what’s on my worktable : rag doll wardrobe patterns and hexies

hexie quilt progress on my worktable

A late spring update on all the things.

Let’s start with hexies : while not at all consistent, I am quite slow. The consistent part is easy to fix : commit to making one every morning, which most often leads to more, you know, once you get going on something like this…

hexie quilt with color transitions in progress

I’m starting to have a vision for the color shifts plus I’ve decided to square off the edges, meaning my progress shape has been an irregular amoeba but I’m shifting into working in straight lines.

And sewing pattern work – a wardrobe for the elegant rag doll is in progress.

Patterns take forever to make. We’d be in real trouble if I didn’t enjoy the process.
The centerpiece of the doll wardrobe will be a versatile dress, a pattern you can add or subtract details from and make a short and long sleeved version – you get the idea.

doll dresses in progress

The construction needs to be simple, easy to make, and I want an option for a fitted look. This is accomplished with pleats and gathers in strategic places. I would totally wear this.

There is another summery tea dress too but this pattern is further along. It’s in the woodshedding stage, I am making tons of them to work out details and make adjustments. After the early muslin drafts I converted the hand drawn patterns to an illustrator file and start tightening things up. I’m pretty close to a final version and as I’m sewing little dresses the pattern starts to write itself, I’m hard in the zone and hear the directions in my head whether I want to or not.

doll dress making on my worktable

Besides the other tea dress I’m thinking of a satchel, slip and pinafore. Maybe some bloomers. She’ll need a coat too  and I’m pretty sure I can make a version of the free felt jacket in her size.

small garden with cedar chest container

A couple other projects on my mind – mending and garden beginnings.

I love everything about  having a tiny garden. Except bugs. The container is a re-purposed cedar chest I got for almost zero dollars last fall. I never really loved it and it was in sever disrepair so I took off the top and planted stuff in it. I suspect it will fall apart by the end of the season but it looks cute now.

What are you up to? Are you making hexies? Are you growing stuff?What would you like to see in the elegant wardrobe?


  1. Shelly MacNeil Conway

    My hexes have somehow went to the back burner, I’ve been busy with a Dear Jane, and I recently started embroidering portraits …. so many projects so little time. I need to commit as well. Love following along on your journey.

    • Judy A Klem

      Hi Shelly! I’m working on a Dear Jane too! Such a huge undertaking but I’m not putting any pressure on myself other than to eventually finish it. Good luck with yours!

      • Shelly MacNeil Conway

        Absolutely no pressure
        Good luck to you as well!

  2. Your hexie project is growing so nicely! And I looove the dress pattern for the elegant doll. A slip is a must!
    I love everything you create. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I have a question about your hexies. Do you stitch the fabric into the paper? Or do you stitch around the paper
    I’ve seen both ways and tried them both but have not taken the time remove the papers yet. So I quit making more for now and would like to start up again.
    One a day!
    Thank you for your posts! My mushroom patch has been growing!

    • Spindle Spinner

      I also baste without piercing the paper. Works really well for me. One thing I’ll add is that I punch a small hole in center of paper he or and use those appliqué pins (white ball ends) to secure the paper to the fabric. When it’s time to remove papers, insert a large blunt needle into the hole, sweep around, pull gently and voila!

  4. Alison Hoff

    After making 1,000s of hexies after learning how to on your blog last year, I began to sew them together just this week. have a blob much like yours! Mine is also like yours: scrappy, no pattern. I’m just enjoying it take shape, and also love popping out the papers as I go.
    thank you again for the inspiration!

    • annwood

      So funny – i do love popping out the papers too!

  5. Nell Morningstar Ubbelohde

    I am so excited for the clothing patterns for the elegant doll! I have granddaughters to make these for, and a wardrobe togo with the doll is vital! Loving the dresses you are working on, and yes, a satchel, and a jacket along with slip and bloomers are perfect! I will probably add in a set of pajamas, and maybe some stylish trousers.
    After not making any dolls for quite a few years, it is fun to be lured back into them, thanks!

  6. Barb Kuhlmann

    Hello Ann,

    I look forward to your posts, thank you for sharing. I love the fabric of your Hexie’s especially the browns. I have a large stash of vintage fabrics and I cant pass up a gorgeous brown, green, orange and very dark blue are my favorites. I have never made a Hexie and would like to try. It would be a great project for my vintage fabric. I also have 2 very old damaged quilts that I am going to take apart gently and embroider on. I have many projects in the works right now but unfortunately I cannot use my legs, getting ready to have three surgeries, so my focus will be embroidery.
    Does your ragdoll have a name. She looks glamourous to me, like a ballerina with slippers and touches of lace here and there on her gowns. An Elsa or Tilde with a little bird on her shoulder.
    My lilacs are done and the poppies are starting to rise, roses are blooming. Put chives in the scrambled eggs yesterday. I cant wait until next time to see what you have done. Until then, Best Wishes, Barb

    • annwood

      Thanks so much Barb. I love your idea to embroider on an old quilt. I have a very worn, pale quilt I’m always patching and I think it needs some embroidery. Chives! I forgot about chives. My garden definitely needs chives.

      Good luck with your surgeries – sending you good thoughts for a speedy recovery,


  7. Carlene

    Wonderful! So many good things. Thank you for sharing. I’d love to see the elegant doll with a cloak and a vest-like top to change the feel of a dress or outfit. I don’t know what it is called, but it would be fitted, have no sleeves, buttons or laces in back, high neck, and stiffer fabric.

  8. Jill Hood

    The first time I played with hexies I called my quilt ‘madly off in all directions’. I never did get into sewing them together in straight lines and would rectangle the shape towards the end. I love having a pile of them to work on when I sit in the evening.

  9. Susie kolle

    So inspiring! Working on some embroidery, but always have my hexies and yo-yo’s close by to work on. I started sewing the yo-yo’s together years ago. Just” collecting “ my half in hexies!

  10. Marjorie Footitt

    Hello Ann, I’ve finished Captain Beaky, my first owl, he looks appropriately learned. Loved the challenge and when I’ve finished all the other unfinished symphonies, I will probably make another, more colourful owl. ( I love working with colour) After your input about “ just start and see where it goes, I let my knitting grow a quirky.cat. Now you need to know that I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for chickens…….hmm, hinting…….never seen you do one and wondering if you have?
    Thank you for your inspired dedication to all things sewing , blogging and to your followers.
    The Newbie,

  11. Hi Ann, I just love your blog and your patterns! What kind of snips are they? …. with the candy cane wrapped handles?

  12. Marilee

    I love the hexies. I’m really not a sewer, but I come from a long line of them so I appreciate every thing you do. I wondered if you still do paper mache. Your Paris cup is how I discovered your blog.
    I did want to comment on your cedar chest in the garden. You are probably right about it falling apart, but you could shore it up with strips of lumber around the top and bottom, or metal brackets at the corners. I have a raised bed that’s starting to collapse and I’ll have to do that to get another four or five years out of it. It’s my potato bed and the potatoes like the depth.
    Thanks for sharing your talent. It’s always inspirational.

  13. Jane Mullenix

    I just fixed a torn waist pac with hexies !

  14. barbara mabry

    Hi Ann, A friend told me about you and so here I am and I will say that I love what you do and enjoy the website so much. I have been a hand quilter for forty years so needless to add, I love hand work. I may get adventurous one of these days and try to make up one of your projects.

    Thank you for sharing your talent with all of us.

  15. I, too, am making hexies! I decided to fussycut them, add embroidery here and there, do little interesting things – and never using the exact same fabric cut! I call my project “hexie dreams” and hope to have enough cut and basted to make a quilt by the end of the year.

  16. I did finish my hexes project, not finished, a nice little quilt , too bad can’t include a photo. If you attach L shape metal braces on the corners of your trunk, these will prevent the wood for disintegrating, and you’ll have a longer us of it. I built my veggie garden that way. It is 9′ X 6′ and placed the braces about 6″ from the top. Have fun.

  17. Thank you for your lovely patterns and creative-block-busting tips. Thanks to you I’m cohabiting with tiny and elegant dolls and making more.

    Elegant doll wardrobe – for fancy trips out could she have a (lined?) cloak with a generous hood, like Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant’s Woman? And (faux?) lace up boots? She also needs a tasseled fan and reticule. One of mine has a lace shawl, but we don’t really need a pattern for that, as it’s simply a triangle. She might enjoy a kimono style robe. I’m mixing historical/national dress with abandon as elegance knows no boundaries.

  18. Georgina Chaseling

    Just coming into winter in my part of the world, southern highlands, New South Wales, so frosty mornings and short days. I look forward to your weeklyish particularly the little birds. I have lots of birds and wallabies in my garden.
    I am mending woollen jumpers for the winter. Decorative patches darned or knitted. The word is out and friends jumpers keep arriving at my door.

  19. ‘Nette

    Ohhhh Ann! I have always loved your elegant rag doll….she Does have a sophisticated look about her! When you asked for ideas my mind immediately said~A beautiful evening gown with a low v cut neckline, sleeveless with a matching shawl and a pearl necklace with matching earrings. For stepping out with a special someone toooooo maybe the opera perhaps?!
    Currently working on a needle book inspired by your pattern. This is a story all its own. I’ve had a hand size bag my sister made out of a pair my Mom’s jeans. I never used it for any thing but always thought it would be perfect for a needle and pin book. I finally took the plunge and ripped out the seams to use it as the cover for the book. I wanted it to reflect her and to let everyone know that it was made from her jeans, so I sewed a printed on fabric picture of her on the front and started on a journey I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish. I would love to send you pictures of it if you’d like.
    Always enjoy your newsletters and finding out what You are doing! Thanks again for inspiration!

  20. Love the dresses.
    Perhaps a set of pearls would go nicely.
    I wonder if you know of Ara Bently minis.
    She also is extraordinary with wonderful ideas and making minis.
    I have learned a lot from her. Ara introduced me to using cardboard to make dollhouse furniture.
    I did purchase your 5” doll pattern last week.
    So very excited that I will be able to use Miss Clara for my dollhouse rooms.
    I too had a room similar to yours. I purchased a wooden box and made some rooms. To go on the cheap side I also bought $1. Store cardboard boxes as well. Now I am running out of room in my house.
    Gardening is my priority for the spring, summer autumn months. My dogs(3) and family.
    Favourite time of year.
    Be safe a d enjoy all.

  21. Oh, Ann, so good to hear from you. I attended your elegant rag doll workshop at the lovely French General in L.A. several years ago. It was magical. I have my elegant doll, who I’ve named Clothilde, propped in an antique overstuffed chair in my bedroom. She sits with a couple other smaller dolls I made from thrift store doll patterns. I’ve been making her an elegant evening dress using one of my granddaughter’s fancy Christmas dresses and other scraps from thrift store vintage finds. I’ve lately been doing small tapestry weaving & hope to weave Clothilde a lovely scarf for next winter. Isn’t it especially intoxicating to welcome summer this year? I hope you are loving your new home. Thanks for your treasures, funk, and spunk!

  22. Thank you, Ann, for being there and sharing your Magic!!

  23. Thank you Ann, really excited to receive my first newsletter! I loved making up your crow pattern and have since made some of the little sailing boats. So pleased to see you also love your little garden. Mine is also very small, but gives me SO much pleasure. Nothing better than sitting on the patio with some sewing. xxxx

  24. Loving the ‘woodshedding’ meaning, and the cute old repurposed chest…I do that with wicker baskets found in charity shops, fill with herbs and little stones, shells and fairy ornaments …Happy making and sewing Ann.

  25. i have still not ever made a paper-pieced hexi because i suspect it could be an addiction i may never recover from, and i already have too many of those! i’m excited to try some overalls for my TRDs who have been shockingly naked for too long, despite clothes being my prime motivation for making them. i’m growing lots of things in my garden (peas, tomatoes, kale, eggplant, cabbage, peppers and cauliflower so far) but poppies have also taken over my beds and i don’t have the heart to pull out a single one because i love them so much! and i’m growing several types of milkweed because soon i’ll be raising the monarch caterpillars again…

  26. Christine Schutz

    Wonderful that your move provides a place to garden outdoors. Our garden (also mostly in pots due to soils to hard for digging) has been another sanity saver during many of the Covid restriction months. You have saved some of our collective sanity as well Ann. Thank you for that!

  27. I love that grey dress! A bit of soft lace at the neck—just wrapped from the back and tucked in at the front would be very 18th century/Jane Austen, a look which I adore.

    I so admire your creativity!

  28. Hi, Ann! I’m wondering if you ever finished the new dress patterns for the Elegant doll? I made several of them last year and would love more ideas for dresses!

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