Friday, February 1, 2013

Project Run&Play Week #4: Love is in the Air

Butterfly Kisses: Past and Present
First, WOW, just wow - I am so thankful for all the amazing comments, love, and support you have all been sending my way... I am so happy to still be here and to be sharing with you again today!

All right - on to the design...

This week was a week of realizing that just because an idea seems awesome in your head doesn't mean that it will translate into practical clothing for kids.  Part of what I struggled with in attempting to realize my original idea was the fact that I had no personal connection to it, it was becoming borderline costume and that wasn't what I wanted.
I am not a huge 'holiday-wear' sewer, but I fell in love with the theme of 'love is in the air'.  Once I scrapped my original plans of WWII airplanes, I stumbled upon this gorgeous butterfly material while organizing my stash to make room for my best friend to come visit for the weekend, and the light bulb clicked and my 'AhHA!' moment made me smile.
You see, my grandmother always called me her butterfly and I never doubted her love for me, my daddy always gave me butterfly kisses before bed and I knew he loved me, and the material came from a skirt my mom passed to me for my stash - and there will never be a person who loves me in the same way as my mom.  My husband has recently taught our boys how to give butterfly kisses, and at night they will not let us leave the room without calling out 'fly, fly' as they ask for a butterfly kiss.  To me this is love; wrapped in one word, in one action, this is what I want to remember -  my cherub cheeked babies calling out for one more 'fly' and closing their eyes comforted in the sweet blanket of love.

This design is a nod to the past and present to represent these generations of love.  The base is a sweet empire waist dress with heart keyhole back, french seams, and flutter-by sleeves; and bloomers with bitty bows and hand stitched flying butterfly.  The 'past' look is a jacket with a nod to vintage patterns, fully lined with triple pleating in the back, gathered sleeves,  and little bows that echo the butterfly theme.  The 'present' look is a more modern cropped wrap sweater with fluttering butterflies on the shoulder.
This is my first look of the season that uses all 'upcycled' fabrics... and this too feeds into the 'past and present' nature of this week's design.

Layers of Love:
The Dress-  I loved the idea of Loving The Mommyhood's Sweatheart dress when I saw it on FB a while back (when I first noticed it, there was a  tutorial, but they have since created a pattern and there is a whole group of people showing off the pattern in the blog-o-sphere),  I will probably buy this pattern down the road for baby girl, but for now in her crawling baby stage, I'm not sure I want that much of an open back.  As I sew for and dress my insanely long baby (she is currently over 31 inches long at 9 months old), I have discovered that high waist lines just look best on her, they also giver her the ease of all the wriggly-giggly movement she does on a moment by moment basis.
So, I created a very high wasted empire dress with  a square neck line and a small keyhole opening in the back in the shape of a heart with a gathered skirt and flutter-by sleeves.
The bodice is fully lined and hand sewn on the inside to create a beautiful finish with no visible seams.  I cut the bodice on the bias to allow it just enough give to make it easy to get on and off baby girl, I also love how it changes the flight pattern of the butterflies.  The key hole closes with a hook and thread eye - it didn't pop open at all during our photoshoot so I think we are good to go, I didn't want anything to distract from the heart shape.  The skirt has french seams and a rolled hem.  The sleeves are what I am calling 'flutter-by' sleeves, because as a child that is what I called butterflies - they are simple flutter sleeves with a slight gather and a squared edge and they make me think of spring and sunshine.

The Bloomers-  If I didn't love the dress so much, I would say that these bloomers are my favorite thing ever.  They are made out of a very soft, light weight knit Tshirt and are comfy and breathable.  I added casings to the leg holes made out of the butterfly material to tie back to the dress and then couldn't stop myself from adding a little bow on each side.  The waistband is elastic and is finished with the twin needle.  The leg holes are also finished with a twin needle, for the top stitching I used light thread in the needle on the butterfly side and dark thread in the needle on the knit side - I know no one but me will ever notice these details, but they make me happy.

The Jacket-  For the jacket I started with Schwin and Schwin's Black Bird pattern because I could see the lines in it to create the vintage inspired swing coat I had in mind.  I looked in my stash and my hand landed on this beautiful velvet sleeveless top.  Mmmmmmm velvet, lush, rich, vintage-y fabric.  But velvet, my friends, is the mean nasty Siren of fabrics.  She lures you in with her pretty 'pet me' pile, and then laughs in your face as she slips and moves and frays and CAN NOT BE PRESSED!!!  Wait, what?!!?!  OK, she can be pressed, if you have a pin board or want to risk the towel method.   But since I was cutting this out of a SLEEVELESS fitted women's top, I had no spare material to potentially scar.  In the end, I love this jacket, and I love the velvet, but it may be a long long time before I touch the stuff again.
Ok - the jacket has puff sleeves with velvet casings.  For the back of the jacket I really wanted a detail that fit into the butterfly theme, and landed on a triple pleat.  The lining is gathered to give fullness that forces the pleats open.  I added a bow just above the pleat to lighted up the darkness of the velvet and to tie in to the sleeves.  The front yolk fastens with two snaps and has another bow detail.  The jacket is fully lined with the butterfly fabric and hand stitched at the hem.  I chose to top stitch around the front and neck since I could not press the lining flat (whyohwhyohwhyvelvet?!?!?!?).  I really do love this jacket, it is so cute!!!  But beware the call of velvet my friends!

The Wrap Sweater-  I knew I wanted a simple knit sweater for the 'present' version of this look.  Looking at the dress I realized that a cropped wrap sweater would be perfect.  I drafted a basic pattern that wraps across the front and ties in the back.  The hem and neck line are finished with the twin needle.  The tie of the under layer of the wrap feeds through a button hole so that both ties are on the outside in the back.  This sweater brings me back to my days of dancing as a child and again in college.  I added the subtle butterflies to the shoulder as a small detail to give the sweater some texture (they are made out of heart shaped pieces and there are 5 in all - smooshed together they look like flowers which also works perfectly).  Now I just need to make one of these for me ;o) *the hem on the sleeves is a re-use of the original hem on the shirt.

*The Dress and Wrap Sweater are my own pattern designs.
*The Bloomers - Once again pulling out Simplicity 0291 as a basic bloomer, adapted to add the fabric casing, bows, and hand stitched detailing.
*The Jacket - I used Schwin and Schwin's Blackbird Tunic as a base for this jacket.  I enlarged the yolk and adapted the pattern to have an asymmetrical closure down the front, full lining, added sleeves, incorporated a triple pleat in the back, and added bows.

And here is more of our 'Past and Present' photoshoot - I love my baby girl so much!

Dada's hands will always keep her safe 

(I think this is my favorite picture of all,
one guess as to who she is looking at in such adoration!)

Click Here to VOTE for your favorite - and if you get the chance, hug your kids close and tell them you love them with a butterfly kiss!


  1. BABE! WHAT! This is amazing! Could your inspiration be any sweeter? I swear I had tears in my eyes when you were explaining about the butterflies and then you're gorgeous little boys!

    And also the pieces you came up with! I love them all! SO MUCH! Oh my gosh. I can't gush enough, I love the fabrics, I love the dress {I've always wanted to do a sweetheart-inspired dress too!} the little bloomers, THE VELVET JACKET!??!?!

    I've never sewn with velvet, but I know that you are very brave!

    And that little cropped wrap ballet type jacket? oh my goodness! Eddie had a pink one when she was little and I loved it, but it was too hot here for her to wear it and so she outgrew it. But this! this is a million times better than her bought one.

    Oh man Mrs Winter. You've blown me away :D

  2. i love it!! i love how the details of the dress; the pattern, the GREEN VELVET!, applique, bows, HEART CUT OUT and linings all complement the original simple dress. it really could not be cuter. fantastic job!!

  3. I love the fabric! You did such an amazing job! I Love the dress wrap sweater too and those flowers on it look adorable! :D

  4. The sentiment, the color pallet, the details...all are amazing! Glad you had to do a re-do, if only to come up with this amazing outfit!

  5. Oh, this is so sweet! I love the story around your choice of fabrics and the patterns. Such a great look, and all pieces are so nice. Great job!

  6. I really love the dress, something about it is so "romantic". Great job

  7. I love your color choice for this challenge, Suzanne. So unexpected. Perfect! Adorable look. (The ballet wrap sweater is my favorite!)

  8. So love the swing jacket and dress, just beautiful and the details, wow!

  9. This is a gorgeous outfit! I love the story behind it, and all the sweet little details. Beautiful. =)

  10. Beautiful! Love the whole outfit, the bloomers might be my favorite. :)

  11. I also got a little teary reading your story. My youngest literally gasped when she saw your entry. The butterfly on the bum sealed the deal.