Friday, May 18, 2012
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!