Mary Frances Sewing

Projects 8 and 9 in the Mary Frances Sewing Book are now done. The outfit above is the Morning Dress. I did the cutting, ironing and basting and my daughter did all the sewing, some on the machine (the arm bands, joining the sides, and the placket) and some by hand (the hem and neck band). We took a short cut on the arm bands and used pinking shears instead of French seams, but otherwise followed the rest of the pattern. Pretty much.

A close-up of her hand-sewing.

And here is Project 8, the pinafore. For some reason, it's shorter than the pattern. I can't remember why :).

Again, my daughter did some of the sewing on the machine and some by hand (the hem, the pocket, and the button-holes specifically). I did a lot of ironing and basting and helped her with the outer edge sewing of the linen tape. She handled the rest on her own.

The fit is a bit funky...maybe over a different dress it would look better? Or maybe it is just the style? Or perhaps I should have re-sized it better? Probably the latter...

Oh well! Next up is a petticoat.


  1. What a delightful frock! The fabric is way cute, and your daughter has done such an excellent job with the sewing. Such fun seeing the Mary Francis progress :-)


  2. Looks like she's a natural talent, just like her mama!

  3. Really cute! Love the fabrics. A matching dress "needs" to be made for your daughter.

  4. @Beth - Thanks! I love the fabric she chose. I think it shows how a pattern designed a century ago can look today :).

    @Lucy - Thank you :)

    @Julie - I have lots more of that fabric and the same thought has crossed my mind!

  5. I just found the BLOG yesterday and I love it. The dolls you make are wonderful and I think it is great that your daughters are learning to sew for their dolls. Could you tell me what pattern the dolls are made from? I have the sewing book and have always wanted to make the clothes. I am wondering if the clothes will fit my Penny, seen here

    Thank you, Sandra

  6. I am very much enjoying your blog, which I found because of my own enjoyment of my Mary Frances sewing, and have been reading for several weeks. I wonder if you have seen this Mary Frances wardrobe stitched for this antique doll? http://www.bisquebeauties.com/maryfrances.htm -- you can click the pictures to enlarge them. My own few items are here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/70432257@N00/3610175687/in/set-72157619407923489/

  7. @ Sandra- I've been re-sizing each of the Mary Frances patterns (first making them out of paper towels to test the fit). The patterns are extremely simple, so altering them takes very little time. I'm sure you'll find you can make them to fit your doll. She's really cute, BTW :)

    @ ejvc - Yes I have! My daughter and I have looked at that site numerous times to see what the patterns/outfits are supposed to look like. Thank you for sending a link to your pictures, as well. I'll show them to my daughter when she gets home from school :).

  8. Thanks! You've inspired me to dig my copy back out. Maybe I will sew along with you and compare. I am resizing now for my American Girl dolls. I've got a 1910 doll who really needs a proper wardrobe.

  9. Hello, I just stumbled upon your blog and I am in love with the dolls you make! I have been trying to find a good baby-doll pattern and was wondering where you found yours. I found a vintage pattern from the 1940's that looked similar to the dolls you make. So beautiful!

  10. I am wondering which version of the Mary Frances book you have? I'd rather have the original, but it is quite pricey, and there is a new re print, but I've read that some things in it have been changed. My daughter is only 19 months but I'm looking forward to going through the book with her someday (I've also bought your book and am just about to start the rag doll for her- she LOVES dolls!)