An early morning rain woke me up this morning. After a long winter, it is nice to be coaxed out of bed by a soft patter of rain with an occasional rumble in the background. The cool breeze, fresh smell of rain, and baby leaves emerging from the tree outside my window are just the inspiration I needed to sit down and write a newsletter that has been a long time coming. I have so much to share, I hardly know where to begin.
Wear and When
Ever since I started publishing historical doll clothes patterns, I had a plan to use them to tell the history of the world through clothing. Last year, I started compiling a collection of pattern together into the first book in my Wear and When series. Since my fascination with historical clothing began with Laura Ingalls Wilder, it seemed only fitting that my first book should be about her. A Long Winter in Dakota Territory, features five patterns specifically designed to illustrate Laura Ingall’s Wilder’s experience during the winter of 1880 – 1881 that she wrote about in her story, The Long Winter. Each fully illustrated pattern is introduced with the historical insight that inspired it and includes pattern pieces designed to fit 18-inch, 16-inch, and 14.5-inch dolls such as American Girl, A Girl for All Time, and WellieWishers. You can find this book online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If you plan to visit any of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s historical sites this summer, you can also find it at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead, Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, and Loftus Store in DeSmet, South Dakota, or at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Burr Oak, Iowa.
If you have purchased this book, would you please consider leaving a review for me on Amazon or Barnes and Noble? Each review helps my book get more visibility – and more potential customers. I am told the magic number is 50 reviews to get into Amazon’s search logarithms. Hmmmm…. I wonder, should I plan a special giveaway once I reach that magical number? Any suggestions?
George Washington, Commander-in-Chief
Last fall, we were doing some family research and learned that one of my husband’s ancestor’s had met George Washington when he delivered some prisoners-of-war to him in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the onset of the Revolutionary War. Needless to say, I was inspired and decided to recreate George Washington’s iconic blue and buff uniform to kick-off my Revolutionary War series. This was such a fun project, and I just finished the last of the four patterns that complete this ensemble!
Remember the Ladies…
Wrapping up my George Washington project doesn’t mean I am quite finished with the Revolutionary War period though. While the ladies may not have been up-front-and-center of all the
goings-on, many of them played active roles that were instrumental in the success of the war, the development of the constitution, and the future of the nation. The success of the Revolutionary War was only the beginning of the fight for liberty. It opened doors and presented opportunities that eventually led to freedom for everyone, regardless of sex, creed, or skin color. I am in the process of researching women like Mercy Otis Warren, Abigail Adams, Phillis Wheately, Martha Washington, Sybil Luddington, and Margaret Corbin and am looking forward to telling you their stories as I recreate their clothing.
Your Opinions Please
My first Wear and When book is just that, the first – the one I am cutting my teeth on. While I am very happy with how A Long Winter in Dakota Territory turned out, there are some things that I think I should do differently in future volumes.
- Offering only 18-inch doll size pattern pieces in the books. While I like being able to offer multiple sizes, it is a LOT of extra work and not all my patterns will be conducive to being made in smaller sizes. I would still offer additional sizes for most patterns as PDF patterns at Pixie Faire.
- Full color! This will add some to the price of the book, but foregoing the extra sizes should offset the extra cost considerably.
- More written historical content for each pattern to help round out the theme of each pattern collection and better tie them into the historical setting.
What would you like to see in this series? Please share your thoughts, requests, or suggestions in the comment section below.
I am seeing an opportunity for a giveaway here! Leave a comment below about A Long Winter in Dakota Territory or other books you’d like to see in my Where and When series. I will make four random drawings from everyone who leaves a comment and the winners will have the option to receive a copy of A Long Winter in Dakota Territory, The complete George Washington PDF pattern collection (four patterns in all), OR four patterns of their choice!
Freebie Friday coming in July
Who loves Freebie Friday? I know I do! Mark your calendars, because Thimbles and Acorns has another one scheduled for July 13, 2018. We will be featuring some of my favorite 18th century patterns, newly revised and updated. I may even have a brand new pattern available!
For My Gluten-Free Friends
Shortly before we were married, nearly 28 years ago, my husband was diagnosed as being gluten-intolerant. This was long before the gluten-free movement and it was quite a challenge re-learning how to cook and eat. Through our experience, we developed a new philosophy on eating. By omitting gluten, we were forced to omit most highly processed foods and not only were both of us feeling better, but so was our budget. As gluten-free food started to become more prevalent, I was very surprised at how expensive it was. As a seasoned gluten-free cook, I can tell you that a gluten-free diet doesn’t need to be expensive, if you are willing to take a little time to plan and prepare.
Over the years, more and more friends and family have been coming to us after being diagnosed with gluten-intolerance and when another dear friend came to me at a loss for how to feed her newly diagnosed four-year-old daughter, Tom and I had an “aha” moment. Why don’t we post our cookbook on our Thimbles and Acorns Website so that it is readily available for everyone at any time. So, Tom found a recipe plug-in for the Website and we have begun posting all of our recipes. We have even engaged our son Edward to photograph each of my finished projects – that will be an ongoing project as we cook our way through our recipes.
Whether your are gluten-intolerant or not, you may find recipes you will enjoy and appreciate. All of our recipes are made entirely from scratch, minimizing processed foods, packaging, and cost. Because we prefer to spend our time outside of the kitchen we have worked hard to keep our recipes simple, hence the title – Simple Fare. Enjoy!
Shari, I love your patterns. I haven’t purchased your first book in the series, as yet, because I have the patterns, but your historical content has always interested me so, I will buy it. I love the colonial period and colonial fashion so I’m really excited about your latest patterns. Lately, I have taken an interest in British historical fashion and am taking the Future Learn course about the fashion of royalty. Would anything from perhaps the Stuarts be something you might consider for your Wear and When series? Thanks for all of the great historical patterns and your generosity in offering free patterns. Your historical patterns actually got me back into sewing.
My children and i watched and still watch Little House on the Prairie and enjoy the series. Historical dress has been an obsession of mine for as long as I can remember. I am looking forward to purchasing the book.
I have recently been totally focused on sewing for my Girl For All Time dolls. I hate to see you lose the sizing for those in your books, but as long as you’ll still design for them, I’m happy. As far as eras to include, I love so many. Civil War, Medieval, Regency, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s…
Wow, so many interesting new ideas in this one section of the newsletter. It’s difficult for me to comment or make suggestions about your Wear and When series since I have yet to see your Dakota Territory book, but it seems like the the Revolution collection is an obvious next choice. For the future, I’d love to see some Edwardian styles, maybe a tie in with The Secret Garden? It would mean a lot of designing for you, but I have a soft spot for children’s clothing from that time period. I agree that focusing on the 18” doll size makes the most sense for future books, and yes, definitely, more color please.
I’m also excited about your new recipe sharing project. No gluten intolerance here, but receipes that focus on unprocessed foods that are simple to make piques my interest.
I have always loved the Little House books–reading them myself and then to my children. The Long Winter made an impression on me because of all the difficulties they went through, and it struck me as such a contrast to how much we complain about so much less these days! I have your Long Winter on my Amazon wish list so maybe one way or the other I will receive one.
I love that you include historical information along with the patterns. It’s also great how you make associated patterns (and books of sets of them) to help people make a complete outfit, instead of just one piece.
It is nice to have multiple sizes for people who sew for all of those sizes, but lots of us don’t have all 3 of the sizes. I would prefer just having one size in the book to keep the cost down. I’m glad that you have the patterns individually and bundled on Pixie Faire so that people who want more than one size can get a discount. I like having the option, because I don’t want to pay more for multi-sized patterns because they also include a size I don’t need.
I thoroughly enjoy your patterns. I have purchased them from Pixie Faire, and have the Carrie pattern, for two doll sizes, the Shortgown for my AG Elizabeth Cole. Being from the American Southwest, my ancestors comming from the area near Santa Fe NM, I find the clothing history from there is rather sparse, as is the availability of historically accurate outfits for my Josefina doll. I believe the expansion into the New Mexico Territory needs to be addressed from the resident people perspective. What sources do you use to get a history for the patterns you produce?
I purchased your Wear and When book. Love it! I’ve also been a huge Laura fan most of my life. I understand the concerns with resizing patterns, but I love having the AGAT patterns included. Color pictures would be great as well as the historical aspect. Am looking forward to the next book!
I agree! I did a little research into Southwestern clothing when I was researching Native American clothing from my area – Northern Minnesota. It is really fascinating how the European and Native American cultures influenced each others clothing styles.
Your book of patterns, A Long Winter in Dakota Territory, is so beautiful just to hold and look at and read, I am happy to own it, even if I never sewed a single one of the patterns! But I AM going to sew them…my plan is to start at the beginning and SEW THROUGH! I look forward to future books that you may publish and hope to own them all! Thank you for the stories, the history and the inspiration!!
Such great stuff ahead!
I’m with Rebecca in that I’d hate to lose the multiple sizes in the When and Wear book series, even if that means less color. My daughter is moving away from the 18″ AG and into the slightly more mature AGAT 16″ dolls so the pdf bundles on Pixie Faire let me hedge my bets a bit. I appreciate they would still be available there but to me, having all three sizes in the paper copy would make all the difference. As for historical detail, the more the better!
Since Girl for all Time dolls are my first love, I would ask you to keep the three-size format. But I also understand time and budget restrictions, you will have to do what feels right.
Please continue offering Girl for all Time patterns! It would be wonderful if you could adapt more patterns to fit them: Town Girl, 1850’s Evening Dress, Victorian Unmentionables, Irish Kinsale Cloak – and AGAT does have a boy doll coming, who will need historical clothing.
Your patterns are wonderful – keep doing what you do.
^^. Actually, I meant to say “both sizes, AG and AGAT/Sasha make all the difference” and not all 3 pertaining to the When and Wear series, as I can see how the 14″ Wellie Wisher/Les Cheries sizing would not work especially well for some designs. If you were to lose a size in the books, I would say that is where it makes sense.
I would love to see patterns for the ladies of the revolutionary period that you mentioned! More historical information is definitely what I want. That’s one thing that makes your patterns stand out.
Shari, Love the newsletter and your patterns. I’m currently working on the En Fourreau Gown and Underpinnings to go with it. I love the Colonial period as I am a member of the DAR. I absolutely love the George Washington set, and have not purchased it yet as I was wondering if that might be your next book project. That set is definitely on my next project list, after the EnFourreau and I want to make the Carraco jacket set. Who am I kidding I love all the time periods – my to do list is so long….I want the Civil War sets, the Dakota Territory book – I want it all. I mainly sew for 18″ dolls, Looking forward to the Friday Freebie coming in July.
Your work is truly inspiring, as soon as I write this I’m off to check out your book on Amazon! One thing I would love to see in your books is an accessory or two, like the drop spindle offered in the pixie faire shop, or have you seen the amazing “cast iron” stove plans on the blog Pieces For Reese? Just one ortwo other things to make the time period come alive a bit more. I think there are plenty of time periods you could cover, the Regency era with american women having to weave their own cloth again because of events leading up to the war of 1812. The 1820s with the Santa fe trail, what were people wearing in new York, Washington DC, etc vs what were they wearing on the frontier? What about fashions coming up from Mexico?
There are so many exciting decades to explore through fashion, I can’t wait to see what you do next!
Most definitely future editions should contain 18 inch doll clothes patterns and not other sizes. I agree that it is a great deal of work to do patterns(clothes) for the different size dolls and takes away from the popular 18 inch size. I really like sewing the patterns for 18 inch dolls and on occasion deviate to smaller sizes but as stated this takes away from 18 inch size sewing. Also, please include the “color” in future publications. Color makes the pictures more real and gives ideas for fabric combinations.
Also appreciated is the historical commentary which helps with helping others understand the final sewn product.
Thank you on two different issues. I love your patterns and curiosity about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Having been born and raised in SD, I appreciate learning more about what our ancestors endured as they settled there. Secondly, my sincere thanks for additional ideas and recipes that are gluten free. It’s very kind of you.
I have not purchased your first book Wear and When A Long Winter In Dakota Territory. Am I correct that is available at the Barnes & Nobles stores? It is a book that I would really like to get. I love your patterns! Thank you for all you do!
I do have your book “A Long Winter” and I really really love all the historical notes alot. One thing I do have a hard time with is that the book is very hard to copy the patterns from. You might want to form the book in a spiral so that the pages can be turned easily and copied easily or have the patterns in a pocket in the back of the book that the pages can be removed easily. Very hard to copy pages from a hardback book. I decided it is much easier to simply buy the pdf patterns. Of course I already owned most of them because I love your patterns. My husband and I just returned from a trip to Colonial Williamsburg. I was very upset to hear from those in the know that they asked American Girl if they could please sell Felicity once again in Colonial Williamsburg. American Girl has brought just the doll, underwear and new outfit back. American Girl said NO. That is telling me that they have no intention of offering or expanding the Felicity line. Almost like they were forced to bring her back because she is after all the beginning of our country. She is not offered in all American Girl Doll Stores. I simply cannot understand it. Sometimes I think the entire line is becoming a bit political. Too bad. Kids today need to learn about the founding of our country and it is scary that many have no idea of who is who or when which war was fought. Colonial Williamsburg found another 18″ line of dolls to sell. Very sad. Anyways I would love for your next book to focus on the founding of our country. Colonial clothing and of course George Washington. Perhaps future volumes could be Civil War times, Regency and Victorian times. So glad you are back with a newsletter. Really missed you.
Such a nice newsletter, Shari. Your newsletter inspires me to do my own research on historical women. I enjoy making historical 18 inch doll clothing and selling them on Etsy. I have numerous patterns (including some of yours) I have created and many more to create in the near future. I look forward to your future newsletters and will search for your books online. Blessings to you and yours. Pam Hull at https://www.etsy.com/shop/jessicasdollcloset
I don’t sew but I do the research and hire people to sew for me. My personal preference would be for more historical context. Also if you could include the measurements of your model doll so people know how to adjust the pattern according to fluffiness or slimness. My dear 18″ friends are mostly on the fluffy side. I can’t wait to read more about the Wear and When series.
First off I would like to say I love your patterns. I love the idea of the books also. We are a family that lives history and my daughter and I live our dolls so togetjer it us an amazing chance to relive that and teach to others. Colored pictures would be wonderful but I like everything you are doing. We live the early story if the Acadians and maybe the it in with the Native Americans? The civil war era would be wonderful also. I will stop there because I could go on lol. I would also like to say thank you for the gluten free recipe. I have spent a very sometimes difficult 1 1/2 with health problems. Brain fog, stomach, rashes and down to 89 lbs. I am in the process of starting my online business selling my doll clothes but have not been able to as trying to fight through this. My Dr. And I believe I have celiac and am in testing now. My little business name is Storytime Fashions. And your patterns are a big part if it. So many times the ideas and thoughts of my sewing bring a huge relief to me and I would like to personally say Thank You. Best luck on your business and prayers for your husband and family.
My what a busy lady you are Shari ! I like the idea of coloured books and yes ommitting the smaller sizes would be a good idea as many of us are just not up to making small clothes. As for historical content ,YES.I cannot get enough of it.Now about the gluten free recipes—why not publish a book of these too.You would have quite a following with this I know.Good luck.I love seeing your journey to success.
Shari, you are incredible! I have been drooling over your George Washington patterns… and I want to get a boy doll just for those! Many years ago, I made myself and my husband 18th century clothes, and I so enjoyed making them (and wearing them for historical events) that I’d love to make them for AG dolls! I have Felicity and I know she needs her dear Ben by her side, so your patterns are the perfect opportunity,
I’m delighted that you made this book. It is in my Amazon cart, waiting for my budget to allow me to buy it (though I already have many of the patterns, I’d be glad to get the other ones, as well as the other sizes). i love how you write about clothing history, so I am very interested in your book… and you can imagine how thrilled I’d be for your 18th century book! I love that you make the clothes for the 3 size dolls… but could understand how you would prefer to include only the usual 18″ size. However, the 16″ and 14″ sizes do set your book apart from the other books…
Full color would be great (but partial color could be an option too). i was thinking that maybe an exclusive pattern could be an incentive to buy the book, especially for those who already have some of the patterns included in the book.
I’m looking forward to your freebie Friday pattern in July! You know how to treat us! Your patterns are always a delight, and the research surrounding their creation so very fascinating. I am a true fan! Thank you for creating all this!
So much exciting news from you!
I can understand not wanting to include all three sides in the books, especially the 14 inch. Would you consider offering a size-specific pdf bundle to accompany the book? For example, if the book only includes the 18-inch size, a PDF bundle that would have the same patterns in the 16-inch size, even if it was the pattern pieces only without instructions.
Obviously you know best the tradeoff for cost, time and effort to resize, and consumer interest. Those of us who buy doll patterns are greedy and always want more, even if it is just to dream of all the wonderful historical clothes.
The revolutionary era is one of my favorites. I’m excited to see your interpretations of the gowns of these famous ladies!
I would also love to see more from your 1830s and 1870s series. It’s fascinating to learn about less popular eras in fashion.
I’m also looking forward to your gluten free recipes! Thank you for sharing them. A few family members are gluten free so I am always looking for ideas.
I’d love colored photos as well as line drawings of all the garments. I primarily make for 18″ dolls, but once in a while a 14-15″ doll so if you had those 2 sizes, I’d be over the moon. Have made Laura’s dress-detailed but so easy and finished dress looked and fit great.
Not sure what happened to my comment so I’m trying again. Sorry if it ends up being a repeat.
I love your patterns and I love the book bundles! I love the idea of the books being in color but will be sad to lose the other sizes. I’m so excited for more historical information! My girls and I can’t wait for the revolutionary ers womens patterns and info. And gluten free recipes too! I look forward to looking at your recipes since my entire family has to be gluten free. Thank you so much for all you do!
I would love to see a Where and When book for your colonial or Victorian outfits! Or maybe the ones that have a past and present option. I love that you include the historical details in each of your patterns, I love reading them as much as I love sewing your designs. 🙂
I have purchased your first book and think it’s incredible! I did have the spine cut off and have it spiral bound just for ease of using it while sewing. I am so excited about your Revolutionary War period ladies. I am currently reading My Dear Hamilton and am fascinated at how influential the women of that era where. I cannot wait to see what beautiful gowns you come up with!
I understand that offering multiple sizes is a lot of work, but I think it would increase the appeal of the books to people who collect dolls that have few patterns available. I don’t mind black and white if it means that the book is cheaper. I often skip the historical section until after I have made the pattern. My focus when I get a new pattern is on the pattern itself at first.
I love your patterns, but haven’t purchased your book as I already have most of the ones included. As a former librarian and collector of dolls, books, and patterns, it will be coming here eventually. I would truly hate to see you only include 18” patterns as I have fallen in love with the 16” A Girl for All Time Dolls and have plans to turn some into my own American historical characters.
Shari, delighted to find you have penned another newsletter. I have purchased so many of your patterns after that first 1880 Mary and Laura pattern and I am slowly working my way through sizing them for the 19” Gotz Hannah and Happy Kidz dolls that I have. A few of your earlier patterns included this sizing so that certainly made it easier for me. Not being from America and although I had heard of the Little house on the prairie books I had never read them. Your obvious love for them inspired me to do so and I have thoroughly enjoyed them and learnt so much about how people lived and survived back then. Shari, happy for you to go in whatever creative direction you yourself are inspired to travel along and as always looking forward to the next creation and accompanying historical detail on the clothes we wore. Thank you.
I would love to see a ladies riding habithe for the A Girl for All Time dolls.
I love all your patterns so really it doesn’t matter to me
I would love too see any Wear and When books from the 1740s thru turn of the century. Can’t wait till I can afford to get “A Long Winter in Dakota Territory”. I just love your patterns, I consider them some of the best looking historical doll patterns I’ve seen. Thank you for all your hard work and time in making them!
Your patterns are amazing. I had already purchased all the patterns in your book, but I had to have it. I was thinking I might want to sew these items for different sized dolls (unlikely.) I have to admit that I am old school ,and really love holding a book in my hand. As I sew I can pull up the pdf and follow it, but turning the pages of a book gives me more inspiration.
It is understandable to limit your new books to one size and the idea of color is wonderful. More history is only more to love. You are my favorite designer. I truly appreciate all the effort you put into your work. Thank you.
I would love to see a Wear and When series on Native Americans clothing that covers the different tribes living through out America and Mexico, every day wear along with ceremonial costumes. Of course, Civil war era would be another great series to include in a book.
I am not much into History, however, I get very intrigued while working with your patterns and reading your information. I actually want to learn more! Thank you for sharing your gift to bring History to life!
I love all the history behind your patterns!!! One of my favorite college courses was History of Costume. It was the only textbook I kept. Even though it is a work of fiction, I think it would be fun to have a Pride and Prejudice Where and When pattern book. It is my favorite book of all time.
I love all historical periods, especially 18th century and Pioneer, as I teach a unit on this time to my 3rd grade. I only sew for 18 inch so don’t have any issues with needing other pattern sizes in the book.
I really like the history that goes with the patterns. Besides putting a lot of work and effort with designing your patterns, the historical facts and tidbits you are are wonderful. I like that you make patterns for AG and AGFAT. Revolutionary war, regency, civil war, and 1920’s and 1930’s would be fun too.
I just discovered your book and blog after visiting De Smet with my 8 year old. She fell in love with your book. I’m excited to see all the history you have on your blog, guess we will be sewing our way through history this year in our homeschool!
I bought the book A Long Winter In Dakota territory I really enjoyed the history in it. Our library has a raffle every year to raise money for the library. Some one usually donates a doll and some one makes the clothes. I suggested a Little House on the Prairie theme and volunteered to make the clothes; so far I have the Prairie Rose completed. The Laura Ingalls Wilder book will be included. I hope whoever wins the raffle will love her books as much as I did. I’ve already been thinking of books for next year and what would be fun to make to help encourage children to read.
Can’t wait to check out your first book, ” A Long Winter in Dakota Territory.” We’ve been to a couple of the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites and have others listed to visit on future trips. I’d love to see a book with historical stories/information and doll patterns for the ladies of the Revolution. Your patterns are always amazing and yours and the ones you produce for Eve Coleman have always been favorites. I wish you continued success.