Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Season 16 Week 1: Circus

Today is the day!  The beginning of Season 16!  Here are the 6 Circus acts for you to enjoy.  The voting poll is at the end of the post, so be sure to make it all the way through and support these fantastic designers with your vote!

Sew Chibi Designs - Mon Cirque Des Petites Filles

I'm thrilled to finally share my Circus themed outfits to kick off Season 16 of Project Run & Play! I thought I'd start with a big bang and sew for all three of my girls so I present to you my Ring Leader, Hoop Girl, and Little Clown (be sure to check out the whole story on my blog)! Not one to shy away from color, I quickly decided upon a jewel-toned rainbow color scheme broken up with black to give it a slightly moody feel. I'm forever a fan quality, solid color cotton because it gives me a chance to manipulate the colors exactly how I want them, so I did tons of math and planned out every block of color. The results are a little reminiscent of the movie Fantasia.

I made almost all of the edits for pattern drafting in Illustrator for a whopping 64 pages! Starting with the Hoop Girl Dress, I used the Tinny dress pattern and altered the bodice to be off-centered (since I myself am a bit off-centered 😉) as well as the skirt. Speaking of the skirt, I wanted it to be slightly circus tent-like with a band of bias cut panels as well as a scalloped trim. To make that happen I had to draft it as a half skirt so there wouldn't be too many ripples. The adjustable collar is cartridge pleated and finished with a bow (I pressed that collar every single day!) I made a pair of black tights blending the Abby socks with a pattern of my own, the Natsu shorties. Her finishing touches include black pleather, open-finger, bow gloves (for gripping her hoop!) and a fascinator made with paneled rainbows as well. For the Little Clown, I redrafted the Doli tank, blended it with the armholes of the Racerback Dress, and included a middle panel with scallops and buttons as well as a little rainbow flounce. The bloomers are HST quilted to look like a harlequin pattern and her finishing touches include a mini clown hat and Abby socks with rainbow ruffles.

A circus isn't a circus without its Ringleader! I loosely used a Japanese pattern for the actual vest. I changed the slope of the opening, drafted a squared-off collar cut on the bias so it shapes nicely around the curves of the neck, and added two buttons and doubled chain with swivel hook for easy wearing. The built-in cape has an inverted box pleat with opposite colors on the reverse side. Her "tuxedo" shirt is a mash-up of the Vivie dress and the Laramie Top with a Nehru collar so that I could add loops for her rainbow necktie and tiny bias ruffles. I made a pair of stretch velvet Hosh pants with blue bias striping on the sides. I finished my little Ringleader off with a self-drafted mini top hat. I hope you enjoyed the circus collection I made as much as I did making it!

Violets and Jewels - Free Spirit Circus

Welcome to my Circus! It's the first week of this season, and I'm super excited to show you what I have been up to. This weeks theme fit my girls so much, I knew exactly what I was going to make them.


 For my Ring Master, I knew that I wanted to make a light jacket with a very short tail and a romper. I used Lil Luxe Collection Lake Shore Crop as my base for the jacket and drafted a tail to fit the jacket. Also I over extended the front of the jacket to create overlapping pieces. The fabric for the Jacket was a rayon blend, I up-cycled from a dress. Then finding the perfect gold buttons for the jacket took forever. For the romper I used Lil Luxe Collection Santorini shorts and Marina bodice to mash together. This outfit was put together with rayon spandex on top with black kona cotton.

  collage 1_edited-1 

 My Clown- I wanted something girly, so I had to add my touch of chunky lace! The pants pattern base I used was Lil luxe Collection Cali Separates. I gave the waist band an interesting detail to be longer in the center. Then made the same adjustments to the leg pieces. The lace fabric that was chosen had this wonderful tassel to the edge so I used it in the cuff. I wanted these pants to stand out, so not much change to Lil Luxe Collection Swallowtail top, just made it to be a couple inches shorter than the pattern called for.

  collage 2 PRP! 

 If you would like to see more,come visit my blog for more pictures and trials of using sequins.

flat lay Circus

It's Liesel - Big Top Style


Hi! I am so excited to be here for this first week of Project Run and Play. I was overloaded with inspiration for the circus theme, and you might be able to tell :) I tried to capture everything I could think of! I have only been to the circus twice in my life, once as a child, and I don't remember much, and I took my kids once a few years ago. So most of the imagery I have is from pictures and books. A lot of those things are vintage inspired, so that's partly the route I took.

  M Circus full size

The first thing I think of, is the scene. So I literally made a picture of the circus tent, with a beautiful blue sky behind it, and sunshine above. The first dress I made was from this inspiration. I used the bodice of the Felicity pattern from Simple Life Patterns, making small alterations to the fit, so it would nip in at the waist, and then I created a skirt pattern that I imagined would depict the oversized tent, that is classically red and white striped. The extra ruffle in the back is a nod to the bustled look a lot of the vintage circus girls fashionably wore. I love the gold buttons, and the neck ruffle, which both add a little touch of "over-the top" that is everything the circus is about to me! The fabrics I used in this dress were wovens from my local remnant shop, she buys fabric from estate sales, and resells it. I love that I can always find just the right unique fabrics there.

  S circus full size

My second look was inspired by the beautiful costumes that all the performers wear! There are acrobats on horses, magicians assistants, contortionists, and tightrope walkers. Black and lace were the two things I knew I wanted to include in this look. I used the bodice from the Annabelle pattern from Made for Mermaids, and created a circle skirt. The skirt is made from 2 layers of heavy tulle, and a lining layer. The overlay is black and white lace I cut in an asymmetrical design inspired by the irregular lines of circus fashion. There are extra rows of black lace on the top layer of tulle, and flowers on the bodice. I wanted both of my outfits to be things my girls could easily wear in real life, not just for photos, and I think they are both overwhelmingly happy with how these turned out! I hope you love them too. I'll share all the photos and more inspiration on my blog if you'd like to check it out here!


Sew A Straight Line - Circus Sartorial 

I have been looking forward to and working on this week's theme for so long, it's been hard to not share any details until now. As soon as I read "circus", I knew I wanted to do an urban take on a ringmaster look. As I sketched and designed, I also kept coming up with a stylized sideshow look, with more circus-derived elements. I love this theme so much, my brain just couldn't stop with ideas. I was dreaming sewing and design and circus. Narrowing down things to two cohesive looks was almost as challenging as sewing stretch pleather. Almost. I decided to stick with looks for my two middle boys. Boy design is my bread and butter, what I first fell in love with way back eight years ago when I first started trying my hand at this sewing clothes thing. Sewing for older boys meant a more mature, but still fun look. I needed something athletic and casual for my constantly moving nine year old, and something cool but comfortable for my laid back 12 year old. And all of this with a strong circus vibe. So when boys' fashion meets the Big Top, you get Circus Sartorial. 

circus sartorial

First, the sideshow look. I worked in some subtle, and not so subtle elements of circus tents throughout these designs, all while staying true to my son's personal style. This kid of mine loves all things sports and physical challenges. His favorite Christmas present this year was a pull-up bar. He lives in athletic wear. Making a "strong man" look for him just seemed the right thing to do. I started with a basic tank top from Ottobre Designs, issue 4/15, pattern #36. I stuck mostly to the pattern, but wanted to give a nod to a tent shape by colorblocking the back yoke in a triangle shape. It's subtle, as the colorblocking is solid black on the black-based fabric. But it's there. The fabric itself is a beautiful tattoo print knit, which seemed perfect for the classic circus attractions of illustrated men and strong men. I carried the triangle/tent them down onto the joggers. Starting with Ottobre 1/17 #34 for the basic shape, I altered the pattern a great deal. Circus tent triangles are both at the back yoke with the contrasting fabric (really just the reverse of the rest of the pant fabric) and then some fun and functional zippered pockets at the front and back of the one leg. I matched the pockets at the seam, so that they line up, forming the tent shape. I extended the legs of the pattern down to the ankle and added gathered/elastic cuffs, though we pulled them up mid calf for the shoot because they just look cool that way. Finally, the jacket. He's been asking me for a hoodie for a while, so why not a big top hoodie? Big red and white stripes recall the classic circus tent look. The pattern started as Ottobre 4/17 #36, but I changed up the pockets. And then, because what's a circus without a little magic, I made the whole thing fully reversible. This took so much more thinking and time than I thought it would, but I'm so happy I did it. He thinks it's the coolest, and the solid grey reverse will go great with everything in his wardrobe. Finally, I felt like the jacket needed something to break up the stripes a little bit. Searching online for circus images, I came across the Chinese symbols for "circus", and they just look so rad. I asked my sister to confirm with her Chinese mother-in-law that they really did say "circus", but she was out of town. So here's hoping. Maybe they say "cheeseburger brain"? Either way, I absolutely love how the characters turned out. I just used freezer paper and fabric paint, but it brought the whole jacket up a notch, and added another subtle (to non-Chinese speakers) nod to the big top. 

jonas circus 

And now, the main event! This look was what I envisioned from the very beginning, and I'm pretty giddy that it turned out just as my brain hoped it would. Good job, brain! I'm going to start from the bottom up. First, the jeans. I stuck very much to pattern on these, Ottobre 1/16 #36. I changed the pockets just a bit, to tie in with the triangle/tent theme of his brother's look. They are made from a high-quality black stretch denim I'd been saving for myself. Oh well. I added a leather patch at the back with the Chinese circus characters to mimic those on the hoodie for my other boy. My biggest challenge with the jeans was getting a good fit on this ridiculously skinny kid. I had to redraft a size 156 in length to a 134 in width. I'm very happy with the fit, and so is he. He was shocked when he realized he could wear them without a belt, and with no adjustable elastic at the waist. Hurray for tailored clothing! The tee. I wanted a basic white tee, so started with Ottobre 4/15 #38. I changed the neckline, shortened the sleeves, then added folded sleeve hems that were topstitched into place. I had him look online for a circus poster image he liked, then we used InkoDye to add it to the tee. That stuff is the coolest. My dad was at my house when we did it, and he has put in a request for one now. Finally, the jacket. Oh, the jacket! This is what I've been dreaming about and obsessing over for weeks now. I wanted a ringmaster look, but I didn't want to go costumey. It was a huge challenge, and I sketched and resketched over and over and over. Finally, while watching Westworld, I was inspired by Hector's leather jacket. I loved the horizontal strips, studded on either side with large snaps, and cropped short to hit at the top of the pants. My final design for the jacket was a mashup of the Westworld jacket and a classic ringmaster's coat. I used Ottobre 1/15 #40 for the jacket fit and and construction details. But I changed things up quite a bit. I completely redrafted the front, increasing the center front panels across most of the body, and omitting the bottom waistband. I drafted a mandarin-type collar. I did reverse applique with contrasting burgundy faux leather layered below the black stretch pleather. Each strip is ended at the side with a metal snap, attached as a stud. I added chevrons to the zip-cuff sleeves, top and bottom, bringing in some more ringmaster-esque details. Finally, the jacket is fully lined with soft knit interlock to make it comfortable and very wearable. My son told me this is his most favorite thing I have ever sewn for him. Ever. The whole look is tailored and clean, a modern streetwear ringmaster. 

seth 2 circus 

Both looks together give the circus vibe, while maintaining full urban style and wearability. Big top details meet modern fashion trends. Circus Sartorial.  Many more detailed pictures on my blog at Sew a Straight Line.


Candice Ayala - The Greatest Showgirl

It's Week 1 of Project Run and Play Season 16 and I'm so honored and excited to be sharing this journey with so many talented Designers and Bloggers! When I was first invited to join the challenge, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about competition sewing, but I was really excited about the challenge of sewing for themes and experiencing this sort of unique journey with 5 other people, so I totally said YES! I also loved the idea that this was something my 6 year old daughter and I could do together. She revels in the fact that she has a say in all the things I sew for her, so I knew this would be a great way to create some lasting memories for us. 

This week's theme is circus! If you already follow me on social medial, you know just how serendipitous this felt! Abigail, has been obsessed with The Greatest Showman movie, particularly Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum for months! At first…I thought it was just a crush…but it’s so much more than that, she not only likes him, SHE WANTS LITERALLY WANTS TO BE HIM! (I've shared some examples of her in action on my blog). So, there was really no guessing where her inspiration would would from. I’m really big on upcycling and cost effective fabric purchases, and with my Upcycling Challenge happening simultaneously, its no surprise this entire outfit is upcycled! TOTAL COST: $24 including the cotton couture solid black fabric used for the jacket lining and iron on appliques on sleeves. While I was afraid that the outfit would look more like a costume than a regular outfit, I realized that costumes translate as regular outfits for my daughter normally, so I went with it! She's worn it everywhere since then! 

The outfit has total of four pieces. The faux vest is an original draft, but listed below are patterns I used for starting points and borrowed elements for the coat, the top and the pants.:
The Coat: The Phresh Blazer by Winter Wear Designs
The Top: The Brielle Blouse by Rebecca Page Patterns and,
The Pants: The underpants pattern included in my own Spirited Dress pattern. You can find more pictures, detailed sketches of my modifications and a more elaborate breakdown of each piece on my blog. Hope you enjoyed seeing my circus inspired make as much as enjoyed creating it.

Mabey She Made It - Send In The Clowns

I can’t believe I get to be a designer this season along with these other amazing designers. And I’m so excited to show you my circus-themed outfits. I had so much fun creating looks based on one of the most classic elements of a circus—the clowns! They’re fun, joyful, and entertaining—and I’m talking about the clothing and my little clowns.


My first look is a Kelly green and white polka dot peplum and leggings with just enough flare to remind you of a clown. After making the fabric (because I couldn’t find what I was looking for anywhere else), I added a ruffle collar, double half-circle skirt, bow, and exposed zipper to what started off as a Caroline Party Dress from Mouse House Creations. I also extended the bodice to hit at her natural waist. I paired it with some capri-length leggings with an added flounce to echo the silhouette of the peplum and clown collars and pant legs but in a more subtle way.


For my second look, I wanted to channel a mime so I took some thrifted women’s pants and used the Linden Shorts from Sew a Little Seam with some alterations to “make them work.” I paired the Kelly green with gingham for a more playful look and added some suspenders. Then I made a muscle tee with black binding to complete the look. Whew! I have lots more details and fun shots over at mabeyshemadeit.com, so come on over!

Voting remains open until 8 pm EST.  

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  1. Hard to choose, as they all have wonderful elements.

  2. Everyone of them came out beautifully...hard to vote for just one. This is a wonderful sewing challenge!

  3. This was sooooo hard - awesome job everyone!!

  4. LOVE all the creations! Do NOT love the ads that pop up and cover the pictures. :(

  5. Sew a Straight Line, yes that's circus in chinese!

  6. woaaaaah how do you choose?!? Show stopping, mamas!!

  7. these all look great! love seeing the different ideas!

  8. Sooooo awesome. All the looks are fantastic. What an amazing start of the season!

  9. nice latest stuff i like all the outfits and want to buy for my little girl.

    Sandals For Girls

  10. Enjoyed seeing all the beautiful and thoughtful creations!


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