Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

Custom, Print-on-Demand fabric and the Globe Pincushion

June 28th, 2016

Hello. Hello. Thump. Thump. Is this thing working?

Hi. It’s me, tech support (husband). Doing a guest blog for Sherralyn. I haven’t blogged here since early 2009. And that was just part of trying to get he blog software set up.

This time I’m going to blog about the globe pincushion that has been available as a free download on this site for some time and about a new version of that pattern.


A key aspect of the original pattern was printing the pattern on to cloth using an ink jet printer. Running a piece of cloth through an ink jet is not something everyone is comfortable with. One reader wrote Sherralyn that “my husband would have kittens if I did that”. But Sherralyn and I have been doing it for some time and I have yet to have kittens myself so we know that not all husbands necessarily have kittens if cloth is run through an ink jet printer. That’s just not the way cats, husbands or ink jet printers work. There are commercially available printable fabrics that work well and Sherralyn’s patterns have instructions for a DIY approach that has also worked for us. We use the DIY technique not only for the globe pincushion but for some of the doll patterns.

Nevertheless, we recognize that not every one is willing to give this technique a try. And, we have come across a solution! There are online services that will custom print on fabric for you. We have been trying out a site called Spoonflower that will print patterns that we have uploaded onto 8”x8” swatches, fat quarters, or yards of fabric. A swatch runs about $5 plus shipping. The cost of larger quantities varies with the type of fabric selected. Sherralyn has been very impressed with the quality of the Kona cotton fabric that we have ordered from them. The grain is unusually square and the colors are bright. On the other hand, the cost per yard is, as you would expect for custom, print-on-demand fabric, relatively high. And, delivery times can run a couple of weeks. But you may consider these disadvantages a small price to pay to avoid kittens.

cute kittenG

If you want to give this a try, we have updated the original pincushion instructions slightly to accommodate the print-on-demand fabric here. And a link to the globe pincushion fabric pattern on Spoonflower is here.

blog, Free Patterns

A New Look to My Pattern Page

January 28th, 2013

Check out the new index at the top of my pattern page. We hope that it will help you navigate to the pattern of your choice.

The index has a link to Florabunda’s page. We hope that it will be up and running in a few weeks, but now the only thing available is a picture of Florabunda hard at work.

blog, my patterns

Coming Soon

January 6th, 2013

Tech support (husband) and I are working on a new page for my website. It is designed to be kid friendly, with beginning hand sewing projects, craft projects, stories, and lots and lots of entertaining “Easter eggs” courtesy of tech support. Everything on the page will be free.

Here is Florabunda with animals made from some of the patterns.

The miniature bears are just the right size for dolls

I made the kitties in honor of Kitty, my newest cloth doll pattern.

The elephant pattern contains three sizes of elephants. The costumes for Florabunda and the elephant are not available. I made them up as I went along.

We hope to have the new page up and running in a month or two.

blog, hand sewing, learning to sew ,

How Florabunda Became a Cartoon

April 22nd, 2012

Last week I explained how Florabunda got the dress that she is wearing on my newest book’s cover. This week I want to explain why she is on the cover of a book that contains only patterns for an eighteen inch (forty-five centimeter) doll.

I wrote this book for elementary students to use with an adult. I tried to write clear instructions for a consistent progression of skills. To make the book more interesting, I wanted to include some light humor. I also wanted to explain some techniques in a boxed area of the text rather than with the general flow of instructions. I decided to use a cartoon version of Florabunda for humor and to introduce the technique boxes.

I tried to draw a cartoon Florabunda, but I do not have the artistic skill. My husband helped me turn photos of Florabunda into cartoons.

First we photographed the doll in several appropriate poses. Here is the first photo that we used:

Then my husband experimented with photo-processing. After some frustration, he found that he needed to shrink the photo before working on it. Then he used line detection on the smaller picture to make a black and white image. One program that does line detection is call “Charcoal.”

His drawing program contains cartoon balloons that will accept text and change shape. Now I have a cartoon version of Florabunda.

Florabunda has many jobs. She is a cute little doll that is fun to play with or collect. She can also be a doll that belongs to a larger doll. She stars in a story about modern little girls and another story about princesses. (For a free download of the stories, check the bottom of my Patterns Page.) Her newest job is to teach sewing skills.

Remember that you can download patterns for Florabunda and her friends on my Pattern Page. If you are only interested in Florabunda and would like a hard copy of her patterns, you can order a book with all her patterns from the My Books Page of this blog or from Amazon.

blog, Free Children's Stories, My books

Hurry and Enter

August 21st, 2011

There is only one week left to enter my contest. The prize is a pdf of one of my patterns. You may choose any one of the patterns. Read last week’s post for contest details and then make  a comment on the August 14 or August 21 post. I have to approve all comments before they can be read, so when you click on comments and can read the comment that you have written, you will know that you are entered in the contest.


An August Contest

August 14th, 2011

If you would like to win a free download of one of my patterns, please enter my contest. All you need to do is answer the following question and post it under comments in my blog. The question is: Which topic covered in my blog are you most interested in? Some of the topics that I have covered are: dollmaking, doll dressing, doll furniture making, miniature quilting, loom knitting for dolls, sewing techniques, and sewing memories.
You have two weeks to make a comment. Cut off for the contest is 7:00 pm US central standard time on August 27. I will write down the names of everyone who has commented and draw one name. I will announce the winner on August 28.
The winner will need to contact me by email ( to tell me the chosen pattern. I will send a pdf of the pattern to the winner’s email address.


More on Matching Outfits and My Website’s New Look

April 17th, 2011

Continuing the idea of making a girl and small doll matching dresses, I have found a few girl’s patterns that can match my small doll’s A-line dress pattern. Simplicity 2194 is a girl’s A-line dress. It has suggestions for embellishing the dress that you might copy on the doll’s dress. Amazon offers a book titled Absolutely A-Line by Wendi Gratz that has received fairly good reviews. The pattern and the book both promise dresses that are easy to make.

Simplicity also has a few short jackets included in other girl’s dress patterns. None of the patterns that I looked at are an exact match for the jacket included in my doll’s A-line pattern. The girl’s jacket patterns are more complicated than the A-line dress pattern. My doll’s jacket pattern is an easy pattern. If you are sewing for a young girl, you might want to look at the jacket patterns. A short jacket is an interesting addition to a wardrobe.

I have not tried any of these patterns. The pictures look like a good match for my doll’s A-line dress. Give the little girl in your life a pair of matching dresses for her and her Ginny, Madam Alexander doll, mini American Girl, one of my three cloth dolls, or other favorite small doll.

If you have visited my blog before, you may have noticed my blog’s new look today. My technical support (my husband, as I have said before) has put the finishing touches on my website’s new look. The blog was the last page that he worked on.

blog, Patterns from other designers , , , ,

A February Contest

January 31st, 2010

I am going to have a contest during the month of February. Two lucky winners will receive a free copy of my book, Easy to Make Storybook Dolls. If you write a comment in February on any of my posts you will have your name in the drawing, unless of course, you request not to be included. You do not need to include your email address in order to comment. Winners will need to email me their mailing address so that I will know where to mail the books. I live in the USA, but would be glad to mail the book to other countries. The sewing measurements are given in inches, however, so the book might not be useful to everyone. I promise to post at least once a week during February, but remember you can make comments on any post and be eligible for the drawing. My piano teacher will draw the winning names on Tuesday March 2, before my piano lesson. I hope that I will be hearing from you this month.


My First Post

February 5th, 2009


Welcome to my blog. I have been making cloth dolls and dressing dolls as a hobby for more than twenty years and sewing for much longer than that. When I began my doll hobby, I carefully followed the directions of the patterns that I ordered. I read pattern guides for pleasure at bed time the way I read novels. As time passed I realized that I had accumulated more patterns than I could possibly make. I wasn’t distressed, because although I had enjoyed reading the guides, I thought that I would be happier making my own patterns. I read books on pattern making and then I developed patterns by trial and error. I drafted patterns on ¼ inch grid paper, sewed up the project, decided what I did wrong and tried again. After a while I had a few cloth dolls and some doll clothing that I liked. I understood my patterns well enough to be able to repeat the projects. However, no one else could use my little scraps of paper to make anything at all.


Here is where my technical support (that is to say my husband) came in. He scanned my patterns into the computer and traced over them digitally. He added all the markings that I asked for. He scanned and traced the illustrations for the instructions. He then photographed the dolls and their clothing. I acted as photographer’s assistant, doll groomer, and critic.


Finally he built this website and learned how to attach a blog to it. So you see the term technical support is an understatement when referring to my husband’s efforts. I think that I made a slight miscalculation when I gave him a book on forum building for his birthday, however. I seem to be getting hints that I may be expected to read that book myself.

blog, Pattern Making

Happier with the blog’s appearance

February 4th, 2009

Today I made some changes to the “sunshine” theme that the blog is using. I think this is pretty good for now. The blog page looks more like the other pages of the web site.  What I did:

Using the WordPress themes editor I edited styles.css to have the #header function display line.jpg at a height of 10 pixels. This replaced the header.jpg image of the yellow bicycle that was 200 something pixels high.

Using the editor on the server, I edited the templates/header.php file to comment out the stuff that was drawing the blog name and tag line and the navagation bar. I could not figure out how to do this in the WordPress themes editor.