Wednesday, January 13, 2016

And a New Year Begins

Hello. Is anyone out there? One of my goals (I'll not call this mental activity Making Resolutions because we all know that we don't do so well at keeping our resolutions) for this New Year is to nurture this blog a bit more. My Welcome to the Garden Spot has a wonderful following because I tend to it. So hopefully I can gain a few more followers this year for this blog. So if you are new to the Ann's Dollhouse Dreams, thank you for visiting. Do leave a comment and sign on. Sign up through email, so that you get notifications of new posts which come irregularly.

I put away all of the dollhouse tools and cleaned the workspace so that I could sew for the American Doll type 18 inch dolls for the little girls on my Christmas gift list. I made six little dresses and purchased matching Mary Jane shoes for a fun website Silly Monkey.com  While not perfect, the little dresses turned out so cute. I dug through my stash of material to find enough bits and pieces to make all six dresses.







My own doll patiently modeled the clothes while I worked on each dress. I tried each one on to make sure that it fit. In this photo, I am not real happy with the bow in front of the dress. The other two dresses were mailed to the two little girls before I had time to photograph them, but they were of the same pink and blue fabric. My favorite is the lavender dress. 



I found her at a new thrift store one cold, windy fall afternoon on an outing with my daughters. While they were giggling over fashions, I sorted through the toy rack and there she was laying face down on top of recklessly assemble toys. When I turned her over, I was amazed at how clean and new she looked. I checked for her markings and to my surprise she is a Madame Alexander. I paid only $5. for her. What a find.

Working assembly line style, I cut out all of the pieces, then I hemmed all of the skirts and added the gathering seams for the waists. Next I assembled the bodices. From there, I pieced each dress individually. Originally I had planned on making button holes and sewing on buttons, but then decided to use snaps, which were a real pain to sew on. I decided to use hook and loop strips that I found at Hobby Lobby. I cut the 5/8 " wide strips 4 1/2 inches long to fit the length of the back bodice then cut each strip in half and machine stitched them in place, making a much neater closure.


I found this pattern on Pinterest. When you print it from the website and cut out the pieces, they will be too large, which the designer makes not of, so before you print the pattern, you must size it. Susan has  drawn her own 1" grid paper to hand draw the pattern. The squares are 1.5 inches, so the pattern has to be down sized to 1" sized grid.

Click here to find the pattern and instructions that I used: http://www.susankramer.com/bridesmaid.html

Here is how I sized it for a perfect fit using my iMac with Microsoft Word:

  1.  Download the pattern. I was able to drag the image from the website directly to my desk top. Susan  does provide a link to purchase the pattern if you don't want to go through this process. 
  2. Once the pattern is down loaded, I drag it into a Word document. (Pages on the Mac will work the same)
  3. Double click on the image to select it. In the toolbar, you will see the size button at the far right of toolbar. You must select the pattern image in order to see the sizing button. The image measures 8.7"high X 6.5" wide. She gives instructions for drawing the pattern, but by putting her pattern in a Word document, it is easy to re size it. After resizing and printing, measure a square to make sure that the graphing square measures 1". In order to re size the image in Word, click on the image, place your cursor (pointer) on the upper right hand corner of the resizing box, and slowly drag the corned diagonally down toward the bottom opposite corner until you reach the size of image that you want. The width should be  about 5". 
  4. Sizing the pattern is a bit tricky and requires a steady hand along with a bit of patience to control the mouse, but you will have an easy to sew and free pattern. As Susan instructs, the grid square should measure 1" scale per square after you print the pattern, so make sure to measure the grid before you use your re sized pattern.
  5. Print and cut out.
Of course, friends, if you find downloading and printing your pattern too much to go through, you will find patterns for sale on Etsy and in McCall's and Simplity pattern books. My dear blogger friend Diane at Lavender Dreams kindly shared patterns with me, and now with the Christmas rush over, I can work with her patterns.
As I wander around on Pinterest, I am astounded by the lovely and beautiful 18" dolls. It is little wonder that they are so widely popular. Sewing  for these little dolls brought back memories of sewing for my own little girls. I made a lot of their dresses for special occasions. Now I can sew again for them, only in a smaller scale. My granddaughters don't play with their dolls much, yet it is still fun to give them little outfits for their dolls.



Ellie's and Lucy's dolls have been in the family for some time. The girls were instructed to bring their dolls to the Christmas Eve celebration when we open our gifts. I was anxious to see the dolls all dressed up. They are the original German Gotz dolls. They really are lovely dolls that are no longer made by Gotz. Now Potter Barn sells the Gotz 18" doll. Lily received her doll Christmas Eve, a Madame Alexander doll. Instead of putting grandma's dress on her, Lily chose the dress that came with the doll. She named her Clair.

I have six little flannel night gowns cut out that I will sew up next

It it is, however, tax season and I will have to get my tax documentation ready for the accountant then I will get back to work on the Blue Farm House, hoping to finish it up this year. Here is quick look at the progress so far:


Of course I have a lot of finish work to do, but I am pleased with the way the rooms are turning out. On a cold, snowy evening a cup of tea and a few good magazines in front of nice, hot fire help to wait out the storm. (And trust me, our own gas logs burn every night as we have had a very cold, and snowy winter thus far). 



The hall has required so much work. You wouldn't think that a hallway could be so difficult. I ended up stripping out the wallpaper that I had put in, replacing it with paper that I had on hand, giving the hall more character. I do like the way the stairs look; installation was challenging and I have to install another stair case upstairs. -:(.



We had a month of birthdays, so there was lots baking going on. In the Farm House kitchen, more baking. I found the Duncan Hines cake mix printable on Pinterest and the mixer and baking tray on Etsy. The red splatter cookware came of Superior and the milk bottle from my stash. 

I am so glad that you took the time to visit. Come again.