Ready for Easter! (Mostly)

Easter 2014

I recently upgraded my phone, and as I was looking through old pictures (of which there were many – I’m really bad about clearing off my pictures…), I found this one from Easter last year! Back before the days of MINI MAD, when I was still figuring out the basics of photographing dolls. Back then I only had Isabelle, Caroline and Marie Grace.

This year, I didn’t have time to set up as nice of a display. My husband and I are opting for more Spring cleaning (read: purging) and less Spring decorating this year, so our only real Easter-ish decorations are…

Easter-y Group

Yep, you guessed it, dolls.

I have to admit, Sienna, Kanani, Arista, and Caroline look more like they’re ready for Valentine’s Day than Easter dressed in so much pink, but it works for now. I was tempted to get Samantha’s Special Dress to add a little blue-green into the mix, but I just couldn’t pass up her Travel Coat and Hat. There’s just something about it that I absolutely love! (And there’s no way I’d ever be able to sew my own… Not right away, anyway.)

Bunnies and more!

Chocolate and bunnies – two of my weaknesses…

At least I have plenty of Easter bunnies! Even before I had rabbits as pets, I think I’ve always like rabbits better than chicks. Chicks are pretty cute, but it’s hard to top the silly, sweet fluffballs that are rabbits. I really love how detailed the chocolate bunnies from Kit’s set are. They look like they could be real chocolate! (I like to think of mine as dark chocolate. My husband and I are both dark chocolate fiends.)

Caroline and Arista

Channeling the Past

I was originally going to have Caroline wear Samantha’s dress, coat and hat, but she looks so good in Kit’s dress, I changed my mind. Caroline looks good in any era – though I never seem to have her dressed in anything from her actual year of 1812. Oh well. I really like Arista in Samantha’s clothes. With her brown hair and eyes, she is a pretty good stand in (and I prefer her side bangs to Samantha’s pie bangs).

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Easter filled with food, family and friends! ♥

JenniferSig

Pretty in Peachy Pink

Sometimes you just feel like posting pictures of your doll in a color that looks really, really good on her. So please enjoy the following pictures of Kanani rocking different shades of peachy pink.

Kanani in Isabelle's Meet

A Look Fit for Summer

Top: Isabelle’s Meet Top

Bottom: Isabelle’s Meet Jeans

Shoes: Sandals from Shimmer & Lace Party Dress Set

Accessories: Sunglasses from thecraftysewingbee on etsy

Kanani in Isabelle's Pieces

Saturdays in Spring

Top: Isabelle’s Sweater

Bottom: Isabelle’s Meet Jeans

Shoes: Sandals from Shimmer & Lace Party Dress Set

Accessories: Hair clip from Shimmer & Lace Party Dress Set,

Necklace from Saige’s Sparkle Dress Set

Kanani in Saige's Sparkle Dress

Sun Dazzled

Dress: Saige’s Sparkle Dress

Shoes: Sunglasses and sandals from thecraftysewingbee on etsy

Kanani in Custom Samantha's Party Dress

Pink into the Past

Dress: Custom made based on Samantha’s Party Dress

Tights: My American Girl tights set

Shoes: Caroline’s Meet Slippers

Accessories: Hair clip from Shimmer & Lace Party Dress Set

Kanani in Shimmer & Lace Party Dress

Bonus: Kanani in the Shimmer & Lace Party Dress Set

JenniferSig

Shimmer & Lace Party Dress

Shimmer & Lace Party Dress | American Girl

What can make a blah Monday awesome? Having something you ordered and have been eagerly awaiting arrive! I was able to tag onto my mom’s American Girl order and make use of the free shipping (code “SPRINGFUN” – good through 3/24), and today when we were having lunch together, she gave me this!

Peachy Kanani

Pretty in Peach

I love, love, love the beautiful peachy-pink color of American Girl’s new Shimmer & Lace Party Dress. It’s bright and sweet, and perfect for the warm spring weather we’ve been having lately. It looks amazing on Kanani (which doesn’t surprise me, I’ve yet to find anything she doesn’t look amazing in), and somehow really makes her hazel eyes pop.

Dress Box

How the Dress Arrives

The dress comes in the usual My American Girl box, with one noticeable exception – no more charms! I always thought the charms were cute, but I don’t really miss not having them as part of the set, either. It’ll be interesting to see how the box art changes with the upcoming revamp of the My American Girl collection (rumored to be happening later this year).

Complete Set

The Complete Ensemble

The complete set includes the dress, a hair clip with three peach-colored rhinestones, and ridiculously cute flower sandals (can they make these in adult sizes? PLEASE!?). The dress has a top layer of lace overlay and a second layer of peach fabric edged in white tulle. The bodice has large peach sequins that really give the dress an added dash of sparkle without being overkill. The dress does have an angled hem (which isn’t as readily noticeable in the stock photos), so if you’re not a fan of the uneven hems trend, you’ll have to decide if it’s a deal-breaker or not. I’ve heard people say the dress looks too short or it fits too tightly – I don’t think mine’s super short, though it is a bit more snug than other dresses (which may just be the result of the two layers).

Overall, I love it! And I can’t get over how good it looks on Kanani! I’d definitely recommend this outfit. And if you’re considering it, now is a great time to buy – the dress is currently $6.00 off (and if you manage to get in on the free shipping too, you’re really set!).

JenniferSig

More of the Paris Sightseeing Dress

Last week was SUPER CRAZY for me. My apartment complex decided it would be a fantastic idea to replace everyone’s windows and back sliding doors WHILE we’re all still living here. And since we couldn’t move some of the furniture as far away as they requested, we bubble wrapped and covered the heck out of everything. It felt like living in an episode of This Old House. It was messy and chaotic and ugh… just not a very fun experience. But now that things are back to normal, I was finally able to unearth my dolls again! And when I did, Kanani informed me that it was her turn to try on something with the Paris fabric…
Kanani in the Dress
Kanani and Rembrandt ready to see the sights of Paris
I don’t think there’s any outfit Kanani can’t pull off. She looks fantastic in everything! I especially love how great she looks in light or bright colors. They really make her skin tone pop.
Kanani in the dress
Photogenic Kanani
I really want to try making another dress with this pattern – maybe something with a medium muted purple for Sienna (I really love how the purple of Isabelle’s pjs looks on her). It’d be nice to get so good at making this style of dress, I’m able to make signature dresses for each of my dolls. But for now, they’ll all have to share this one.

JenniferSig

Sewing Project: Paris Sightseeing Dress (a.k.a. The Dress of Many Failures)

PROJECT: A faux-wrap dress to use up the rest of the Paris-themed fabric

TIME: several days

MATERIALS: Paris-themed fabric, ribbon, decorative flower, notions

Arista in the Dress of Many Failures

The Paris Sightseeing Dress… a.k.a. The Dress of Many Failures

I was so thrilled to find this Paris-themed fabric for my mom’s surprise apron, I decided I’d use the rest to make something really nice with it. My first thought was a summery dress – something modern but with a nod to the full-skirted mid-century dresses I love so much. I found the Frill Seekers Dress by Forever 18 Inches on Pixie Faire and decided it’d be perfect for what I had in mind.

The only tricky part? It’s an Intermediate pattern. No problem, I thought! I’ve been hanging out in Easyville for awhile now, maybe it was time to crank up the difficulty. Boy, did I…

PATTERN

The Frill Seekers pattern is actually really well made. It comes with three variations of the dress and detailed instructions on how to create the lined bodice. The only minor issue I had with the pattern was that the layout of my pieces had to be reversed because of the way this print faces. I was originally going to opt for the easiest version of the pattern (with the ruffled sleeves)… but even that seemed a bit too difficult at the time, so I opted for the super-easy version and left it sleeveless. Baby steps, right?

Fabric Close Up

You, Me, Oui!

FABRIC

I love this fabric so much. It just looks like something American Girl would’ve created. I got mine from a mom ‘n’ pop fabric store nearby, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it at Joann’s, but I’ve since learned that this print is made by Timeless Treasures and is called “You, Me, Oui!” It may be easier to get online than in stores. Definitely worth the hunt, though. This fabric features a lot of elements from Grace’s collection.

PROCESS

OK… So let’s talk about why I keep referring to this dress as the “Dress of Many Failures.” I was expecting the bodice part to be the most difficult (especially after seeing the instructions dedicated solely to its creation). It really wasn’t too bad, though. The hardest part I had was sewing along the curves. As a result, my dress’s bodice doesn’t lay perfectly flat around one of the arm holes, but over time it’s kind of relaxed into submission (and luckily, it’s at the back, so you don’t really notice it). Then came the skirt…

So this is where impatient and slightly harebrained Jennifer took over. I was having issues trying to gather the skirt by basting, so – and I’m not really sure how I thought this was a good idea at the time – I decided I would gather and sew the skirt onto some ribbon (I think I thought this way it’d create a clean line on the inside of the dress, too? And of course, I decided I’d try to just eyeball the gathers instead of actually pinning them in place. Did not go well.

After undoing everything, I decided to do it the correct way by pinning and then sewing. It was only after I’d finished sewing the skirt on that I realized I’d sewn it on inside out. I debated for several minutes about ways to make this error work… and then started the reluctantly undo the stitches.

After finally getting the skirt and bodice to unite (which may or may not have also involved a lot of fray check, because of all the sewing and resewing), I proceeded to stab myself a few times while hand-sewing on the Velcro and decorative trims. The fabric glue that had worked so well to keep the decorative flowers in place on the aprons also turned against me and made a slippery, goopy mess where it should have held tightly.

But, for all of it’s many, many issues, I’m happy with how the dress turned out. I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect (even though I have a tendency to think I can sew more difficult things more easily than I actually can). It was definitely a good learning experience.

Finished Dress

Arista in the Paris Sightseeing Dress (with Grace’s City Outfit accessories)

Bonus: Sienna in the relatively drama-free Paris apron:

Paris Apron

Forget sewing, let’s bake!

JenniferSig

Sienna and Saige

I brought my Sienna to my parents’ house over the weekend to compare her to my mom’s Saige. These two definitely look like cousins! I actually thought they might look a bit too alike, but in person, there are enough differences between them that they don’t look like twins.

Sienna and Saige

My Sienna (custom) and my mom’s Saige

I’ve had to color correct these pictures, but I think I’ve kept the colors pretty true to life. I guess if you aren’t used to seeing the different features of American Girl dolls, you might still think these are the same doll, but there’s a lot of slight differences between Sienna and Saige. Sienna’s hair is more coppery compared to Saige’s true auburn. Her eyes are also more blue than Saige’s turquoise. Although it’s hard to tell in the pictures, Saige has a more bubblegum pink lip and blush color compared to Sienna’s coral pink lips and blush. And of course, the biggest difference is that Sienna is a Josefina mold while Saige is a classic mold.

Sienna and Saige

Sienna and Saige

I think Saige is probably my favorite of my mom’s dolls… but I’m a little biased. She’s actually the first American Girl doll I ever ordered, because she was a present from my husband and me to my mom a few Christmases ago. If I had more room, I’d definitely add her to my collection, too. She’s too cute!

JenniferSig

Sewing Project: Parisian Apron(s)

PROJECT: A Paris-themed apron fit for Grace Thomas

TIME: 1 day

MATERIALS: Paris-themed fabric, fabric for top lining, ribbons, decorative flowers, notions, fabric glue

Arista and Aprons

 Arista modeling her apron

I wanted to make my mom something fun for her birthday that would go with the Grace Thomas doll she plans to get. Unfortunately, as I’ll discuss later in a post about the “Dress of Many Failures,” I’m still not that great at sewing complicated things… SO, I went with something easy that Grace would enjoy using – an apron!

First Steps – My local Joann’s never seems to have a good selection of prints – unless you’re looking for owls and butterflies. I don’t know why, but apparently those are the big ticket patterns for that store. Luckily, there’s a small mom ‘n’ pop fabric store that sells a wider variety of prints. That’s where I managed to find this cute Paris-themed print (and another pretty design I might use for a different outfit). I drafted a pattern using plain paper. I folded until I found a basic shape I liked, then cut the pattern out.

Sienna with fabric and pattern

My lovely assistant, Sienna

Sewing the Apron – To make things easier, and to give a cleaner finished look, I opted for a lined top. With right sides and long neck straps inserted, I sewed around three edges of the top and then turned it inside out. Next, I cut a rectangle of fabric that was twice as long as my desired width for the bottom of the apron. My mom and I are big fans of flowy, full skirts – the bigger the better! Aprons are no exception. I hemmed the bottom and sides of the rectangle, then gathered the top. Then I attached the two sections and tested the fit.

Top and Bottom of Apron

I ♥ Pinking Shears

Finishing Touches – Then all that was left was to add a large ribbon around the waist and some final decorations. I liked the final result so much, I ended up making one for myself, too. I didn’t have enough of the neck ribbon left, so I opted for a single neck ribbon that connects to the other side of the apron top with Velcro. Mine also doesn’t have as full of a base (or as nicely gathered… oops).

Paris-themed Apron

The finished apron for my mom

The Big Reveal – Yesterday, we celebrated my mom’s birthday. I couldn’t wait for her to open the apron! It wasn’t the main thing we’d gotten her, but it was the one that definitely took the most effort! I was so happy my mom liked her surprise! We tried it on my mom’s Saige, and she looks pretty good in it! Grace may have a hard time getting to use it, haha…

Sienna and Saige

Cousins! (My Sienna with my mom’s Saige)

Overall, I’m really happy with how both of these aprons came out. I think I like how my mom’s turned out slightly better because of the fuller bottom, but I’m happy with mine, too. I might eventually make more so that everyone can have a baking day at some point.

JenniferSig