been appropriate for, say, school.  On a modern doll like my Della, it seems to hint “vintage” in a really sweet way.  This would be an adorable outfit for a young child too!

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Get the pattern here

Have a look at what’s new on the Flickr group or post your own pix here:  https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

There are a number of new things on the flickr page, and here are some cute ones from the recent 1950s patterns, just in case you need more inspiration to get you sewing them:

Adapted pattern from Wrenfeathers

Willa in a “double dots” dress by Nonniebelle07

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Great idea by Karen to shorten this for use with leggings

 

Wellie Wishers 50's dress2 jen bagrowski 005

How did I never realize Camille’s boots have little fins?  They are too cute and a great match for gammerangel’s sweet seersucker dress!

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And this gingham dress by Marge makes me feel like Camille just kicked off her boots to run through the grass to a picnic!

Goodbye April?

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As the year draws to a close, April’s suitcase is packed to leave!  Having her as the GOTY was fun, but didn’t quite work out quite how I’d planned.  Then again, those plans were made in a fit of inspiration and optimism over last year’s winter break.  There are so many unfinished projects/ideas on the back burner for her, it’s probable you’ll see April again next year.

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I have little patience with doll props that are not in scale, and suitcases are one of my biggest pet peeves.  The point of a suitcase is to put clothing and other items in it to be able to take them somewhere.  When companies make doll suitcases that don’t actually fit doll shoes/clothes it significantly reduces their play value.

With the holidays coming up, many dolls will be traveling or possibly receiving a few new outfits.  This quilted suitcase is the perfect accessory to keep a couple of outfits or a bunch of shoes shoes organized for travel, and would also make a clever wrapping for giving an outfit as a gift!

Download the suitcase pattern here

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In other news, the doll room has reached critical mass and it’s become necessary to get rid of some dolls and toys before adding any more.  😦  The first to go is a lot of Ginny dolls which is listed on ebay right now here.  Yep, starting bid is seriously $1, there’s no reserve and local pickup is free.

Appearing soon on ebay:

  • Adora Kayla shown on right here
  • MyTwinn 18″ – in blue dress here
  •  Madame Alexander 8″ Fancy Nancy (Posh Puppy)
  • Some 18″ Heidi Ott Faithful Friends dolls
  • Effanbee repro Patriciakins

I also have available for local pickup (shipping would be very expensive):

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

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!