Thursday, April 3, 2014

PR+P: a final plea

guys! today is the last day to vote for this week's look in project run + play! and...well, it's not looking too good for yours truly. :(
  if you can spare a second i'd love your vote!

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

PR + P week two: spring break

tale of the cod
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CAPE COD, MASS was where i travelled for inspiration this week. and this challenge was almost the one that broke the camel’s back.

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i didn’t set out to make two complete looks. but when i was in the planning stages, i got hit by good old mommy guilt: i rarely sew for my one and only boy, harrison. so let’s include him this week! shirt and pants for each…and maybe a jacket for harrison….well, and wouldn’t a jacket for ava be cool? and there you have it.
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next thing you know i'm sewing night and day and losing things and crying (yup) and ready to quit the whole contest.
little did i realize that harrison was perfectly content not being a part of this whole experience. so take a good look—this is the last time you’ll be seeing him on the blog, sewing-wise. and it took quite a bit of cajoling and bargaining to get him here.

so if last week’s challenge was about the fluff and the fun, this week was all about stretching myself. i took on some pretty major pieces, and went well outside my comfort zone. but to say i’m happy with the end results would be quite an understatement. i’m in love with these looks.

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now if only my two goofballs would cooperate. ;) these two…either the best of friends or the worst of enemies. there’s nothing in between with them.

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how about some more details on the clothes? ladies first…

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her pants are a flowy linen-esqe navy material. i drafted the pattern and tweaked and tweaked and tweaked to get the fit JUST. RIGHT. and it was so worth it. they look awesome on her athletically thin frame.

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they’re paired with this white blouse, which isn’t just a tone-on-tone stripe. those stripes are alternating woven fabric and what i can only describe as elastic strips. i gave it a wide boatneck and less than 3/4 sleeves…2/3 sleeves, perhaps? the anchor was sewn with my free motion quilting foot, and i hand sewed the “chain” down. for drama i left the back open and finished it with 4 coral buttons.

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that tiny, tiny trim was a bear—keeping it perfectly straight and not running over it with my stitches? not easy. this entire project had more hand sewing than i think i’ve ever done in my life. the other thing it had in spades?

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buttons and button holes. eek! ava’s entire look had 26 buttons, each and every one hand sewn on (after an unfortunate machine-sewing experiment). now her jacket—this was my piece de resistance. it’s got a nautical/military feel, with some feminine features to keep it pretty.

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and lots and lots of buttons. did i mention that? the buttons on both the jacket and pants are actually compasses, a nod to the nautical theme without being the typical anchor button. LOVE.


now for harrison. i bought the bulk of what i used for his look in one thrift shopping trip: one pair men’s size 42x32 pants, one men’s large t-shirt, one men’s 2XL rain jacket, one XL fleece. i pulled a maternity shirt and some raw yardage from my stash. i added in green and white striped trim and some leather and wood toggles.
his jacket…ah the jacket. i worked so, sooo hard on this thing. i broke that original rain jacket up into parts and repurposed everything.
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the zipper went down the back to add a detail, the original pockets got reset--one horizontally, one vertically. i added a grey and navy trim to the outside, and finished the inside edges with the same green and white trim from the pants. the finishing touch was the leather and wood toggles on the front.

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i played a delicate balance with this look: in general, i hate making things that i feel like you can buy easily in any store. that’s why i typically lean towards dresses and outfits with a twist for my girls. but there’s only so much “different” you can force on a boy who’s 2 weeks from being 12. so i kept the jacket fun, and added in lots of little details, but kept the design on the tamer side.

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same goes for his shirt—i cobbled together a baseball style tee by chopping up the men’s shirt (the striped part), the maternity shirt (the sleeves) and some yardage (the shoulder patch). then i hand cut the freezer paper stencil for the word on the front. and it makes me laugh every time i look at it.

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his pants. does anyone remember that scene in peewee’s big adventure (the second movie) where he’s saving all the animals from the fire in the pet shop and keeps seeing the snakes and doesn’t want to have to save them? and finally he can’t put it off any longer so he grabs them all because it’s literally do-or-die time? anyone? okay fine…just me then. the rest of you clearly need to brush up on your 80’s cult classics.

Animated Gifs

well, these pants were my snakes. and i finally had to just jump in and do it. again i cut these down to their bare bones. i cut out the front pockets, cut new front and back legs, cut a new waistband, removed and resewed belt loops, reinstalled the pockets and added trim down the sides, and rehemmed.

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the only thing i left was the original back pockets—i cut the new back legs in such a way that they could work. and so again—i added some little details to make them original, but kept them tame enough that he wore them to school right after this photo shoot--win!

in the end i’ve created two looks that i love, and that my kids love, and that i think perfectly represent the cape cod style. i can’t wait for them to wear these outfits this year when we hit the cape!

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thanks for taking the time to read through all my wordy explanations, and if you haven’t yet why not head over to project run and play and vote for your favorite in this week’s challenge???

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

PR+P week one: put me in the zoo

you guys. this is it. today’s the day. i’ve been sewing and sewing and sweating and worrying and experimenting and DESTROYING MY ENTIRE HOUSE and it’s finally here.

project run + play starts today, and it was a toughie: put me in the zoo—animal inspired, not costume.

and here’s what i ended up with:


flamingos. but it took me a long time to get there. i sketched and googled (seriously—have you ever done a google image search for “animal inspired fashion”? cue scared face) and as much as the armadillo shoes looked awesome, and the animal shaped hair really got my wheels turning, it was the flamingo that really got to me. i considered a few other birds too (they’re about the only things i enjoy seeing at the zoo), but i knew the pink would be a hit with the girls.

here’s the thing—at first i was completely determined that these dresses needed REAL feathers on them. i researched…well, i can’t even tell you how long i spent looking at various options. i even bought and tried a few. nope. in the end the look i had in mind would have cost a small fortune and been washable, uhh…never. not the best option for little girls.

generally people think of flamingos (at least i did) as being that hot pinky/coraly/salmony color. and they are—but there’s a lot of that lighter color on them. so i ended up with 3 yards of this pale peachy pink knit, and 3 yards of the brighter taffeta-ish material. i say taffeta-ish because i bought them at a discount fabric store for $2/yard and what you save in price you lose in knowledge.


so then i started cutting. and cutting. in the end i cut about 350 “feathers” from the knit. yikes. i did it over the course of a few nights in front of some t.v.

so on to the nitty-gritty. i hope you’re in this for the long haul because you’re about to get word and photo overload. everything i couldn’t squeeze into the three photos and couple of paragraphs on the pr+p site.

the self drafted top is made of the knit, completely lined with the taffeta. it has a full skirt in the taffeta, covered with a metric ton of knit feathers. i love that when she spins and moves the darker color peeks out—another little nod to the flamingo. it also has a self slip with a tulle layer for puffiness, and seriously is this weird? but i just love the way her dress sounds. it’s got that ruffley crinkley sound i can’t get enough of. i’m also in love with the back—it has a contrasting button placket with big pinkish rhinestone buttons running from top to bottom.

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IMG_6534_1435they were shaking their tail feathers ;)

gigi’s dress is made from the taffeta in a simple tank style with piping made from the lighter knit running down the front. the back is where i got spicey though—i was playing with the idea of the flamingo’s smoothly feathered body and fluffy backend feathers. so i did a peekaboo cutout and a cutaway skirt, both lined with more feathers. she’s got a separate slip for fluffiness, and then i added a little jacket with a big ruffle around the neck. everything on gigi was self-drafted also.

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then to wrap it all up—i was determined to get my feathers in somehow, and what better way then little fascinator/hat thingys? i made these from wool felt, stiffened with a water/glue mixture. then they’re covered with more felt to smooth the edges, and a layer of the dark pink tafffeta. i added puffy feathers, a knit flower and some tulle. they’re remarkably light, and with a haircomb glued to the underside they stay in perfectly. even through all the twirling ;)

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and in one of my (many, many) runs to joann’s i stumbled across these two little flamingo purses, on clearance. talk about random. they had a dolphin, a cheetah head, and two flamingos. SOLD.

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altogether i couldn’t be happier with my look for week one! the only thing i would have changed is the hour we spent driving around looking for a spot to take pictures!!! it was supposed to be 60 degrees that day, and we got primped and ready only to get there and find it was windy and FREEZING! this spot was a little more sheltered and the wind had calmed down somewhat, but it took us an hour of driving to find it. i was running in to just any building/store/hotel/office complex we passed that looked like it potentially had good lighting and open space. (pretty sure the people in the local harley-davidson place thought i was crazy).

so i’ll wrap this up with a link—head on over to project run and play and check out the other ladies entries! i know we’ve all worked so hard and sweated over these outfits, so i’d love you to check them out!

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