I’m not even gonna say wow this time, because I’ve said it so much the past couple weeks. Goodness, what a ride it has been to get here…to the finale of this competition! I’ve had to push myself a little more than I ever have. Between strikes, pattern promo, and sewing for tutorials I write, my sewing time is pretty stretched thin. As a result, I don’t usually have much time to experiment with styles, unique design elements, the like, especially because all of these things are time sensitive and I can’t really mess up the fabric. If it’s not a relatively easy pattern mash, I don’t do it because playing it safe while sewing well-made garments my family will wear is really easy and it’s been my winning combo for so long! One of the things I admire most about being a part of this experience is that I was genuinely challenged to step outside my norm, my comfort zone and just go for it! I even surprised myself to see what I was capable of when I stepped out a little.
It took a lil moment to define my signature style. I was so hyper-focused on expecting something obvious to stand out to me. I sew for my kids mostly based on functionality and wearability. I typically go for knit garments and ones that are relatively easy, sew quickly, and don’t require embellishments. Sure, I love a touch of creativity and uniqueness, but that’s mostly accomplished through color blocking and the custom fabrics that I often use. One day I had an aha moment. Signature style didn’t have to mean that I have a “modern” or a “vintage” aesthetic, or that I loved any specific elements. At the heart of all my makes, my children are present. Every make I have ever created for them had their input. Did they like the colors, the pattern, have an idea for something else they liked, was the fabric good or did they have another idea? I have always let them know through my sewing (along with everyday life) that their voices matter to me and that they are heard. I have allowed and encouraged them to use clothing as a way to express themselves and how they’re feeling. I know that it won’t always be like this for them as they enter the world and find their places, that they won’t always be heard, but I always want them to remember that with me, their mama, their home, their person…they are always loved beyond measure. I present: Stitched With Love.
Often times when venturing out to make new clothes for my kids, I look to ready-to-wear for inspiration. I check Pinterest for “[season] outfit tween girl” or “[season] outfit small boy.” If I have a specific garment in mind, sometimes I will search “henley styling” etc. to figure out what pieces I should make to go with the henley. I also look at sites like Joyfolie, Boden Kids, or H&M just to see what styles are trending. For my signature style pieces, I knew that my old faithfuls had to ring true. Pieces needed to be comfortable, in colors my kids liked and approved, and I also wanted them to be on trend. I first picked out the floral ribbed knit, which got a “yes”. My daughter had this beautiful top in a “donate” bag that resembled the flowy, gathered bodice, ruffle sleeve tops on the Joyfolie site, so I used it to draft a new raglan pattern (which I’m calling Nevaeh, btw) with a gathered waist, gathered hem, and ruffle sleeves. I’ve often found it difficult to fit raglan bodices to my daughter’s shape, so I was very pleased with tweaking and modifying a pattern of my own to fit her to my liking. The fabric has gorgeous drape, and the bodice had tons of ruffles, yet the look still stays mature enough for her. I finished it off with a serger rolled hem (my fav for these kinds of clothing) and recycled the tie from the old top to use on this one.
To pair with it, I wanted to sew up some new bottoms. I’ve had this gorgeous jade Ponte in my stash now for a couple years and knew it was time to put it to good use, especially because it looked stunning next to the floral. I used the SOS pants for these. I had recently made some for myself and loved the fit, I figured it was worth a shot for my daughter. I typically avoid pants of any type for her due to having to grade between 3 sizes, so this was the first garment I have ever basted entirely before sewing. I wanted to topstitch all the seams, but also wasn’t sure how they’d fit. The night before sewing, I basted it all together and had my daughter try on so that I was able to make adjustments where needed to be able to complete them without her present. This made me feel like a real “seamstress” lol!
She was still over the moon about her purse from last week, so I tried my hand at making her another. I used a tutorial from the So Sew Easy blog as a base, but made several modifications to create it in my own way. I used this stunning purple corduroy from my stash and lined it with a fabric I bought from a quilt shop like 8 years ago before I even knew I’d be sewing like I am now! I think I’m addicted to incorporating accessories into outfits now.
Well before we got to this week, I had become obsessed with the idea of a waffle hooded henley, so that was for sure on of my dudey’s pieces. He loved the softness of the black cashmere sweater waffle I used for sissy’s cardi in week one, so I was willing to let him have the rest (even thought I really wanted it for myself). I used the body and the hood of the Simple Patch Hoodie from Ellie and Mac*, but combined it with the Kid’s Pocket Henley* placket, using the closing method from the Kid’s Preppy Polo*. One upside to writing all those tutorials is that it was easy to combine them best to get the look and finish that I wanted.
Another piece I wanted to incorporate into this look was a Puffer Vest. I was looking at some online and my son remarked how cool they looked. I asked him if he wanted one and he said “of course” so I kinda locked myself in on that one. I googled “how to make a puffer vest” and I ended up coming across a blog post on the Mood Fabrics site that Audrey (of Project Run and Play/ Skirt Fixation) had written. It was meant to be!! I skim read her post to get the gist of it, then got to pattern searching for the body. I settled on another Ellie and Mac pattern, and used the Kid’s Dutchie Jacket* as a base. I made several modifications to fit my vision of the Puffer Vest and couldn’t be any happier with how it turned out. Apparently my son was happy too; he couldn’t stop asking to wear it every time he saw it!
Of course it wouldn’t be a complete outfit without some bottoms. I used the pattern I drafted for week 1 with some faux denim French Terry. I mimicked the pocket style from my daughter’s pants, and finished the seams with gold stitching. My son was super duper happy to have “jeans” that were comfortable and not scratchy. Often RTW jeans have to be tightened so much at the waist to fit, he complains of how uncomfortable they are. I’m glad I was able to make these for him and now I need all the faux denim French Terry!
My babes had so much fun during this shoot, and I truly enjoyed making these outfits for them. They’re perfect addition to their closets, they fit them well, and no one else has ’em. I’m in love with the colors &that these pieces will carry well into the fall. I hope you like these makes, as well, and would love if you’d vote for them for the Signature Style Week. Thanks so much for supporting me these past few weeks during the competition. Please enjoy some more photos below. Hope to see you all again in the future. Until then…