photo of boudoir style cloth doll made by Jeanne

Well Hello!

Long time no see.

A year and a bit since last post but I’m still here. Over the last month I’ve been giving the blog a visual brush-up and dust -off. Lol, that’s been fun… fighting with themes, wrangling with css and making some big messes under the WordPress hood. Along the way this site suffered some serious downtime and non-downloading pdfs… apologies to anyone who came looking for a pattern at just the wrong time.

Anyhoo, I’m all finished moving the furniture around for now and hope you like the fresher look and easier to find (well I hope they are! ) free pdfs etc.  If there are site issues, for instance you’re getting a “404 Oh No!” on a download from my Free Patterns page and you have a moment to contact me please, please do let me know.  I have checked through everything myself but things do slip between the cracks.

So where was I for this last year? Pretty much right where I always am but dealing with :

A) Turning 60. Six months later I still can’t believe how far down the list my birth year is when filling in online forms. 50 was no big deal, it just sort of slipped by. 60 feels like a corner being turned. Not sure what the difference is or if there is even really one at all. It could be because various media says there is one so I am expecting to feel one… meh, maybe. Lol,  I’m not adverse to the odd nap now and again and I do like to be home and tucked up by 12pm at the latest. Not a bad change then if that’s all there is to turning 60. My Mum commented that if I think 60 is a long way down wait until I have to scroll down to 87 like she does. I should be so lucky!

B) Selling the house, moving to a smaller town/ not selling the house, staying put and just fixing the damn house before it falls down. Been on this particular carousel ride since last fall. In the end we’ve stayed put. Some real big fixes were needed and we treated ourselves to a new bathroom along the way. The old one was ‘vintage’ but not in a nice way. Probably installed late 60’s. But OMG do I ever wish we’d left well enough alone! Two steps forward, one step back. My husband sang me a funny old English song : “The Gas Man Cometh” about workmen. Just too true.    “The Gas Man Cometh”  is on YouTube   (NOT my husband singing it I hasten to add)

C) Empty nest syndrome. I’m not really finding it as bad as they say. I like a quiet house and a kitchen as tidy as I left it. With Skype/ Facetime/ Messenger  I can be as nagging and they can be as annoying as usual. Everybody’s happy. And the kitchen stays tidy.  And wow, it is so much easier and faster now for offspring to tap the Bank of Mum and Dad than it used to be! Virtually instantaneous. I remember standing in a freezing phone booth in the snow, Berlin 1977, crying while making a collect begging call home.  My hand were so cold I kept dropping the coins before I could get them in the slot and the international operator cut me off twice.  Anyway there’s a good chance given todays world economics that they’ll be back. In a moment of madness that was actually another reason we thought of moving 😛

D) A bit of makers boredom.  Other than costume work I just didn’t feel like making things. Or not the same things. I’ve been doing it a long time now. So I gave clothes making a bit of a rest and tried something else. Dolls. Yep, dolls. Hang on, don’t leave! Wait and see where this is going….  I love trying out vintage patterns but tend to avoid those that I won’t actually wear. I reasoned that making clothes for dolls could be a way to try different vintage styles out but in a fourth of the size more or less.  Not as much fabric to buy or storage space to take up once made. But I didn’t want to dress someone else’s dolls, I wanted to make my own figures inspired by vintage Boudoir Dolls. To start I signed up for a little online class to make a fabric doll bust mounted on a candle holder. A lot of fun and I learned great techniques along the way. Next I tried a couple of purchased body patterns. Nice, I learned more techniques but still wasn’t getting the results I wanted. So I set about creating my own doll body patterns. Lots of trial and error, and many redos and undos later I made a few I’m happy with.  And then life got very busy with house fixing and costume jobs so I haven’t been able to get back to doll making for six months. I’ve built up a good supply of all things needed to make and dress more so plan to get back to it as soon as. Along with some fab vintage patterns I plan to trace, scan and scale down to dress them in!

Boudoir Babe
Image of two handmade cloth fashion dolls
A Flapper & my interpretation of Betty Boop
Marie Antoinette bust made with Sharon Mitchell tutorial

So thats where I’ve been.  Years definitely seem to turn from one into the next much faster than they used to. Scientific American has an answer for this phenomenon if you’re interested.  

Below are just a few of the costumes and clothes I did make during the last year, the ones I liked the most. So kind of a rambling post  and thanks for still being here and reading it! See you soon, a proper soon this time. 🙂


41 thoughts on “Well Hello!

  1. Stumbled in from Pinterest, saw your bias slip and nightgown pattern there.OMG I am in love!
    Currently I’m a little groggy, diagnosed with Bronchitis yesterday. But I am looking forward to getting to know you and your patterns quite well, as soon as I get over the Bronchitis. I’m 65 now, have been sewing since the age of 9. Sewed for my children while they were small and I was a stay at home mom. On my own for quite a few years, so I had to put sewing on the back burner and work a lot. Now I make for my grandchildren and for the occasional client. Repair work is my main activity. I’ve done some design work, and interested in getting my groove going again. I’m hoping your site can help me start that engine. I am so excited because I really think this will work!
    Love your site!

    1. Hi Cher, I hope you get over the bronchitis and back in the groove soon! Glad you stumbled in 🙂

  2. Great to hear you’re back. I’m looking forward to hearing/reading more.

  3. Glad to see you back. I love your works; you inspire me so much!

  4. Great to read about your time away. Time does really seem to move along a lot faster for me too, especially with so many projects & activities to attend to.
    Your garments always look so well done! Brava!!

    1. Thank you Kate. Your home and especially the garden project are amazing! No wonder time moves fast for you. It will look just incredible in a few years. Gardens change all the time- that’s what I love most about them… once made a dress is a dress is a dress ;/

  5. Welcome back. I know what it like to be on an adventure of getting life back in sync. You beat me. I remain to work at it after the passing of my Mother. Hay I love the Bias Dress and Betty Boop. My Mom’s favorite was Betty, She collected Betty through the times. I have a Rosie the Riveter Betty. My Mom had a Bias Dress. Well gotta go… but welcome back.

    1. Hi Susan, I’ve loved Betty Boop ever since watching the cartoons on tv Saturday mornings in the 60’s. A Rosie the Riveter Betty must look very cute. I do hope you get things back in sync soon, it is very hard after the passing of a loved one.

  6. Hi, Good to see you back. 60 years of experience & more time to enjoy it lol. Well that’s the theory, i’ve not found it works like that – but one day! Renovating a house is exhausting, I plan a new build next time. Good to have you back.

    1. Thanks Liz. A new built, wow!I will admit the thought makes me feel faint lol. At least you’ll get things exactly as you want with a new build. Good luck!

  7. glad you are back, its great to have wonderful ideas you give us.

    I have a request, My Granddaughter has given me a project to do she wants a Alice in Wonderland dress. She is nearly 12 but 5′ 6″ tall. Any ideas before I cut it out.
    I have 5 meters of seer suckers white material I thought I could dye it blue as I really don;t want to buy material for the project.

    1. Hi Robyne! I don’t have any particular ideas about an Alice dress other than you wont need to dye all 5 meters blue unless its a narrow width. I’d maybe dye 3 blue and keep 2 white to make the apron and petticoat. Other than that it’s a simple style, I’m sure you’ve seen variations on google but they mostly seem to have little puff sleeves, buttons up the front, has a Peterpan collar and a full skirt. Whatever you make I’m sure she’ll love it!

      1. thank you for your ideas. I found an old Enid Gilcrest book with a dress very similar and she likes. It. But she also saw on eBay one of the Chesshire cat she likes. That is white top, pink skirt and a yellow jacket. She has a pink skirt so a yellow jacket is easy. The hat I can make out of an old cereal box I have already.

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