Tag Archives: tutorial

Heirloom lace dress for Nancy Famosa and Wellies


I have a VERY special pattern for you today!  It’s suited for intermediate seamstresses who live somewhere so hot they just want to close the curtains, crank up the AC and sew for a few hours. 😉 That’s actually not me…the weather has been really pleasant up here so far this summer aside from some hail and a few days in the upper 80s, and we’ve never had this much rain that I remember, so the wildflowers are just incredible.

OK, back to the dress!  It’s shown above on a repro Nancy Famosa “Romántica” but the dress is inspired by Nancy “Caribe” from maybe 20 years ago (not sure – please comment if you know).  I’m just in love with this new Nancy, who has a gorgeous warm brown skin tone and sparkling turquoise eyes (they photographed a little on the greener side here).  Her hair feels softer than some of my other Nancys, so it may be they’ve used a different/higher quality hair for this one. 

  I know Nancy is not all that easy to find in the US, so before you start wondering who else it will fit…

Yep!  Even though they’re about 3” shorter, the Wellies have a very similar torso and arm to Nancy and can wear this dress too!   It would be a precious little flower girl or first communion dress for them, or use colored lace and a print fabric for a more modern/everyday look.  The dress is ankle-length on Nancy, and floor length on the Wellies, although changing the length on a rectangular skirt is no problem.

Get the pattern free here

Love this pattern and want to donate?

You can enter the amount of your choice (in whole dollar increments) in the box to left of the payment options below. Thank you!!


Speaking of the Wellies, I got a number of emails asking if the mini Maru collection would fit them.  I actually didn’t think so, but it turns out I was wrong!  The raglan T sleeves are a little tight, but otherwise all of the shirts and dresses fit them just fine as you can see here:

The 13″ size pants are too small, but there are similar (free!) elastic waist Wellie pants here: https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/wellie-jammies.pdf and their size of the Versatility pants is here:

If that makes you change your mind about whether to purchase the collection, or you missed it the first time, you are in luck! 

My etsy shop is participating in their Labor Day sale and this weekend EVERYTHING is 20% off, no minimum purchase or coupon code required! 

Happy long weekend of sewing! 🙂

Draft your own pattern: undies!


On the survey, LOTS of people wanted undies for every doll you could think of, but it’s time for true confessions here…my dolls usually don’t wear them!  At small scale they may actually affect the fit of pants, and more importantly, often when I’m doing a photo shoot, the doll needs to be able to undergo lots of fast clothing changes. If the undies interfere, off they go!  The only exceptions I make are for historical dolls that wear bloomers and dolls that came with underwear that fits so tightly it doesn’t impact the fit or rapid changing of clothes.

But you said you wanted them, and I strive to make this blog helpful to the doll sewing world, so here’s a tutorial on how to make them for ANY doll. If your dolls also don’t wear undies, adapt this to make a swimsuit instead.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!


newspaper[image of Kit from http://store.americangirl.com/agshop/static/home.jsp]


What?  You want a pattern for this week too?  Ok, fine… 🙂

Remember when we did shoe school last spring?  (If not, scroll down to find those links) I said that sewn shoes get made as “innies” or “outies” and there was another type called “lasted” which are named for the way they’re made – on lasts.

 This tutorial will show you how to make the lasts, patterns, and shoes for any doll .

There’s also a pattern for a sewn version using any method from the previous shoe tutorials for Maplelea.






End of the sew-along and Madeira applique tutorial


How did this happen?  It’s the end of the week already?  Eek!  Time got away from me.  Wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

Sadly, this will be the last week of the summer sew-along,  (Get your photos in by tonight! The final pattern goes out tomorrow!) but happily, about 60 people participated and their dollies have a bunch of new outfits to wear for the summer!  I hope you all had as much fun as I did!  “Crowd-sourcing” gave everyone way more inspiration than what I alone could have come up with, so thank you to everyone who’s been participating!  See all their pix and get inspired here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/summersewalong/

With any luck, because of the sew-along you’re “in the groove” with sewing and don’t want to stop!  Don’t worry, the sewing fun won’t stop anytime soon…I have two posts finished and scheduled for the next two weeks, they’ll be automatically posted on the next two Fridays while I stay away from the computer to work on another project.  What project is that?  It’s huge…and just what you said you want.  More shoes, more accessories and some historical stuff from a period I haven’t covered yet.  Here’s a teaser:

shola green ffd dress

 For this week, here’s a tutorial on how to do easy Madeira appliqué that you can use on anything, for example, to make an heirloom version of this week’s sew-along dress  pictured below.

Get the 5×7  embroidery design in .pes format free here:


And finally, can any Sasha experts help me out?

The girl on the right is named “sewing-room Sasha” because she lives there to help me with fitting. Mainly because she’s in poor condition and can’t be damaged much more by pins and such.  The other day I tried something on her that I had just made, and it was quite a bit looser than I’d expected.  I realized she is much smaller than my other three Sashas, whom I bought with tags and in their boxes and know are all 1970s Trendons.  The one on the left was a Gregor who came in a navy blue sweater and jeans – he turned into a Sasha when most of his hair fell out.

“Sewing-room Sasha” was purchased cheaply at a doll sale, and had been sadly used and abused. The originally blonde hair had been “dyed” with what appeared to be black shoe polish, and was dried to a stiff, disgusting mass. Smears of it were all over her head, neck, and shoulders too.  She was dressed in clothing that I knew was actual Sasha stuff, but was probably not original to her, including ankle strap leather shoes, and the same sweater that my (1970s) Caleb came in.  Her strings will be of no help, since she was restrung with sewing elastic at some point, and then DH had to restring her again when she came to live here.  Does anyone have a guess about her origins?  Thanks!

(and yes, obviously an ADORABLE new dress is in the works for Sasha, probably for back to school, hence the fitting difficulties!) 🙂

How fine can you knit?


Forgive (or be happy for?) the shortness of this post…long story short I just slammed my finger in a door and it’s painful to type.

As far as fiber arts go, I am a sewer, a weaver, a spinner, and I know how to knit…but I don’t consider myself a “knitter.  It’s fun doing intricate things like lace and colorwork at a small scale, but if they gave prizes for such things, I would definitely be a top contender for “slowest knitter ever.”

Looking through all the photos of the summer sew-along, I noticed a lot of you like to do small-gauge knitting for your dolls. Are you ready for a knitting challenge? We’re going to “knit” with embroidery thread and sewing needles! Don’t worry, it will be easier and faster than you think!

This is part of a new series that will appear from time to time called Sewing Tips And Techniques.  Lots of people mentioned that in the survey, so I’ll do my best to come up with a variety of them.


Get the “knit-broidered” flower tutorial here

We’re almost done with the summer sew-along!  This cute, 4-way reversible wrap dress is for week 4, and there will be one more pattern after this!

If you’re participating, send me your link by midnight and the pattern will be in your email tomorrow!  You can also get the pattern in all sizes here

Custom doll tutorial and other fun stuff…


So I’ve been doing a few Dal/Pullip customizations lately because they just came out with a line of blank dolls called “Make it own.”  Yeah, I know, who’s translating these things?  You can get them unfinished for $35 on this site: www.pullipstyle.com which certainly takes the pressure off worrying about ruining a $100+ doll!

And I also ventured into the world of fake Blythe dolls (Basaak – usually about $25-$40  on ebay) to create this one.  No, she’s not perfect, but I’m thrilled with how she came out.  There are lots of websites showing bits and pieces of the customizing process, but it’s hard for a beginner to know what to look for and assimilate all that info, so I made a comprehensive tutorial for you in case you want to try one too!

Click here for the Basaak customization tutorial

Congratulations to Helen, who won the Caroline wardrobe!  It’s on its way to Australia, so maybe we will get to see some pix of the dresses “down under”?

Speaking of contests, don’t forget to enter the contest to have an outfit you (or your child/grandchild/etc/) draw get made into the “real thing”!  Entries must be received by next Friday – November 22, 2013.   Everyone who enters gets a free pattern for the winning outfit!  More info here: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/carries-dress-and-a-contest/ (scroll to the bottom)

And a sneak peek of what “the girls” are working on…(yep, it’s that 3-part wardrobe that AG wants $90 for sized for slim and AG size dolls and should be appearing around Thanksgiving)


And my apologies if I haven’t responded to some of your comments.  I’ve been back to work with less-than-optimal commuting conditions and am exhausted.  Last week was 4hr/day of driving on steep mountain roads in the dark, and this week is still over an hour each way depending how many roads become 1-lane due to construction and loads of backed up paperwork to do after that.  😛

Dreaming of hiking in a sunny meadow like Robby with no roads or paperwork in sight…