Rag Doll Adventures

IMG_9925What’s an adventure? According to dictionary.com “An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.” In my Rag Doll Adventures, my first steps were to locate the exact pattern and wait patiently for it to arrive. Finally, “The Making of a Rag Doll” by Jess Brown was waiting in the mailbox.IMG_9890After reading it from cover to cover, I proceeded to copy the enclosed patterns and start on my bold and risky undertaking. The dolls that she makes and sells are 22 inches long, but the doll pattern that she shares in her book is 19 inches long. This reduced size makes turning and stuffing the arms and legs a challenge. I figured out an easier way to turn the second doll’s arms and legs using a spaghetti strap turner. It does take some time and quite a bit of finger, thumb, and chopstick work to stuff those tiny limbs!

IMG_9904I wanted to make the doll out of upcycled materials as much as possible so I did my fabric shopping at our local senior center thrift store. It was a great day to shop because I hit the jack pot! I found new and vintage cuts of the cutest cotton prints and heavy weight muslin for making the dolls’ bodies.

IMG_9907 I bought a men’s wool suit jacket for making hair. I deconstructed the whole jacket, saving only the wool. Then I threw it in the washing machine and washed it in hot water, rinsed it in cold, and then dried it in the dryer. It felted up a little, creating a soft fuzzy texture.  I attached the stuffed legs to the bottom with a couple of rows of stitching and then stuffed the rest of the body. After stitching up the back opening the doll was ready to be dressed. Jess Brown includes several garments for the dolls to wear. I chose the dress and bloomers for my girls. I added 1/8 inch elastic to the top of the bloomers, turned under the neck, sleeves, and hem edges and sewed up the seams. That was the easiest part of the adventure.IMG_9910Now to tackle the hair. There are suggestions in the book for adding the hair, but no real photos of just how to do it, especially on the back of the head. I cut 1 inch strips about 12 inches long from my felted wool. Then I sewed them to the head with embroidery thread of a coordinating color. It took four strips. I layered them starting with the one around the face and then layered the other ones one on top of the other and sewed them together with a whip stitch. I used my pinking shears to cut the strips in half. It was exciting to see how well it turned out!

IMG_9918I did the faces last. I lightly penciled in the Jess Brown “star eyes” and then embroidered them with black. I decided to change Jess Brown’s signature felt heart mouth to a small embroidered mouth sewn with 3 strands of coordinating embroidery thread.

IMG_9915To make the dolls gift ready for Valentines Day, I made red felt hearts, sewn together with pink embroidery thread. I stuffed a bit of polyfill inside, added a ribbon, and tied them around their little necks.

IMG_9929This is what I will do differently next time: enlarge the pattern so that stuffing is easier. I have ordered some organic cotton stuffing, so the next ones will be all cotton and wool.

IMG_9924Let’s see how far my adventure into doll making goes. So far I’m excited about the journey and curious to see what the future may bring, in the Rag Doll Adventure.

Thank you, friends, for following my blog! I may hit five hundred this year and I will certainly celebrate with some awesome handmade gifts for several lucky followers.

Happy Sewing!

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The Patriot Skirt!

IMG_9895Here is my second skirt using the skirt sloper that I made after taking Suzi Furrer’s Craftsy Class. This time I made a skirt that comes to my waist with a waistband. I noticed that the woven fabric that I scored at the local thrift, was perfect for designing a skirt with fringe.

IMG_9894With this in mind, I cut out my skirt, added 1/2 inch seam allowance, and carefully matched up the plaid at the side seams. I cut the waistband on the bias as a design element. I applied iron-on interfacing to it, which gave it body and kept it from stretching.

IMG_9893 I cut a lining from a thrifted slip (my new inexpensive, lining source) and attached it to the waistline of the skirt, making tucks at the location of the darts on the skirt. Suzi says that tucks allow for more ease and that you really shouldn’t put darts in the skirt lining. I sewed in an invisible zipper, and attached one side of the waistband, right sides together, to the waist of the skirt. I carefully pined the inside, then topstitched from the top, catching the folded edge on the inside of the waistband.

IMG_9900I sewed a zigzag stitch just above the point where I wanted the fringe to begin. Then I pulled the horizontal threads out, until I got to about 1/2 inch from the zigzag stitch. I made a buttonhole and sewed on a pretty red button.


Fabric: Woven red,white, and blue thrifted fabric
Pattern: Personal Skirt Sloper
Year: 2015
Notions: interfacing, zipper
Time to complete: One evening
First worn: January 18 for a surprise birthday party for hubbie, and the Patriot’s game.
Wear again? Yes! I love red and the fringe is fun and a little Western
Total price: Less than $5.00 in materials, free labor!


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Marcy Tilton Jeans

I made my first pair of stretch denim jeans using a Marcy Tilton pattern by Vogue. I found the fabric at Beverly’s on the flat fold tables. Every Friday all fabric on the tables is half off. You can get some great deals! I bought two yards each of two colors of stretch denim for less than three dollars a yard.

IMG_9866I cut a size 16 but added 1/2 inch extra to the side seams, just so that I could adjust the fit later if needed. I actually didn’t need to do that, even though according to the size chart I wear an 18. I ended up taking the side seams in for a snugger fit. Next time I’ll cut the 16 and cut the size 14 crotch.

IMG_9869I also will omit the seam detail at the knees. I didn’t find it that flattering.

IMG_9880I had a lot of fun decorating the pockets. I used a Sulky variegated metallic thread with a special needle for metallic thread, and used my stretch stitch setting to create a thick line and decorative stitch. I also used the same thread and stitch setting on the pant hems.


IMG_9871The elastic went in fine, but next time I’ll use a shorter length so that they are nice and snug around my waist. I have a pair of RTW Anna jeans that are stretch denim and I’d like to copy them. They have a faux pant zipper, faux pockets, and a waistband that buttons in the front. I think I could modify the Marcy Tilton pattern and add those features. We’ll see!


The colorful top-stitching goes well with my Peruvian flats

Happy Sewing!

Just happened upon Marcy Tilton’s blog post about these particular pants. Interesting!


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Shout out to the 2015 Ready to Wear Fasters!

Batwing Top

A Member of the RTW Fasters

From the blog: Goodbye Valentino the  RTF (ready to wear fasters) have been presented:

Ready to Wear Fasters for 2015 

We are a diverse group of sewers who have pledged not to buy any clothing this year. The rules are simple: No purchases of ALL clothing including outerwear, dresses, tops, pants, shorts, sweaters, coats, fitness apparel, jeans and bathing suits. Shoes, socks and under garments are permitted.

2015 Goodbye Valentino RTW Fast

From Sarah’s Blog post:

“Why sew rather than buy clothes for one year?

I started my first Ready to Wear Fast in 2011 to save money, but the RTW Fast led me on an interesting journey of self discovery and enlightenment. No doubt I improved my sewing skills, but the fast led me to experiment with new styles and colors, develop a sense of discipline and a sense of freedom. I emerged as a more thoughtful consumer and yes, I saved a lot of money too

My second RTW Fast was more of a challenge due to time constraints and pre-determined garments, but I successfully completed the year.

I congratulate this diverse group of women who share a common goal, and know their journeys will be unique.  A special congratulations to the women returning for a third fast who are noted on the 2015 RTW Fasters’ page!

You are invited to follow their sewing experiences HERE and cheer them on through the year!”

I had a lot of fun participating, sharing, and posting along with all of these creative sewers on our Facebook group page in 2014 and I look forward to another great year together in 2015.


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Starting off the New Year with a Skirt Sloper


I love learning new things and through the Crafty Classes, I can always find excellent courses and projects. So I dedicated some time to work through Suzy Furrer’s Pattern Making Basics –The Skirt Sloper.

IMG_9837 She is such a wonderful teacher. I watched the entire course over a month ago, then for the New Year – 2015, on my to do-list, or the Sewer’s Bucket List, I dove right in and finished this low-waisted skirt. I plan to make all of the different styles that she demonstrates, so you’ll see plenty of skirts on my blog in the near future.


First, I made a tissue sloper, with all of my measurements and the calculations that create the skirt. Next I made a test muslin from that pattern. I tried it on and adjusted the side seams.


Then I traced my tissue pattern onto poster-board for my final master sloper. The sloper will be used to create endless styles of skirts that fit me. It’s so exciting!


I’m really not a big fan of the low waisted skirt, but because I had a young student who  wanted to learn how to make one, I made it as my first practice skirt. Here’s what I don’t like about the low waisted skirt, it sits too low, my stockings and slip come up to my waist and the skirt doesn’t. I don’t want to wear a top tucked into it or a crop top, goodness no! So the cute contoured waistband is lost from view. I will wear it though. I love the fabric, the pockets, and how easy it was to make.

IMG_9817Photographer was supposed to be watching for wrinkles in the skirt! Whoops!


IMG_9805 - Version 2


Notice that fold just below the waistband? When I hike it up a bit, it lies flat. I’ll address this in the next skirt.IMG_9805

IMG_9833 Fabric: Cotton with slight stretch
Notions: red thread for topstitching, red piping, zipper and button
First worn: January 4 to meet up with family in Santa Rosa, CA for sushi and NY pizza!
Wear again: definately!

We drove north toward home under the full moon, and ate our delicious slices of pizza in front of the cozy fireplace.

Happy Sewing!





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Sewing Round Up 2014

Another fun and fabulous year of sewing is coming to an end! I enjoyed every minute of it too. It was a wonderful experience to edit for Lekala, participate in the Monthly Stitch, and be a member of The Ready to Wear Fast. I’m looking forward to another great year of participation in the sewing groups, sewing for customers, teaching sewing lessons, and editing for Lekala. Since I have plenty of dresses, I’ll concentrate on blouses, tees, undergarments, leggings, and quilting projects in 2015. That should keep me plenty  busy!

Happy New Year and Happy Sewing!


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Happy Ho Ho Ho!

IMG_9750 This holiday season, I’ve been sewing a lot, but not anything fancy or geeky for the Monthly Stitch. I have a pattern for a party dress, but I’ve been “sew” busy with alterations and sewing lessons, that I haven’t even cut it out! I’ll try to make it for New Years, if time permits. Family is coming soon and my sewing room turns into a guest room, so I’m forced to take a break for a few days. That’s a good thing because I tend to get carried away  in there!  I’ve made a Facebook business page, and I invite you all to stop by and “Like” it. I’m trying to promote my expert sewing skills, and your “likes” will  help get the word out. That button at the top goes right to Zibergirl Sews on Facebook. 

Here are a few holiday shots of my husband and mother-in-law (almost 96) and still making ButterCrunch candy! She’s been making it since the 40’s! It’s really yummy. Here is a video we took back in 2008. Grandma is showing my youngest how to make it.




Happy Holidays to all of my sewing friends near and far. It’s been a great year of sewing and sharing with all of you and I look forward to another wonderful year. Peace and love to you and your families. See you all in 2015!

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