Friday, May 31, 2013

Project Sewn Season One Results!!!

When we decided to launch Project Run and Play's sister site, we were a bit nervous to do it.  Would anyone follow us over here?  Would we be able to get designers to sew and photograph themselves for 4 weeks straight and want to be in a competition all at the same time? And would this happen or that happen (there were a million bad thoughts flying around on random emails)....
But Season One is over, we have had fantastically terrific designers (seriously impressive!) and they have made Season One a pleasure to be a part of.  These six talented women put themselves out there, made a total of 18 full and complete outfits (that were perfectly fitted--not the easiest of tasks) have done full photo shoots and have inspired so many of us. 
Haven't you been so inspired this season? 
So, to those six women who took a chance on a new project....thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.  And I think they were all having fun in the process....we did get to peek in on some fantastic emails about how they were all having to grab pants when doorbells rang after sewing in their skivvies to be able to try things on at a moment's notice.  So, thanks for being great really is what we pictured when we took on such a project.
And now for the results......
First place in both readers' votes and contestants' scoring is......

Sophie from Cirque du Bebe

 who will be winning:
$125 from Jo Totes
$125 from Fabric Mart
1 year subscription to Vogue Fabrics Monthly Fashion Club

Our second place winner is Andrea from Four Square Walls
 who has won:
$100 Fabric Bundle from Andover Fabrics
$83--1 year subscription to Ottobre Designs

And last but not least, our 3rd place winner is Jessica from The Sewing Rabbit
  who has won:
2 pattern pack from Sewaholic Patterns $36

Congratulations to all of our finalists!  It has been an incredible first season.
And now, one more item of business...we need to find a Sew-Along winner!  Head HERE to vote for your favorite sew-along signature style.
Have a wonderful weekend....see you back on Monday!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Time to Vote: Signature Looks!

We can't believe it, but the final week of Project Sewn Season 1 is here...and it is time to vote!  All of the ladies this season have worked so hard and produced such spectacular looks---and this week is where they are showcasing their personal design styles.  Thanks to each one of them for a fantastic first season!!! Remember that voting is one vote per computer (IP address) and good luck to all!  We will be announcing the winners of each of the prize packages on Friday morning!

Four Square Walls--Stripe Hype
A dress! It had to be a dress. It's a rare day when you find me wearing jeans, and if I am, I'm probably complaining about it. I'm not a frilly dresser, though, so I try to keep my look casual and subdued while still being feminine and interesting. This pinstriped black & white chambray fabric would make a handsome men's shirt, but I wanted to play with the placement of the stripes and make a fit-and-flare women's dress that I could wear for various occasions and, most importantly, pair with different color belts. I'm always belted up. Yesterday I wore my new dress with sandals to have a picnic in the park and I thought it was perfect. Of course, everyone else in the park was wearing athletic spandex and tennis shoes but that's my style story: always slightly overdressed and yet never really caring.
I started with Vogue 8665 because I liked the princess seams and cap sleeves. I lowered the front neckline a bit so I wouldn't choke, and cut the side front and side back on the bias. The pattern extends all the way down into a flared skirt, but I cut my pieces at the waistline and added my own quarter-ish circle skirt. For more stripey fun, I added a 3" band of horizontal stripes at the hem. It gives the skirt some structure and weight. The only matching zipper I had wasn't long enough to reach from the back of the neckline to the widest part of the hip, so I just lowered the neckline in the back a few inches. It's a regular zipper but I hand-picked it so the stitches are basically invisible. I finished the neckline and armholes with bias tape. Red bias tape, because I could.
See more photos on four square walls. Thanks everyone!
The Sewing Rabbit--Sentimental Liberty
This week's Signature Look is rather sentimental for me. You see, the whole reason I accepted the challenge of Project Sewn was because I wanted it to push me. As a children's apparel designer and seamstress, I rarely sew for myself. I always considered it to be too challenging, all of the different curves and shapes we as women have - they are much different then the typical children's box shape patterns. It wasn't until recently that I had really started dabbling in sewing for myself, and enjoying the results. So when Liz & Elizabeth asked me to be in Season One, I accepted with nervous trepidation. For personal reasons, I chose to sew the Simplicity Lisette 2246 Pattern. I remember seeing it about 6 months back when a friend of mine had sewn it and thinking - 'Wow, she is so talented. I could never do that'. I could, and I would. Taking it a step further I used some Liberty of London fabric that my husband brought back for me from a work trip to England, which had been sitting on a shelf ever since because I was too scared to cut into it. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, and do it well. My ultimate Project Sewn challenge.

1 Meter. That was all I had to make this dress work.  I altered the pattern by extending the front of the dress to include all of the gorgeous pintuck pleating. I liked the idea of keeping the pleats open at the neckline, it gives it a more carefree look. I also shortened the sleeves and included a fun upwards fold with button closure.  The belt is a simple satin ribbon that lends itself to the femininity of the dress, which I love.  With fabric this gorgeous, I wanted to create a dress that had simple finishing details to really show off its beauty.

I have been so honored to be here on Project Sewn and to have been able to sew along with these incredible ladies. It has pushed me into a whole new direction with my sewing, and I am so very thankful to all who encouraged me along the way. Project Sewn has shown me that I can sew women's clothes, and sew them well, which has blessed me in a way unlike anything else. Thank you to all who voted for me to be here. For more photos and all of the detail, you can visit the blog here.  

Cirque du Bebe-- A Chevron Kind of Love
When it comes to personal style, I'm no guru but I know what I like. I'm inspired by color, deeply committed to prints and geometric patterns and love surprising textures together. And if it were possible to sew all these style loves together then I'd have my dream outfit! And that's how it came together, piece by piece. I had the idea for this woven chevron skirt pre-Project Sewn but no clues on how to actually make it. The fabric is a hand-loomed cotton, which without being able to feel it, is a thick and woven, gnarly sort of texture, probably made for home dec and not minis. I literally had the weeniest remnant of 45" x  24" to play with (there are no real scraps left) and make a four-pieced skirt, join the panels into a chevron at the front and an exposed metal zip down the back. I drafted the pattern based off a skirt of mine, added darts at the back, a silk lining and blanket stitched the hem with a contrast thread. Lining up stripes is not something I've had much experience with, let alone lining them up on fabric 2/8" thick! It was totally wayward and had to be reined in from every angle.  I interfaced the panels to stop it fraying, stabilized the centre front with cotton tape and sewed all the seams flat against the fabric since the iron was basically useless!
Not sure who's idea it was to attempt a fully lined, welt-pocketed silk blazer in less than a week. It's the sort of thing you sew slowly, calmly and over a month isn't it? I knew it was crazy but I had this vision of a dreamy geometric silk blazer paired with a rough woven skirt. I couldn't let it go! Granted, it's an unlikely combination of fabrics and when I tried to explain it to a few during the week it was met with raised eye-brows. But there's something yummy about those colors together and the contrast of smooth silk next to something rough and textured. I started with this pattern from Ralf Pink for a casual style jacket which hangs loose at the front without buttons. For the lining I used a chartreuse crepe de chine and color-blocked the two-pieced sleeves with the same fabric. Faux welt pockets were fine by me, the welt is real, but I was thanking Ralf for the lack of pocket bag by that stage. Well, this week was sewing drama at it's best...hoorays, tears, pizza for breakfast and too many 'what the?' moments to remember. I'm so happy and relieved to have a complete outfit to put up at the end and one that is me all over!
More details and outfit pics on my blog.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Week Four: Signature Looks and the Sew A Long Results from Week Three

Welcome to our fourth and final week of Project Sewn Season 1!
We are starting off the very first season of Project Sewn with a tradition that we plan to carry on through out the up-coming seasons and that is having the final week be a "Signature Style" week.
Women who's style we really admire---the women we watch---those who set trends and leave impressions have style---a personal, unique, identifiable style.
For example:
Audrey Hepburn

Iris Apfel

Alright---so I picked 3 of my favorite fashion icons...but you get the idea.  A signature style--unique and identifiable to each and every one of you.  And that is what we want to showcase this week.  Our designers' signature styles as well as yours!  
The designers looks will be revealed tomorrow but you can start linking up your looks today in the linky party at the end of this post!
Meanwhile we need to announce the winner of last weeks sew along which happens to be:
Kathleen's Feminine Miami Vice look!
Congratulations Kathleen!  For being our winner this week you will receive a $35 gift certificate to Michael Levine's online fabric store!

Now onto the linky party!  We can't wait to see everyone's signature looks!
Friday, May 24, 2013

Week #3 Results and Sew Along Voting Begins!

Week Three for Project Sewn was to take inspiration from the 80's for an outfit.  And boy, howdy our designers once again took a tough theme in stride....and truly inspired us.  Their 80's icons, the fit, the  Thanks again ladies for another week of sewing goodness.

So, let's get to the results......we know that's why you are all here today ;)

This week our lovely winner was Jess with her Retro Huxtible look.  Congrats Jess!  Fantastic and oh, so modernly wearable 80's inspired look.  Love that jacket with the gold zippers.....awesome!  Can I borrow it?  Really fantastic work.

And this week we are saying goodbye to our good friend  Sew Caroline.  We had the opportunity to meet Caroline a month or so ago and in about 5 minutes we became fast friends.  She is genuinely one of the nicest bloggers on planet earth.  Thanks so much Caroline for joining us!!!!! 

Luckily Caroline is not leaving us empty-handed.  She will be receiving a gift certificate to Girl Charlee for all her hard work for Project Sewn.

(And there's even a coupon code for all of you too!!!!   They have wildly popular knits....go check them out!!!  Thanks Girl Charlee!)
And now it is time to vote for your sew-along choice this week for 80's inspirations!!!!  Click HERE to find the sew-along.....

Good luck and have a fantastic weekend....see you back here on Monday!
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Time To Vote: 80's Inspired Looks!

Cirque du Bebe--Like You Mean It
I've probably been looking forward to 80's week most of all, if not just for the big hair alone. Being an 80's kid you'd think I'd have been all over this week's sew. But I don't remember much at all, apart from my mum's epic clip-on earing collection. So I got all my inspiration from modern takes on 80's trends, which I'm sure we'd all agree have come a long way in the wearability stakes. The challenge for me this week was to make something 80's in essence that I'd actually want to wear again and peplums and printed pants are it! Until now, leggings are the closest I've come to sewing 'proper' pants. I really wanted to do this amazing floral ponte knit justice and make a pair of super svelt pants with a fit like a legging and the look and details of a jean. I was tossing up between two patterns all week but as this was to be my first ever attempt at a zippered fly, front pockets, back pockets, back yoke and belt loops I went for Burda 7214 over Burdastyle skinny pants...because it had pictures!
Getting a good fit here was priority and the ponte knit was totally forgiving. I sized down to start with, then took width out at the sides, tapered the legs below the knee and relocated the back pockets. Three times. Each time I was certain they were in the perfect spot so I didn't bother basting and then spent the next half hour un-picking. And they also started out at unflatteringly bigger than a butt cheek so I resized them. The original pattern's 'knee' bands were more like half leg bands, going all the way around and way up the thigh. I adjusted the shape and moved them to sit only over the knees. And then I went to town quilting them with chevrons (had to sneak a triangle in). For the top I started with this pattern for a princess seamed peplum, to which I added some suitably 80's pleated sleeves (drafted from a shirt of mine) and a chunky exposed zip, for some punk. The fabric is a merino wool double knit and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking of the weather right here. So glad I went the long sleeves! Together these two pieces make for a totally 80's silhouette and I know I'll wear them both again as separates. Probably with smaller hair and less attitude.
Want more 80's raunch? Visit

 Sew Caroline--Dancing Queen
I was secretly hoping I would be eliminated before this round because... totally 80's? I am totally stumped. I was born in 1988, so the 80's for me was wearing diapers and monogrammed bows. And the clothes I did wear probably had spit-up on them.  Looking online to see what people wore "way back then" (totally kidding.) nothing really appealed to me. So I found some silly inspiration from this site + decided to go with a tutu skirt paired with a geometric printed top. I honestly don't know if this is really "80's".. but hey! we are going with it.
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The top is simply self-drafted tshirt top that I painted geometric "chevrons" on. The tutu skirt is a pattern from Violette Field Threads (that I, ironically, have been wanting to try out for ages-- great pattern, by the way!). 
So, yeah. This is my attempt at "Totally 80's"!

Head over to Sew Caroline to see how I styled this outfit for 2013, too!

The Sewing Rabbit---Retro Huxtible

For this week's look I wanted to pay respect to an 80s fashion icon, Denise Huxtible. Denise was always so fearless in her sense of style. As a child growing up who watched the Cosby Show, Denise always mesmerized me. She was slightly out there in this quirky way, wearing things I wouldn't ever dream of putting on, but she managed to make everything look effortlessly cool. She had a sense of style all her own, and complete and utter confidence to pull it off. She was a true 80s fashion icon.


Using a wide leg pants pattern as my starting off point, I was able to draft the jumpsuit in a fabulous tribal print knit. I love the urban chic vibe it lent to the outfit, while still being cool and casual. Nothing says 80s pants better than parachute, so I added side button tabs to the jumpsuit so that when the pants are pulled up it would have this iconic look (which is totally optional, you can wear the jumpsuit with the legs up or down). And of course you all know my love for outfit always feels lacking to me without them.


To complete the look I made the Burda Style Collarless Jacket in a white lightweight jacket fabric. The only alteration made to this pattern was letting the zipper remain exposed rather than covering it up with twill tape.  I absolutely adore this jacket, and will definitely be wearing it all Summer long. It fits perfectly, and the zipper cuffs are to die for. Match the white coat, with the retro jumpsuit, and the boatload of arm bangles and optional fedora- and you have the 80s baby...Cosby style.

Want to know more about the look? Hop on over to the blog for details.

Four Square Walls--Double Denim
Ah, the 80s strike back! This theme was tough. I admit that it was tempting to make parachute pants since I actually had an excuse, but I decided to go for something a little more...flattering? For inspiration I consulted some 80s teen films and ultimately returned to an old idol of mine: Kelly Kapowski from the teen sitcom Saved by the Bell. It's a little bit of a stretch because that show first aired in 1989 and ran into the 1990s, so I singled out parts of her early style that still had an 80s hangover, like her denim jackets, slim zip-fly skirts and fluffy hair. My (not mine) sunglasses here are actual vintage 80s.
I've been wanting a jean jacket anyway, so I thought this was the perfect time to make one. I'm not a fan of the acid-washed look, so I used this dark denim from my stash since it's a bit more modern. I used a Burda PDF pattern, the cropped denim jacket from 02/2010 (here). The skirt is cobalt blue stretch denim. I used the Grainline Studio Moss Mini Skirt pattern, omitting the pockets and lengthening it by 4 inches. I topstitched all the seams, though it's not called for, just to get a more casual jean skirt look. The top had no pattern... I just improvised a baggy wide-neck kimono sleeve semi-cropped tee. This jersey was actually in my stash because it's awwwwwesome. Lucky break that it had an 80s vibe with the colors and geometric shapes. I could see it as a Huxtable sweater, yea?
See more photos and details on my blog at four square walls!  


Monday, May 20, 2013

Week Three: 80's Inspired Looks and The Sew Along Winner From Week Two


This week is all about the 80's----neons, peplums, crazy prints, skinny ties, and shoulder pads.  Well, maybe not the shoulder pads....but it is totally 80's!

Our designers 80's inspired looks will be revealed tomorrow and the voting will start but while you wait, you can start linking up your 80's inspired creations here at the bottom of this post to be in our weekly sew along contest.

And speaking of our weekly sew along, we need to announce the winner from last week!  The seamstress with the most view votes was:

The Hamilton Chicklets with Sara's version of the washi dress!
Congratulations Sara!  For winning last week's challenge you will receive $35 to Michael Levine's online fabric store!

Now put on your banana clips and some Cyndi Lauper because it's time to start the totally 80's linky party!
Friday, May 17, 2013

The Week Two Results Are In...And The Voting Begins For The Week Two Sewing!

The results are in!
And after we tallied both the popular vote and the contestants scorings the winner for the sundress challenge is:

Andrea from Four Square Walls with her Bloomin' Cotton!

And as for who we have to say goodbye to...
it is Sabra from Sew A Straight Line.

Sabra, we will miss are a sewing ninja...and funny...and we said, we'll miss you!
Today, Sabra will be getting a $25 gift certificate from Simply Sweet Fabric for all her hard work!  Thank you for being with us.
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(If you haven't been over to the Simply Sweet Fabric shop you should go check it out---she has adorable fabric like this darling boy's bundle or this chevron bundle!)
Also don't forget that the sew along voting starts today so check out the looks here:
to see all the looks and cast your vote.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Time to Vote: The Sundress Challenge

It is once again time to vote!  This week the theme is a "Summer Sundress" and you will soon see that the designers outdid themselves once again.  The poll is at the bottom of the post so be sure to scroll down through all the looks first.  Remember, the voting is one vote per computer (IP address).  Good luck designers!!!  And be sure to visit their blogs to tell them how wonderfully they is going to be a hard decision.
Sew Caroline--Vintage Summer
I was sew inspired by this Pat Bravo print from her Carnaby Street line for Art Gallery Fabrics that I knew I needed to make something from it. It has a bit of a vintage feel, so I went with it, y'all. I think it was the perfect fabric choice for this week's theme! This dress makes me want to jump on an old-fashioned bicycle with a cute little basket and ride around town to run my errands!! I. Am. Obsessed. Also, who doesn't love a good Dr. Pepper out of a bottle with a paper straw?! ;)

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I took the basic design of the Jamie Dress by Sis Boom and increased the neckline to make it a high-necked dress. Instead of straps, I made a casing & tie around the neckline. I extended the sashing around the waistline to tie into a bow in the back and I made the skirt fuller than called for. I have never really self-drafted anything, so this is as close as it comes for me!

Head over to Sew Caroline for more photos of this Vintage Summer look!

Sew a Straight Line--Solar Flare
solar flare
Dresses and skirts are my very favorite things to wear in the summer.  I knew I wanted my sundress to be comfortable and easy to wear, flattering and feminine.  I needed easy to play with the kids and easy to pack for the weekend.  Something I’d reach for all summer long.   I started with cool and light jersey knit and  a vintage lingerie pattern, Butterick 6288.  The pattern has a fabulous long, full slip and I stuck pretty close to the design in making my dress.  I love the flattering, simple silhouette.  I used bleach to tie dye and paint a stylized sun at the lower right of the dress’ skirt.  I also used bleach on the bias strips that became the straps and trim along the top bodice of the dress.  Then I made a simple layering tee to go along with the dress.

both pieces
The tee has rolled hems for all finished edges at the neck, sleeves, and hemline, resulting in a lettuce-leaf effect on the thin knit fabric.  I self-drafted the tee, making it as simple as possible.  The sleeves are an extension of the shoulders, all one piece, in a dolman style.  

I had originally planned on using various colors of dye on the dress’ sun.  But I loved the contrasting salmon color the grey turned into with the bleach, and decided to keep my focus on just the two contrasting colors.  I took that contrast up to the top of the dress with bias tape that trims the top of the bodice, and extends to become the straps of the dress.  The bias tape/extending straps were one of the only changes I made to the pattern.  The bodice is fully lined so keeps its shape nicely, but being out of the jersey knit, is still comfortable and easy to wear.  Structure without the fuss.  The perfect summer dress, with a little Solar Flare!

solar flare collage  
Click on over to Sew a Straight Line to see more pictures and details of my Solar Flare Sundress.

The Sewing Rabbit--Lotta Sundress

Whenever I think of Sundresses I think of something fun and whimsical, with just a hint of appeal. I think of garden parties, afternoon strolls on the beach, or walking through fields of flowers. Sundresses are a timeless classic that everyone can wear, from young children to mothers alike, and I loved the challenge of creating a new look for myself. Inspired by Lotta Jansdotter's Premier fabric Collection Deep Indigo ”Ruta”, the print manages to be geometrical yet playful at the same time.  And there is nothing I love more color-wise in the Summer than pairing navy with green.


For the bodice I used the Burda cap sleeve dress found here, with major alterations. Bringing up the neckline, adding pleats, shortening the waist, bringing down the side seams, altering the shoulder seams, and of course completely cutting up the back. I wanted to add a fun bubble skirt - which traditionally isn't found on adult dresses. But I loved the extra flair it gave to an otherwise open back, and by giving the bubble bottom a twist it added a tiny level of sophistication. Lastly I made the button shoulder seam overlap and look off-kilter with the other shoulder, which plays in nicely with the playfulness of the dress fabric.


For more pictures and to hear about how this photographic adventure went down, hop on over to the blog! Thanks so much, and I hope you like it!

Four Square Walls--Bloomin' Cotton
Nothing says "sundress" like florals and spaghetti straps, eh? I don't think I've heard the phrase "spaghetti strap" since high school so I don't know if that's even proper fashion terminology anymore. My straps aren't cylindrical like spaghetti anyway -- they're folded over flat and topstitched, so they're more like fettucini straps. Anyway! Pasta talk aside, here is my new sundress, made from vintage red floral cotton I received as a gift. I don't often wear florals, but my boyfriend convinced me that this fabric was beautiful and deserved to be used for this challenge. I continued to be skeptical while working on it, but now that it's done I'm quite fond of it. The print seems a little busy for the pintucked bodice but the detail is more effective in real life.
After an internal tug and war over what to do for this challenge, I finally settled on the idea of a princess seamed bodice that featured pintucks in the center. To make it, I started with the bodice lining pieces of Simplicity 2250, a Cynthia Rowley dress pattern I already had, because it had the seams and subtle sweetheart shape I was looking for. I first made the pintucks on a large rectangle of fabric, and then cut the middle bodice piece from that. I modified the whole thing so it zips up the side instead of in the center back. The skirt portion is made from --what else-- the Colette Beignet skirt pattern, altered in my usual way to eliminate the button-up front and shorten it from knee-length. I was tempted to make a big floofy circle skirt at first, but the fabric and bodice shape were already pretty feminine so I decided to make a sleeker skirt to help balance everything out. To give this cotton dress some substance and make it easier to wear, I fully lined it -- the bodice lining is self-fabric and the skirt lining is rayon bemberg.
See more photos and details of the back and inside of this dress on my blog at four square walls!

Cirque du Bebe--Let's Pretend It's Spring

Greetings Springlings! It's coming into winter here in Oz but I'm ignoring it for now so this week's theme suited just fine! Though, my lips were actually blue underneath the pink. As soon as it starts to warm up I find myself reaching for loose, easy-wearing dresses. And especially ones with insulation properties like giant kimono sleeves. I recently made my first version of Victory Patterns 'Satsuki' dress and loved the floaty feminine goodness. Imagine all the comfort of a sack dress, without the sack. Thanks to a waist tie. I chose it as my sundress base pattern for all the crazy mods I had in mind, one of my fav trends at the moment being anything geometric. This sickly sweet silk floral was crying out for triangle cut out's in the front (like a sunbeam, no?) and triangle lattice in the back. Too many triangles? Never! 
  As for bringing my plan to clue. To construct the front, I thought I should start by re-drafting the neckline, and changed it from a V-neck to a round neck in the process. The original pattern calls for front and back neckline facings and I really love the finish so I re-drafted both facings to include the cut-outs in the front and the big V in the back. That was a first. To construct the lattice, I cut the pieces on the grain not the bias, since they needed to be stiff enough to hold still. As for assembling...I've never attempted anything like it. Hours of fiddling and 'what the's' followed by 'oh der's' and unpicking. To bind the neckline, I made bias binding for the front but regular no-stretch binding for the back after I discovered that stretch bias didn't hold up the back lattice. It flopped! Binding a neckline with one stretch and one woven binding is something I hope never to deal with again. But it all came together how I imagined so I'll quit complaining, it was worth it in the end! 
Want to know more about the process? Visit Cirque du Bebe!