Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Season 15 Week 1: 7 Wonders of the World

Today is the day the designers get to reveal their looks inspired by the theme 7 Wonders of the World!  You may notice a few technical changes, but one thing has stayed exactly the same: the Project Run & Play designers have brought their very finest sewing to this event!  Prepare for WONDER and amazement!

Deux Souriceaux - Hanging Gardens Of Babylon 

 When I saw this week's theme, my mind went straight to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and wouldn't let go. They've never been found and some even think they're purely mythical. I wanted to go for lush green and flowers, using ancient Greece as an inspiration for fabric and shapes. My first piece was the cardigan I drafted. I used an old silk dress of mine. It wasn't flattering on me but that print! The cardigan is made up of all rectangles, in keeping with how clothes were made back in ancient times. I used French seams everywhere I could. The neckline and opening are faced with black silk charmeuse and all raw edges are bound. My daughter wanted to be able to close the cardigan so I added a single button and thread loop.

 For the pants, I wanted that easy, loose shape that I love to wear in the heat. I started off with the block from Pattern Making for Kids' Clothes. I modified it to get an elastic back waist with flat front and wide legs. I chose green linen and embroidered some tropical leaves with green silk thread. I flat felled the inner leg and crotch seams. For the outside leg seam, I did a plain seam but with wrong sides facing. The seam allowance is then covered with gold and green ribbon. Inside, there isn't a single seam allowance flopping around.

 Finally, I made a white cotton/spandex tank top to wear under the cardigan. I used the Jalie 2565 tank top and modified the bottom to get a shirttail hem. I added two lace pieces. If you look closely, you'll see that the smaller one is upside down. That's not a mistake! I wanted the flower to look like it was hanging. For more rambling, including my daughter's thought, please come to my blog!

SewSophieLynn - Modern Mayan


 I'm so excited to share with you our first look of the season. When browsing through the many lists of the 7 Wonders of the World, I knew we just HAD to do Chichen Itza. El Castillo is the center of the ancient Mayan city and definitely a wonder to behold. It holds a special place in our hearts as it was one of the first vacations my husband and I ever took without our kids (hallelujah!) and in the years since we've enjoyed bringing the whole family to visit this beautiful place. Mexico is our happy place and we love to explore the culture and people whenever we're there.


 My main piece this week is a stunning dress that really brings in the amazing architecture of El Castillo. I used a brilliant ocean blue chambray from CaliFabrics and I love the subtle sheen it has. I love the vibrant colors of Mexico and was excited to use them in our looks. For this dress I used a basic bodice and went from there. I did a reverse embroidery technique with the woven front bodice to mimic the steps of the pyramid. I brought the same step look to the back of the bodice as well and used an invisible zipper to finish it off. I drafted an open split sleeve with a built in bow because I'm all about the statement sleeves! The skirt is a subtle high low with pockets (of course!).


 Little sister's look is a fun take on a tourist meets local vibe. The blouse started as a basic button-up pattern that I hacked to my hearts content, moving the placket to the back and finishing with a bold exposed zipper and neck facing. I added a flounce to the sleeves for a bit of flair. The shorts feature a fun ruffle waistband and gaucho fit. I took a basic shorts pattern and drafted new pockets, waistband, leg flair, and invisible side zipper. The felt floral headband was a fun accessory to create and added the perfect finishing touch to these outfits. Make sure you head over to my blog, SewSophieLynn, for all the pattern details and TONS of photos from our shoot. These girls were sure troopers pretending to be on a tropical vacation instead of in our chilly winter mountain valley home!


Sew Country Chick - Off To Egypt

 Hello Project Run & Play readers! It's good to be back! This week's project was a challenge, and involved a great many pattern pieces. About forty in all! My inspiration for the Seven Wonders Of The World are the Great Pyramids of Giza. My dress was inspired by photos of female explorers and Egyptologists of the early twentieth century. To make this dress, I used Liesl Gibson's Building Block Dress Book, and pattern pieces from two of her other patterns; The Jumprope Dress, and The Classic Shirt.
The collar, the button placket, and skirt pattern pieces were taken from the Jumprope Dress pattern. The pleated flap pockets on the skirt were taken from the Classic shirt pattern, and sized down for the bodice. The bodice was taken from the Building Block Dress book. I slashed it and created a yoke, then I added width to the remaining bodice piece to create a gathered bodice. I used my old school pattern making textbook to make the yoke and redraft the bodice, which doesn't have a shoulder seam. The sleeves are also from the Building Block dress book. I used the directions in the book to create the puffy sleeve and the sleeve band. The buttoned tabs are self drafted. So is the set in waistband. Because the dress is fitted at the waist, and the bodice has a placket that doesn't go down to the skirt, I added a side zipper. I don't see side zippers much anymore, but most of my fitted vintage patterns include them. I prefer them because they aren't as obvious as a center zipper, which has to be sewn perfectly, or else it looks home made. The two piece waistband is constructed similarly to the yoke. There is a facing inside that covers all of the raw seam allowances. For more construction details, as well as photos of my inspiration and my design sketch, you can visit my blog.

 The pyramid embroidery on the hem of the skirt was found on Urban Threads. I was very careful to try to evenly space this design on the skirt, as I haven't used my embroidery unit very many times. It's a Bernina 560, and after this, I will be using it a lot more. it's not as hard as I thought it would be. I was so worried about ruining the skirt, since I had already spent so much time sewing on those flapped, buttoned pockets! And I also had no extra fabric. I feel it's the finishing touch the dress needed and creates the relationship between my explorer/safari style and the Pyramids of Giza theme. The buttons are all vintage ones I found a long time ago at an estate sale, and the fabric is plain old quilting cotton. The hat is vintage and the shoes are a lucky thrift shop find. And of course, my old leather suitcase. One of my favorite things. Perfect to go exploring in Egypt. Even if it does weigh a ton. I'm very happy with how Gigi's dress turned out and she loves it. I hope you do, too!

Pear Berry Lane - A Garden For A Queen

 It's time to reveal our Week 1 creations! To see more details on my creation, don't forget to head over to my blog here. For my inspired look, I chose the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Hanging Gardens have several different theories around the creator. Most accounts describe the Gardens being built by Nebuchadrezzar II for his wife that was homesick for her mountainous and green land. Our look incorporates inspiration based upon these notions. First, the garden was built for a queen. I wanted to create something elegant to honor that by using satin and chiffon. The gold lace flowers across the bodice are a nod to the garden life itself while the gold represents the wealth of the kingdom. The green color of the dress is to represent the greenery of the garden. The garden is believed to have multiple tiers or layers in its design, so I included a layered skirt to nod to this feature.

 Let's talk about design, construction, and technique. I did start with the Lil Luxe dress as a foundation. However, if you are familiar with this particular pattern, you won't see a lot of it here. For my bodice, I used the pattern more as a block and went from there. I designed a cross-over bodice in the front. I brought the shoulders out slightly and narrowed them. I included a V-Back in this design as this was a nice way to break up the softness of the chiffon. After designing, I began with a matte satin base. I hand draped the chiffon to get the desired detail features across the bodice pieces. I blocked the back bodice to show off the satin, but brought chiffon around to keep a cohesive look. Due to the elegance of this dress, I think most would agree that the invisible zipper was a must. I made all the free standing lace features that trail down the bodice and onto the skirt using my embroidery machine. I'm probably most proud of this piece of the design.


 For the skirt portion of the dress I went back and forth on whether this should be floor length or not. The final decision was practicality. Even though the garden queen probably wore floor length gowns, it isn't something that would get much wear at our home. I opted for a shorter length. I love this exact length. It is trendy for today's time landing above the knee, yet is still tasteful. The skirt features a gathered double circle skirt in satin with a chiffon overlay. Both skirts feature french seams as that seems appropriate for the fabrics. The lace flowers trail down the side of the skirt for an extra touch of beauty. For styling, we paired the dress with gold shoes to coordinate with the lace flowers and stitched a little lace flower into her hair for fun. I hope you've enjoyed all the details. I'd love to hear what your favorite features of this design are.


Call Ajaire - Chichen Itza Skort


 When I heard the week 1 theme of Wonders of the World I knew Chichen Itza would be a perfect choice for inspiration (click here to see images of Chichen Itza). The geometric shapes of the Pyramid of Kukulcan along with the bright colors of the Mayan people were the jumping off point for this Chichen Itza inspired skort.


 I began by drafting a knit pencil skirt with a front panel and wide flat waistband. The front panel would be pleated to mimic the long skinny staircase that run down the center of the pyramid. As a nod to the overall pyramid shape, I designed a full circle skirt to fit around the pencil skirt, starting and stopping on either side of the front panel. The circle skirt fabric would be woven so by leaving the center panel open the knits would stretch more than enough to get the skort on and off without a closure. Since the outside edges of the Pyramid of Kukulcan also have large steps, I first made a faux chenille out of layers of sateen (in Mayan inspired colors) and then cut the circle shape out of this manipulated fabric. The layers were sewn together with the elastic waistband and the fit is excellent. I have found that though I love pencil skirts on my girl - at 6 1/2 years old - a pencil shape shimmies up her lean body throughout the day, so my answer to that has been to sew in attached shorties. They add a level of modesty, but also help to keep the skirt layers in place while she's playing. So really there are three layers in this skort - self drafted shorties with a gusset for comfort, pencil skirt, and circle skirt - and they all interact just right to ensure the skort looks great and stays in place.


 To really allow the skort to shine, I drafted a simple mock turtle neck sleeveless top. Around the entire neckline, I inserted and then coverstitched a length of pentagon shapes made out of the same ponte knit I used for the pencil skirt. The top is made of a super soft liverpool fabric and is lined with the same fabric for structure and comfort. For accessories I made three bracelets in bright colors to go with the skirt fabrics, put some fun feather extensions in her hair (she was VERY excited!), and paired everything with a simple sandal.


There are so many things I want to share with you about this look so please hop over to Call Ajaire. There you will get all the details about how the circle skirt faux chenille fabric was made, how the pencil skirt front panel was pleated, pics of the gusseted shorties layer, close ups of the neckline detail, links to the accessories I made/used, and so much more!

Phat Quarters - Queen Of The Nile

I knew right away when I saw the prompt of "The 7 Wonders of the World," that I would choose to create a look inspired by the Great Pyramids of Egypt! I love the clean lines and sophisticated style of the hieroglyphics & ancient cultural Egyptian clothing. I knew this would be my starting point! I was immediately attracted to Cleopatra's Nubian men & women statues, with the short structured skirts and flowing over-skirts that often hung from bracelets on their upper arms. I thought that this could be a great 'tween' look if I make a few tweaks to bring it into the modern age. I felt that a fun tank top would bring the look together and allow me to pull inspiration from the crop tops and beauty often expressed in the clothing of Cleopatra herself. From these elegant lines and visual aspects of life at the base of the Great Pyramids I offer my first entry; my modern take on the "Queen of the Nile".


 My Queen is wearing my modern take on the Nubian skirt. I used over four yards of silky Art Gallery Fabrics rayon to create the flowing skirts which are attached as one piece to her structured shorts. The high/low bias cut of the front portion of the skirt allows for a beautiful drape that accents the clean lines of the underlying shorts. The skirt portion was constructed with french seams and finished with a multicolored rolled hem, so seam-lines would not distract from its' elegance. It is attached to the back waistband of the shorts and finished with a faux hand-stitched waistband & front ties knotted at the waist. The tailored lines of the Cloud 9 yarn dyed metallic broadcloth shorts are juxtaposition to the drape of the skirt and the perfect way for my modern queen to run & play yet still feel dreamy and beautiful (something that my little tween still wants and needs). The shorts have two center pleats that allow for fun wide leg look, which is accented by folded cuffs. The front waistband is flat & sleek and the back waistband is gathered with elastic for dressing ease. She is so comfortable and happy; ready to walk among the ancient dunes of her ancestors and people.


 My modern Queen needed an elegant top to complete her look, however she is still too young (like, she will never be old enough in my books) for an exposed crop top like those that adorned so many Egyptian women. Instead, I designed an Art Gallery Fabrics knit razor-back tank with a high/low cropped flounce. The excess fabric and inverse curve of the flounce mimicked the drape of the skirts. It was also the perfect location for the jewels & sparkle that are part of ancient Egyptian dress. I choose a monochrome jeweled trim that attached to the hem of the flounce. I love how the iridescent shine of the navy accentuates the drape of the flounce. It also creates a very posh look for my little modern Queen and makes her feel special. The tank top was constructed as a top and lining using the burrito method. The lines of the razor-back are yet another nod to the sleek lines found on the walls of the Great Pyramids, however they also allow the tank to be age appropriate and pretty for my tween.  


 To tie the full look and inspiration together I used a few simple pieces of gold jewelry and black shin-high sandals, laced with bits of fabric from the shorts and its skirts. Keeping these details simple allowed me to keep the modern look that I was aiming for. The full look pulled together beautifully with its deep jeweled colors, hints or gold, and Egyptian flair. She really feels as beautiful as a queen in her outfit. She also looks sophisticated and is ready to take on the world. I love creating looks that inspire my girls to feel powerful, beautiful, and happy. When I think of my modern Queen this is what I hope she feels like; a beauty among lilies, ruler of her own destiny, cherished by her family, a true Queen of her own Nile. I hope that you enjoy this look as much as I enjoyed creating it and she enjoys wearing it. This was the most fun challenge and I look forward to being able to show you more wild imaginations of of my heart.  Visit my Phat Quarters blog for more information about this look!


Alright everyone!  Vote for your favorite 7 Wonders of the world look!  Voting starts now, and closes at 8pm EST on Thursday March 15.

One third of the designers score is based on your vote.
One third is determined by the Panel of Judges.
One third is determined by this week's guest judge, Bari J.

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  1. All these sews are just Ahhhh-mazing! I love them all, so inspiring ladies!

  2. Awesome job, Ladies!!! I love seeing how everyone interpreted the theme.

  3. I want to vote this morning, but I've just got to think more about my choice. They are all so amazing with so much thought behind the design. This is why I love the Project Run and Play Challenges!

  4. Omg, you ladies are killing it (me)!! So hars to choose just one. Great work and good luck!

  5. Everyone did such a fantastic job! I love seeing the flat lays so I can really eye up the detail and overall look each designer put together. Such a tough one to vote because they are all so incredible! Can't wait for week2!

  6. These are all amazing and such an inspiration!! I would never have thought to 'hack' patterns in such a way these have. They are beautiful, detailed, and something to aspire to! Well done to all! :)

  7. So hard to choose just 1! There's so much thought and work put into them all. Congratulations everyone.

  8. Crap, I missed the voting by just 2 hours! These are all awesome, but the individually constructed lace flowers by Pear Berry Lane - W.O.W. Those are BEAUTIFUL.

  9. These are all so incredible!

  10. I love all of these! Great job to all of you seamstresses!


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