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!)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Molly's Bee Charmer Dress

One of the many things Joni and I have in common is an obsession for matching the perfect fabric to the perfect pattern. Sometimes the pattern comes first, but more often it's the fabric that grabs hold and demands to be sewn. That's how it was with this Fabric Finders pique featuring an adorable design of bees and yellow pindots on a white background:

Pique (pee-kay) refers to a weaving style characterized by raised parallel cords or fine ribbing. Cotton pique is a favorite of heirloom sewists because it gathers and pleats beautifully and the surface texture creates visual interest.

For Molly's Bee Charmer Dress, I paired the must-sew fabric with the Empire Waist Dress Pattern by Med Welch, who also must have a thing about bees. (She is the sweetest woman in the world, by the way. Her patterns are not for the faint of heart, as they're not illustrated, but they sew up beautifully!)

Molly's Bee Charmer Dress has a full skirt gathered to a gracefully-shaped empire waist trimmed with hand-made pima gingham mini-piping. Solid white Swiss pique collar is piped to match, and the square corners turned out perfectly if I do say so myself:

The short sleeves and skirt are trimmed above the hemline with bias bands of black-and-white gingham secured with edgestitching:

Completing the ensemble are a black-and-white Gingham Beret topped with a jaunty fabric-covered button; a pair of Taffeta Hair Ribbons to tie at the ends of Molly's braids; and a Honeybee Pendant with Swarovski crystal eyes strung on a silvertone chain.

The Bee Charmer ensemble is currently listed on eBay for Kindred Thread Modiste. Click here to visit the auction. Bidding ends Saturday, April 23 at 8 PM EDT.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Addy's Civil War Silk Ballgown

As a seamstress, you never know when inspiration will strike, but it's a good bet it will happen at the fabric store! I was at JoAnn's a month or two ago, shopping for something innocent like solid colored Kona, but I kept looking at this roll of fabric that was sitting on the cutting counter waiting to be put away. After unsuccessfully trying to convince myself not to, I asked the lady behind the cutting counter if I could see it. The fabric in question was a home dec. silk in the most beautiful shade of yellowy green I'd ever seen. And it was also (I believe this was a sign from the Fabric Gods) ON CLEARANCE. So I had her cut me off a length, even though I don't know the first thing about sewing with silk. All the way home I kept opening the bag to see the way that gorgeous material shimmered in the light.

It didn't take me long to figure out that the silk in question wanted to become a gown for Addy, trimmed with some chocolate brown velvet ribbon from my stash. I've seen Addys dressed in yellow and cream and other shades that flattered her skin tone and I knew that this shade of green would do the same. Only one problem: I had plenty of lovely dolls in my basement, but NO ADDY.

So I, um, bought one.

Once my secondhand Addy was here, I set about trying to translate vision into reality. I was looking at the Past Patterns website for inspiration - they have yummy people sized patterns for many historical periods - and I saw this bodice, which was exactly what I had in mind.
Now, the thing about me is that I can't draft a pattern completely from scratch - that is one of many skills that eludes me - but I can adapt pattern pieces all the livelong day. I own basically every doll dress pattern known to man, so I had plenty of customization fodder available. I thought about this dress day and night until I had a working plan.

The bodice was the most important part. I started with a Civil War pattern that I had already modified to have a dropped shoulder seam (very important to the 1860s look!) and scooped out the neckline so that it sat just off the doll's shoulders. I copied the point at the waistline off of a Colonial era pattern and then sewed a mockup of the bodice lining. Once I had a working pattern for the lining I just drew in the curved bodice seams, added seam allowances, and voila.

The double puffed sleeves (seen on the lady on the right in the Past Patterns illustration) were a bit of a thinker. I'd never made sleeves like those before but I made myself a bubble skirt one time and I was gambling that the construction operated on the same principle. My nefarious plan involved snagging a cap style sleeve from a Civil War pattern + a voluminous puffy sleeve from an Edwardian pattern and somehow combining them. And it was a lot of gathering, but it actually worked on the first try. And I love how it looks in silk.
lgs preview

When it came to the skirt, I had to use my imagination, since my inspiration pattern didn't show a skirt. My first thought was to do a ruched overskirt, but I didn't have enough fabric or the patience for another fabric store trip with kids in tow. So I Google image searched 'Civil War ball gown' and saw several examples where lace or other trim was sewn directly onto the skirt in a scalloped design. So I raided my stash of trims for some netting lace and chocolate nrown soutache braid.
You'll notice that the skirt is pleated rather than gathered at the waistline. I had already had my fill of gathering with those double puffed sleeves. (And I couldn't even do my usual heavy-duty-thread-in-the-bobbin trick because hello, IT'S SILK.) But I love how the pleats turned out. All they took was a whoooooole lot of pins and some patience.

There's a bit more to the story, like making the wee little gloves, and deciding at the last minute to make a fichu, and pressing tiny hems onto the edges of Addy's hair ribbon with the iron because I still don't know how to use my rolled hem foot, but I think I will just let the final product speak for itself. Meg Photoshopped Addy in all her silken glory into a ballroom background. I'm sure there's not a person alive who hasn't seen this photo yet, but let's just look at it again:
Lemongrass gallery

Sigh. Oh, Addy.

My green silk creation is up for auction on eBay - the auction ends today, so don't miss your opportunity to bid on this one-of-a-kind creation. Click Here to visit the auction!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Go Dawgs!

Today only: 5% off your Limited Edition purchase to celebrate Butler's return to the NCAA Championship Game! Enter code GODAWGS in the comment box at check-out and we will refund 5% of your purchase price for all Limited Edition items.

Friday, April 1, 2011

No fooling!

Wow, the past month has just flown by! We can't believe it's been a full 31 days since the official launch of Kindred Thread. March has been a busy month of sales, auctions, March Madness, talking about fabric, figuring out strategies, basketball games, phone conversations and emails between Meg and me, and Butler in the Final Four again. ;-) We have been so thrilled by the customer response that our first month in business has gotten us, and believe me, that's the best motivation to go to the sewing room and get to work!

So we have, I think, some extra special things to bring you for the month of April. Meg and I were both on a strawberry fabric kick this month for some reason, so here are the "fruits" of our labors, ha ha.

Kindred Thread - Limited Edition

shrinking violet

Shrinking Violet Spring Coat and Hat with Sunday Best Dress

by Joni Lynn
for Kindred Thread Limited Edition

Molly will look proper for Easter Sunday or any special occasion. Limited edition: only 2 sets available.

strawberry girl

Strawberry Girl Blouse and Gingham Overalls

by Nora's Room
for Kindred Thread Limited Edition

"Oh, here's the Strawberry Girl!" - Lois Lenski. Limited Edition: only 6 available.

cherry berry




Cherry Berry Dress

by Joni Lynn
for Kindred Thread Limited Edition

As delicious as jam on toast. Limited edition - only 6 available.

lemonade stand gallery



Lemonade Stand Dress

by Nora's Room

Get your ice cold lemonade!  Limited Edition: only 5 available.

sugar shirtdress gallery


Sweeter than Sugar Vintage Inspired Shirtdress and Headband

by Joni Lynn

It doesn't get much cuter than this! Limited edition - only two available in each colorway.

We have also added a couple of things to the Foundations line. Meg had some fun with corset boning and I raided my massive pile of scraps.

corset and pantalets gallery


Good Sense Corset Waist and Lace-Trimmed Pantalets

by Nora's Room
for Kindred Thread Foundations

"If you want a girl to grow up gentle and womanly in her ways and feelings, lace her tight."

Pretty Print Panties

Pretty Print Panties

by Joni Lynn
for Kindred Thread Foundations

"Waste not, want not!" as Aunt Millie would say.

Stay tuned for a blog post about our Modiste creations! I'm probably going to say this every time, but I think we have really outdone ourselves this month!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Does it sound weird that Meg and I are fascinated with dolly underwear? We are clearly not the only ones, though. It seems that every few weeks there is a discussion thread bemoaning the dearth of historically accurate underthings for dolls. This led to the creation of our Foundations line: creations in muslin, batiste, and handkerchief linen, featuring sumptuous details like featherstitched hems, vintage Cluny lace, and corset boning. And we have plans to add to this line in the future! Here are the five items currently for sale in the Foundations line:

Kindred Thread Foundations

Colonial ShiftsColonial Shifts of Muslin and Linen

by Joni Lynn

for Kindred Thread Foundations

Under every gown a sensible shift.

Mob CapColonial Mob Cap

by Joni Lynn

for Kindred Thread Foundations

Finish a Colonial girl's dress with a white cotton cap.

Hooped PetticoatHooped Petticoat

by Nora's Room

for Kindred Thread Foundations

Hoopskirts have been worn in various periods to hold the skirt extended into a fashionable shape. Not even the youngest child escaped the wearing of a crinoline supported skirt!

Cotton Batiste Ruffled SlipCotton Batiste Ruffled Slip

by Nora's Room

for Kindred Thread Foundations

No mid-century girl would be completely decent without a full length slip under her dresses!

Cotton Batiste PantiesCotton Batiste Panties

by Nora's Room

for Kindred Thread Foundations

Quite simply the best fitting doll panties ever.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Who's ready for some Modiste?

When Meg and I were brainstorming this whole Kindred Thread concept, we both kind of admitted that we fantasize of sewing really amazing, over-the-top dolly ensembles. (This is what makes us kindred spirits, by the way.) Lacking an outlet to sell such things, we've mostly kept within the realm of cotton print Thirties and Forties dresses, but once you've gotten the vision for something wonderful, and found the fabric to match that vision, well, it's kind of hard to sleep at night.

Yes. We get that excited about doll sewing.

The result of this obsession with fancy things (which Meg says is not crazy at all) is our Modiste line, Modiste being a fancy way of saying 'fancy.' [Editor's Note. Modiste: one who makes and sells fashionable dresses and hats for women.] These will be auctioned off via eBay, although we will provide links on our site so that you don't have to hunt through 245973467 eBay listings to find them. You can bid with confidence knowing we both have excellent eBay feedback ratings - here is Meg's and mine. And these are truly one-of-a-kind items - we swear on our firstborns, Dorian and Betsy, that they will not be duplicated. Each will be gorgeously packaged and - did I mention - priority shipping within the U.S. is absolutely free?

Now here they are, for you to ooh and ahh over...

Kindred Thread March 2011 Modiste Releases

Scarlett BBQ dress

Scarlett's Twelve Oaks Barbecue Dress

by Nora's Room

for Kindred Thread Modiste

"Oh, fiddle-dee-dee!" Scarlett O'Hara is off to the Twelve Oaks barbecue
in her green sprigged muslin afternoon dress. The premiere release for Kindred Thread Modiste! Auction begins Friday, March 4 at 8 PM EST.

Scarlett BBQ dressVotes For Women! Edwardian Suffragette Dress with Sash and Hat

by Joni Lynn

for Kindred Thread Modiste

"Suffrage is the pivotal right." - Susan B. Anthony. Auction begins Friday, March 11 at 8 PM EST.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Official Launch Party!

We're passing around the virtual chips and dip as we speak! Maybe something a little stronger for some of you. ;-) Hooray, it's March 1st! The deadline which has been looming large over both of us has finally arrived (and we've been exchanging emails, PMs, and phone calls with increasing frequency in the last few days). And we are so incredibly flattered that so many of you are excited with us and have signed up for our newsletter and liked us on Facebook.

Speaking of which... if you haven't signed up for our newsletter or liked us on Facebook... you can do so right from this blog! See all those nifty buttons on the right hand side of the page? As the Director of Social Media and Emergency Preparedness, I added all those (probably during the combination blizzard/ice storm that kept us inside for three crazymaking days). And Meg, as the Director of Google Research, has been busy figuring out all the kinks in our website, not to mention looking up the instruction manual for MY camera that I have had for five years and still barely know how to use...

We are so excited to be sharing with you: it's the brainchild of our collective obsessions with American Girl dolls and fabric and rickrack, and it's been all that either one of us have thought or talked about since the end of January when Meg hatched her nefarious plan. And both of us, by the way, have very helpful and supportive spouses: Meg's husband Rob has been invaluable with regards to website design, and my husband Matt has contributed a lot of valuable feedback regarding marketing! I don't think either one of them realized when they married us how many hours they would spend talking Kindred Thread, or that they would live in homes with a dolly or two in every room!

So without further ado, Meg and I are very pleased to bring you...

Kindred Thread March 2011 Limited Edition Releases!

COLONIAL STRIPED WORK GOWN with APRON and MOB CAPColonial Striped Work Gown with Apron and Mob Cap

by Joni Lynn for Kindred Thread Limited Edition

Even a fancy Colonial lass has to churn butter sometimes. Limited edition: only two available in each colorway.

French Quarter Opera Gown 

French Quarter Opera Gown

by Nora's Room for Kindred Thread Limited Edition
The French Quarter, or Vieux Carre, was once the residential center for free people of color in New Orleans. This limited edition gown might have been worn to the French Opera House, itself the most fashionable establishment in New Orleans. Limited edition: only three

Promise of Spring Thirties Feedsack Dress with Hair TiePromise of Spring Thirties Feedsack Dress with Hair Tie

by Joni Lynn for Kindred Thread Limited Edition
As verdant and breezy as a spring day. Limited edition: only two available!

Cheery Cherry Dress


Cheery Cherry Dress

by Nora's Room for Kindred Thread Limited Edition

"Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?" The authentic Depression-era detailing in this cheerful vintage-style dress made it a Nora's Room bestseller. Now it's back for an encore performance--and only four available!

Sassy Girl Forties DressSassy Girl Forties Dress

by Joni Lynn for Kindred Thread Limited Edition
Molly can roller-skate, organize a paper drive with Linda and Susan, or stick out her tongue at bratty Ricky in this fabulous dress. Limited edition: only three available!