Monday, July 25, 2011

Moving on up!

Kindred Thread has migrated to a new e-commerce site and blog powered by WordPress. Come on over and check out our new digs at

Friday, June 17, 2011

Meet Pippaloo: Friend of Kindred Thread

From the very beginning, Joni and I envisioned using Kindred Thread to showcase the work of other doll crafters whom we admire. Today we want to introduce you to our first Friend of Kindred Thread: pippaloo, creator of incredibly realistic polymer food for 18" dolls.

Meet Teresa of pippaloo:

"When I picked up my first block of clay four years ago I never intended nor could I have even imagined I'd be now spending my days making food for dolls. My obsession started out quite innocently when my girls suggested we make some cookies for our dolls. From day one I was hooked.

"As a SAHM I feel blessed to be able to focus my creative energies on an outlet that my girls and I enjoy together- as well as to be able to share with others who have a genuine love of dolls. There is an old adage- 'do what you love and love what you do'. I feel I have both of those abundantly covered."

This month, pippaloo made us an exclusive Walk-away Waffle Cone to go with our 1904 World's Fair ensemble:

This ice cream cone is all kinds of awesome--the scale is just right for wee doll hands, and the texture is incredible. I'm also completely in love with these, which are perfect for doll pool parties on our back porch:

And the Pièce de résistance:

Pippaloo and Kindred Thread have lots of goodies planned for the coming months. (True story: I just bought two yards of a feedsack fabric specifically because it reminded me of creamsicles!) In the meantime, stop by pippaloo's Etsy shop and prepare to drool!

P.S. Bidding on Meet Me at the Fair closes tomorrow at 8 PM EDT. Check out the auction listing and make sure to add it to your watch list.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I've been thinking for a long time about making a Steampunk outfit for American Girls. Of course this is a genre that may not be familiar to all dolly collectors. From where I am sitting, Steampunk seems to be a mix of science fiction, Victoriana, and pure imagination - which is why I was so attracted to it. It's historically-inspired without being the least bit troubled by historical accuracy. I'm not cool enough to own a Steampunk outfit for myself, but I'm looking at you, Simplicity 2172.

I think it's actually easier to define what isn't steampunk than what is (and let us warn you before you click that link... there's some spicy language over at Regretsy). On the other hand, Steampunk Addie has provided a handy definition for us. And if you aren't reading The Adventures Of Steampunk Addie (and her unusually stout parasol!) believe us, you are missing out.

I've also noticed that there are quite a few Steampunk Blythes out there. I've been trying to scout out where the Blythe goggles come from, since they have the same size heads as our 18" girlies and the goggles will likely fit. eBay and Etsy have so far turned me up nothing. :(

After scouting around all the local fabric shops for things like black suiting, wee jewelry charms, and FEATHERS, I finally tackled Steampunk for my June Modiste project. I think you can see the influence of the pattern I linked above in my final result:
(Meg photoshopped Jess in front of a steam engine, of course!) I raided my stash for lots of fun bits and bobs to trim out the ensemble. For example, this vintage black rayon eyelash braid - I didn't realize until I was sewing it on how much it looks like the teeth on a gear! (And you'd think I would have learned my lesson about skinny trims after last month's Regency pelisse nearly drove me mad... but I'm not the sort that can learn a lesson.)

More eyelash trim at the hem of the skirt, and you can see that my sewing machine's ruffle foot (which also does pleast, and looks pretty steampunk itself) is my new favorite toy.  Pleated silk might just be the nicest thing ever. The skirt is high-waisted and laces closed in the back, and provides all the swish and rustle your little heart desires.

The blouse has a high neck, velvet ribbon bow (I *heart* velvet ribbon), and a little dangly clock charm in antiqued brass. And the jacket, which is comprised of 22 individual pieces (I counted), is lined with poison green taffeta that peeks out under the epaulets, the collar, the pocket flaps and the TAILS. Speaking of subconscious influences, my husband and I saw 'Wicked' on Christmas Day and I clearly have a stylistic holdover from that, what with the green and the clocks and everything.

But the very finishing touch - the only detail that was absolutely sharp in my mind's eye when the rest of the ensemble was still in the vague planning stages - is the Tiny Top Hat. I went all out on this one, even though it involved a lot of hand-sewing - not my favorite thing. A little veil of birdcage netting coyly hides one eye, and there's a band of velvet ribbon, and two wee feathers in green and gold. Also important, I sewed a hair comb to the underside of the hat brim so that it will perch at the exact right Rakish Angle.

The Time Traveler Chic Steampunk Ensemble won't be produced again (did I mention, twenty-two pieces for the jacket alone?!) and is absolutely one-of-a-kind. Bidding is currently up to $66.07 on eBay and there's two days left, so you've still got time! Click Here to visit the auction, and good luck!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Literary Doll

When I first opened a Facebook account (and I was not what you'd call an early adopter), I wrote this on my profile:

"My three main interests, in no particular order, are reading, sewing, and my children. I try to combine them where possible: so, reading with my children, sewing for my children, listening to audiobooks while sewing. I have yet to figure out how to do all three simultaneously."

That, obviously, was before I started Sewing For Dolls. Costuming dolls as my favorite characters from children's literature? Nirvana.

My very first customized American Girl Dolls were Betsy, Tacy and Tib, from the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace (recently back in print; it is your Civic Responsibility to purchase these books if you've not yet read them!) You might recognize an early version of our Seersucker Sailor Dress and Samantha's Play Dress and Pinafore:

Next came Anne of Green Gables, followed by her BFF Diana Barry:

And did you know that there's also a Gilbert Blythe? I don't know what the market is for clothing boy dolls, but I could probably be convinced to sew a few Gilbert ensembles if you twist my arm.

As always, there are works in progress . . . I have a custom Laura and Mary Ingalls with a stack of 1870s calicos, and a half-dressed Valancy Snaith nee Stirling. (Jess! With a bob!) Don't know Valancy? Gasp! Read About Us and then run, don't walk, to Project Gutenberg to download your copy of The Blue Castle.

Now, Kindred Thread is pleased to announce our first Limited Edition series: the Little Women Collection. Each month will feature a new Civil War-era fashion inspired by the pages of Louisa May Alcott's novel. We begin this month with the eldest March daughter, and my namesake: Meg March.

Meg is soon to be followed by Jo, Beth, and Amy--we know you'll want to collect all four! (Two words: Pickled. Limes.)

What other childhood heroines would you love to see in needle and thread?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Oh, Mr Darcy.

I'm pretty sure that the modern-day popularity of Jane Austen can be traced to a single cinematic moment. I think you ladies all know what moment I'm talking about, and it involves Colin Firth and a wet shirt. How many of you ran out and bought the book after watching that scene? There have actually been many representations of Darcy in film and TV (this blogger's Darcyometer is particularly hilarious) but the Firth is the one everyone knows and loves.

Jane Austen was a marvelous writer and, while she published only six novels and died young, her works still resound with us today. Her witty dialogue, her sparkling prose, and her comedic take on the social mores of early-19th-century England are still worth reading in 21st-century America. And if you're into that sort of thing, there's also handsome brooding men in waistcoats and tight breeches. Le sigh.

(I want you to know that I had to watch several different video montages before choosing the best one to include on this blog. YOU'RE WELCOME.)

American Girl hasn't seen fit to create a true Regency girl (although of course the corresponding time period on our side of the pond would be the Federalist era) although they do make that lovely party dress & spencer for Josefina. However, when has this ever stopped doll collectors? We are a determined bunch.

My Modiste creation for the month of May was inspired by my love of all things Austen. I started with a 19th-century reproduction print from the Manchester line in shades of cream and charcoal (a striking and unusual color combination which flatters any doll) and adapted the Sensibility pattern to include such scrumptious details as a gathered front bodice and an eyelet laced back.
The pelisse coat was truly a labor of love - sewing teeny tiny black eyelash trim onto a charcoal gray background is not for the faint of heart. But the detail, I think, is well worth it in the end.
My Austen-tatious Regency Gown with Pelisse Coat and Bonnet is now live on eBay - click here to visit the site. The auction ends tomorrow night so don't miss out on your chance to own this one-of-a-kind ensemble!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Kindred Spirits: Anne and Diana

Can you remember reading Anne of Green Gables for the very first time? I was 10 or 11, visiting Emerald Isle with my family, and had packed the slim paperback from a box of hand-me-down books from my favorite aunt. I had no idea that behind the plain green cover was a kindred spirit of the first order. Anne, of the carrot red hair and solemn gray eyes, understood the secret of a happy girlhood: that a rich imaginary world could provide a buffer against the heartaches of growing up.

My sewing for Kindred Thread this month is my love letter to Anne, that plucky red-headed heroine of L. M. Montgomery's fictional universe. First, for Kindred Thread Limited Edition, we have a pair of reproduction 19th century school frocks designed especially for Anne and her "bosom friend" Diana Barry. Anne's dress is sewn up in a somber dark chocolate brown floral, while Diana's is a sweet pink stripe. Both dresses come with pinafore-style aprons and heart-shaped jewelry: an etched brass locket for Diana and a pink enamel pendant for Anne:

And I'm even more excited about this month's offering for Kindred Thread Modiste: an exquisitely detailed replica of Anne's Brown Gloria Dress given to her by Matthew Cuthbert on her first Christmas at Green Gables. Hand-crafted of Swiss silk-finish cotton batiste, Brown Gloria is a girl's fantasy of puffed sleeves, pintucks, cascading frills, silk ribbon, and ruffled lace:

The Anne and Diana Dresses are nearly sold out, with only 1 set left. Anne's Brown Gloria Dress is now live on eBay, with bidding open until Saturday, May 14 at 8 PM EDT. In the meantime, if you're not yet acquainted with Anne, the full text of Anne of Green Gables is available for free on Project Gutenberg. Read it with a box of tissues!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Flowers

With all the rain I've been getting in Indiana, it's a wonder my house hasn't floated away yet... but April showers bring May flowers, right? At least that's the hope. Meg and I both clearly have spring on our minds which has led us to create lots of flowery things perfect for the season. We also both have a bit of a literary bent this month with Meg's Anne of Green Gables inspired creations and my Austen-tatious Modiste which will go to auction later in the month.

Here is a small sampling of what we have added to the site:

A 1930s style dress for Ruthie, trimmed with vintage yellow rick-rack and complete with a headband and panties...

The return of a best-seller from my Etsy shop, a dress for Emily in a 1945 reproduction print...

And while we are on the subject of best friends (I totally didn't realize it until just now but that's another of our running themes this month) Anne and Diana's school frocks with pinafores...
And a new addition to our Signature line, a recreation of Samantha's Play Dress and Pinafore.

We have even more new goodies in our shop - please stop in and visit us today! (And with Mother's Day just around the corner, feel free to print this post and leave it in a conspicuous place to leave hints to your loved ones! Tee hee!)