Friday, February 3, 2012

It's Time to Vote---Here are the Designs for Special Occasions

Kristin's (Skirt As Top)--Japanese Tea Party

I love the clean lines and sense of balance in Japanese design, so I decided to go with the "party" side of the theme this week and created a Japanese-inspired tea party outfit for my daughter that combines her three favorite things: ballet, the color pink, and elephants!

I started with the ballet-inspired tutu skirt, which I constructed in a cream batiste and tulle. I didn't want seams breaking up the lines of the skirt, so I cut the underskirt and three layers of tulle as full circle skirts. No seams! I attached the four layers to a wide flat-front waistband with an elastic back for comfort and self-dressing. The petal blouse mimics a piñata I made for her birthday last year. It's a square top in a pretty pink voile, and I sewed 65 hand-cut petals to the front to create the peony effect. I left the edges of the petals raw so that they would float as she moved and danced. To balance with the light, ethereal nature of the skirt and top, I designed a structured kimono jacket in an olive green sueded twill with pink elephant lining. It has flared sleeves and an a-line, slightly cropped shape. I bound the neckline and cuffs in a lighter olive cotton, and I love the serene, tonal effect it creates. I finished all of the binding by hand-stitching to preserve the clean lines of the kimono jacket. It closes with three pink elephant buttons that my little gal specifically requested!

My goal this week was to play with color (pink, cream, and the two tones of olive), shape (round petals and skirt, angular jacket), and texture (raw-edged petals, cloud-like tutu skirt, sueded twill), while creating a look that was just for my sweet daughter. I tried to block everything else out and think of what she loves most. My little girly girl even got real orchids in her hair and pink fingernails out of the deal! It was very fun to indulge her this week.

Come visit me at skirt as top to see many more photos of our Japanese tea party, my sketches, and a look at the inspiration piñata!

Stef's (girl. Inspired)--Dancing On a Cloud Dress
With three girly girls, we do A LOT of pink and a lot of princess around here.  Every day is an excuse to get dressed up and we have nightly ceremonies of some sort or another - the girls marry their daddy or put on a dance show...the usual girl things (wink!).  I try to create special occasions often and when the girls have a birthday, I really love to transform our every day special into a most spectacular day just. for. them.  When Grace asked for a pink princess party, I knew that a perfect princess gown was a necessity!  And since her birthday falls at the beginning of January, I was thrilled to make something so fitting for this week's Special Occasion theme.

I used a cotton silk blend in the most delicious shade of pink for her gown.  The gown has a scoop neck and short-sleeves that are large and billowy, but cinched with two rows of elastic thread for a simple, princess look.  I wanted to keep the top of the dress simple for the main show...the skirt.  The very full skirt was bustled in several places in a stair-step fashion to form an inverted V.  I think the finished effect is stunning.  The sheen and drape of this particular fabric suits the style perfectly.  The back of the dress closes with ten, tiny fabric-covered buttons - I love this detail.  It's so fitting for a special occasion dress.  The dress is finished with a wide sash that ties into a large bow in the back.  In order to provide the right support for the princess gown, I sewed a pettiskirt from multiple layers of lining, stiff netted tulle, and lightweight tulle.  The stiff tulle provides the support to hold up the gown's skirt while the top layer of lightweight tulle adds a bit more fluff and a pretty compliment to the gown where it is bustled.  I encased all of the pettiskirt layers with a thick cotton knit for extra comfort. 
I spruced up some of Grace's glitter shoes with a coat of mod podge and a layer of glitter - amazing how well that works!  And finally, to complete the ensemble, the girls helped me to make princess crowns from crocheted lace, fabric stiffener, paint, and, glitter!  You can read more about this dress and find instructions for the the lace crowns (and ruffle cakes!) on my blog, girl. Inspired.  Thank you so much for reading!

Danielle's (My Sparkle)--Gathered Together Dress
I think the beauty of this dress lies in the fabric its constructed with. 3 kinds of cotton to be exact. I love using natural fibers, and I love playing with fabric that is less commonly used. I think fabric choice can make or brake a design and in this case, I think the fabric does everything to enhance the design. I am a sucker for this sheer cotton that has sort of a "vintage french" feel? I love the way you can see the construction through it (and I took care to finish seams carefully because of it) and the peek of the slip. It's simple but dare I say sophisticated? A soft organdy with its stiff light crisp hand, gives the overdress it's sheerness, body, and movement. The under slip I made by gathering rows and rows of ruffles in a stiffer cotton organdy and joining it with a sheer super soft cotton batiste. I dyed the ruffles two shades of bluish-green for an surprise ombre effect that can be seen as the dress is spun in, or rustled about, and this little girl couldn't help doing both as the fabric just begs to be rustled about.
I added subtle gathers at the neckline and fluttered sleeves at the shoulders. And I finished the hem with festive little pom-poms. I kept the bodice just a single layer to maximize the beautiful sheer texture of the fabric, and finished the edges with bias tape I made using the same fabric. The neckline curves over the shoulders and meets in the center of the back fastening with hooks in order to keep the beautiful curves in tact.
Its a bit tricky to show this dress without seeing it up close... Please visit my blog: for more!

Kate's (see kate sew)--Neopolitan Party Dress

This look is inspired by my favorite birthday party treat: ice cream! One of my favorite color combinations is pink, cream and brown because I can't look at those colors together without instantly thinking of classic neapolitan. So I started with that theme as a basis and used hand drawn jagged pattern pieces to imitate the drippy melting colors of an ice cream cone. 

Each piece of the dress was self-faced separately and then sewn together. I stacked each colored layer and topstitched near the zigzag edge to compose the front and back pieces.  A big brown button adorns the front yoke and a large chocolate fudge colored exposed zipper accents the back.

For the fabric, I raided my scrap bin for little cuts of pinks, browns and muslin. I even used the fabric from a pink men's shirt for part of the dress and overlayed brown lace on the fifth layer. I kept the bottom jagged also. The dress is a slight a-line shape with a sturdy drape. The sleeves are ruffled lace in a flutter style with a facing underneath to make the armholes nice and clean.

I made a big huge bow hair clip to go along with the dress, so you can definitely tell who the birthday girl is. It matches the middle pink layer and is interfaced to keep it's shape.
Come over to see kate sew today for more pictures and details!

Jessica's (Running With Scissors)--The Real Mc Coy
From initially getting the challenge schedule for PRandP, I have anticipated this challenge--it's my favorite!  I was inspired by my grandparents for this challenge, they were young adults in the late 1940s and raised their families in the 1950s back when men wore suits, ladies wore dresses, the era of Frank Sinatra and post WWII America.  

This challenge has the most advanced design/ pattern drafting/ sewing/ precise tailoring I've ever attempted.  I did a lot of research on suits in order to design the timeless, classic features required for suiting and with my dress, I went with an elegant champagne and wine palate and kept the look simple with the focus being textures of both the neckline and skirt.

Charcoal Herringbone Suit made with wool herringbone suiting
Jacket: two-button closure, chest welt pocket, exposed zipper pockets, flap-welt waist pockets, double back vent, princess curved paneled back, notch lapel, chest dart, fully lined, blind hem, inside welt chest pocket, handmade label with note to my son.
Trouser: narrow leg, zip fly, hook and eye closure, slant pockets, back button welt pockets, waistband has the button elastic adjustable waist, belt loops, blind hem
Accessories: thrifted adult sized tie and belt were refashioned for child sizing and elastic neck on tie

Champagne Twisted Cowl Dress made with champagne satin and organza
dropped waist, cap sleeves, hand tacked twisted cowl neckline, full skirt with champagne satin and organza texture detail, zip back, lined bodice
Accessories: I made the over-sized pearl bracelet, ribbon bow headband, sheer ribbon belt, and hand dyed the wine tights
I let my son pick out the lining, and wasn't surprised when he chose camouflage spiders.  My favorite part of the trouser has to be the butt--it ended up fitting so well!  The dress is all about texture.  The satin gets twisted into a cowl at the neckline, and the skirt was paired with sheer champagne organza.  The method I used to create the texture in the skirt is basically large pin-tucks, where each tuck is organza and the body of the skirt remains the satin. The end result is a sheer pleated texture on a satin skirt.
I have many more details and photos for these looks on my blog:
Running With Scissors

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  1. I'm really undecided between Danielle's and Jessica's... they're both my favourite. But it's just too lovely to see the siblings together =)

  2. Steph's Dancing on a Cloud dress is just perfect! I would totally have wanted that dress as a little girl. Beautiful and creative!

  3. Love the Oriental Tea Party Theme. We did it for my daughters 7th birthday with candy sushi and it was so much fun.

  4. I knew that this would happen. I was totally torn and it took me awhile to make my decision. I wish that I could have voted for both!

  5. All of these moms have CRAZY good sewing skills! To pick just one is painful!

  6. Wow! These are amazing. I am not sure I can vote this week because I just can't choose one. So many cute designs and talented designers. Congrats to all the entrants.

  7. OMG! Amazing work! I love so many, but Jessica really went above and beyond... love that suit lining so much!

  8. WOW! Sooooo tough.Congrats to everyone. I love both Danielle's and Jessica's - but that suit is over the top!!!!!

  9. love danielle's dress! the back of it is breathtaking. i would hang it on the wall just to look at while it's not being worn!

  10. The oriental tea party dress is SO creative! I am in love with the elephant lining!!!!

  11. Ahhhh so much cuteness!!! It was very difficult to decide!

  12. every week it is harder and harder to choose! I actually have to go to your blogs and click and zoom. Amazing work! Simply amazing!

  13. Jessica.. YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I would be really drawn to the Real McCoy entry if the neck of that dress didn't look just plain wrinkly. I'm not sure 'cowl neck' and 'satin' really go together. But the entries are, as usual, spectacular and creative! It is SO hard to pick!

    1. Just had to say that I actually LOVE the texture of that neckline! It's funny (in a good way) how tastes can differ. I agree that these ladies come up with the most spectacular and amazing designs! They should all be so proud.

  15. Go Stef! The dress is PERFECT! I want it. I'd wear it everyday if it were my size. I might just have to make my own when you post the skirt tutorial, but at least one if not both of my girls will be getting some beautiful new clothes really soon! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

  16. Stef's (girl. Inspired)--Dancing On a Cloud Dress is a WINNER

  17. I love Stef's dress! Super pretty!

  18. I love See Kate Sew's ice cream inspired dress! Modern and Fab! Very functional but playful!;-)

  19. I love them all! But my favorite is (My Sparkle!)

  20. I ADORE the designs by Kristin, Danielle, and Jessica. Wish I could vote for all three of you! Kristin's Japanese Tea Party gets my vote, though; all three pieces are just beautiful and so well-crafted. What really won me over, though, is how week after week I can see you are sewing clothes that your kids absolutely LOVE to wear. Way to go, mama! :)

  21. I don't know if you were planning on it or if you have the time, but I would love to see a post of all the designs each of the final three have done before they show their final designs.

  22. Amazing!! Jessica, with the Real McCoy.

  23. Stef I seriously love the princess dress and crown.

  24. STEF's DANCING ON A CLOUD Dress is the best...I could so have wanted that as a child and I could just see my little princess in it or her 2 daughters and their cute little cousin (my 3 babies! aged 3,10 and 13)! They are all adorable but STEF's DANCING ON A CLOUD Dress wins my vote!

  25. Yay Kate, once again runway styling! Others did fabulous but I think Kate's is "over the top" and original.

  26. I love Stef's dancing on a cloud dress! I can definitely see my 4 year old twirling in it!

  27. Danielle's (My Sparkle)--Gathered Together Dress!!
    I really like the sheer layers. It reminds me of wispy clouds on sunny summer day.

  28. Oh, Danielle's Gathered Together dress is just so beautiful. I love, love, love it. And would never attempt to make it myself, so that makes me love it even that much more.

  29. I started with the ballet-inspired tutu skirt, which I constructed in a ...


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