Tag: craft pattern

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.

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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

the 2019 annual scrap festival : 10 ideas for your scraps

stitched amulets on my work table

stacks of antique fabric scraps

Did you know it is national scrap week? It is not. I made that up. But it should be a thing. I’m making it a thing.  A bag of scraps is food for thought, inspiration, an invitation to happenstance, possibility thinking. It always has been for me.  

January is an organizing month here. I am sorting through pretty much everything but mostly fabric scraps. Choosing what to keep, what to let go of and making what I keep as tidy and orderly as scraps can be. I’m ironing my scraps. I secretly love to iron. Not my clothes, I’m permanently, slightly, comfortably disheveled.  I like to iron scraps. It’s a little ridiculous. Lets call it meditative. Or it could also be called productive procrastination… 

tiny scrap of vintage fabric to patch tiny pants

And sometimes not so productive procrastination. It frequently devolves into spending a lot of time pondering a very small and fabulous scrap. I love this scrap. Now I have to make a tiny pair of pants so I can add this patch to them. And then I have to make a lamb to put in the pants. You see how this goes…

fragment of an antique garment

There are some pieces I can’t call scraps. Some are so exquisite I call them fragments. Something left over from a life with marks from other hands and days.  

If you have found your way here it is likely you have scraps too. In celebration of the inaugural scrap festival I’ve collected 10 ideas for your scraps. Let’s start with 3 projects for your most special scraps, your fragments.  

1. sweet needle books –  for needles and ideas and memories.

2. amulets – little stitch experiments I  started making last summer. I begin with no shape in mind, just layering my favorite fragments, experimenting and playing with compositions. Then I trim them and sew a backing. I find the compositions are more interesting if I approach them this way rather than beginning with the shape. I made a little template of the shapes I use for you – you can download that here.  And for cord I usually use this waxed thread (PS I get a tiny commission if you buy it through that link, you can also find it in craft stores).

stitched amulets on my work table

3. ethereal garlands – for the tiniest scraps, the un-sewables, the little whispers you can’t let go of.

4. string quilts- there is a full tutorial here for this quick and easy flip and sew technique for your longish scraps.

5. Once you have pieced together a bunch of scraps you can make a fabric basket – you know what you could put in it?  Scraps.

specks and keeping stitched compostition

6. marvelous fabric compositions – let happenstance be your guide and find inspiration in these stitched pieces by Specks and Keepings. The left-overs from garment sewing are used as is. I love the compositions. There is magic in those accidental shapes and relationships. 

7. french seam pillow cases – for your larger scraps. This is on my domestic sewing list. 

8. jar opener – so clever – made from fabric scraps and rubber shelf liner. 

9. fabric twine – for your tiny scraps. And netflix. And wine. 

10. And finally – it  is illegal to do a blog post about fabric scrap projects without including fabric bunting. Plus I love it – so sweet to make for little folks.

Find 4 more scrap project ideas here. And if you have a project to recommend please leave it in the comments.

 P S – 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.

ann wood : stitch expeiments and stacks of antique scraps

the world’s sweetest needle book : a free sewing pattern

heart needle book sewing pattern

free heart needle book tutorial

This little book will certainly hold your needles. It could also be a repository for the scraps you can’t part with. It could tell a story, mark an occasion, like a birth or anniversary, or be a sort of travel journal, the pages filled with little things found along the way and saved.

needle book and tiny rag doll night gown

I always travel with small sewing and it is always a mess of ziplock bags and other aesthetically unappealing containers with sharp things poking out of them. This started as a practical project and turned into a whole other thing.

I made this needle book for future me. Future me is the sort of person who is packed a week before travel, has extra light bulbs and never runs out of toilet paper.

needle book made from scraps

needle book ideas

I’m in love with my little needle book and plan to take it pretty much everywhere for the rest of my life. There are more of these books in my future, for needles and ideas and memories. It is good winter evening sewing.

needle book : free sewing pattern

pin it for later

I’ve put together a tutorial for you below. And subscribers will have a link to a pdf download emailed to them.

You will need a basic sewing kit and the templates.

download the templates

materials :

  • cotton or light linen 
  • scraps for details
  • matching and contrasting thread
  • button
  • embroidery thread
  • batting or felt
  • light weight cardboard
  • ribbon
  • gluestick

patch and appliques : needle book pages

Cut out two each of the A, B, C and heart pattern pieces. One side of A will be your cover page. Add patches, embroidery, appliqués, and other details to your pages. Also cut out 2 cardboard support pieces from light weight cardboard ( a cereal box is great). Use a glue stick to glue the cardboard to pieces of batting or felt and cut out.

Note: Piecing fabric together before cutting the pattern shapes creates a nice variety in the pages.

needle book : ribbon latch

Cut a 3 and 1/2 inch length of ribbon or trim and fold in half. With the right side of the cover fabric facing you pin the folded ribbon to the center of the left side. The folded edge should extend 1 and 1/4 inches from the seam line.  I’m using 1/4 inch cotton twill tape.

needle book_tutorial : seam lines

Pin The A, B, C and heart pieces with the right sides together and stitch the seam lines. Leave a small section on each open for turning. Be sure that the opening on A is large enough to insert the cardboard supports. Clip off the corners of the rectangles close to the seam. Clip the bottom point of the heart and clip notches around the curves at the top and at the center.

needle book tutorial : stitch pages

Turn your sewn and clipped pieces right side out. Use a chopstick or similar to push the corners and curves all the way out.  Add any additional appliqué or other details.

needle book tutorial : insert support

Insert the cardboard and batting pieces into the cover page. The batting side should be facing the inside and the cardboard facing the outside cover.  Push the cardboard all the way to each side, there should be an empty space between them. Leave the cover open at the bottom.

Read More

the songbird pattern booklet

bird pattern booklet and wool stuffing

bird sewing pattern booklet

There is nothing like a credible threat to get you moving. The unmovable, fixed date of the Squam Art Fair last Saturday was the perfect motivation to push the songbird print pattern across the elusive finish line. Get up a little earlier, work a little later, beg the printer (local and awesome). Make it happen. It was painful. And I’m so glad I did it, the booklet is in the shop now.

I need deadlines. For everything. Even stuff I love doing.

I knew that before but I thought of it as a shortcoming. A bad thing about me I need to change instead of acknowledging how I’m wired and working with that reality. Figure out what I need, identify what motivates me and arrange my life as optimally as possible to support that. Just like time, focus, energy and attention motivation needs to be managed.

bird pattern booklet and wool stuffing

I love the booklet, and I love that it is done! It is more than 20 pages and illustrated with over 100 black and white photos. Checkout some lovely birds made from the pattern below and if you like you can send images to me at info at ann wood handmade dot com or use #annwodhandmade on instagram.

P S- By the way I’m thinking of offering wool stuffing in the shop this fall – what do you think?

amulets and toadstools on my work table

fabric amulets and mushrooms on my work table

fabric amulets and mushrooms on my work table

Labor Day Weekend, the unofficial start of the holiday season. Just kidding.  Mostly. It does have a shifting feel to it though, everything starting back up again.  It’s going to be a sewing weekend for me. Fun sewing, amulets and mushrooms and Monday devoted entirely to experimenting. I’ll give you the full report on that next week.

fabric amulets and mushrooms on my work table

I’m still having  a good time making amulets, small thoughts, and they are generating all sorts of color and composition ideas for larger or more involved things.  They have become morning work for me, hand sewing with coffee before I’m quite awake yet. I love having a little stack ready to go and waiting for me.

fabric amulets on my work table

Do you pick up handwork first thing? What are you making? Can you give yourself a day or an hour or 20 minutes to play and experiment this weekend?

These are the things I want to know.

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

rutabaga sewing pattern

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