Tag Archives: wellie wishers

Let’s make more 50s clothes for our smaller dolls!

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For this week, we have another easy-to-sew mid-century dress that’s equally adorable on vintage or modern dolls.  You’ll notice this skirt is MUCH wider than last week’s.  Skirts in the 1950s were very wide, but it can be hard to gather enough fabric onto a smaller bodice to get that look.  Poly-cotton blend gingham is usually on the thin side, which meant more of it could be used than if I’d chosen a heavier-weight fabric.  A puffy petticoat can hold it out to Toni’s width, or you can let it hang naturally like Emiko’s for a less fussy look.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I was going for a vaguely “Dorothy” look on Toni with the shiny shoes 🙂

Get the pattern here

Share your creations:

https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

If you post pix, it tells me you are enjoying the 1950s series and more things will keep appearing!  I spent last weekend on some 50s craft projects that your dolls might like and am also working on some larger size outfits too!

They don’t even need to be 1950s-inspired.  Check out the princess dress with clever crown from gammerangel:

Wellies at Target?

Yep.  Well, some of the SuperTargets anyway, as my husband noticed, which led to a “Awesome Husband” award last weekend.  I’ve had a rough couple of weeks and was super stressed out about work and DH wanted to go hiking and get my mind off things.  When he opened my car door, look who was waiting for a hug:

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It’s the Wellie Wisher Kendall, whom I’m calling “Della” for short.  Apparently she’s the crafty/DIY gal of the group which he thought was a good fit for my personality.  It seems almost unreasonable that I’d like her so much – she’s just a piece of plastic, right?  But I can’t stop smiling every time I see her!  Receiving her this way made her a symbol that my husband acknowledged I was super stressed, and went out of his way to do something that would  make me smile. ❤

The ideals of beauty…as reflected in dolls

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You might remember a few weeks ago, I posted a link to an article about bias in film toward an “idealized” beauty of the 1950s.  Kodak skewed their color film to bias a blue-eyed blonde with red lips and an overall cool tone to her coloring.  But it wasn’t just the coloring that epitomized the era; I’ve written before about how doll bodies conform to the fashion sensibilities of their times, like Patsy with her roly-poly body that looked great in sweet little 1930s bishop-style dresses. Likewise, 1960s Barbie’s outrageously strange proportions have morphed into Lammily in our times.

This week I’m comparing a hugely popular 1950s doll, Toni, with a similar-sized modern one, Wellie Wisher Emiko.

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You can see first of all here, their body shapes are very different, even though their bust/waist measurements are almost the same.  Emiko’s torso is flattened out, whereas Toni’s is cylindrical.  The same dress can be made to fit both, but ends up looking very different!  See both in the same dress here and here or in the pattern below.

It’s also interesting to note that Toni looks quite “made up” with a fussier hairstyle, heavy lipstick and blush, and even some eye shadow, whereas Emiko’s coloring is more natural, yet both dolls are beautiful reflections of their own time.

I’ve been on a vintage sewing spree lately for 18″ dolls (more to come on that soon), and decided to also sew for Toni, using vintage Butterick 7973, supposedly sized for her.  (image below from Pinterest)

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Well, I bought the original 14″ version, but it didn’t really fit too well, and since I was altering it anyway, I thought it would be fun to see if I could make the same pattern look nice on both body shapes.  It took more adjusting than I had anticipated, but so far it’s going well!  Toni’s body lends itself to darts, which were a major feature of 1950s bodices at the waistlines, even for little children who didn’t really need them.  Those same darts made the dress quite ill-fitting on the Wellie body.

The pattern was re-released a few years ago, as Butterick #5865 without any indication of who it would fit, and I posted some pix on flickr of one dress I made on a variety of dolls, noting that it seemed to fit the Journey Girls the best.  It’s also a reminder that my photography skills have improved a lot since 2013, because the pictures are not that great! 🙂

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Anyway, I’m hoping to do a little sew-along of 1950s styles to fit 14″ dolls and hope you’ll join in!  They are quite easy to sew, and a great place to show off your small bits of vintage fabric and trims!

Get the pattern here

Share your pix on the Wrenfeathers flickr page here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/2825314@N20/

Speaking of the flickr page, I LOVE seeing what you’ve made with my patterns, and even though I’m on yet another historical bent, it’s nice to showcase sewing for our modern dolls that reflects modern interests and different cultures.  Check out what Lisa did with clever use of prints that mimics embroidery on the kamiz:

And Carol shows us that Little Darling’s Karate Gi will fit the Wellies too:

 

 

 

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!

There is a Melody…

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So the poll was overwhelmingly (>60%) in favor of more stuff for the Wellies and I’ve put together a bunch of really cute things that are in progress for them – stay tuned!

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It might also interest you to know they may soon be available at a Toys R Us near you:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/mattels-american-girl-to-be-sold-in-toys-r-us-stores-1472643023

Which might mean you will have to make a hard decision whether to use your TRU coupons on something besides the Journey Girls!

Enough people still wanted April that I will keep posting some stuff for her, probably once a month, but will discontinue her journal and just maybe post a little summary of the “back story” for that month’s outfit/craft if necessary.

With that in mind…remember how April REALLY wanted a doll like all her friends and her mom got her an OG and said maybe down the road she’d get an AG?  Well, she did!  It was Melody and her mom was so enchanted with Melody’s wardrobe she decided to sew some of the outfits in April’s size!  Is that enough rationale to post some Melody outfits? 😉

I really didn’t intend to get Melody…  My doll collection is quite diverse, but my darkest-skinned dolls don’t always make it onto the blog for their own protection.  I often find the pictures come out better with a fill-in flash or extra bright lighting/sunshine and as you may be aware, a camera flash and UV rays can be VERY damaging to your dolls’ plastic.  However, when I saw  pix of Melody in her Christmas dress, I fell in love.  It’s funny how a different dress can make a doll look so different!

I had every intention of buying the dress too, but up close the fabric looked cheap and I couldn’t bring myself to fork over $34 for it, especially when I could tell you’d only need about a fat quarter of fabric ($1-$2.50) to make it.  So I did buy her the AG sparkly party shoes and made the dress myself.  You can too!

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Click here for the pattern!

This dress is technically intended to be her Christmas dress, but is so basic you can make it appropriate for any season or occasion by changing the fabric and altering sleeve length!  If you’re looking for the perfect fabric, the one pictured here is from the “buttercream” collection at Joann.

Want some more ideas for what your Melody can wear?  First of all, check here for FREE and very authentic patterns:

The Chatty Cathy patterns on etsy look great on her too:

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If you’re looking for a movie to watch with or sort of about Melody to get ideas for clothing, I recommend “The Watsons go to Birmingham”.  It’s a kids’ movie available on Netflix and based on a book of the same name by Newbery-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis.  The book was better, as most books are, because the movie felt like it changed/glossed over some things for me.  However, it is worth watching just to see and hear some of the vintage news footage as well as the period-correct clothing.  The costume designer did a nice job on most of Joetta’s outfits, and I’m hoping to make a version of the ivory dress she wears near the end for Melody at some point.   In the meantime, I finally finished the pattern for what turned out to be Melody’s peplum dress:

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Someone sent me a link last summer to a pic of this dress, which had been “leaked” on ebay before we even had confirmation that it was Melody’s or knew what she would look like, asking if it might become a pattern.  Apparently it’s becoming a “thing” for pieces to…let’s say, “go missing” from AG’s Chinese manufacturers and show up on ebay well before they’re officially released.  All of Lea’s stuff was also find-able on ebay before she had been released, and various blogs seize this info and post it to give us sneak peeks.  On the one hand, I really appreciate this, because I’m always eager to see new AG releases, but on the other hand it also means the picture quality is sometimes poor and it’s possible to not appreciate the clothes and dismiss the collection as something you don’t want before you’ve even seen it in professional photos or in person.

Anyway, I fell in love with the mystery doll’s peplum dress and spent a really long time getting the skirt to look perfect, scanned my final pieces and forgot about it.  Now that Melody has come to live with us, I think it looks great on her!  The style is a little mature, but in the first book it’s referred to as a dress that her older sister outgrew, so then the look makes sense for a girl her age.

The pattern is available on etsy here

Wellie Wishers Review!

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I bet you’re super excited to find out how they compare to other dolls, so I’m fighting with the new computer to bring you this post.  Luckily you’re not here to hear the swearing!  Here goes:

Since I’ve been to the AG store on Jan 1 more than once and seen a line stretching far out the door, I expected something similar for the release of the new Wellie Wishers.  I actually arrived at 9:30 (they open at 10 according to the website) and there was NO ONE outside!  Weird, huh?  Then I saw someone walk into the store and realized they must have opened early.  I braced myself for a crowd, but turns out I was only 1 of maybe 7 shoppers in the whole store!

My first impression of these dolls, echoed by a few other people I heard in the store was, “wow, they’re small!”

In fact they are close in size to the hearts for hearts girls:

A few in-store photos with apologies for the poor lighting – it was definitely not designed for taking pictures!

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A ballerina costume and  a fairly nice stage.  It has fabric curtains and two backdrops

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All the Wellies outside their “Big Ticket Item” house ($250) with the sad little bunny

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The obligatory pink princess dress

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Cute, nicely made jammies

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This accessory set was my fave; apparently Kendall is the crafty one?  I may go back and get her…

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This is what was in her apron

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A mud pie set/potting bench that comes with the house

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I LOVE the idea of this backpack!  If I had a child that was transporting her doll I’d surely have gotten it!

They are all so adorable it was hard to choose, but the salesperson I talked to said Willa was the most popular so far, and I’m pretty partial to freckles! 🙂

Here she is in her box

The picture on the front of the box is a little deceiving (deceitful?). In the photo on the box she is clearly tilting her head.  I love dolls with the ability to do this, because it makes for more expressive photos. It turns out she can’t really do that.

She was anchored in with a tie and some rubber bands around her feet.

It was annoying that they sewed part of her headband to the top of the box. That kind of thing seems more associated with cheaper dolls like Barbie

Even without the tilting head she poses OK, stands well on her own and is very cute!

Size comparison

In comparison to the Sasha and AG cylindrical bodies, the very young-looking Wellies faces with the hourglass-shaped torso is slightly odd.  Their target market here is about the 4-6 year old age-range, and young kids have bodies more like Sasha.

  The dolls with straight hair at the store had beautiful, silky hair.  Willa’s curls are possibly held in place with some kind of product, since it’s not as soft.  She’s probably also stuck with eternal pigtails, since this is how it looks in back:

She feels quite a bit more substantial than the H4H, but at more than 2x the price, you’d hope so!

She has very visible torso seams at the sides and shoulders that at first looked like cracks:

But they aren’t loose at all, so it must just be part of her construction.  The torso is made of a harder plastic than the rest of her and has molded undies with a “W” logo.

Clothing quality is on par with other AG items:

And thank goodness her wellies are lined with fabric!  This makes them more stain-resistant as well as easier to put on.

Now for the most important thing:

As you can see they’re just a little bigger than the H4H!  I’m experimenting with enlarging some of those patterns in the neighborhood of 106%, although loose H4H sized items, like maybe the dress from week 1 of the sew-along might fit!

Verdict/Enabling:  Yes, I like her.  She’s a good quality doll, and I love sewing for dolls in that size range.  The hard body is also a plus.  Knowing what I know now, yes, I’d still drive all the way down there and buy her again, although the price seems a little steep, especially if you’re buying in-store and paying an additional tax on top of their base price of $60.  $50 would have been more reasonable, so I may wait for a sale before getting another.

Off to sew! 🙂