Friday, May 18, 2012

Mini Maxi



Well this is it! The final challenge of Project Run and Play. I'm so thrilled I made it this far and I'm not exactly sure what I am going to do when it is all over. Maybe clean my house? My time and brain power have been consumed by this contest the last six weeks or so and I have loved all of it!

The final challenge was to show our signature look and it was a great opportunity for me to really think about what my signature style is. I have specific tastes (I know what I like), but I couldn't fit my style into any specific category. So I started thinking about why I create and where my inspiration comes from. I am always inspired by what fashionable women are wearing, even though I am creating for my four-year-old. I usually see something I like in women's fashion and then create a "mini" version for Drew. Hence, my look this week is a Mini Maxi.



Here are my steps for creating mini fashion... (without a pattern)

1. I see something I like. For this look, I own a maxi dress with the same gathered piecing detail at the bottom. I would love to say that all my ideas come from only me, but I don't work that way. I am always inspired by a fabric, a color scheme, a detail that is the starting point. Buying a pattern is a great way to start a creation too of course, but that is not how I ever do it or like to do it.

2. I study that item. When I go clothes shopping by myself (um, when does that happen?) you will see me turning clothes inside out, checking out the seams, and really thinking about how it was all put together. People, this is how I taught myself to sew! By studying the seams in an item you can see how the pieces were put together and what order they were put together in. And if you were desperate you could even rip out all the seams and have the entire pattern right there for you. If you want to take your sewing to the next level, study the clothes that are in your closet.

3. I draw out a pattern. Once you have a basic bodice pattern that you know fits great, you can use this over and over in so many different designs. You can take a top that you know fits well, carefully trace it, and add a seam allowance. Or you can buy this book that changed my life, and taught me all about how to draw out children's patterns. It gives specific mathematical directions, but I wouldn't say it is pattern making "for dummies". I'm kind of a dummy and it took a lot of studying and figuring out for me, but with excellent results.

Also, when drawing out a pattern I make accomodations. Women's fashion doesn't always allow for comfort and easy dressing, which are essential for mini wear. And I always add playful details to keep the look age appropriate. This Mini Maxi showcases my signature pattern style with a very structured look. I like button bands, collars, sleeves, tabs, etc. My dress patterns tend to have a lot of pieces. For easy dressing I also had to add in a side seam zipper.

4. I choose my materials. This part is always fun. I use a lot of solid colors in my designs, but when I am using a print I love geometric stuff like dots, stripes, plaids, and checks. It is also fun to try different materials all together like this cool cutout material I made the little cropped cardi with. That material has been camped out in my closet for a while needing to be used for something great. And now I need that cardi in my size.

5. I sew it together. And the most rewarding part is to see your creation come together. Because I sell a lot of the dresses I make, my creations hav to be perfectly finished. And if I am going to spend all that time on something, I want the craftsmanship to be perfect. Just like it could be sold in a store. Better than being sold in a store. It is even nicer to give it something extra special, something you wouldn't find in a store. To achieve this in my maxi dress I hand embroidered a zig zag pattern of dots in mustard yellow. The possibilities here are endless.


So, are you still with me?...



Because I wanted to go out with a bang for my final week of the competition, there are some great accessories with this look. First is the mustard yellow stretchy knit rosette belt. It is made with elastic and an easy clasp and can be worn with so many things. I made a stretchy bracelet out of wooden beads wound about in yarn. They look like mini yarn balls! I also took an old pair of shoes and transformed them into these amazing summer sandals. The last time Drew wore the old shoes was at the zoo and they left her with two blisters, so it was time for them to go anyway.

See the transformation in a basic picture tutorial...



I made a bias tape for my straps, but ribbon or trim could work too.


And some stand alone pics of my look. Plus a view of their insides...



Now, head over to Project Run and Play and VOTE for your favorite look!

Drew and I are hoping it is the Mini Maxi, although she is a lot more forceful...


And thank you to everyone's support that helped us make it this far in the competition already!

33 comments:

  1. Bravo! Your style, creativity, and craftsmanship has been really great throughout the competition. I'm so glad you made it to the end! This outfit is really cute. Love the color palette. And I can't believe you made those adorable sandals!

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    1. Thank you Tara! I'm so glad I made it to the end too!

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  2. This, like everything else you've done, is amazing!! I saw the lines of yellow dots and thought, Oh! I bet she floored them in with fabric marker!! But NO! It's even better!! Love the whole look!

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    1. Ha ha! No, I like to make things more difficult :)

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  3. This is SO cute!! Do you sell your creations because I am totally interested in this!!! Please let me know!

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    1. I am planning on putting one or two of my Project Run and Play designs in my shop, including this one! If you like my Facebook page (Bitsy Bear) you can keep on it all! And thank you :)

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  4. its amazing, chelise. i LOVE everything about it. i would totally dress maizie in the same thing..colors and all!:)

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  5. I love love love this dress. I sure hope that you win- it's by far my favorite! (On another note- I'm not sure if it's the way you upload your photos but I can't see your pictures on certain computers- I actually had to pull your site up on my kindle to view- I hope that doesn't affect the voting process for other people)

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    1. Thank you so much! That's weird about the pictures though... I'm trying to figure out why they wouldn't show? Hmm. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Wow, this is incredible! I absolutely love this!

    Sumo:)

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  7. You are amazing!!! We will keep voting! By far the best one. I am in love! Good luck!

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  8. Wow! I really like the yellow dots! :)

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  9. okay. i'm a horrible commenter...but i just HAD to take the time to tell you how much i love this. LIKE LOVE THIS! it's amazing. the whole thing top to bottom. really. freaking awesome. the end.

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    1. Thank you! I'm a horrible commenter too. Thank you for the compliments!

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  10. mini maxi - so great! those polka dots are awesome and i really love your gray/yellow color scheme. really beautiful work all season long - so glad you made it into the finals! love seeing drew's spunky personality shine through in your photos, too. she looks like a fun kid. :)

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    1. Thanks so much Kristen! This competition has been a blast. And yes, Drew is quite the kid!

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  11. Great post about your process, I love that stuff. (And that book looks really tempting!) I love the color of this outfit, it's so fun and perfect on Drew. And the dot embroidery! Wow!

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  12. Love your look-gray/yellow is a favorite combo of mine...and that belt!! Would love to see how you made that! great job this season!

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  13. So gorgeous!!!!! My daughter would LOVE to have one! Hello from a new blog follower :-)

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  14. oh my goodness, this is SO adorable! i love the maxi's for me, would love it on my girls, too! clever to sew the yellow dots.

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  15. WOW!!!! This is my favorite look this week and I voted for you! :) I love it and everything is excellent and so much praise goes to you for a job well done! :)

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  16. Just wanted to say congratulations on placing 3rd in the competition, that's AMAZING!! I have to say I would have liked you to win but the other participants did an awesome job too. Well done!!!

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  18. I am in LOVE with this dress and would LOVE to buy the pattern to make it...is that Possible????

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  19. I am in LOVE with this dress and would LOVE to buy the pattern to make it...is that Possible????

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  20. Is this pattern available for purchase?

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  21. I agree, I would LOVE to purchase a pattern for this dress! It is AMAZING!

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  22. This dress is incredible!! I saw somewhere that you are thinking about creating a pattern. When you get it made will you let us know!! I totally want to make one for my daughter. What kind of fabric did you use, cotton, cotton blend? How many yards would I need to create a dress like it? Thanks!!

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