Tag: craft pattern

when ships and dioramas collide (the paper mache ship pattern is in print!)

pattern to create a paper mache ship

And collide in the best way,  in the you got peanut butter on my chocolate way.

In the two weeks leading up to the squam diorama class I spent a lot of time playing with old paper and planning for the class as well as finishing up the brand new print version of the large paper mache ship.  Old paper is interesting. There was lots of it in France. I’ll tell you about that trip soon, it was a giant experience that has not even solidified as a memory yet, just shimmering images (I’m also super jet lagged and kind of dopey).

French General France getaway

My paper interest intensified with the things I collected for the Squam Diorama Class. I love collecting things for that class and happened upon a couple incredible collections of old paper in the last year.

I have mostly dealt with the surface of my paper mache ships in the same way for a very long time. I like soft, often neutral, washes of color with newsprint showing through. I liked the moodiness and spareness of it and still do but I was wanting something different all of a sudden.

the gulnare - a ship made from paper mache

I experimented but nothing made me happy. I didn’t land on anything I liked as well or better.  There was all that beautiful paper for the dioramas but I loved it too much to use it,  you know how that is.  And I didn’t think the texture of the old papers would work well for mache. I started playing with little pieces and was surprised how stable the paper was in the paste and how smoothly it layered on the surface, even with a variety of textures and thicknesses. And it works well mixed in with newsprint too.

paper mache ship with antique paper

The more I played the bolder my choices were and color and shapes crept in in a way I had not expected.

paper mache with antique paper

Now my eyes are open for paper all the time. It seems like a connecting tool for me at the moment, an invitation to happy accidents and a little push into new territories. I’m working on some figures now that incorporate it with fabric and stitching as I prepare for the Fall Squam Retreat (more on that soon).

paper mache ship print edition

pattern to create a paper mache ship

paper mache booklet page

P S  Thanks so much to all of you who wished me well on my travels. It was a huge, exciting and daunting thing for me, I have not been on a giant trip in decades. Your thoughts were truly felt and appreciated.

how to hide knots and an easy way to add seam allowance

tape pencils together to mark a consistent seam allowance

If you have taken a workshop with me then you know I am the seam allowance police. I always mark my stitch line. I think it’s essential for small sewing. I recently came across an easy way to add or mark a consistent seam allowance:

tape pencils together to mark a consistent seam allowance

Tape pencils together.

That’s it. If you’re drafting patterns it’s a quick and easy way to make a consistent seam allowance and for marking fabric just put one pencil point on the edge of the fabric and trace around. Also, if you glue a sheet of very fine sandpaper to a piece of cardboard or foam core it makes an ideal surface to keep your fabric from slipping as you make your marks.

tape pencils together to mark a consistent seam allowance

While we are talking about sewing tips one of the questions I’m asked most frequently is how to hide knots when adding features and details. I include this trick in almost every pattern I publish (and you can find a video of it here).

1. Make a tiny knot close to the end of your thread.

2. Insert the needle a little away from where you would like to begin and come out where you would like the first stitch.

3. Pull the thread tight to pop the knot through.

4. Insert the needle and use a sweeping motion to grab the thread from the inside  and pull the tail in.  I’m ready to embroider the little white ring around my bird eye ( I always add one dot to the center too, to give it life).

5. When you are almost finished stitching stop before you are ready to make the last stitch and make a knot in the thread.  Before you tighten the knot insert the needle into the loop and pull it down the thread until it is just a little further away from your work than the length the last stitch will be.

6. Make your stitch, bringing your needle out about 1/2 inch away, pop the knot through, pull the thread tight and clip it close to the fabric. If there is still a little tail use your needle to pull it under again.

trick for hiding sewing knots

Finished!  And no messy knots.  Find another tip for making small sewing beautiful and easy right here.

the mushroom print pattern and kit are in the shop

mushroom print sewing pattern

Enchanted mushrooms made from little bits of fabric and other supplies you probably already have.  I’ve just added the new mushroom print pattern and kit!  to the shop.  And in celebration of the 12th  anniversary of ann wood handmade all patterns and kits are 25% off through Monday.

shop the sale

mushroom sewing pattern

mushroom sewing kit supplies

mini handmade toadstool with a red cap

two handmade toadstool with red caps

mushroom sewing kit

If you make mushrooms I’d love to see! You can use #annwoodhandmade on instagram or email me a photo at info at ann wood handmade dot com.

little gifts : endeavor to delight

handmade toadstools

Little things. The kind of things you can make in an hour or two or over  a couple evenings. Something unexpected, something that charms.

handmade toadstools

 

If you visit here regularly you know that the holidays are not my favorite thing.  But that part appeals to me, making presents for people, especially little things.

little sailor mouse

And I like Christmas trees, festive, spicy  smells, sweet packages (download the free little yellow house tags here) and a manageable amount of snow might be nice.

small handmade gifts

small handmade gifts

You can find most of the ornament patterns above in the shop as well as the mushroom pattern ( I reduced it by about half for the minis).  And find the free mouse pattern here and the free woebegone pine tree pattern here.

doll kit making

I’m also making doll kits. One million of them. Not really but that’s what it feels like. I’m assembling and shipping kits (and staying hydrated).  After a few days I found a rhythm and the assembly part has sped up. It’s a good thing I enjoy repetitive tasks. So far anyway. I am not enjoying all the paper cuts. So many paper cuts.

shop note:  Stuff is shipping every day and all current orders (including back orders) should be out by Tuesday of next week. And doll kits will be back in stock by next week too.  Send me an email if you want to know as soon as they are available.

dear little paper mache boat ornament : a free tutorial

free tutorial : dear little boat

Everybody loves to go boating.

I’ve made you something!  A free tutorial for a dear little paper mache boat ornament. The boat is 5 and 1/2 inches long and 6 and1/2 inches high – a very nice size for very nice mice or tiny rag dolls.

tiny rag doll

ann wood : boat ornament

They are quick and simple to make (really quick! make a bunch) and only require little bits of fabric, cardboard and other things you probably already have.  And the pattern scales up easily – if you’d like to make a larger boat. I think it is helpful to read through all the steps before you begin.

To get started download the dear little boat and sail templates here.

little boat tutorial

* You can click each image for a larger view.

1. Place the boat template on your cardboard and trace the outline. Mark the fold lines (the dashed lines on the template) in colored pencil. Use the BACK of the exacto knife to lightly score the fold lines. Cut out the template.

2. Gently fold at the scored fold lines.

3. Bring the front sides and bottom together.

4. Tape over the tabs with masking tape – it’s helpful to tear off several little pieces of tape so they are ready when you need them.

5. Tape over the outside seams as well.

6. Fold up the back of the boat and tape over the tabs as well as the outside cardboard seams.

7. Fold the boat bottom flap tabs toward the print side.

8. Fold the bottom flap into the boat and tape over the tabs

9. Fold the sides over – into the boat.

10. Tape along all the edges. We are ready for paper mache.

paper mache tips: Because the boat is small and our armature is sturdy – one layer of paper mache is enough. If you are making a larger boat use at least two layers. Tear small pieces of newsprint – roughly an inch or smaller – small pieces of paper create a smooth sturdy result- use the smallest pieces for covering corners, tight curves and edges. I like commercially prepared wall paper paste – available at most hardware stores Collect text scraps for embellishing.

11. Begin with the edges – paint paste onto the boat – apply a piece of paper and paint paste over.

12. After covering the edges fill in the rest of the areas. One layer of paper is enough for a small boat – two will make it even sturdier. If adding a second layer there is no need to wait for the first to dry. Read More

the rutabaga pattern is here and meditative stitch for percolating ideas

Just in time for your holiday weekend stitching – the rutabaga pattern is here.  It’s a relatively quick project – depending on how long you linger in the details. I taught it at a workshop recently and fabulous turnips and rutabagas were created in under 4 hours.

stitched rutabaga applique

Personally – I like to linger in the details of these – especially the appliqué. It’s repetitive, easy, relaxing work that requires just enough attention to make it the perfect activity for percolating ideas.  I make it my job to have ideas – lot’s of ideas –  and I love the sensation of letting an idea percolate, letting my subconscious have a crack at it.  I drift into pleasant, soft focus daydreamy work and behind the scenes problems get solved, perspective shifts and connections are made. A brisk walk works too but then I don’t get a lovely rutabaga out of the deal.

I also like the appliqué portion of the program because it goes against my grain a little  (a lot). I’m sometimes afraid of raw edges in a way that inhibits me creatively – I can get too obsessed with being neat and buttoning things up and lose the essence of the thing.    I’ve been experimenting with pretty traditional  appliqué (I’ll show you soon) and would like to get a little free-er in my designs.

stitched rutabaga

Besides the meditative benefits there are so many reasons to make a rutabaga (or turnip) – they are, I think, the most beautiful of the root vegetables.  No one is ever expecting a stitched turnip so they make wonderful gifts.  And these rutabagas have a secret ingredient that makes them balance in a dynamic, root vegetable-lish way.

stitched rutabaga sewing pattern

I add a little weighted fill – 1mm glass bead fill is my favorite.  I put 2-4 spoonfuls in the toe of an old pair of tights to keep it in one spot and insert it into the bottom. The result is a rutabaga that perches at a jaunty angle instead of just lying on its side.

stitched turnip sewing pattern

I hope you make rutabagas (or turnips)!  And if you do I’d love to see – you can email photos to me at info at ann wood handmade dot com.

Have a beautiful weekend,

ann

rutabaga sewing pattern

outfitting mrs. spots and small art series 2

rag doll : mrs. spots

rag doll : mrs. spots

Meet Mrs. Spots – a dear old friend of Mr. Socks. There have been a number of questions lately – and – I have wondered myself – if the tiny rag doll’s wardrobe could work for the Mr. Socks doll pattern.  I spent some time experimenting with that and – with some adjustments – it can.  And that is how I arrived at Mrs. Spots.

rag doll : mrs. spots

Beginning with the dress (the dress is from the tiny rag doll pattern) – it needs to be a little larger,  Mrs. Spots is taller than the tiny rag doll and has considerable girth around the middle. There are two easy ways to do it – you can add a quarter inch to the dress pattern   – the cut line becomes the stitch line with the exception of the back center seam – don’t add extra there.

Or just enlarge the pattern to 115%  ( I have not tried this with the pinafore apron yet but I suspect enlarging it to 115% would work – if you give it a try I’d love to see).

rag doll : mrs. spots

rag doll : mrs. spots

For the coat – so easy – you can use the pattern at it’s original size but skip the hood and do not sew the back seam (step 3 in the pattern)  – leave the full width.  The little satchel works as is too. (The coat and satchel are both from the coat, bag and hat pattern).

rag doll : mrs. spots

And finally the free hat pattern – for days when a coat is just too much.  I enlarged it to fit  and you can download the larger size here.

And some small art news:

I’ll be adding the first of the small art series 2 pieces to the shop soon – either tomorrow or over the weekend (sorry that’s not more specific  – I have a couple tech things to work out). I’m planning on adding about 24 little paintings.  If you are on the artwork list you will get an email notification (not sure if you are? email me – happy to help)  and I’ll also update this post and instagram.

a coat for tiny rag doll and a free tiny hat tutorial

tiny rag doll winter wardrobe

winter rag doll

Of course she needs a sensible coat!  And it’s reversible! I’m pretty excited about the reversibleness of the coat – and the nifty way it goes together – it feels like kind of a magic trick ( I included a video link for that part). I also love that the coat is built from just two pieces and demonstrates an awesome system for making reversible doll garments – you could modify the pattern and use the same easy technique to create all sorts of lined or reversible little clothes.

I also made a little lined flat bottomed satchel for her foraging and a hat  too. She is ready for adventure.

Find sample pages from the pattern here and here.

tiny doll : winter wardrobe

shop_button_coat

tiny rag doll winter wardrobe

The winter wardrobe pattern is in the shop now and I’m including the little hat pattern in this post too – download the template here and instructions are below – it’s very simple, easy and quick – you can make one in under twenty minutes.

For the tiny hat you will need a little wool, felt or flannel and contrasting embroidery thread. Pin the hat pattern to the fabric and cut out.

Whip stitch all around the bottom edge with a strand or two of embroidery thread.

ann wood tiny doll hat 3

Fold the hat in half and whip stitch the back seam from the bottom towards the tip.

tiny doll hat

Knot just before the tip and fray the tip. And finally tie little lengths of embroidery thread to the ear flaps and knot.

tiny_doll_hat

tiny traveler

She is fully outfitted for her travels. A couple other notes on the pattern- the coat and satchel will fit mr. socks too and you could scale it for other dolls. I have not tried the hat on mr. socks – but I think it would work if you enlarge it a little.

If you make a tiny wardrobe I’d love to see – you can email photos to info at ann wood handmade dot com.

 

tiny doll : winter wardrobe
ann wood handmade : tiny hat

make a ship for mr. socks

mr. socks goes boating

paper mache boat

Mr. Socks is going to sea in his very own ship. I made it using my free paper mache boat pattern with a couple changes. If you’d like to make your own follow the original boat instructions but to make it just right for Socks use:

(a note on sail making – there are instructions here if you need them)

a ship for mr. socks

Socks is the kind of cat that does just what he wants so he is off to Paris for a holiday in his brand new ship.

mr. socks goes boating

mr. socks goes boating

mr. socks goes boatingau revoir mr. socks!

 

tiny rag doll nation

tiny rag doll by dawn

tiny rag doll by dawn

The  tiny rag doll pattern was not something I planned on or saw coming but I’m so glad I followed the impulse – it has been and continues to be a very happy thing.  A happy thing for me to make and a happy thing to share. I think it strikes a cord – a point of connection so many of you that show up here have in common with me and each other. It’s the kind of sewing I grew up doing – slow hand stitching.  There is sweetness, simplicity and nostalgia about it.  I came across this thought from Dawn – a tiny rag doll maker – she puts it perfectly:

I love the quiet peacefulness of stitching by hand, using a thimble, putting the tiny pieces together just so.  I feel a connection to countless other hand stitchers who came before me.  I think it comes through in the dolls.

The doll above – forward looking and ready for adventure is by Dawn ( as well as the next 3) and below I’ll share some other wonderful tiny rag doll work by customers. You can find more and add  your own to the ann wood handmade by you Flickr group – there are lovely things happening there – all sorts of ideas and details and variations being shared (including adorable crocheted wigs – a pattern from another fabulous tiny doll maker Beth – scroll all the way to the bottom of her page for the link).

I think it’s the perfect moment for a tiny doll revolution – the world needs more tiny handmade rag dolls  – an army of hand stitched little ladies who mean business.

P.S. If you’ve made a tiny rag doll and have details, variations or tips you’d like to share please do in the comments or email me and I’ll add it to the post.tiny rag doll by dawn

tiny rag doll by dawn

tiny rag doll by dawn

Below – tiny rag dolls by Karen:

tiny rag dolls by karen

 tiny rag dolls by Karen

Read More

tiny rag doll and wardrobe pattern

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 dot com.

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

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

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

sailboats : a new sewing pattern and a sample sale

sailboat sewing pattern

The Sailboat pattern is here! Charming boats to sew. They twirl in the breeze and cast lovely shadows. The boats are a great way to use fabrics that are special to you – make a little memory vessel – there is lots of opportunity to personalize and embellish and create an heirloom. I also love to make them from old quilt tops that I pick up at fleamarkets and sometimes on Ebay. The pattern is in the shop now as well as a sample sale of some of the boats I made along the way and some french hens.

I hope you make sailboats!

sailboat sewing pattern

handmade sailboat and pirate

patchwork sailboat

 

 

french hens

handmade hens

handmade blue hen

Suddenly a chicken appeared! Or more specifically  a hen, a french hen. It occurred to me that maybe the merry wobbler sewing pattern could be modified to make a hen – and it can!  Of course they need nesting boxes too and I created a little template and tutorial on how to make the box and modify the wobbler. Both are super simple – find the template and instructions below after lots of hen pictures –  I couldn’t help it  – I love them.

handmade hens

handmade french hens

hen house

blue and white hen

french hen posteriors

You can download the template for the nest box and hen parts here.  

And you will also need the merry wobbler sewing pattern or, if you like, come up with your own bird to chickenize.

Other supplies are:  felt for hen parts and the nest, a glue stick, cardboard  and embroidery thread- I’m using dmc 8.

nest box 1

Beginning with the nest box – cut out 2 of the felt shapes for the nest and one cardboard bottom – cereal box weight cardboard.  Read More