Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    "Signature Style" is the topic for the final week of PR & P. It is a fun one to contemplate. There are a lot of different ways to think about it. Style that I dress myself in; style my kids prefer; style of things that I sew for myself or for them. I think I am going to describe myself as a casual / comfortable mom-infused blend of funky bohemian and outer wear. My clothes are usually either flowy or geared towards a long hike / run / ski excursion. I like mixing opposing styles, or simply dressing up an otherwise completely practical outfit meant for a walk about town with the kiddos with flashy earrings or a fun skirt. Project Sewn is starting this week as well, which is Project Run and Play's sister site. They organize the same type of sew off but with clothes meant to be worn by the sewist as opposed to clothes for kids. I just finished an item of clothing for myself which I will have to post for one of their sew alongs (excited)!
      I think I am still discovering what my signature sewing style is. I tend to sew things that I don't think I could find in a store, or something that would be ridiculous to pay for at a store. I LOVE calculating how much cheaper I made something than if I had bought it ready made. Especially since it is then also personalized and means more than the bought one would have. 
      I am really drawn to old fashioned clothes for the kids. Especially with accessories. I am finding that I really love sewing hats. If I were to open an Etsy shop I think I would call it bonnets and bloomers. And those would be my favorite thing to sew and sell. With an occasional fancy dress. I do love sewing dresses, but we tend to have a lot of them handed down and gifted to us. We are a lucky family with older cousins and doting grandparents. So sewing dresses drops low on my list unless it is a very special occasion, or if I can think of a way to do something very different than what we already have. Fern has begun to participate in the process quite a bit though, which is a lot of fun. Her requests certainly get put on the "to sew" list. 
    Last year, Fern was in a big Wizard of Oz phase. Her big gift from Santa last year was a Dorothy dress, along with some silver slippers (which Dorothy wears in the book we have, based on the original by L. Frank Baum, with gorgeous images by Charles Santore). Once she had those items, she began asking for a bonnet to complete the outfit. 
My own little Dorothy, with Toto of course. (and braided fabric strips for hair extensions!)
    I was excited to oblige her. I love bonnets. I think they are absolutely adorable on little girls. I first made a blue gingham one out of some scraps that Santa gave us along with the dress (thoughtful guy!) It came out well and she liked it, but then started asking for a pink one to really match Dorothy's outfit in the book So I went ahead and made the two girls matching Easter dresses from The Sewing Rabbit's Spring Fever dress pattern, and made them each a reversible bonnet to go along with it. I used the same fabric for each dress (Fern chose it) but used pink to line the sleeves and ruffles on Fern's, and green to do the same on Althea's. So they each have a bonnet that coordinates with their dress, reversing to the matching pattern from the dress. 

    It was so fun! I loved being able to figure out the way everything needed to come together to make it all work. My brother had a great comment when he heard that I had made their outfits, including the hats. "You made those? What did they start out as?" He was impressed to hear that I started with a flat piece of fabric, and he made me laugh. We got so much use out of those bonnets from that day through fall (and will break them out again when we head to Florida next week, yay!). I decided to make some more bonnets. I made one for each of my two nieces so that all the girls could wear them when we went to the beach together. I also made one for a friend's new baby, and another pair for a new baby and her big sister. So 8 all told. I think this makes it a signature item for me! I made myself a pattern that I kept going back to and adjusting a little bit with each one based on how big the hat needed to be. All were reversible except for the first one I made. Here is some bonnet mania for you!

The four female cousins at the beach! Fern and Thea have their Easter bonnets on; the cousins (who are sisters) both have yellow on the inside of their floral print bonnets.

         This is my original prototype. I love her face in these!

This is a newborn version I made for a darling little girl whose middle name is "Bee." I was looking for something with bees on it, but couldn't find anything that didn't use silly looking cartoon images; but then I found this great honeycomb-esque print and this GORGEOUS bird fabric in the exact right colors to match it. I like the way this little hat came out!

       One thing I love about bonnets is that they scream girl. I have noticed that if a child has short hair, people tend to call them a boy, no matter what they are wearing. My kids have been called boys while wearing pink, skirts etc. I don't know that they really care, and I would say that I don't but I guess I find it a little bit annoying since I am writing this. Anyways, top the short hair off with the fact that I don't care a whole lot for pink myself, and prefer colorful ensembles such as this one, and I can definitely understand why she may be called he. BUT, add a bonnet to this blue and orange outfit and everyone knows she's a little lady. Even older gentlemen, who tend to be the most confused. The bonnets are actually a huge hit with the older folks, they just swoon over them.
  More examples of the girls around town all summer in their bonnets.....

And here's a pretty honest Easter outtake for you. I unfortunately made the opening in the back of the bodice of Althea's dress to small, so it was a chore to get on and she was sad. We literally took scissors to it and cut it off of her that night. She was happy to wear it the rest of the day though, I swear! And they looked pretty cute. Fern wore hers constantly afterwards, but I still have yet to mend Thea's. She isn't as much of a dress wearer as her sister though, and was traumatized enough by it that she certainly didn't miss having it as part of her wardrobe. 

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Oh I LOVE your bonnets! Reminds me if Hollie Hobby (the original HH). So so cute.

    1. Thanks Vonnie! I am really proud of them and they were a lot of fun to make!

  2. Those bonnets are darling! Love the expressions on their faces too!

    1. Thank you Karly! And thanks for taking the time to check out / and check in with all of us! I really appreciate it; good luck to you!

  3. Karly,
    As a Wizard of Oz fan, I have the Santore book too. The illustrations are beautiful. I love the dress that Santa brought and your adorable bonnets.