the tiny rag doll pattern is here!

tiny rag doll sewing pattern

Find the pattern here.  And she has a tiny wardrobe : dress, reversible pinafore apron, bloomers and a camisole – there are full instructions for all. It’s a huge pattern with more than 80 color photos and tips to make small sewing easy and beautiful – like turning tiny pieces and hiding your knots.

tiny rag doll sewing pattern

tiny rag doll sewing pattern

How about those little clothespins? You can get your own here. They might be the best thing in the world.

tiny rag doll sewing pattern

And she has perfect tiny hair – the pattern shows you step by step how to create  it  easily – and the technique would work for other dolls too.  The sample page below ( page 17 in the pattern) is the end of the hair section and beginning of the feature section.doll pattern pageI hope you make tiny rag dolls and lots of outfits for them ( a winter wardrobe will be available later this year).   If you do I’d love to see – send photos to info at ann wood handmade.

If you’re not inclined to make your own I’ll have some  more tiny rag dolls in the shop next week – sign up here to be notified when new things are available – there all all sorts of new things coming up in the next few weeks,

tiny rag doll pattern

 

tiny rag doll sewing pattern

mosquitos on my work table and a pattern sneak peek : turning tiny doll parts

mosquito work : proboscis

The tiny rag doll sewing pattern is pretty much ready to go but I’m waiting until next week to release it – just to make extra sure it is all I want it to be.  I’ve looked at it so long and so hard I can’t see it any more – you know? I’ll review it with fresh eyes in a day or two. The big challenge of the pattern was the littleness and looking for the easiest and most effective ways to deal with tiny sewing – like turning the little arms and legs right side out after sewing.  I included the simple method  below in the pattern.  Maybe everybody already knows this trick but I didn’t until a couple years ago and it works fabulously well – so just in case you haven’t tried it:

turning tiny doll parts

Besides pattern and workshop making work I have some mosquitos on my worktable. Mosquitos are slow, detailed work that involves lots of pins and stabbing myself repeatedly with various instruments – the five  below have been in progress forever and are finally in the homestretch.

mosquito work

mosquito work

mosquito work : proboscis

They suffer such indignities – this poor girl is having her proboscis hammered.  I hammer the wire parts on a tiny anvil to stiffen them after shaping and make them a little textured and sparkly. Three of these Edwardian pests will end up in the shop sometime in the near future and the other two are going on special missions. If you’d like to be notified when I have new pieces available you can sign up here.

experimenting with dolls : meet mr. socks

mr. socks

Sometimes it’s hard to shift out of production work and into true experimenting – really letting go  of outcome.  Production work is predictable – there is a definite beginning and end and the repetition and familiarity can be kind of comforting.  I love to play and experiment, I love the adventure of something new but it takes effort, patience and practice to be able to get my head in that place when I need to.  Part of it is the anxiety of all that isn’t done – it interferes with the meandering quality of experimenting.  The anxious part of my mind protest the gentle open ended nature of the experimenting.

My sketchbook practice helps – I try to spend my sketchbook time in that place – sometimes I get there and sometimes I don’t but it is always good practice to try – especially in a very unideal moment.  I gain more skill all the time at quieting the call of pressing tasks and worries that will absolutely always be there – the perfect moment for experimenting will not ever appear.

A lot of my experimenting lately is around dolls and figures – preparing for my workshop at Squam this September.  I want to bring a few things that demonstrate different techniques – like building from the inside out.  I began without much of a plan – I had a vague idea of maybe trying to make something similar to an odd figure I like that appeared in last week’s sketchbook.

sketchbook 8/3

I started playing and trying things, building a little shape by winding batting over a simple wire form and then stitching fabric on top.  I love the spontaneity of this method – one thought builds on another and interesting things happen.

doll armature

By the time the shape was halfway covered I had shifted direction – the little shape had it’s own idea what it wanted to be and mr. socks began to appear.  He is not what I planned on at all – I think my tiny rag doll brain crept in – but I was happy to meet him.

mr_socks

mr. socks

Hello Mr. Socks!

mr. socks

And his posterior.  I’ve also been making lots of tiny rag dolls and seedpods while working on sewing patterns for each ( at least one of those patterns will be out next week) and I put a couple  tiny rag dolls and seedpods in the shop today.

hand stitched seedpods

miss petunia

miss lavender

 

stripes make a sailor and the easy way to make sails

gentleman sailor owl

stitching sails

When I first started making ships I was doing little handkerchief rolled hems on the sails. They were pretty but drove me crazy and took forever.  When I put together the paper mache ship pattern I wanted something easier and I found it.  It’s super simple and has other benefits too.

sail

I  cut two pieces of fabric for each sail (not usually the same fabric – I like the front and back  to be different  – even just subtly),  pin them right sides together and stitch around – leaving one little section open. Trim the excess off the corners,  turn it right side out,  press and stitch closed.  I add a whip or blanket stitch around the edge and  layers of patches and lace.  You can click here to download the sail pattern below if you’d like to give it a try.

sail_pattern_annwood_2

This method is much quicker than the tiny hems and makes a very tidy sail.  Also the double fabric helps the sails hold their shape when you fill them with wind.

paper mache ship

I’m making an owl to captain the ship I’m working on  and used my favorite piece of antique ticking for his front.  Putting a horizontal stripe on an owl transforms him instantly into a gentleman sailor.  The owl below is the medium size from the little owl pattern.

gentleman sailor owl

And ticking stripes are nice for sailing mice too.

sailor mouse

a caption contest – win your very own fortuny seed pod

fortuny rat

fortuny rat

Update 8/4 : Thanks so much for all the great captions for last weeks contest! The winner is:

“Left, right, cha, cha, cha! One, two, cha, cha, cha!”

I love the idea of  him practicing his dance steps with the mirror – nice work Lourdes!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I’m working on mostly top secret things right now – holiday stuff,  2 brand new workshops for next year and the tedious parts – formatting, editing etc. – of creating the rag doll and seed pod patterns.  Since I can’t show you what’s on my work table it’s the perfect time for a caption contest.

I try to make creatures whose expression and body language imply a history – a definite point of view,  a world of their own.  And I like to photograph them in a way that invites you to wonder what’s going on outside the frame.  This is one of my most favorite photos – taken last year in the Adirondacks.  What do you think this dapper rat is up to? What’s on his rat mind?

Make up a caption and leave it in the comments to this post – an esteemed panel of judges will choose a winner to be announced next Thursday.  Everybody is welcome to enter – please leave your caption comment before Wednesday 8/3.

And the prize – a Fortuny seed pod! Such a tragic flower – gone to seed – collapsed in a pretty heap.

fortuny seed pod

fortuny seed pod

miss petunia’s lazy day and summer reading

miss petunia's lazy day

I don’t need much of an excuse to pull out my old box of doll house treasures and I was curious if my tiny rag dolls are in the same doll house scale as my furniture. They are, they accidentally or maybe by a subconscious direction, are a perfect fit.  And just like that Miss Petunia is fully outfitted. She has everything a tiny doll needs.

dollhouse furniture

The box of doll house things – the doll house that was the center of my creative life for much of my little-ness is full of wonders. It only resurfaced a few years ago and this was the first time I fully explored all the little treasures.

miniature book

Including one of Miss Petunia’s earliest ancestors – this funny girl I made to live in my house. And a tiny book for her to read. Holding and examining these things I made 40 plus years ago has a very strange sensation about it that I can’t quite put my finger on.

miss petunia's lazy day

Miss Petunia is surrendering to the thick hot city day and lying around in her underwear reading.
It sounds like a good idea.  Are you reading something great? I recently re-read In Cold Blood – Truman Capote is such a master and currently I have two going – A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway and A Path With A Heart – Jack Kornfield.  Also, one of my most favorite books, and I think a fabulous summer read, is Main St. – Sinclair Lewis.  If you feel like sharing your favorites please do – just leave it in the comments to this post.

 

a cloaked bishop lilly and other stitched botanicals

stitched botanicals

stitched botanicals

I’ve been experimenting with new botanical shapes (all of these are in the shop right now).  The flower below is the rare cloaked Bishop Lilly – it only blooms at night.  If the moon is full.  Once every ten years. And only for an hour…..

There are also seedpods,  toadstools and another rare specimen the Royal Cone Flower – valued for the rich crimson bloom as well as it’s medicinal properties – it’s petals make a potent sleeping potion – it is found only in the Black Forest and is nearly extinct.

I love the mystery and strangeness of flowers and I’m exploring them further – playing with the idea of translucency and things gone to seed.  I especially love the foresty parts of the botanical gardens here in Brooklyn and I’ve been finding inspiration in antique botanical prints too – for my invented species as well as the photographs of them – I’m thinking of a postcard set of strange new specimens – what do you think? Also – In addition to the tiny rag doll pattern I’m working on a botanical pattern  for a seed pod with a root system – that will probably be next out. Have a lovely weekend,

ann

cloaked bishop lilly

cloaked bishop lilly

toadstool #10

You can find the sewing pattern for the little toadstool above right here – I printed the pattern at 50% for this little guy.

aubergine_toadstool

royal cone flower

cloaked bishop lilly

plum seedpod

lavender_seedpod_2

miss lilac

And among all the strange flowers – tiny rag doll #4 – miss lilac is in the shop too.

how to make my signature frothy lace cake topper bird gown

fancy bird gown tutorial

bird wedding gown

There are lots of cake topper birds on my worktable right now. It’s been 10 years since I made the first set  and I guess-timate that I’ve made more than two thousand pairs.  That’s a lot of dressed up birds. Today I’m going to show you how to make my frothy little gown for a cake topper bird or any other formal bird occasion.  The bird is made from my little bird sewing pattern but I think you could use the same technique on other birds – just adjust the size of the lace.  I think it’s helpful to read through all the steps before beginning and you can click the images for a larger view.  You will need a basic sewing kit and some lace scraps – something soft and not to stiff or heavy is best – I’m using cotton tulle.

bird gown 1         bird_gown_2

1. Cut a piece of lace or tulle – a rectangle that is 7 and 1/2 inches by 3 and 1/2 inches.

2. Place the lace on the bird so there is a long and a short side – you want one third on one side and two thirds on the other. Fold the raw edge under and pin the lace to the back seam of the bird neck.

bird gown 3        bird gown 4

3. Starting with the short side turn the raw edge under and pin into the seam at the side of the neck and then again – right on the seam – about half way down the from of the bird body.

4. Repeat on the longer side – pin once at the neck and then bring the lace across the body – folding the raw edge under  and meeting the pin on the other side – use that pin to hold both sides in place.

bird gown 5        bird gown 6

5. Begin stitching the gown to the body where the sides meet – make a couple tiny stitches here and knot once – keep the thread attached.

6. Using tiny whip stitches stitch all the way around the neck twice. It’s important to go around twice to make sure the neckline stays in place.

bird gown 7        bird gown 8

7. Pin the short side of the lace back out of your way and pull the long side around the body. To make the fancy ruched front gather the top 3/4 of an inch or so with your fingers into little folds – pin in place with one or two pins and sew the folds in place along the seam ( these stitches won’t show).

8.  Use your finger to pull the long side of the lace around the body ( you may need to take out the pin holding the short side) and stitch the rest of the  lace to the seam, stitching towards the tail – again these stitches will not show.

bird gown 9        bird gown 10

9. Stop stitching where the body meets the tail and trim the lace – just leaving a small edge. Stop trimming about one half inch below top (where the little folds are) and leave a long piece of lace. (save your little scraps – we’ll use them later).

10. Pin the long piece you left out of the way and pull the short side of lace across the body. While holding the lace across the body stitch in the same place as the previous side, right on top.  Read More

a wardrobe for miss dahlia – progress on the tiny rag doll pattern

tiny rag doll

tiny rag doll

The body pattern for the tiny rag doll is worked out as well as the assembly and directions for the little details – like her shoes and hair.  I’ve moved on to patterns for her wardrobe. The original tiny doll  had attached fancy underthings that made assembling her difficult and  I love the idea of everything being removable so I devoted a big chunk of time to experimenting with tiny lingerie construction.  I came up with bloomers and 2 camisoles for the little doll above – miss dahlia.  I also made her a pinafore – that might be my favorite thing of all – in fact I want miss dahlia’s whole outfit for myself.

mini doll clothes

tiny_ragdoll_underthings

tiny rag doll back

tiny rag doll pinafore

miss dahlia and miss lilac

Here she is with miss lilac – all dressed.  I’m moving on to outerwear tomorrow – a winter coat and a satchel and then the tiny rag doll will be very well equipped for all her tiny doll adventures.

If you’d like an email when the pattern is available you can sign up here.

fragments : small stitched compositions

stitch experiments

I’ve been experimenting with small compositions – making marks and texture with thread, exploring, observing and maybe expanding my vocabulary of stitches. Some are organic feeling marks – spilling out of the botanical things I’ve been working on and some  mix with and echo the meandering stitches of mends and intricate darning I find in garments.  I’m paying attention to my impulses and habits and challenging them – looking for the rules I’ve made for myself but am not always conscious of – the musts and can’ts that get in the way of being truly expressive.  I’m asking myself to be responsive and un-self-conscious – to pick up a thread and follow it.

stitch experiments

stitch experiments

stitch experiment #1

stitch experiment #2

stitch experiment #3

And P. S – regarding tiny rag dolls – thanks for your feedback and the pattern making is well underway – it will be available in the next week or two!

fragments : stitch expeiments