Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Season 18 Week 3 - Celebrations Around the World

Prepare to travel around the world!  This week, the designers have quite a celebration for you.
Be sure to VOTE at the end of the post, these talented ladies deserve your support for their hard work!

The Crafting Fiend - Of Knights and Dragons

Wow, I cannot believe it is Week 3 already! For my celebration, I went super vintage; Say hello to St. George's day! St. George is the patron saint of England and my husband is from England. It is still a provincial holiday in Newfoundland, and I am Canadian! In England and many other countries, this holiday is celebrated in April. The legend of Saint George and the Dragon describes how the saint tamed and slayed a dragon in constant demand of human sacrifices.  St. George rescued a princess from her fate, even though the townspeople hadn't wanted to help her. For my look, I channeled my inner fashion designer and worked to interpret this story into fashion-forward pieces which tell a story together but also wear and look great as a separates in their wardrobes.

For Cheeks, the fierce dragon slayer, I made a dress and jacket. The dress is a base bodice and sleeve from the Sis Boom Gabriella Fae pattern in a woven cotton called London's Calling by RK from Cali Fabrics, and the corduroy fabric from my mom's stash matches perfectly. I raised the neckline of both the front and back bodice and used a different construction method with the double skirt and a perfectly matching green visible zipper. I incorporated piecing, so, I could have that armour-inspired look of hard lines and symmetry; the flat piping in each paper-pieced section reinforces the vision of a knight’s armour, but is still simple and wearable. On the skirt’s top layer, I sewed a split front to replicate a split on a knight’s skirted armour (for ease in riding a horse.)  The rose fabric is representative of wearing a red rose on St. George’s Day, which is also why the bottom layer of the dress is red corduroy. (And because it feels like deep winter in Canada, corduroy is just practical.) The denim jacket is based off the Lil Luxe Moto Jacket. The only pieces I did not change were a front side piece and the back. I heavily modified the front to represent armour with  the cross-over front sections. For the bottom skirted piece, it strengthens (see what I did there??) the idea of armour and acts as a kid-friendly military-inspired piece. I did lengthen the back for more of a hi-lo hemline to allow for a lovely side- and back-view silhouette. On the sleeves, I sewed shoulder and sleeve armour plating-inspired pieces and a crest in the center to represent the famous St. George shield. I did not want to add any other colour or fills to the jacket, as I wanted my daughter to be able to wear it with other clothing, and I knew the solid gray would do the job well. I found the jeweled buttons at a thrift store and had to use them on this piece because a knight of his status would have had a little bling to entice a dragon!

I kept the dragon's look to a pants and shirt combo.  Both of these pieces can be worn by my older daughter together or as separates in her everyday wardrobe.  As separates, they definitely work well for the tween age she has almost reached, and together, they have a great understated effect as an imagined dragon.  The top is the Hey June Hattaras pattern made in french terry from Cali Fabrics.  I added scales to the top and the sleeve cuffs.  At the side seams, the lines bring the back around to the front for her dragon-inspired look.  I altered the pattern for a cozy sweater fit, but needed to modify for sizing, as she is tall and slim.  The pants are the Sis Boom Katie pattern for the base.  I narrowed the pants for a slim fit, removing the flare and used  gorgeous green stretch corduroy I got from Cali Fabrics, which is perfect for our Canandian temperatures and is durable for school and play wear.  On the back of the pants, I added darts for a better fit and I also sewed buttonhole elastic, to further adjust for longer wear.  Around the pockets, I added green spikes for more dragon's armor and to have continuity with the shirt while keeping everything fashion-forward and wearable as a separate.  
You can see more picture and my own thoughts on this week's look on my BLOG POST, and follow me on INSTAGRAM for further updates with my sewing!

Made by Toya - Birthday Dress(up)


Celebrations around the world seemed like a great excuse to make some party outfits.  We celebrated my youngest daughter's birthday this weekend so that seemed like the perfect (and most practical) choice of celebration.  I tend to make a birthday outfit of her choice every year anyway and more often than not she chooses a costume, which I interpret to make as wearable as possible (last year's was a shark hoodie and mermaid leggings!)  This year she requested a hawk dress which I did my best to interpret into something that could have multi-purpose wear but also the flamboyant make-believe fun factor I know she appreciates.  I decided to go with a simple dress that could be paired with a cape that serve as wings (or a simple jacket or jumper on other occasions) and chose a colour scheme that drew inspiration from a hawk but was also aesthetically pleasing.


For the dress I used the bodice from the Oliver+S Fairytale dress as a starting point, but lowered the neckline and curved the front waistline.  The fabric for the under layer of the dress is upcycled from a silk/cotton blouse found in a charity shop.  The top layer of the dress is some supersoft illusion tulle in a pinky beige colour.  I added extra pleats to the bodice in the top layer at the waistline to create texture and interest, and more gathers for the skirt section.  The bottom edge is left raw on the tulle to create a more weightless feel and finished with a standard hem on the lining layer.  The back is fastened with an invisible zip.  For the wings I created the shape with a single piece of tulle and stitched on a cotton section for the upper wing.  The texture of the lower wing was created by sewing lines of gathered tulle strips onto the tulle base layer.  For the upper wing I cut up strips of different colour fabric (including some of the fabric used for the dress) and cut them into feather shapes.  I did this by concertina folding the strips and cutting out the feather shape like a people paper chain.  I then stitched these on to the top section of the wings in alternating layers but working from the lighter to the darker shades.  The neckline is finished with bias binding with a button closure.  The wings can be worn loose as a cape, but also have small elastic loops on the inside for the wrists so they can also be played with as wings.


So my older daughter didn't feel left out, (even though it's not her birthday until the summer) I made a more classic party outfit that could be worn at any special occasion (but also mixed in with her general clothes.)  The dress is self drafted to create a classic bodice that is fitted but not tight with collar, turned up cuffs and a gathered skirt.  The fabric is a lovely cream crepe with gold finish, bought at my local fabric store.  Again I used an invisible zip closure and went for a raw edge finish at the bottom hem to contrast with the classic style.  The raw edge is actually the selvedge edge, so whilst it has a 'frayed edge' feel it isn't actually frayed and won't degrade with time or washing.  It is paired with a pink jumper made from cotton french terry using Megan Nielsen's Mini Briar Top.  I pretty much used the pattern as is, but softened the curve on the high-low hem to make it less exaggerated.  The lion design is hand painted on in fabric paint and came about (because she didn't want a hawk!) as her birthday falls in the summer making her a Leo.  The bomber jacket is again self-drafted, made in a lovely shade of pink velvet (again found at my local fabric shop.)  Making welt pockets in velvet is not up on my list of favourite things to do, but I was determined that the jacket should have them.  To break up all that pink I used black cotton ribbing at the neckline and some lovely striped black, gold and cream rib at the waist and wrists.  The lining is a scrap of fine cotton lawn I had left over from another project.

DSC_3349 (1)

If you'd like to read more about the process please head over to my blog.

Art Bella Creates - Viva the Rainbow Nation


Week 3 is here and I am so very glad to still be here - Thank you!  This is my favorite week - Celebrations around the world.  You didn't doubt me picking South Africa, did you?  I was very fortunate to be right in the middle of the action (I was in matric/senior in High School) when South Africa became the Rainbow Nation.  Unfortunately 6 months short of voting age but exciting nonetheless  Freedom day - 27 April Freedom day in South Africa celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post apartheid elections held on that day in 1994.  The elections were the first non-racial national elections where every one of voting age (18 years and older) including foreign citizens permanently residing in South Africa, were allowed to vote. "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others" - Nelson Mandela

collageweek31PicMonkey Collage 

 So much thought and emotions went into this outfit so I will try and take it piece by piece.  South Africa is very rich in Art and have very vibrant creative people, so I went big on color (just like I like it)  The Jumpsuit - South Africa went from a 3 color flag to a very vibrant 6 color flag in 1994 to represent the people as a new nation so for my jumpsuit I used a golden yellow (South Africa is known for gold, in fact my dad worked in a gold mine all of his life and I grew up in a miners town,)  white and black linen.  If you look at the flag you see where the two green lines from the outer corners joins and become one (which represents the people from South Africa before apartheid and the togetherness as one after 1994) I replicated the symbolism of that in the bodice with the color blocking.  To add a bit of blue I added denim.  Patterns used was the Friday dress by Petit a Petit and the Graphite trousers by Made by Toya. (two great patterns collided) I used the short sleeve version and for the pants I took away the pleat and widened the bottom legs quite a bit.  I finished the whole suit and my girlie loved it, but it felt very boyish to me with the sleeves so a week after finishing it, I decided to just chop them off and used the gathering method that is used in the LOL swing top to make the fit perfect around the shoulder blades.  There is snaps so she can get it off easy at school and belt loops for THE BELT the belt, the belt, how I love the belt.  I think it's my most favorite part.  I hand embroidered( Hand embroidery is very popular amongst South African women) those colorful geometric freehand shapes on black linen over the past ten days, during piano-, dance lessons and netflix and I am so glad I started early enough and finished.  Fully interfaced so it goes through the buckle and stays in and it is still easy for her to get on.  The Jacket - Oi this was my challenge piece.  Bella saw and fell in love with a navy blue adult version at the J. crew outlet and I thought how awesome a velvet green and gold bomber jacket would be to go with this week.  (If you earn National colors for sport in South Africa you earn your green and gold jacket)  So I got the green non-stretch velvet for the outer part and it was so hard to find.  I hoard African fabric like its nobodies business and these zebras was perfect for lining.  I should have just used a pattern but I wanted a specific look so I used my block to draft and cut the fabric.  Fully lined, metal zippers with the pockets and I could not for the life of me find ribbing to go with it for the collar and had a genius idea of using gold and black wide elastic and it worked out brilliantly.  I used the moto jacket pattern by Jennuine design to check my fit and proportions, struggled with that zipper on velvet about a thousand times but succeeded, added my label and a hook to hang it on and voila.

  collageweek3PicMonkey Collage

The skirt was a self-drafted 10 panel skirt, with flat panel in the front and elastic in the back waistband with leather belt loops WITH POCKETS (YAY) and horse hair braid in the hem.  Again the fabric was some ankara out of my stash with the perfect colors to represent the flag.  Blue was missing so I made a fitted blue Shirt to match.  I also finally perfected the flounce I have been wanting to make on the shirt (I'll have to make a tutorial for that) and even changed all my serger thread to royal blue to make the lettuce hem around 2 layers of flounce and my insides all were blue. Accessories - I got so inspired with this outfit that I made some leather and seedbead earrings and bracelet/necklace to compliment the outfit ( beads are very popular to use in crafts as well as hand embroidery amongst South African women) Made her a head wrap, watched a couple of youtube videos on how to get the headwrap on and she was ready to take pictures.  This has been the hardest outfit to keep clean and not have her wear it outside to spoil the reveal so now she can finally wear it. You can find more pictures on my blog here I hope this outfit makes you as joyful to look at as it does me.  VIVA the RAINBOW Nation ( Viva means Long Live)


Girl Like the Sea - Record Store Day

Record store day according to wikipedia: Record Store Day is an annual event inaugurated in 2008 and held on one Saturday every April and every "Black Friday" in November to "celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store". The day brings together fans, artists, and thousands of independent record stores across the world. A number of records are pressed specifically for Record Store Day, with a unique list of releases for each country, and are only distributed to shops participating in the event. The event began in the United States and remains headquartered there. Record Store Day has official international organizers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Australia, and Spain.

  There may have been some more obvious celebrations to sew for, but my very first idea was what I circled back to.  Music has been a very special part of life for my husband and I (we met on a U2 fan site in 2005!) and also a special part of our family culture.  We've taken our young kids to several record store days, and shopped in eclectic record shops all over the country with them in tow.  I love showing up for record store day and eagerly waiting in line to get in.  It draws all sorts of people together.  Nerds.  Punks.  Hipsters.  Millennials who just want an instagram selfie (true story. I'm talking about you, chick behind me in line last time!) hip hop fans, old and young, classical music fans and pop junkies.  Most people are hunting a limited pressing from a band they love, and hoping they'll be the one to snag it and lovingly take it home to look at the album art, place it carefully on their turntable, and enjoy the rich sounds of vinyl.  We're technically more connected to anything and everything we want at this point in history, but disconnected from each other, from the sources of what we consume, from seeing and experiencing people and things in person.  The act of choosing a record to listen to, taking it from its sleeve in your hands and hearing the needle settle into its groove, watching it spin around before your eyes as the magic of sound from a piece of plastic fills the room, is so personal and so real.  Kind of like (segue alert!) taking a pile of fabric or fibers and experiencing the magic of seeing it turn into something.  Ok, so having said all that. I took the idea of record store day and thought about how people often go to music related events wanting to reveal their identity through their clothes.  Who they are, what they like, who their tribe is. There's often an aesthetic or a statement being made.


 For Violet, I made an alternative rock inspired look with electric blue tiger moto jacket, Thom Yorke portrait tee, rayon challis vest, black denim short shorts, and hand knitted wool slouchy beanie.  The jacket is made from a gorgeous natural fiber ponte from my local fabric shop (didn't know you could even find non-poly ponte!)  I'm a fan of using natural fibers and try to stick to that as part of my palette, so to speak.  Starting with the Hey June conifer jacket, I dreamed up an electric blue tiger to light up the back.  I hand cut a stencil and used screenprinting ink in darker and lighter tones to make it look like it was shimmering.  Violet is patiently impatiently waiting to have this jacket released for general wear once this post goes live.  It's enviably comfy looking.  Kids.  They get all the best clothes!  I used some of our personal stash of old band buttons to embellish the jacket.  There's definitely some memory lane happening there for me.   Her tee is a modified flashback skinny tee with a giant Thom Yorke (Radiohead) portrait I designed in three tones with individual stencil layers I added one on top of the other.  I wanted it to look like a street art poster you might see on a post downtown.  It's possible that when this doesn't fit any of the kids I might attach the graphic to something of mine.  Ha.  We listen to quite a bit of radiohead on vinyl here.  In Rainbows is exceptional!   The short shorts are a modded version of the Oliver and S sketchbook shorts in black denim. Violet prefers her tees very fitted for sensory comfort and her shorts very short.  She's super happy with this whole outfit!   The vest is a modified Oliver and S pattern with the neckline scooped out and the back hem dropped lower.  I was looking going for a 90's era kind of vibe with it.  Violet chose the rayon challis mushroom fabric from cotton and steel specifically to go with her look.


For Hawthorne I was looking for more of a retro indie rock band boy feel.  The color palette needed to say throwback and modern at the same time, and I was stuck on the idea of rust pants and a black floral top.  My husband walked in while I was sewing the floral buttondown for Hawthorne, and said "that looks like floral....for a dude?!" and I was like "yeah, a HIP dude!"   Thankfully I was able to find this very delicate and manly beautiful japanese lawn fabric for his top, which is delightfully throwback.  I added a detachable hand printed patch to the back for his fake band "the electric gorgons."  My kids are all obsessed with Greek mythology and I thought they'd get a kick out of that.  Instead of snakes coming from most of the head I added lightning bolts.  Now both kids have a jolt of electricity on their backs.  And there was no way I couldn't add mother of pearl snaps to this top.  In fact I made a night time trip to the local fabric shop to get snaps and nothing else because I felt so convicted about this.  haha.  Omg, Hawthorne.  You're just too handsome in this.  Stop!  Unfortunately I added a detail that you just cant see because of the print, and I'm regretting not adding piping to accentuate the western style shoulder points I sewed on to the front yoke.  A tiny floral pattern apparently doesn't really change visually when cut on the bias.  The front pocket is totally invisible too!  The rust slim fit pants are made in a Kaufman corduroy, a perennial favorite of mine.  Always great quality. I modified the Oliver and S art museum trouser to have a different fit overall, but the same general cute old man aesthetic with the welt pockets and darts.  I love the mix of classic and modern, and this outfit definitely came out that way.


Thank you for another week of creative sewing!  If you'd like to see more up close photos head to girllikethesea.org or my instagram  Also if you'd like to learn about surface noise, which is a beautiful byproduct of the aging of vinyl records, head here.

Now it's your turn to vote! Use the widget below to cast your vote. 

The designer's score is determined as follows: 

1/3 of the score is based on YOUR vote
 1/3 of the score by this week's celebrity guest judge Cindy, owner of Riley Blake Designs
1/3 of the score comes from the panel of judges

Related Posts


  1. This was the hardest voting week in recent memory. All greats designs!

  2. Oh my gosh! It's getting harder to vote every week. This week was really tough.

  3. Wow, those were all fantastic entries! Love the tributes to countries of heritage!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.