friends who sew – the LA workshops

ann wood rag doll workshop

We made songbirds and dolls. We stitched and stuffed and tried stuff. We hammered wire bird feet on a tiny anvil and carved beaks from twigs. I repeatedly cautioned everyone not to cut themselves and then I was the only one who did. The days were packed and exhausting and there was a big salad and baked treats each day. French General is a good place. I’ve demanded that they let me come back and we are working on something special for October. Stay tuned or sign up for the mailing list if you’d like to be the first to know when registration opens.

There were three classes – the rag doll once and the songbird twice. Each class was completely full and everybody was a pro.  It was like a dream, a room full of serious stitchers. I usually invite beginners too (and will again) but these one day classes were so ambitious I did not.

ann wood rag doll workshop

Sewing, as a group activity, is a lovely thing.  I felt at home at FG and with the people who showed up to sew. It makes everything easy.  And fun. I had fun. I hope everybody had fun. I can be kind of a slave driver and it was a lot to ask of people.  A lot of work and a lot of thinking, right up against the edge of what’s possible to do in a day (by the way – the follow up stuff will be emailed to you in a couple days – reviews of some of the tricky stuff and instruction on a couple things we didn’t get to like very easy shoes for dolls).  And big thanks, to each of you who took the time and precious energy to show up and try something.

I was so busy and engaged  I took almost no photos. I so wish I had, the more than 50! birds and rag dolls were wonderful and the shop is beautiful and full of fascinating things.  Thanks so much Jennifer Serr for the rag doll class photos. And here are some of the songbirds in various stages of blast-beruffled plume-

ann wood bird workshop

And a couple in their natural habitat.

work shop bird by mary stanley

(bird by mary stanley)

(bird by jill burgess)

This was a  was a big and expanding experience in lots of ways.  Teaching is good for ideas, for thinking in general.  And for being part of the world which I do enjoy occasionally.


  1. Eileen Clark-Nagaoka

    Such beautiful birds! I like the dolls as well but the birds are so joyful and inspiring. Can’t wait to be able to take a class.

  2. You are welcome Ann Wood! I loved every minute of our time together and look forward to the next class! It was fun having my friends come and very nurturing for my soul. I’ve cut out and started sewing 4 more rag dolls so that I have hand stitching to do while my mom is in the hospital next week.

    Thank you for all you do….Warmly,


  3. Jennifer Cole

    You are an inspiring and patient teacher, and Kaari and Mogull at French General were wonderful also. I had an amazing time, and can’t wait for you to come back to Los Angeles in the fall. I am still lovingly working on my little birdie.

  4. It’s looks like a fantastic event
    Do you sell patterns for a larger rag doll like these? I have the mini one
    I acquired 6 1940s handmade doll dresses
    Way bigger than barbie size and I need to construct a rag doll body to do them justice
    Then I can display them in my home ( we all have dolls in out home don’t we?)

  5. Alice Tribuzi

    Wish I could attend the class but I live to far away.Do you sell the pattern for the larger rag doll pattern and the birds. I have the small rag doll pattern and would love to make them both and have them displayed together. regards Alice.

  6. I would love to have been there. Maybe one day consider an online workshop. I am too far away to come to anything fun. I would love to make the doll and the bird.. anything you create. I enjoyed the write up and the photographs

  7. Lina Janosi

    Your large rag dolls are amazing! I wish I could have been there but live too far away. I am hoping one day for this doll to be in pattern form or as an online class.

  8. J’adore les oiseaux. Ils m’inspirent beaucoup…. Seulement, comme j’habite en France, il ne m’est pas possible de suivre un cours. Dommage !!!

  9. Depuis la France, votre unvivers me fait rêver, bravo à vous et vos stagiaires. Profitez de ces bons moments.

  10. Márcia vitor

    Oi, moro no Brasil e queria aprender a fazer os passarinhos. Vc tem algum tipo de aula virtual?

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