Category: dolls

flea market report (french edition), summer doll pattern sale and a glorious chunk of nothing

antique textiles and paper found in france

In the corner of a sweltering hot barn jammed with mountains of dusty ancient things there was a little box of crumpled tissue. First a little silver fork pokes out. Then a tiny china lid that might belong to a teapot.

box of antique miniatures found in france

A shell thin glass vase that is somehow not broken is floating in the tissue too. I stop looking because I already know I need it and the rest should be discovered slowly and savored, each thing emerging. A tiny sterling candlestick and then unbelievably it’s mate, miniature binoculars, and the lid does belong to a teapot, the little set is complete and even has a platter. Old and wonderful. Everything about it is magic and sweet and melancholy and lonesome.

daily painting in a french chateau

Vacations are not my thing. And technically this is not a vacation, I am in France to teach workshops with French General. I brought lots of projects to work on too, things to sew, writing projects, all sorts of fun things. But I did nothing. Almost nothing. My brain refused to participate. I did more of nothing than I ever have in my life. 3 weeks of nothing. Plus it was 105 degrees, making nothing the only reasonable choice anyway.

cherrie tree in the south of france

Glorious nothing, swimming and cherries from a tree for breakfast, loads of coffee and wine, fantastic cheese and bread. Feeling supremely happy wandering brocantes and vide greniers eating a jambon beurre and finding treasures. Mostly things for making things. Loads of that. And Edwardian garments and antique paper for the October workshops in LA.

antique textiles and paper found in france

lace scraps

Checkout some highlights from the France workshops and wanderings below. And if you’d like to spend time with me in France next summer signups will be open soon. Send me a message with France 2020 as the subject if you’d like more info.

needle book workshop in france

ps – have you made a needle book?  Find the tutorial here. The exquisite book above was made here in the workshop by Petra.

antique fabric scrap bundles

textile seed pods

I’m headed home tomorrow and I felt my brain come back on line today. Sad to go but ready to work and think and experiment. Ready to dive into the busyness of finishing sewing patterns, preparing for the next 3 workshops and something special for September involving old paper and the forest.

tiny rag doll picnic

tiny rag doll patterns and kits are 25 % off through july

And Summer is for making tiny dolls and outfitting the little ladies with summer hats and dresses and miss matched china for lawn picnics. I’ve put the miss thistle society patterns and tutorials all in one place for you and for the remainder of July all the tiny rag doll patterns and kits are 25 % off. I’d love to see what you make – use #annwoodpattern and #missthistlesociety on instagram.

easy doll clothes patterns and a free mini straw hat diy

easy doll clothes

A tiny summer top! Who would  have guessed she’d reveal even a hint of midriff. But there it is. Scandalous. You just never know about someone…

easy doll dress, top and hat sewing patterns

A new sewing pattern! And a free tutorial too!

Use your scraps to make adorable dresses and tops for your tiny ladies. She can wear the dress frontwards or backwards for a variety of looks (it would also make a sweet nightgown made from eyelet or a vintage handkerchief).

easy doll clothes sewing patterns

The dress, top and hat are quick and easy to make. I spent a ton of time working out a tiny dress pattern that does not require lots of  hems and has no fasteners. You could use the simple technique to create all sorts of little garments. They are just the right size for the tiny rag doll and the pattern scales well for other rag dolls.

easy doll clothes sewing patterns

easy doll dress sewing pattern

The tiny rag doll needed a summer wardrobe.  She is headed for the French countryside soon so a big sun hat was a must.  The hat is included in the pdf and I’ve shared it below too.

easy doll dress pattern

get the pattern

make a mini straw hat:

free min straw hat diy

A couple material notes – I used cheese cloth – it’s cheap and easy to find. You can also experiment with any very light weight, gauzy, open weave cotton or linen fabric for different effects.

The nail polish bottle is used for forming the hat crown – any similar glass or plastic container can be used. The bottle I’m using made a hat that’s just the right size for the tiny rag doll – it is 5/8th inches across.

I’m using elmer’s glue

Paint – I used acrylic craft paint – mixing shades of brown, ochre and white for a straw shade.

I finished the hat with a mini silk ribbon. I love these ribbons and you can find them here. They are great for lots of tiny details and embroidery too (fyi – the miss thistle society gets a small commission if you purchase through the link).

mini straw hat making suplies

1. Cut a piece of cheesecloth about 5 inches by 5 inches. Cheese cloth has 4 layers and we will use them all.

2. Mix a straw shade of paint and add white glue (about 4 parts glue to 1 part paint). Paint the top 1/4 inch of the cap. Optional – I’m mixing glue into the paint but if you prefer you can just use glue and paint later or leave unpainted.

3. Center the cheesecloth over the cap and pull it tightly over it.

4. Hold the cheesecloth tight with an elastic.  Paint a thin layer of glue or the glue paint mixture on the cheesecloth. Let this dry completely.

5. Remove the rubber band and remove the cheesecloth from the bottle and spread it flat on wax paper.

6. Paint the cheese cloth with a thin coat glue or the glue mixture a little wider than you would like the brim. Brush firmly out from the center. Let this dry completely.

7. When it’s dry lift it off the wax paper.

8. Trim the brim to whatever size you like.

free straw doll hat diy

To finish you can add ribbon or a mini flower or stitch a detail on the brim or crown with embroidery thread. I used 4mm silk ribbon (affiliate link – meaning the miss thistle gets a tiny commission if you purchase through this link).

doll hat diy

I hope you make tiny hats! share your photos with the tiny rag doll community by using  #annwoodpattern and #missthistlesociety on instagram.

mini straw hat diy

make a quick and easy mini quilt from scraps

easy doll quilt tutorial

miniature quilts made from scraps

Make a whole stack of them, they’re just the right size for the clothespin doll bed and super quick and fun to make.

easy doll quilt tutorial

These little quilts are the sort I imagine the Sock’s family has mountains of in their big black house in Woebegone Pines. Haphazard, make-do sorts of things, accidentally charming pieced together leftovers, all thread bare from keeping generations of mischievous Socks offspring cozy.

miniature doll quilts

To make your little quilt print the template and gather cotton scraps. Start freestyle piecing them together.

The template makes a doll quilt that is 6 and 1/2 inches X 7 and 1/2 inches. Exactly the right size for the clothespin bed.

You can stitch by hand or machine (I like to use the machine for this). When you’ve got something bigger than the template pin the patchwork to a backing fabric with the right sides together and cut out. Save the patchwork scraps after cutting – you can stitch those together too. You can add a layer of lightweight cotton flannel inside if you like. I prefer the way the quilt drapes without it.

doll quilt diy

Tip: If you are making a few quilts make one big piece of patchwork and cut them all out. It goes quickly and I think it makes the most interesting compositions.

doll house size quilt tutorial
Stitch the patchwork and backing together. Leave a little opening at one end for turning and clip off the corners.

doll quilt diy

 

Turn it right side out and use a chopstick to poke out the corners. Press it and whipstitch the opening. You can quilt through it or not. I mostly went with not but did add some sweet red ties to one quilt.

To make the quilt drape nicely over the bed  arrange it and then press it on the bed with a hot iron along the curves and folds.

doll house bed and quiltmr. socks doll in pajamas

It’s all ready for mr. socks. I made him pajamas too (using the free little pants pattern) for an even cozier situation but he refused to wear them. You know how mr. socks is…

mr. socks in a sweet doll bed

doll quilt from scraps free tutorial

doll house bed tutorial – part 2 : making the mattress

doll mattress sewing tutorial

free doll mattress tutorial

This tufted doll mattress and pillow fit the clothespin dollhouse bed perfectly. It’s quick and easy to make and perfect for the tiny rag doll.

how to make a tufted doll mattress

You will need:

doll mattress sewing tutorial

1

1. Cut out the mattress from cotton fabric, pin with right sides together and stitch as shown.

2.  Pull the fabric sides apart at the corners

3. Open the seam allowance with your fingers and press the seams together. Stitch across at 1/4 inch. Do this for all 4 corners.

doll mattress sewing tutorial

4

4. With all four corners sewn the mattress should look like this.

Read More

how to make a doll house bed from clothespins – part one

make a doll house wood bed

Do you know somebody very little who needs a bed? A tiny rag doll perhaps? I’ve made you a tutorial for a sweet wooden dollhouse size bed made from clothespins and craft sticks. It is perhaps my greatest gift to humanity. Also, I had an unbelievably good time figuring it out and making it. So obsessed…

It is the latest Miss Thistle Society project, the quest to fully outfit the tiny rag doll’s world. Of course she needs a super cozy bed. The epic instructions for the bed are below and find the instructions for an easy tufted doll mattress here.

I hope you make sweet little beds! Tag your posts on instragram with #annwoodpattern and #missthistlesociety.

how to make a doll house bed from clothespins

note : It is very helpful to read through the directions completely before beginning.

doll bed from clothespins materials

*This post contains affiliate links – if you purchase supplies through some of these links The Miss Thistle Society gets a small commission.

Materials:

  • 6 clip clothespins and a few extra for clamping – I’m using these.
  • 11 jumbo craft sticks – The sticks are 6 inches by 3/4 inch – available in most craft stores or you can find them here.
  • small bamboo skewers – 1 or 2 depending on the length – I’m using these.
  • paint

Tools

  • wood glue
  • wax paper
  • scissors
  • wire cutter
  • ruler
  • exacto knife
  • paintbrushes
  • OPTIONAL – spackle, sandpaper

doll house bed diy - parts

Cut:

  • 8 – 3 and 3/4 inch craft sticks
  • 2 – 4 and 3/4 inch craft sticks
  • 2 – 4 and 1/2 inch bamboo skewers
  • 6 – split clip clothespins
  • And 1 whole craft stick

Separate the clothes pins by twisting. I used old but sturdy scissors to cut the craft sticks and wire cutters to snip the skewers.

cut parts for doll bed tutorial

Accurate measuring is very important to all of this fitting together.  And cut your craft sticks as straight as you can.

1. Make a mark on one side of 4 clothespin halves 1/8th inch from the notch on the flatside.

2. Apply wood glue to the end of one of the 3 and 3/4 inch craft stick pieces.

doll bed how to step 3

3

3. Working with wax paper underneath press the craft stick against the clothespin -as shown-  at the mark. The stick should be at a right angle to the clothespin.

doll bed diy

4

4. Repeat the previous step so you have two glued sets. Let these dry undisturbed on the wax paper until thoroughly set.

doll bed diy

5

5. Make 2 more sets and add a second stick to each. Add the second stick next to the first – closer to the tapered end of the clothespin. Let these dry as well. You should now have 4 glued sets of sticks and clothespin halves.

dollhouse bed tutorial

6.

6. You can use a ruler to check that your sticks are at a right angle to the clothespin.

7. When the glue is dry gently peel your pieces from the wax paper. Begin with the single stick pieces. They will be fragile so handle them gently. You will also need 2 more clothespin halves and one of your 4 and 1/2 inch skewers.

8. Flip one clothespin and stick set over so the flat side of the clothespin with the notch is facing you. Apply glue to one end of a the skewer.

Read More

easy to make rag doll shoes : a free tutorial

doll shoe tutorial

doll shoe diy

Easy to make and elegant. I love an expressive foot. Who doesn’t. Most of the dolls I make wear shoes,  even when they are otherwise nude,  and I usually sew them on like the elegant slippers above.

felt doll shoe diy

If you prefer something removable  you can make these sweet felt lace up shoes. Both are easy and will work for any doll with a simple, straight rag doll foot. I’ll show you how to make the stitched on shoe first.

(By the way I am working on larger rag doll patterns, stay tuned…)

stitched on doll shoes

Trace your doll’s feet onto doubled fabric (I’m using light cotton). Trace about 1/8 of an inch from the edge of the foot.

Stitch along the lines.  You can stitch by hand or machine but I think machine is better for this. Either way use very small stitches.

rag doll shoe tutorial

Cut out each shoe leaving a small seam allowance.

Clip notches around the toes.

Cut a slit down the middle – a little more than half way –  on one side  of each shoe. Turn them right side out.

doll shoe how to

Place the foot in the shoe and tuck each front side in.

easy to make doll shoe

Begin to whip stitch the folded edge of the shoe to the foot.  At the center make several neat little stitches close together to cover the bit of little raw edge at the center of the V.  You could also use a decorative stitch (like blanket stitch) and embroidery thread  here  to attach the shoe to the foot if you would like an extra fancy slipper.

Read More

little doll pants : a free sewing pattern

doll pants hand sewing project

The little pants are very, very easy and quick and could be resized to fit all sorts of dolls. It’s a fun hand sewing project or if you like you can sew them on the machine.  In case you want to make one million pairs of tiny pants.

doll clothes diy - pants

He looks so happy! Happy to be getting pants. Little pants, just for him. It’s time to make the lambs and get pants on them. I’ve made you a simple pattern for little pants. The lamb is made from the mr. socks sewing pattern with these modifications. Mr. socks could wear pants too if he felt like it (you know how cats are…) but you would need to leave an opening in the back seam to accommodate his tail.

doll pants sewing pattern

free doll pants sewing pattern

doll pants sewing pattern

Click here to download the template.

You will also need – cotton, a basic hand sewing kit, embroidery thread and needle and a little button.

doll pants diy

Cut 2 pants pieces, cut the top and bottom edges with pinking shears. Mark the seam lines lightly on one piece, pin right sides together and sew just the curved seams.

doll pants tutorial

Open the pants so the curved seams you just sewed are in the center. Pin the legs together and sew the straight leg seams.Trim the leg seam allowance with pinking shears.

doll clothes sewing tutorial

Fold the top edge over about 1/4 inch (try the pants on your doll for a perfect fit). Stitch the folded over top with small neat stitches. Fold up the leg bottoms and hem.

doll pants sewing tutorial

Add a draw string of embroidery thread – stitch through the top folded edge – leave the ends hanging. Add a button in the center. Pull the strings to gather and wind around the button clockwise to hold. You’ve got little pants!

doll clothes hand sewing project

Wearing pants and feeling good about it.

lamb in pants

Add the free felt jacket and free felt hat patterns (larger sizes for both) and you have a fully outfitted lamb!

Do you get my free weekly-ish newsletter? When you subscribe you can download the deluxe pants template with instructions.

floating ship in the pines, frida, a blue girl: lovely things made by customers

lovely things made from ann wood handmade patterns by customers

 I love seeing what you make with ann wood patterns, the details you invent, the stories you create and share. 

made from ann wood patterns

This enchanted paper mache ship is by Tierney Barden. I love it, the image makes me think of Narnia. And More gorgeous ships by  floratwigg and Sharon.

 

The bed and blue doll are by Melanie. She is creating a whole  world for that mysterious blue tiny doll.

From Melanie: “making this, I thought my heart was going to explode!! “

 

I so get that feeling and I  love everything about this, the joy in creating it is unmistakable and beautiful.  I’m looking forward to more of that blue doll’s tiny world. Also be sure to checkout her needle book, the brilliance of it can not be contained in a photo – the little book is filled with ideas, imagination and inspiration. Check out this video.

Find the tiny doll pattern here, and the hearth tutorial here.

Darling miniature china made by Carolyn using this paper clay  tutorial.

made with ann wood doll pattern with modifications

Bunnies and laundry!! Created by Rachel. The bodies and clothes are the tiny rag doll pattern and the bunny heads are her own.

And tiny rag doll has had a baby!! The dolls below are also by Rachel.  She used the doll and wardrobe patterns as well as the tiny hat tutorial. That baby is all her. Such beautiful work.

And more dolls with sweet details added – a little lady by @onbaycreek and a birdwatching boy by annette.

mushroom sewing pattern

Perfect little toadstools by Randeen  and Stella and Summer – made from the little mushroom pattern.

owl dewing pattern

Dastardly owls by Erin, Wendy and Joyce.

bird sewing pattern

Gorgeous birds by Suzanne and Yvonne and Deb.

Super sweet and pink! wooly squirrel by Beth  (forest folk pattern).

Hello little pirate! These are all made from the free very nice mice pattern the pirate is by Beth, the little gray mouse is by Bushra and the bunnies are made by Elizabeth – she added the long ears and fluffy tails to the mouse body.

There were so many photos of wonderful creatures and dolls it was overwhelming and difficult to choose. Please checkout  #annwoodhandmade  and  #annwoodpattern  on instagram for more sweet creatures and dolls and marvelous ideas and imaginative details added by the makers.

miniature dish tutorial : make tiny teacups and plates

doll house dish tutorial

doll house dishes diy

The original plan was to not have handles. It felt impossible and Miss Thistle didn’t seem like a handle kind of doll anyway, what with the no fingers and all.  But once I figured out how to make a cup I had to have the handle. The handle quest was long but the solution is easy and makes a truly awesome tiny handle. Really, it is magic.

doll dishes diy

The little plates are simple too. In my first (and many) attempts I struggled with getting shapes and edges I liked. Lots and lots of failed tiny plates led me to an easy solution for that too.

revelations:

  • it’s easier to cut paper clay after it dries a little
  • octagons are much easier than circles
  • at this very moment your house is full of things that will stamp adorable patterns on tiny plates – soon you will be looking at the bottoms of everything…

miniature china tutorial

Before we talk about how to make the tiny dishes and cups let’s jump ahead to the finishing.  Paint your tiny cups and plates and saucers with acrylic paint. 

I vote for heart and sweetness over perfection in decorating your miniature china. The more I relaxed the more I liked what was turning up.

 

doll house dishes diy

*Some links are are affiliate links – meaning I get a tiny commission if you purchase through the link.

You can thin the paint to make washes. The effect of painting it on and wiping it off is nice, so is splattering using a toothbrush.

For little details and lines I use this brush.  It’s handy for lots of things.

And  optionally finish each with a coat of nail polish. Using one that is not quite clear  (mine has just a hint of shell pink) makes a  lovely surface.

doll house dishes diy

doll house ideas

doll house dishes diy

doll dish diy

how to make the teacup

You will need:

  • paper clay
  • a sharpie marker (or a few)
  • white glue
  • embroidery thread (I used – dmc 8 pearl cotton)
  • scissors
  • paintbrush
  • plastic pencil
  • a little cornstarch
  • sandpaper
  • tooth pick or skewer

tiny teacup diy

Double a length of embroidery thread  ( I used dmc 8 pearl cotton – you could experiment with other floss or twine as long as it is a natural fiber).  Saturate the doubled thread with glue (I used my fingers) and wind it around the end of the pencil as shown. Let this dry completely

miniature teacup diy

When the thread is dry remove it from the pencil and snip off a small section of one curl. Coat the end of the sharpie with a little bit of cornstarch (just a very light dusting – you don’t need much).

Read More

the miss thistle society : make a miniature stone hearth

Penelope T. Littles

She has been speaking to me for a long time. Little whispers of her origins, her tidy house, her hearty ancestors.  This is what I know about Miss Thistle.

I’m sure she cooks on an open hearth and has a cozy spot by a window for sewing and correspondence and daydreams and tea.

Thistle P. Littles, Green Valley. Morning, Mountain Shadow

She tends a medium size garden and keeps chickens and goats and bees. And she has sweet miss-matched china – passed from aunts and grandmothers and friends.

My way into Miss Thistle’s world is the hearth. Your tiny rag doll might need a hearth too.

miniature stone hearth tutorial

It’s not hard to make. And before we dive into how I want to tell you about the next Miss Thistle Society project: her mismatched china. I have a trick that makes it pretty easy and spectacularly fun to make her tiny hand-me-down plates and cups. Look for that next week.

doll house plates

paper clayYou probably have most of the things you need for her dishes, except maybe the clay. I use paper clay – this is my brand and you can get it here  (The Miss Thistle Society gets a tiny commission if you purchase through this link).  I use it for lots of things but I always buy the small size because it does not store well after opening.

To make the hearth you will need:

  • paper egg cartons
  • light cardboard
  • elmer’s glue
  • mat board (or a thick cardboard (not corrugated)
  • exacto knife and scissors
  • masking tape
  • spackle (  Find it at any hardware store – I like Fast ‘n Final Lightweight Spackling)
  • craft paint
  • brushes – a variety of sizes
  • toothbrush
  • a sponge and a soft rag
  • fine sand paper

And you will need a hearth. A shape to work on.  I made my shape out of foam core and mat board. It’s assembled with hot glue mostly. So many burns…  And I made a giant hearth – you don’t need to. A small one is sweet and quick to make.

This tutorial is concerned with making the stone finish but I will offer a couple tips on making your foundation shape.

make the hearth opening

The easiest thing to do is start with a box (a sturdy corrugated box).  The box above is about 6 X 9 inches and 1 and 3/4 inch deep.  Mark the opening and use your exacto knife to cut all the way through the lines marked in red and score (just cut the surface of the cardboard) the lines marked white.  Fold back the sides to make the inside walls of the hearth.  Glue the hearth walls in place and cover the scored areas and edges with making tape.

If you make your own shaped foam core is great  – choose white or black.

Whether you build the shape or use a box, re-enforce  the corners (inside) with little triangles of mat board glued in. A few in each corner will make everything stable and sturdy.

I’m demonstrating the stone texture on my huge hearth. Cut shapes from grey cardboard and tear shapes from a grey paper egg carton (the flat parts) to create a little variety in texture and edges. Glue them to your structure with elmer’s glue.  I made my structure out of black so you could see but it does not matter – white grey or brown is fine.

cardboadr stone hearth

Cover the entire structure (I left a small section of my hearth un-stoned because I have a wood mantle I want to add). Let the stones dry in place.  Read More

tiny sewing for good mental health

little rag dolls on my work table

little rag dolls on my work table

There is always something and often someone in my pocket waiting to be stitched. I’d be lost without this sort of thing. When I wander away from it for too long things go badly, when my pace gets too frantic the magic evaporates. It’s the thing that steadies and focuses me, all the tiny sewing. This is a pile of mental health. A little stack of tiny pinafores and nightgowns and satchels and jackets and bloomers.

stack of tiny doll clothes

I’ve been sewing little folks here and there for the past few weeks. I take them with me for the in between times. Some of this little crew is in the shop now and I’ve already started more tiny rag dolls and bloomers and pinafores and tiny satchels to work on over the holidays.

tiny rag doll with satchel

 

tiny lamb rag doll in pants

Wear them high, wear them proud lamb friend. The lambs in pants crack me up every single time. Something about those little trousers and how happy he seems to be in them…

If you would like to make a lamb he is made from the mr. socks pattern with these modifications.
Or you can come to Vermont and sit by the fire making lambs in pants with me. Pretty cosy right? A few spots (with fancy single rooms) have been added to the Sugar House Retreat. I’ve got other workshop news too – find that right here.

onward,

ann

PS – I wish they sold pine bows all year, it is such a magnificent smell.

little projects and percolating ideas

tiny cotton doll with a satchel and linen smock

little sewing projects

The little black wool scrap insisted on being a chicken, a french hen. It’s a good day for small cosy projects, for stitching little dolls and boats, pocket size things.

stitched french hen in a nesting box

There was nothing I would rather do today, nothing more appealing than meandering my way through some little projects. Some for gifts, some for ornaments and a few little things for the shop in December.

I had intended to just sew for an hour or two early in the morning but I could not put it down today and there was no real reason to. I remained happily lost in the little details and all of a sudden the sun was going down.

tiny cotton doll satchel

tiny cotton doll with a satchel and linen smock

And while my hands were busy I felt a steady simmer in my mind, curiosity about miss thistle and the world she lives in, ideas and images floating to the surface, little glimmers of a house in the forest…

bundling up the tiny doll folk and imagining their world

embroidered felt doll hats and jackets

embroidered felt doll hats and jackets

When faced with a stressful situation small sewing is good medicine. This weekend we made some big tech improvements to ann wood handmade that were sort of terrifying. I’m thrilled with the result – especially the speed.

embroidered doll cap

While all the scary work was being done I lingered in the details of tiny felt jackets and hats and slow stitched talismans. Besides needing to distract myself from the website work it has been cold and snowy, all the more reason for cosy hand sewing and bundling the little dolls up. I sure do love to bundle things up.

small stitch experiments

embroidered felt doll jacket

tiny rag doll that fits in the palm of your hand

Find the free little jacket pattern here and the tiny doll hat here.

The folky little winter ensembles make me curious about tiny doll world, the details and history. I’m going to investigate that over the next few weeks. You may recall I explored the world of a family of cosmopolitan ants a couple years ago.

beaumonts christmas

ant family christmas

It was probably the most fun I ever had. I’m looking forward to imagining a world for the tiny doll folk. Stay tuned.

doll making tips and tricks

dampening the fabric before stuffing a doll

One of the challenges in tiny rag doll sewing is getting a smooth neck. It is challenging when sewing any doll that has a torso and head as one piece, the stuffing wants to sneak out of the narrow part. I always recommend wool stuffing and that helps but stuffing still escapes sometimes. This past week I came across a great post on stuffing small dolls by Beth, author of By Hook, By Hand, that includes this genius tip for getting a smooth result, particularly in the neck. Spray a little water on the fabric before you stuff.

dampening the fabric before stuffing a doll

I gave it a try this week and the result is marvelous. It’s so simple. Also I was impatient so I used a blow dryer to speed things up after I stuffed, not sure if that made a difference or not.

adding stuffing to the doll torso

I stuff most of my figures, owls, songbirds etc. as firmly as I can but rag dolls are different. I like rag dolls to be stuffed just enough to completely fill out the shape but not too firmly.

moving stuffing inside a rag doll with a needle

Sculpting from the outside with a needle helps refine the shape too – I mean moving stuffing into little cavities with a needle from the outside after a doll is stuffed and closed. I almost always do this with any stuffed thing I make. And I find it easier to feel the areas that need to be filled in more than looking for them.

tiny rag doll with a shawl and satchel

While we are on the subject of tiny dolls, find the easy way to turn tiny parts here and tips for hiding knots here.

onward,

ann

PS – the songbird print pattern is back in stock and ready to ship

little doll jacket : a free sewing tutorial

tiny rag doll jacket

Sometimes a light jacket is just the thing and I’ve made you a simple and easy sewing pattern in two sizes, one for the tiny rag doll (or any dollhouse size doll) and a slightly larger version for mr. socks. And the pattern scales well so you could use it for other dolls too. It’s quick and very easy.

little doll jacket sewing pattern

tiny rag doll jacket

The hat pattern is free too and you can find the satchel pattern here, if you need to fully outfit someone tiny.

mr. socks jacket : free pattern

You might also notice that mr. socks is wearing pants for the first time. I made them using the bloomer pattern for the tiny rag doll sewing pattern. I add about 1/4 inch to the pattern and left an opening in the back to accommodate his tail.

mr. socks

mr. socks in pants
little doll jacket : free tutorial

little doll jacket : free tutorial

To make the jacket you will need : wool felt, an embroidery thread, a tiny button, basic sewing supplies and the pattern.

download the sewing pattern here

* You can click each image for a larger view

1. Cut out the three pattern pieces and pin to your felt.
2. Cut out one of each.

3. Fold the rounded collar of the front top over and stitch.  I’m using one strand of embroidery floss. You can use any stitch you like, fancy or simple. I’m using a basic whip stitch.
4. Fold over each rounded cuff and stitch as well.

5. Pin the front under piece to the back piece, make sure your folded and stitched cuffs  are on the outside.
6. Pin the front top piece as shown.

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cozy sewing and in case of emergency paper mache

tiny doll work

tiny doll work

There is nothing wrong with sewing in bed. As long as it is your choice and pins and things are kept track of. I don’t do it often but on a cold snowy day it’s irresistible, the perfect place for sewing tiny things. Plus I got dressed which makes it even more OK. Not exactly going out dressed, more day appropriate lounge wear, but still.

tiny doll workfind the tiny rag doll sewing pattern here

I’m working on small things, mischievous cats, tiny ladies, bundled up birds and lamb folk among them.  The lambs are made using the mr. socks sewing pattern with modifications you can find here. Some of these things will be in the shop tomorrow (if you are on the list for new artwork you’ll get an email).

tiny pants

lamb dolls

lamb rag doll

lamb in pants

I sure do love a lamb in pants

paper mache ship on my work table

I’ve also been making some paper mache progress.  Paper mache is good for busting out of stuckness. The paralysis and not knowing what to do that creeps in when there is too much to do. When my brain rebels and just won’t work properly.  Paper mache has a magic effect. It does not require much thinking activity and progress is immediately apparent. Those little pieces of paper becoming something else.  That part is satisfying and just getting my hands moving get’s my wheels turning again.

paper mache ship work

I always do all the edges first, using the littlest pieces of paper to negotiate the smalls curves. Once the edges are done the filling in takes no time.  Each complete layer, the brown paper followed by the news print, take less than an hour to complete. These ships are all made from the paper mache ship pattern collection. I did modify the sides of the large ship. I do almost every time I make one, I like to experiment with the shape. This time I made it higher in the back and lower on the sides at the middle.

paper mache boat ornament

This little boat is made from the free boat ornament tutorial you can find here.  My plan is to finish all the ships and boats this weekend.  And to festoon the Christmas Tree (my beloved norfolk pine). I’ll show you next week.

onward,
ann

 

tiny dolls, captain charmley, mister skimpole and other new things

rag dolls : finishing touches

owl made from wool and owl sewing pattern

Houndstooth is always a bold statement and the scale is daring for an owl of his stature. I think he pulls it off though and he should, Mr. Skimpole is concerned only with appearances and pleasure.

sinclair : hand stitched owl

His associate Sinclair, a far more somber owl, is made from Edwardian and Victorian garments and has shoe button eyes.

a sewing pattern for a dastardly owl

Get the sewing pattern to make your own dastardly owl.

For the last couple days I’ve been adding finishing touches and last minute details to almost finished dolls and creatures. I love a worktable covered with lots of things that only need the fun part done, a little edge stitching or an expression tweaked. One after another they cross the finish line and I feel like an over achiever for a little while.

rag dolls : finishing touches

tiny doll pinafore

emaline : rag doll

captain charmley : rag doll

tiny rag doll

Tonight I’ll begin a new group of things. Mostly ships and boats. I love waking up to a freshly dried layer of paper mache.

Have a lovely weekend and holiday,

ann

PS –  Do you get my free weekly-ish newsletter? There are tips and tricks, ideas, stuff to try, all the latest news and blogposts and extra stuff, just for subscribers, delivered mostly on Friday. Pretty much.

october is for sewing

This year it’s for sewing by the pool. I love a forlorn pool, all its summer sparkle and glory gone. It’s a contrast and a particular flavor of melancholy that I have always been attracted to.

I’ve temporarily relocated myself outside of NYC while my entire ceiling is replaced. It is a spectacular October and it’s good to be sewing again after a truly miserable week.

I brought a sewing machine, tons of fabric and projects to work on. Besides the pool I have a big sunny room to work in and a diligent helper. He loves the sewing machine. And thread, he really loves thread.

The first thing finished was another soldier  – more a Wickham than a Darcy this time. He is handsome and beguiling, all poetry and romance, but don’t believe him when he says his heart is yours……..

I’m hoping to have the soldier sewing pattern perfected, drafted and converted to an illustrator file in a couple days. I’ll shoot the steps as soon as I get home. I’m also working on a collection of Fortuny animals (they will be in the NY showroom for the holidays) and lots of little things, small sewing I never get tired of.

Thank you for your thoughts and concerns since the big dusty crash. I’m still all turned around and unsure of what to do next but things are generally well enough and I am finding a rhythm.

onward,
ann