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. 🙂

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41 thoughts on “Well Hello!

  1. So glad that you are back, love the revised look. You are one of the few in my own age group that still is curious about vintage and will ‘go there’. I missed you.

  2. SO very glad to have you back!
    I also turned 60, in June- it was odd but I am getting used to it.
    I love your dolls.
    I love your costumes.

  3. Nice to see you back ………. yep turning 60 is a good starting point I did it 5 years ago and we started a new life…….. moved country, sold the old homestead and am having the life Id always dreamed about!!

  4. Oh, how Splendid! Luuove, absolutely LOVE your dolls. What I admire Most about your work, whether creating dolls, costumes, or garments is your amazing commitment to excellence in both design and technique. Greetings from California – so glad you are “back.”

  5. It’s nice to see you again! Always love to see the costumes you’ve created.

    I’m closing in on 60 myself, and though I don’t often think of my own age being a big deal, I’m afraid I worry about my parents – now in their 80s – a lot more now than I did just 10 years ago.

    I don’t have kids but watching my nieces and nephews leaving the nest is so incredibly different from my experience in the 70s. When I was a kid I treasured every instant of my independence and chafed at parental concern. The college guys and gals in this generation are on the phone to their moms first thing in the morning and last thing at night! I can’t believe it!

  6. Congratulations on your birthday! I wouldn’t leave because you started working on dolls. I love dolls and anyways trying out fashions on them is a time honored tradition. Vionnet would approve:-) Yours are very chic, of course. Those costumes are amazing! I love that burnt orange dress especially.

  7. The site update is lovely–fresh and light! I am in the process of updating my living room in much the same way–moving the dark, heavy (the word “lugubrious” springs to mind) shelves out and constructing much lighter bookcases to go with the cheery paint job. I also turned 60 a couple of months ago and, likewise, it seemed more significant than previous birthdays to me. (I have had that same experience, scrollingandscrollingandscrolling to find my birth year in the drop-down list.) And, in a final note of serendipity, I also enjoy making dolls! Although we shall probably never meet, it’s nice to know there is a kindred spirit in cyberspace 🙂 (Now, if I only had your costume design skills!)

  8. Nice to see you back, and thanks for the peak at your costuming work! I just bought myself some dark navy wool jacketing to make your pleated coat pattern. Now to see how long it takes me to get around to making it haha

  9. Good to see you back! Is the trim on the maroon dress made with woven bias tubes?

    Birthdays never meant anything to me; not 30, not 40 or 50. Then I turned 60 and suddenly it was OMG time is running out!

    1. Hi Laurie, exactly, no longer the endless vista ahead! Yes the trim is made from bias tubes. I think I put a little how-to in a post a couple of years back, but I’ll have to check.

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