The very first kits are in the shop. And on sale, 25% off! Along with all pdf and print patterns through Monday 11/27.
The very first kits are in the shop. And on sale, 25% off! Along with all pdf and print patterns through Monday 11/27.
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.
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.
* 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
Mr. socks is in print! My second print pattern is in the shop. It’s a 12 page booklet with 47 hand drawn illustrations. I’m starting another print pattern this evening while the mechanics of putting it all together are all still fresh in my mind. And while my drawing muscle feels strong. I love the little booklets – they are a giant amount of work but I love making them.
Maybe you’ll make a mischievous cat. Maybe he will have an adventure. I’m rolling around the idea of a photo contest for later this summer – more on that soon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
Fold the hat in half and whip stitch the back seam from the bottom towards the tip.
Knot just before the tip and fray the tip. And finally tie little lengths of embroidery thread to the ear flaps and knot.
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.
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)
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.
Woebegone pines, forlorn little trees who do not concern themselves with perfection. These trees are all about heart and the particular magic that something made by hand possesses. I’ve made you a sewing pattern with three sizes: small – 3 inches, medium – 4 inches, and large – 6 inches (the little guy is my favorite). You can add a little trunk and base or just set them on their bottom.
And Woebegone Pines sounds like a lovely place – doesn’t it? A perfect spot for a mouse to take a stroll and think his wistful thoughts.
The seam allowance is 1/4 inch. You could use a variety of fabrics – I’ve used cotton, linen. wool and felt – all worked well.
1. Cut out the cardboard base and one or two squares of corrugated cardboard – smaller than the circle.
2. If you plan to add a trunk to your tree glue one of the corrugated pieces to the center of the circle. ( If you are making the large tree glue two – one on top of the other).
3. Use a glue stick to attach the circle to cotton batting and cut out. Let the glued cardboard dry completely.
4. Pin the tree and tree bottom patterns to a single layer of fabric – cut out one of each.
5. Fold the tree piece in half (right sides together) and mark the seam lines on the tree and circle. Stitch the seam – marked in red. Leave the center of the seam open – about 1/3 of it – enough to fit the cardboard circle through later.
6. Snip the seam allowance at the top and bottom of the opening, fold over and press.
He’s a mischievous cat….. I’m so happy to share the sewing pattern with you today – you can find it in the shop right here.
I get pretty excited when I finish a sewing pattern. They take forever and parts of it are deeply tedious. Usually at some point along the way it feels like it will never be done and I have to swim through a torturous spell. And then all of a sudden there’s a surge of momentum and it’s done. I’m going to bask in the glow of completion for a day and then dive in to making another – what do you think it should be?
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.
Below – tiny rag dolls by Karen:
Briefly – as there is much to cover today – the very first print pattern is in the shop. I’ve turned the tiny rag doll sewing pattern into a 16 page hand illustrated booklet accompanied by three pattern sheets. To celebrate this (for me) huge milestone – the first 25 purchasers will get some bonus items with their pattern.
It’s the first day of fall – it doesn’t feel like it but it will by Sunday and I’m looking forward to it – it’s been an airless summer in NY. I got an excellent dose of forest, air and space at The Squam Art Retreat and so did mr. socks. I also came back with lots of creative energy – I love watching people move through their process and getting glimpses into their imaginations. I taught two experimenting with dolls workshops and was impressed by the willingness to truly experiment and try things – to pick up a thread and follow it. It certainly isn’t easy but can take you to interesting and unexpected places. I’m deeply grateful to everyone who participated for their willingness to be open and vulnerable – I loved being part of it. I’ve shared many dolls below and some were still being worked on – I hope to show you those soon- good things were happening…..
Sondra’s enchanted fish
Tif’s (dottie angel) gentleman moth –
“my name is Cedric Randolf. i am a moth, I fought in the Boar War. i am quite wise and quite old. in one eye i have a cataract, with my other eye i see only goodness”
Rabbit Girl (in process) by Tricia
The moon – and all her phases…. by Jaime (fancy tiger crafts)
Vanessa’s Edwardian lady
(lots more photos after the jump)
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.
How about those little clothespins? You can get your own here. They might be the best thing in the world.
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.I 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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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
So many nice mice! Thanks so much to everybody who made mice from my pattern and shared their photos – on instagram and Facebook etc. as well as emailing me – I can’t tell you how helpful it is and how much I enjoy it – a nice way to end the year. I love seeing what you make. Check out the fantastic mouses and houses!! by readers below – I love them – every little detail. This multi level affair is by Maura for her son – I can’t stop looking at it.
And A little house in a box by Mama with a Needle and Thread for her little girl – so freakin sweet. Good night little mouse!
Susan added little wooden bases to her dinner place card mice – it’s such a happy crew.
They survived a perilous journey across the couch – stay in a group little mice, stay in a group!
And finally from Larissa – mmmcrafts – slippers, mittens and snowballs – I love it.
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.
I had pretty much talked myself out of a Christmas Tree – one more thing to do- that sort of thing……… And then all of a sudden talked myself right back into it. I already had a tree so why not. Last year I got a living tree – a little Norfolk Pine – and it’s still here, a much more charlie brown sort of affair than it was when I got it last December but alive and pretty well. I’m so happy it survived – they often perish post Christmas and I’ve gotten very attached to it. I got it on a whim (down the street at a deli for 30 bucks) without knowing much about Norfolks; hot, dry, semi sunny New York apartments are not ideal environments for them. When it began to struggle last year I got a tip from a reader (thanks Sally!) to give it a cool shower once in a while and that did the trick. Decoration-wise I wanted to be gentle with it so I kept it simple – mostly things I made (pattern resources are listed at the bottom of the post) and a few heirloom treasures like my Mom’s pink glass beads. It’s twinkly and festive and makes me happy. I’m so glad I did it and I hope the tree doesn’t mind to much.
ornament pattern resources:
I’ve made you something! A free sewing pattern for some very nice mice. You can download the pattern here and all the instructions are below. So little – just 3 inches tall. They are quick and very easy. And they love to go boating – they are the perfect size to captain my little felt boats.
I designed this pattern specifically for hand sewing and felt. The seam allowance of 1/8 inch is included. I recommend small, tight, straight stitches with cotton thread.
felt ( wool or wool blend)
matching sewing thread ( I think cotton works best)
stuffing ( I like wool)
pencil or disappearing fabric marker and – optionally – pink colored pencil
sewing and embroidery needles ( a sturdy sewing needle is helpful for sewing through multiple layers of felt)
chopstick for turning and stuffing
1. Cut one back and two side pieces from felt.
2. Mark both side pattern pieces with the guide dots on the pattern.
3. Cut out the small pieces – I used a lighter scrap of felt for the tummy oval (textured wool or cotton is nice too).
4. Stitch the side pieces together from the tip of the nose to the bottom guide mark – your stitches should be an 1/8th of an inch from the edge of the felt.
5. Optional – use a colored pencil to add a little pink to the ears.
6. Open the side pieces you sewed together.
7. Place the top of the back piece (the narrow end) in the center, matching the top edges. Insert the needle 1/8th of an inch from the top coming out on one side of the center seam (the side you intend to sew first). Make one tiny stitch and knot tightly.
8. Turn the back piece to one side and begin to match the edges and sew the seam-following the curve and maintaining an even 1/8 inch seam allowance.
9. Stop sewing and knot your thread just before the pattern guide dot on the side piece – leave there needle and thread attached.
10. Fold the bottom of an ear together – with the pink inside.