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!!!


  1. Kelly,
    Your craftsmanship and attention to detail is amazing. I love all your little pops of color here and there to bring everything together. It's a great collection of pieces! Good Luck!!

  2. I love the collection feel, and the choice of fabrics that you used. Thanks for introducing me to some new sources of fabric, especially the athletic wear fabric. I an tell that your son will enjoy wearing your designs. My granddaughter is skin-sensitive too, and I think of that as I sew for her. Great job..you should be quite proud of yourself.

  3. I am just so blown away at your skill, attention to details, and color balance! Kelly you are a rock star!!!

  4. Though your designs are simple, I just can't stop thinking of creating something similar for my grandson who loves athletic wear. The highest complement that I can think of is when someone wants to sew something that I made,and are inspired to recreate. That's exactly how I feel about your collection...I want to make something just as wonderful as you did.


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