Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A bit more about what you can expect come March 1st...

Okay, so as the Director of Social Media and Emergency Preparedness (Meg made up that fancy title for me) I've been working hard to get the word out about Kindred Thread in advance of our March 1st launch. Now, Meg and I spent a LOT of time on the phone discussing (among other things) what we are planning to offer as far as variety, time period, price ranges... and yeah, we could talk about doll clothes all day long and not get bored.

So here you go: we will be focusing on four main lines, plus custom work as time allows.

Kindred Thread Signature: Wardrobe essentials based on original book illustrations or retired American Girl outfits. We consider it our mission to make these American Girl® canon items available to all collectors. Signature items are ready to order on an ongoing basis but may take up to one week to ship depending on existing inventory.

Many of the items in the Signature line will look familiar if you've been hanging around Playthings or Flickr: for example, I'll be continuing to sew the Route 66 dress that I've made at least a dozen of since last spring. We both have big ideas for dresses that AG never made for the dolls but should have!

Kindred Thread Limited Edition: Monthly releases of historically-accurate period clothing featuring designer reproduction fabrics and doll-scale trims. Limited Edition items are hand-crafted in small limited quantities. Sewn-in garment tags are signed by the sewist and numbered to ensure their collectibility and value.

The main purpose behind the Limited Edition line, in case you hadn't guessed, is to continue to enable Meg's and my fabric addiction. Our favorite fabric sellers are constantly adding new prints that make us squee, and making them into doll clothes allows us to play with the pretty and share it with you.

Kindred Thread Foundations: Historically accurate undergarments, sleepwear, and other dolly necessities. As with our Signature Line, Foundation items are available to order on an ongoing basis. Fabric and trim are subject to change based upon availability.

Kindred Thread Modiste: Complete fashion ensembles featuring premium materials, vintage-inspired accessories, and heirloom quality workmanship. Modiste items are singular, one-off designs, never to be repeated, and they are sold in auction format only. Sewn-in garment tags are embellished with grosgrain ribbon and signed by the sewist.

The Modiste line is the one that gets me so excited sometimes I can't fall asleep at night. I've had a lot of grand ideas for some really over-the-top dolly ensembles but didn't really have a venue for them up until now. Every time I am at the fabric store (which is like once a week) I am fantasizing about the silks and velvets and ribbons and luxurious trims. You guys are seriously going to die when you see this stuff.

Kindred Thread Request: Looking for that Holy Grail outfit? As time allows, we welcome commissions for custom doll clothing. Our fee for research and labor starts at $50. We regret that we are unable to create exact replicas of past Modiste or Limited Edition items.

Our launch is just a couple of weeks away! Are you excited? We are!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why Kindred Thread? Or: A Long Time Ago, In An Internet Far Far Away...

I first got to know Meg (a.k.a. Norasroom) the way a lot of people on American Girl Playthings did: through her Project Christmas 2010 thread. Meg was making two or more Thirties style dresses a month for her daughter Nora's Christmas present all year and she shared photos with all of us. (If you aren't a Plaything member you can also see Meg's sweet photos here.) And like anyone with reasonably good eyesight I was absolutely blown away by the cuteness. We started discussing doll sewing and patterns and the superiority of vintage rick-rack, and a little bit later on the subject of literature came up - it turns out Meg and I have the same favorite book, which is a blog post for another day, because there is definitely A Story there.

So anyway, Meg and I totally bonded over doll clothes and books and in December, two days before my birthday, we actually got to meet. Meg lives in North Carolina and I am a transplanted Hoosier, but she and her wee Nora were visiting relatives in Indiana so we got to spend the day together. My then-seven-year old, Betsy, snapped this photo of us:
Don't we look like we're having fun? We totally did. And we went fabric shopping, even.

In the meantime, I had set up an Etsy shop in early 2010 to sell handmade doll clothes for American Girls, mainly as a way of funding (and justifying) my fabric habit. Meg has been a longtime seller of custom children's clothing under the label 'Nora's Room' and she started adding dolly things to her shop as well - it's really hard to stop sewing wee dresses once you've started. Then in January Meg had the BEST IDEA EVER (I know that typing in all caps = shouting. That was intentional) which is to say, Why deal with Etsy at all? Why don't we sell our handmade dolly creations from our very own website? Needless to say I was all over this one and we put our heads together (metaphorically, since she's still in NC and I'm still in Indiana) and started brainstorming ideas.

I think the name itself was actually the trickiest part: it took us something like a week and a half. I don't remember which one of us came up with 'Kindred Thread' but we both knew we had a winner right away. Not only do we both sew (thread), but we're both obsessed with doll clothes (threads), and we met via an internet message board thread. Ooh, you see what I did there? We are also both big time fans of LMM's 'Anne of Green Gables' and I think we are very much kindred spirits, much like Anne and Diana.

So, why are we doing this? Meg and I both share the goal of creating beautiful, well-constructed, historically accurate clothes and underthings for American Girl dolls. We are excited to have a venue with greater creative control than either Etsy or eBay can provide (and Meg's husband, the man in the monkey hat, is totally doing our website design for us) and we are super excited to bring to life some ideas that have only been fantasy for so long. Also (please refer to the photo above) most importantly, we are here to have FUN. We hope you will have fun along with us!