So a couple weeks ago the Project Run & Play challenge of the week was to use a chevron pattern somehow in your design. I got my pictures all ready and went to write my post and…my blog was down. Boo! Christian did get it up running later that night, but the opportunity to write had passed. And now I finally have a minute to post what should have been posted a couple weeks ago…
I had a plan to make cute outfits for the girls to wear for Easter egg hunting, but my original plan was to do something really simple. Like purchased tshirt and simple elastic waist skirt simple. But when I saw the list of challenges for this PR&P season I thought egg hunting would be a good opportunity to incorporate the chevrons.
Riley Blake has a line of chevron patterned fabric and I just loved the colors of one of the patterns. It was perfect and spring-timey.
However, once I chose the fabric I was at a loss as to what to do with it. I didn’t want big, busy, chevron-y skirts, but I had a hard time thinking up something else. My friend Anna suggested doing something with a box pleat with the chevron inset. I love circle skirts for the girls and I thought having the little pleat would be a fun addition.
My other dilemma was deciding what to applique on their shirts…I didn’t want a bunny or an egg or anything that would limit the outfits’ use to only Easter time, but I couldn’t think of anything great until I stumbled upon the idea of a hot air balloon. Christian solidified this by sending me this awesome picture…
So, here are their sweet outfits.
A few details…
- The skirts are actually only a 3/4 circle…they have a nice twirl and bounce to them, but they lie a little straighter while being worn.
- The box pleat inset is 1/4 of the circle so that is why they twirl so nicely…the inset makes the skirt have a full circle hem.
- I love using bias tape hem facing on circle skirts (SO much easier to hem this way) and the chevrons cut on the bias have awesome visual interest.
- I used a wide elastic waistband and just stitched the top of the skirt to the bottom of the waistband.
- The skirts were actually pretty simple to make…once I conquered the math! You should have seen me…geometry was not my favorite in school and that has not changed. Luckily I found this circle skirt calculator from The Snugbug that is SO helpful.
I just love how they turned out. I wish I had some better pictures of them wearing them. We got several cute pictures of them egg hunting, playing, etc., but not many great ones of the actual outfits. So, here is a sampling of “action” shots of them running and twirling and enjoying the (finally) beautiful spring weather.
And now I am off to relax after a busy weekend. We had Dinah’s superhero birthday party on Saturday. It was “incredible” and I can’t wait to share about the event later this week!
Project Run & Play is back! This time around is only four weeks and I have vowed to work ahead a little bit…just so things don’t get out of control and I miss out on entering my submissions.
Week one is: Inspired by Art—Choose an artist, art movement, or artwork and create a children’s look inspired by your choice.
When I read the themes I knew I immediately wanted to do something based on the Impressionists…they are generally my favorites. I was feeling particularly drawn to Van Gogh’s work. (Probably because I just recently watched the “Vincent and the Doctor” episode of Doctor Who…there is just something moving about the way Vincent describes how he sees the world at the end of the episode. I know, I know…nerd alert.) Irises are one of my favorite flowers and I have always loved his interpretation of their beauty.
So, with that awesome image in mind I set out looking for fabric and a dress shape that would evoke the fluidity of his strokes and the shapes of the irises. A normal “smooth” fabric just wouldn’t work for the feel I wanted and I eventually thought of using gauze. It is a semi-sheer, wrinkly fabric with a ton of body and movement and I knew it would be perfect. And then in the process of searching for something else altogether I ran across this pattern.
I love the circle skirt on it and the way the tiers can look like petals. Perfect!
I altered the pattern in a couple ways…first, I decided not to mess with doing a zipper. I thought it would be too fiddly with this slippery fabric. And then because the fabric is so light I felt it would be too heavy. I just added a loop of elastic cord and a single yellow button at the top to be the closure. This created a cute little peek-a-boo at the back.
It also made the skirt be two true circles which was perfect for spinning!
So, one thing I forgot to count on after I had painstakingly ironed and hemmed both skirt tiers is that this gauze fabric would fall out differently on the bias. And now my circle skirt is rather asymmetrical. I mean, it works for the feel of petals of an iris, but just something to keep in mind for the future.
Dinah did love her new dress…which is great, because she is quickly growing out of everything and I lost my main provider of hand-me-downs last year. So, she will be getting the majority of the new clothes this time around since Esther has a TON of dresses that I just pulled out of storage.
And I had to share this picture. Whenever we say, “Smile, Dinah!” she does this.
No one knows why. Weirdo.
And one final story about this dress…it is probably my most beautiful dress on the inside. I used french seams on the skirt and I actually took the time to hand stitch the bodice lining down. It was a lot of work, but I was really happy with how it turned out. And then Esther broke into the sewing room and got a hold of a Sharpie and thought that Dinah’s dress needed some decoration. Ack! There was a huge black mark along the back shoulder of her dress. Christian broke out the Carbona and scrubbed and scrubbed and now you can barely tell it was there! Whew!
Last year three of my very good friends from college had babies. Since I began sewing I have tried to make a quilt for each new baby added to our group. So, I had a busy quilting year!
The fun part of making baby quilts for my friends is hunting down the perfect fabric for them. I like to use pre-cut charm packs (5 inch squares) for my quilts. They are an inexpensive way to get a sampling of designer fabrics. It is perfect for me because the fabrics are already coordinating and they are already cut into quilt sized squares. I also usually make sure the quilt is small enough that I only need purchase one yard of backing fabric and then I choose one of the prints in the charm pack.
I have used quilt patterns/tutorials before…notably the Charm Squares Baby Quilt from Oh, Fransson! But recently I have just been browsing the internet for quilt looks that I like and designing my own. That process is more time consuming, but worth it.
Alright, I don’t pretend to be a great quilter. I have gotten better with each quilt and I have learned a few tricks that make my life easier. Also, I get really bored with quilting…so I don’t do anything bigger than these baby quilts.
Okay, so here are the quilts I made last year…
First up is Waverly’s…
It is made with a random charm pack of Amy Butler fabrics. Waverly’s mom has a taste for bold colors and prints so I knew Amy Butler would be a great choice for her little girl.
I always hand embroidery the baby’s name (if known) onto the quilt. It is part of what makes each quilt unique and something special for each baby.
Up next is Ella Katherine’s…
Ella Katherine already has a big brother and their mom was planning on a shared room. She picked out the Fly A Kite line from Riley Blake for me to make some Pennant Banners with their names for their room. I just loved this sweet fabric so much that I went ahead and used it for her quilt too.
One of the tricks I’ve picked up is a cheater binding method. I use this tutorial from Made by Rae and it has revolutionalized quilting for me. Typically, the part of quilting I hate the most is the binding part, but this cheater method looks great and I get perfect corners every time with no fighting.
Because I did a square quilt I needed to piece the back. In order to “hide” the seam I chose to add a little surprise of a few blocks on the back of the quilt too.
And finally, Emily’s…
For Emily’s quilt I used Willow also by Riley Blake (I have found I am just really drawn to Riley Blake fabrics, especially for these quilts…Dinah’s and my nephew’s will both be made with Riley Blake fabrics.)
I really loved how muted and sweet these colors are and I have been digging gray with yellow and pink lately. As Mugatu would say, “Gray is so hot right now.” (Also, ignore that random, giant blade of grass in the following picture…I don’t know how that guy snuck in there…but he will not be tamed!
I do have more quilts out there…older ones (pre-blog) that don’t have very good pictures. I will try to dig out the photos and see if I can clean them up and make them more presentable. Those older quilts/blankets are cute, but you will definitely see how I’ve gotten better over time. I’ll share those soon.
But next time I will be telling you all about Esther’s birthday party we had over the weekend. It was so fun and I can’t wait to
show off share all the details! 🙂
So, for the four of you who pay attention (hi, Mom!) you will notice that I did not have an entry for Project Run & Play last week. The problem with sewing on deadlines while you are pregnant and already have two small children is that life frequently gets in the way. Earlier this week both girls started getting congested due to allergies, which of course developed into coughs. This means they do not sleep very well. Poor Esther was up every couple hours on Wednesday night (my usual big sewing night). Our week has been crazy-crazy so no one has gotten naps since Monday. Nap-free days and late nights resulted in an elevated heart rate for me on Thursday. So, I went to bed at a romantic 7:30 pm on Valentine’s night and slept (on my left side) for 12 hours straight! I am feeling better now, though I can really tell when I have over done it at times. I’m definitely feeling older for this pregnancy than my others.
So, here were my grand signature style plans: Up until just before the week of the challenge I was planning on making corduroy pants and cute tops from the Oliver+S After-School pattern. I was also going to finally make them their coats that I had wanted to make way back last fall. And then the weather changed to sunny and warm and I just couldn’t bring myself to make fleece coats for the girls in February. In Florida. It was already almost 80 degrees. I started thinking of spring and sundresses and strawberries and I changed everything at the last minute.
I got fun springtime colors of the “linen-look” fabric from Joann, found some cute accent fabric and decided to make Geranium dresses. I got a great start on them, but then the first paragraph of this post happened. And then the weather changed. Again. The past couple of days have been the coldest of the entire winter! So, they have remained unfinished…for now. I’ve decided that I just love this pattern and the way the dresses are turning out, so I am going to make them the girls’ Easter dresses this year. That means you’ll have to wait to see them in their entirety, but I’ll give you a sneak peak here. (Sorry about the phone pics!)
This one is Esther’s…don’t let the bad phone picture fool you…this is an awesome turquoise-y blue that looks so good on her. Christian picked out the accent fabric…isn’t it the best?? I got as much extra as I could so I could make a top or skirt or something else out of it because it just so cute!
And then this one is Dinah’s…I let her choose between this hot pink and a purple. No surprise she chose the pink. Christian actually picked out Dinah’s accent fabric too. The pinks look like they were designed to be paired…they match so perfectly.
Baby Miriam (have I mentioned we are having a girl??) might get the purple one later this summer…Rae’s pattern goes down to even the tiniest sizes, so I don’t think I can resist!
I had a great time sewing along with Project Run & Play again and I am looking forward to the new season coming up. I do have to change how I budget my time though. Basically, I HAVE to make myself sew at least a week ahead of time. While this seems obvious to those who are better time managers, finishing projects without a looming deadline has always been hard for me. (Ask my costume design teachers in college!) So, that is my goal and challenge for the next sew-along…to finish my look by the weekend before the actual challenge begins. Hopefully I can stick to this!
Now, I am going to take a short break from sewing children’s clothing and switch gears to sewing baby quilts. Can you believe that I have made around 10 quilts and not one of those has been for my own children? I haven’t even made my nephew’s yet! So, that is what they are all getting in their Easter baskets this year…their baby quilts. Dinah’s is only four years too late! Poor, deprived children! I will show those off later next month when they are finished, but in the meantime in my next post I will show off a few of the ones I have made previously.
Hey everyone…I can’t believe it is already week 5 for Project Run & Play. This week’s challenge was to take a men’s shirt and remix it into something new. I found this shirt on Pinterest a long time ago…
…and knew that I would like to attempt something like this for a men’s shirt refashion in the future.
So, I was excited about this challenge because I already had a great idea AND I had several of Christian’s shirts in my refashion bin waiting for me to get around to them.
My first step was to think out the whole process of remaking this shirt from scratch and write it down. After I had that clear in my mind I was able to get started. AND now that everything is pretty much all written out I think I will put together a tutorial for you all. Look for that after this cycle of Project Run & Play is complete.
Okay, so this was the shirt I started with.
Just a normal pinstriped men’s dress shirt. It is a muted light green in color with navy blue pinstripes. My original plan was to use only fabric from the shirt…just like my inspiration shirt. But when I started cutting I realized that 1.) The colors were just too boring to not use a contrast and 2.) There wasn’t enough length in the sleeve to make a sash long enough for Dinah. So, contrast fabric it was.
And I am so in love with how this turned out!
It ended up being the perfect little shirt dress. It will be cute for church or school and she seems really comfortable in it.
For my pattern I adapted the A-line dress pattern that I used for the Polka-Stripe Dresses to be sleeveless. The armholes ended up a smidge too big, but they are still okay. Just a mental note for later dresses made from this pattern.
I used a navy blue cotton to make bias tape for the neckline and the armholes. I made half inch double fold tape for the neck and quarter inch double fold tape for the arm holes. There is also a little sash made from the same fabric.
My new favorite thing is hem facing. I just love the little pop of color it adds to the hem of a dress. (You can just see it peeking out a bit in this picture.) And it helps with things like fabric yardage. For example…making this dress from Christian’s shirt I realized that if I included a normal hem allowance that the dress might end up being a little short. Enter hem facing! This way I only had to include a quarter inch hem allowance and I was able make the dress an appropriate length.
I replaced the boring clear-ish buttons on the shirt with some navy blue buttons from my stash. They are actually some vintage buttons that my grandma sent to me awhile back when she was clearing out her stash. I’ve received a couple boxes of things like buttons and lace and bias tape and other trims. It is fun to dig through them and find the perfect thing for a project I am working on at the time.
And I love the ruffles along the front! Just what was needed to make such a neutral-manly print seem a bit more girly.
And, really, one of my favorite things about this dress is that it is so one of a kind. I mean, making things myself usually has that result, however, making something from a widely available pattern from widely available fabric means that item *could* be duplicated, if wanted. But unless you could hunt down another one of this random shirt from early 2000’s Express there is no way to make another exactly like this one. I should refashion more…one of my other favorite outfits was this one made from vintage pillowcases.
I guess that really is the fun of making and designing clothes for our kids…making pieces that are unique and really fit you and your child’s personal style. And that is what next week is all about! Signature Style Week is coming up!