Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Project Run and Play Week 4

Project Run & Play Week 4

Holy smokes, we did it!! Here we are for finals week and I could NOT be more honored to be a part of this! Thank you so much for all your votes last week!

When I was asked to be a part of this adventure, the thought of designing a signature look was intimidating. At the time, I didn't know if I even HAD a signature style. But, over these last few weeks, I've learned that I most certainly do. My use of classic lines, solid colors, clean finishes, and small details came though each week. I can see that I definitely design with Thomas's feelings in mind. I use colors he likes, finishes he likes and even the style he likes. So, it was only fitting to title my signature style "Thomas's Closet".

Click here to place your vote for Project Run & Play

For my signature style, I went with a look that screams Thomas, athletic wear. And, being unable to commit to a single look, I designed a complete mix and match collection composed of a retro ringer tee, a long sleeve hooded tee, half zipper hoodie, training tights, basketball shorts and capri length joggers.

Have you ever really noticed what the stores offer for boys after they reach about a size 6? It's a sea of gray, black, and blue and it's composed of pretty much plain shorts and pants, and graphic tees. And brands tend to use their logo for their design element, if the shirt isn't covered in some sort of  loud graphic. It's pretty blah and uninspiring. There is SO much you can do with boy's clothes that older kids would still LOVE. Clothes don't have to be busy and loud to be fun!

"Thomas's Closet" has two shirts can be layered or worn alone and both work great with the pull over. The shorts work on their own, or with the training tights and the capris offer a fun modern piece, perfect for the kid who is constantly hot. Now, the pieces may look simple, but the details are where we get creative with designing for boys! Detail elements are very limited with boys. Girls have ruffles and bows, beading, cutouts, lace and jewels. Detail elements for boys involves a bit of creativity. I love using bits of my main fabric to create those detail elements. It takes a lot of time, but it's so rewarding!

The basketball pants look like they would be a quick make, but man are they deceiving!

I love how the basketball shorts turned out! They took an entire day to sew. Like all freaking afternoon, evening and night. No joke. Sewn from athletic fabrics and using my Kayak Boardshorts as the base, keeping the lines of the stripes straight was the first challenge. Each stripe was created by pressing the raw edge under, so everything would have a clean look. Some stretch hem tape kept the stripes in place while I sewed them down (after much fighting with the iron, a pressing clothe and my fabrics to get the glue hot enough to melt, but not so hot my athletic fabric melted!) Then came the topstitching. After countless skipped stitches and ripped out stitching, I reached for my clear thread and that was the trick for the polished look I was after! The band at the bottom was sewn in place, then folded up with the raw edge enclosed and topstitched with the clear thread, to continue the polished finish.

The simplicity of the training tights makes up for the shorts! Using Love Notions Leggin's as the base, I went up one size, scooped out the crotch curve a bit more and added some length to the rise. Sewn from some compression fabric, Thomas is in love and they look great layered under his basketball shorts.

The capri joggers were a fun sew! Starting with Love Notions Moto Max, I sized up a size to create some bagginess and created a capri length cut and added a cuff. I redesigned the shape of the front pocket and added binding for some contrast. Topstitching the pocket in place with a contrasting thread carries the teal into this piece. Adding a zipper welt pocket on one leg gives my little athlete a safe place to store the quarter he found during our photoshoot. The pocket is constructed into the inseam and side seam of the leg, so it doesn't sag even with an ipod in there. 

The gray wick away athletic fabric is from Simply by Ti. It's great for anything from tops to bottoms and it one of Thomas's favorite fabrics. He was so happy to get joggers made from it!

Comfort is Key

Thomas is very tactile and struggles with being comfortable in store bought clothing. Because of that, construction is a huge part of my design process. And, I use that to my advantage. Let's start with the details on the white long sleeve tee.

I took a classic hooded tee and added some fun elements to it. I knew the light drapy knit would be pulled down with a lining in the hood. So, I took advantage of the seam in the hood and added a cool contrasting strip. Creating bias tape with the scrap from the ringer tee, I covered the seam allowance and topstitched the binding in place. I love how this little element pulls the teal into the shirt and keeps Thomas comfortable.

 Using scraps from the joggers, I created more binding to encase the curved hem of the bottom of the shirt and the front edge of the hood. Creating bias tape from athletic fabric can be tricky, but it's well worth the work for the detail it adds!

(Dance party under the bleachers!)

I used my Driftwood Tee and color blocked the front. Contrast stitching along the seam keeps the seam from irritating Thomas and adds another element of interest. I used the same technique on the shoulder seams.

I used a reverse coverstitch for the stitching elements, but you can get the same effect with a triple stitch on a sewing machine or with topstitching thread or even with some fun decorative stitches.

The fabric for this tee is from So Sew English and I can't say in words how much I love it! I think between Thomas and I, neither of us will ever have a solid color cotton lycra tee shirt again. It's a cotton viscose and pure heavy to the touch. It looks like this white is out of stock, but there are lots of other options.

The half zip pull over may just be my favorite piece from this collection. Self drafted and made from ponte, it's warm without the bulk. The hood is lined with more scraps from the joggers, with the neckline encased in a fun pop of neon yellow fold over elastic.

To get a clean finish on the neckline, I sewed the FOE to the hood lining before attaching the lining to the hood. Then, I hand stitched the lining to the body of the sweatshirt making sure to only catch the seam allowance of the neckline so no stitching shows on the hoodie.

The pockets are trimmed with the fabric from the ringer tee, to continue with our color pallet. The three piece hood also features contrasting topstitching along the center panel to continue with that pop of teal. Thomas is a huge fan of a funnel neck right now, so it was only natural to incorporate that element into the hoodie. I get a kick out of how big he smiles when he realizes he can hide his mouth behind the zipper. LOL 

The ponte for the hoodie was from also from So Sew English. And, I must order more! The weight of this hoodie is incredible and the fabric was a breeze to work with!! I'll admit, I've steered away from the ponte bandwagon for quite some time and now I'm totally kicking myself for not jumping on sooner. It's love, guys! It looks like the gray is out of stock, but there are so many other colors available!

The ringer tee is also made from my Driftwood pattern. The neckline has been changed to a binding finish, instead of a neckband for a clean modern look. A single stripe of our gray athletic fabric on the sleeve adds a touch of retro feel that I love to mix in with our looks.

This gorgeous athletic fabric is also from Simply by Ti. The color is just striking! As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be the feature fabric for my signature look. And it didn't let me down! Easy to work with and outside of the standard "boy pallet" of gray, blue and black, it was the punch of modern color I was looking for to balance with the neutrals in my look.

I love the challenge of creating clothes for an older boy. It's so rewarding to take a stack of simple solid fabrics and turn it into something more than a basic tee and shorts! And it's cool!! He WANTS to wear these clothes. Heck, I want to wear these clothes!!

I hope my time on Project Run & Play inspires others to sew for the boys. It IS fun and creative and challenging, and I hope others see that, and create for the boys in their lives.

CLICK HERE to go vote for your favorite look at Project Run & Play!

This is it!! Final week of season 17!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Project Run and Play Week 3

Handmade Boy

I am so excited to be a part of week three!! Thank you for all of your support!
Week three's brainstorming session started much like week two's. Thomas and I had a conversation. Upon being asked who his favorite artist is, Thomas replied with "Oh! That guy who likes red and straight lines and doesn't use a lot of colors." Now, that could be quite the puzzle. But, I was luckily enough to be a helper during his second grade art classes last year, and I had a rough idea of who he was talking about. A quick text to his art teacher (for real, I'm friends with her. ;) ) and she was able to tell me the name of the artist, Horace Pippin. Filled with American Folk inspiration, we designed our look, Modernly Primitive.

Horace Pippin was an American Folk artist from the 1940s. He was self taught and used a limited amount of color in his work, with the primary use of colors resembling those from war times with lots of grays. However, he enjoyed adding a stroke of red to each of his paintings. So of course, we needed a bold red in our look, and what is more bold than a pair of red pants?

Contrasting topstitching mimics the simple straight lines Pippin used in his works. Specifically, the designs of the back pockets were inspired by the perspective lines used in his rooms. The handcrafted suspenders mimic the style of the men's clothes in the painting.

 They are detachable with buttons sewn to the waistband and buttonholes through the leather tabs.

 Pants were self drafted and have a working zipper and button closure, back welt pockets, yoke elastic in the back of the waist, and suspenders. They are made from stretch twill from Simply by Ti. I love how this fabric washed up and it has enough stretch to make moving easy, but they hold their shape well. Even after a day of wear, the knees weren't stretched out!

We had to recreate this painting, Man on a Bench from Horace Pippin. I believe Thomas nailed it.

Pippin liked to include striped rugs in his paintings. That was a detail we had to include! This striped pull over is easy to wear over anything from a tee to an oxford with it's exposed zipper adding a touch of modern style.

The muted tones that Pippen liked to use were easy to replicate with this sweater knit from So Sew English. It was so perfect! It's light weight and great for layers, even for kids that get hot easily. 

The lining of the collar was designed to flip over to the front creating the look of a bias binding. The seam of the neckline is enclosed in the collar lining making the pullover comfy even for a kid who doesn't like seams.

 Another element Horace Pippin enjoyed was the use of numbers. He would feature a number by including groupings of items, for example, three windows, three cracks in the wall and three chairs in a painting.

We had fun with the challenge of this detail! With the exception of the bow tie, each article of clothing was drafted to be made from seven pieces; pants (front and back leg, yoke, waistband, fly guard, welt pocket, belt loops), shirt, (front, back, sleeve, collar, button placket, pocket, cuff), pull over (front, back, sleeve, collar, collar lining, zipper placket, cuff), and jacket (front, back, sleeve, collar, pocket, pocket flap, bottom band) The shirt features seven buttons (two on placket, two on collar, one on each sleeve cuff, and one on the pocket.) The pants have seven belt loops.

The line art of the bow ties in his shirt reminded me of the primitive feel of many of Pippin's sketches, but has that touch of modern that I love. I used my Driftwood as my base to create a woven collar shirt typical of boy's clothing in the 1930s.

The jacket is our modern take of the overcoats worn by men. Simple, clean lines keep the look fresh, while the gray bottomweight fabric pulls in the gray tones used by Pippen. Black piping at the collar and limited black topstitching were inspired by the straight, bold lines from the art.

Trying to teach Thomas the coy "scratch the back of your head" pose. It's much harder than you would think!

I think the jacket may be my favorite piece from this. The weight is perfect for crisp fall days and I love that it can look great with jean or dressier clothes. Made from a soft cotton bottomweight, it's super easy to wash.

We really enjoyed creating this look and Thomas can't wait till fall is really here so he can get some good use of that jacket! (Anybody else have a kid who loves coats?!)

Still working on that behind the head scratch. Getting closer!!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out our look! Don't forget to go back over to Project Run & Play and vote for your favorite!! Next week is finals week and we are crossing everything hoping me make it through!!


This week's look was sponsored by So Sew English and Simply by Ti.