Posts Written By Martha

American Girl Dolls Dress up as Characters from Clueless.

Because we had such a great time last year at Emily’s American Girl Doll Store birthday party, we decided to do it all over again this year. For last year’s party, I dressed 3 of the dolls as 80’s pop stars. This year Emily requested characters from one of her favorite movies, Clueless, directed by Amy Heckerling — a 1995 coming-of-age comedy staring Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, and Brittany Murphy, which is loosely based on the novel, Emma, by Jane Austen. Mona May was the designer of the amazing costumes.

Once again, I had such fun finding the materials and making these outfits. Here are the dolls hanging out in a mall bar before our visit to the AG Store. Mary-Ellen is dressed as Amber, Julie is Cher, Addy is Dionne, and Molly is Tai.


If you’ve not seen the movie (and you definitely should), here are some photos of the original outfits.





McCall’s Monday — Dutch Boys and Girls Embroidery Patterns, Part 2

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments on my blog break post. I’m fine — just very busy with family and projects that have nothing to do with quilting or embroidery. I hope to share a few things in the next couple of months, and look forward to getting back to a regular blogging schedule after the holidays.

Here are the rest of McCall’s 779, Dutch Boy and Girls. The other two motifs can be found in an earlier post.











Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

For the past few weeks I’ve been working on Emily’s latest Halloween costume. This year she asked me to make the Cyndi Lauper outfit from the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video, which was, appropriately, a lot of fun to make. It’s a coincidence, since I recently posted a squaw apron pattern, and the skirt Cyndi wears in the video is a thrift shop squaw skirt, probably from the 1950s.

As you can tell from the photo below, Cyndi’s skirt is very full. I decided to make Emily’s skirt with circular tiers, instead of the straight ones called for in my vintage pattern — it’s still very full, but less bulky and heavy. It’s a little trickier to sew the trim on a curve, but I like the way it turned out — the bottom of the skirt is just short of 9 yards long.

Here’s Emily . . .


and here’s Cyndi . . .


Of course, we couldn’t find anything like these weird tribal mask earrings Cyndi wore, but I thought I could make them with Sculpey clay, and that’s exactly what I did.



Liberated Basket Quilt-a-Long — Fishy Border

I live on the Pacific Northwest coast, so of course I’m going to make salmon for my fish border. Still, even though I came up with an idea right away, it took me forever to stitch them, and I just barely finished in time. Also, I ran into the same problem I had with the log cabin blocks — the scraps I was working with were too small. My solution this time was to make Susan McCord style fish, and I’m actually pretty happy with my patchwork salmon.

I made templates from some images I found online, but the details on the fish were small, and I was struggling with my normal baste and pin method. I ended up using the dryer sheet technique to prep them, except I substituted sheer-weight interfacing because it doesn’t melt when you iron it the way dryer sheets do. Using the interfacing produced a salmon that was a bit thicker and tricker to stitch down than my normal technique, and they also have a slightly puffy look to them in person, but the details (fins, tail and mouth) look better. The top ended up at 58″ square.

Click to enlarge the image if you want a closer look at the fishy border. It’s weird — something I never would have chosen on my own — but I like it a lot. Thanks, Wendy, for the inspiration.




Free Pattern Friday — Jane Alan’s Basket Quilt with Appliquéd Flowers

These clippings have no identifying newspaper or date, but I was able to find some information about Jane Alan and her patterns on the Quilt History Tidbits website. A new quilt pattern was published each week during the early 1930s, and templates were provided. This series of four baskets were constructed on point with checked gingham for the basket and a coordinating solid color handle. The blocks are 10″ square, so approximately 14″ diagonally. I calculated the design to take up about 70% of the diagonal space, so I sized each half of the floral design at 5″ wide, or 10″ total across the basket.

Although the article states that four blocks are to be made from each design, there are no instructions for how to set the 16 blocks. The quilter had to request a free pamphlet in order to receive a diagram of the quilt with complete instructions.

Click on the images to view, download or print the pdf patterns.






McCall’s Monday — Design for Children’s Outline Motifs

These catalog illustrations are tiny, but hopefully they are simple enough, and I’ve scanned them at a high enough resolution, that you will be able to trace them.

Simple and attractive are the little picture motifs shown above for working in colored strand cottons. Flower girl in center is 3 1/8″ x 3 1/4 inches, 2 given. There are 6 umbrella girls, 4 of the boy-and-dog and 2 each of the 4 remaining motifs. A colored illustration like this in pattern serves as a working guide.

mccall-1641-a mccall-1641-b mccall-1641-c mccall-1641-d mccall-1641-e mccall-1641-f mccall-1641-g