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Where It’s At – PTR Update

15 Feb

So Project Toddler Runway is coming to a close and its been both inspiring and tiring!  Lets be honest, its not really the competition thats wearing me out – its my full time work and my 20 month old! This is really an exercise in doing something for me and the late nights are totally worth it! (And husband, if you’re reading this – your cleaning and cooking and patience has been greatly appreciated!!)

Hopefully you’ll enjoy the tutorials as they come (and they are coming – slowly but surely). I hope these tutes for my PTR creation are a little something I can give back. You all seriously keep my ‘to make’ list busting at the seams and I love you for it.

This week I started with the idea of going full fledged back to my roots – I had in mind boardshorts and a hoodie but then decided I didn’t really have a boy to design for. It then turned into a board skirt made from my husbands old boardshorts; so that turned out cute and I’ll show you that look sometime soon. However, as I really thought about where I was going with the challenge, the new concept popped into my mind about how ecstatic I am that my daughter will have a chance to enjoy at least a sliver of the experiences that I did on the water. So when it was all wrapped up this was the Saylorville ensemble:

I had to do a second version of the Sailor pants in order to get the tutorial tweaked so that will be coming later this week. The new pants are laying on the floor beside me waiting for the finishing touches- but tonight the Mac won out over Bernina. (Psst, don’t tell anyone, but its actually my comfy chair that won.)

Last week was the design with meaning challenge and really all of the projects were super impressive and touching. Here is a quick recap on what I loved about each one:

Shanna from Celebrate the Madness came out on top this week with Daddy’s Little Patriot. I love this for a few reasons – one being that my husband is a Marine and two being that a safari style dress is so up my alley. Oh and there is three – which is that apparently Shanna and I were on the same wavelength with the whole anchor thing.  Just like me and Bree with our Varsity Sweaters a few weeks back. Congratulations Shanna on the win! Its adorable and I’m sure your husband appreciated the little tribute as well.

Jenn from A Jennuine Life had what I certainly thought was the most in line with the challenge and the most unique idea for the challenge by far. Hers was the Every Occasion Dress which is a dress with aprons that can be switched out. It was cute and was based on a dress her own grandmother had made her when she was little. I just was touched by the concept. Jenn has been a powerhouse in this competition (her designs were my personal favorite weeks 1, 2, and was a pretty close tie in my book to Bree in week 4).  I’m really bummed that she “went home” because I know her final looks would have been insanely inspiring and original. Also – Jenn is contemplating a giveaway of her amazing dress so go let her know you’d love to enter said giveaway!

Our third finals contender is Chelsea from Creative Mommas, who was also the winner last week with her fabulous Goody Two Shoes dress. Chelsea’s t-shirts this week were awesome because she was working with what she had. With piled up snow (which I know all too well) she made it work with t-shirts, fabric dye, and paint. She dyed shirts, reconstructed them, and then freezer paper stenciled the name of three special places to her and her husband. I loved this because she overcame – and also, who can resist that sweet sentiment. So Valentine’s week appropriate! Congrats on top 3 Chelsea! You and your sister have a fabulous blog, its on my google feed and I’m so impressed by the amount of creativity that gets cranked out!

So thats the update and in about a week and a half you’ll get to see the final looks on the virtual runway. Stay tuned!


The Denim Challenge

7 Feb

Last week for Project Toddler Runway our challenge was to use/be inspired by denim. I really wanted to take denim to a different level and also do something unique for this challenge. After some brainstorming and a conversation with “Awesome Stacy” the whole ballgown idea came in to effect. This project is actually pretty simple overall. Its all about finding the right weight denim to get the “wrinkling” that you want. For the challenge I wanted the dress to be a little dramatic, but this same technique could be used to make a tunic, a skirt, or a shorter dress for your little one. I’ll post soon about the exact denim I used (I had been hanging on to this for awhile but it is still available at Hancock Fabrics) and also give a quick overview of the process I used. For now here are the shots submitted to Shwin & Shwin:



And here is the quick blurb:

I love versatility. Denim goes from day to night and work to play. Its age appropriate…at every age.  Its been there, done that (and through every decade) but willing to do it again and again and again. Trust me, denim wakes up in the morning and says “I’m going to make people look and feel awesome today” and then it follows through on its promise. So denim is amazing, and a denim challenge? A little bit intimidating. Its the truth. It’s serious business. But all that pressure brought to existence the Gala-Vanting Dress. Just add sparkly flats and a cropped cardi and its fit for a gala or throw on some Chuck Taylor’s and a baseball cap and roam around…well, galavanting. Its made of a heavy denim that I washed out to create some fading and then let air dry for the character. The straps and the belt infuse some bright coral and citron making the dress fun and Spring 2011 ready. The little one and I are in love. Denim does it again.

Quick Change Of Heart

6 Feb

Two weeks ago on Project Run and Play the theme was “Adult Inspired Designs”. I had it on my to do list (aka, my wish list) to submit a reader submission because my inspiration files are bulging with adult outfits to be translated for little ones. Well, lets just say that whole hours in a day thing doesn’t always work in my favor.

I did pick a super easy design to whip up, and,  I did finish it.  I just didn’t get it done until this morning.

This is the Modcloth inspiration:

I used an old grey hooded wrap that was in my donate/remake pile. It actually had a similar hem on the bottom so I used a t-shirt that fits Mckinley well as a basic pattern and extended the body of the shirt down to a dress/tunic length. I also used the t-shirt as the guide for my sleeves as I wanted them long to better accommodate our midwest weather. I had bought some red/white/light pink striped jersey fabric a while ago for less than $1 a yard. I immediately thought “Valentine’s Day” but to stand alone it would have needed to be lined. Instead of making it the main attraction for an outfit I drew a heart, cut it out and then pinned.  I sewed along every stripe and then around the outside because  I wanted to secure it and also liked the look that provided. I then sewed the front and back together at the shoulders, sewed the sleeves in and sewed down the sides. Because of the fabrics, I chose to leave the neckline unfinished so that the jersey would begin to have a rolled edge. Thats it. I really didn’t take pictures of the progress, but here is the finished look:

This was probably only a 45 minute project had I done it in one sitting. And… absolutely zero dollars. Love that.

You still have time! Whip up a little change of heart dress for your little one to wear for Valentine’s festivities. Wouldn’t it be adorable in an off-white with a grey jersey heart?

And as a side note, does anyone else feel like their to-do list is a wish list?

Update: Here is the dress in action:

Tutorial: Varsity Sweater

1 Feb

  • Striped “Rugby” style shirt or other heavy cotton shirt
  • Sweatshirt and a coordinating t-shirt
  • Worn out fleece garment
  • A sweater or long sleeve tee that fits your child (to use as your pattern)
  • Scissors
  • Rotary Cutter (optional)
  • wonder under (optional)

  • Fold both your pattern garment as well as your striped shirt in half. You will need to tuck the sleeves of your pattern in as best you can.
  • Line both tops up at the fold. You can also line it up with the bottom but  it is not necessary to have a finished seam on the bottom. Pin pieces together.
  • Cut around your pattern piece leaving the appropriate seam allowance. Set aside.

  • Line the cuffs and tops of your sleeves up and pin. Then cut the bottom of your sleeve adjusting for your seam allowance.
  • Remove your pattern piece and lay the front or back of your shirt on the top of the sleeve. Cut at the arc.
  • Use the sleeve as your pattern for the other sleeve. Cut.

  • Take your t-shirt and cut off the bottom hem and the collar, cutting just above the seam.
  • Also with your t-shirt, measure 3/4″ to 1″ from the bottom and use your rotary cutter or scissors to cut a strip off. (this will be for your stripes on the sleeve so the width is totally up to you!)
  • Take your sweatshirt and cut off the bottom hem, cutting just above the seam.

  • Trace or draw your letter backwards on wonder under. Iron wonder under to a section of your old fleece. Cut out letter.

  • Fold the front of your garment in half, cut at a diagonal to make a V neck and then cut up the middle splitting your front in half.

  • Taking the hem from the t-shirt measure two pieces which are long enough to cover the inside edges of your shirt front.
  • Using the current seam as a guide, pin the hem to the shirt. Edge stitch on the wrong side.
  • Fold wrong sides of the “binding” together and pin. Edge stitch on the front making sure to catch the other side of the “binding” on the backside.

  • With right sides together, pin the front and back pieces together at the shoulders. Sew.
  • Open your garment so that both your front and back pieces are facing up. With right sides together pin your sleeves along the armholes. Sew.

  • Open your garment so that all pieces are facing up. Decide on the placement and length of your stripes. Cut, pin, and sew in place. (I used ribbon but would recommend jersey- this will make it a little more boy friendly and I also think generally it will look better. Personally I would leave the edges unfinished – but feel free to cut your strips wider and hem prior to sewing onto your sleeve)

  • With right sides together, pin the bottoms of the sleeves and the sides of the top. Sew.

  • Turn your garment right sides out and either pin or iron on your letter. Edge stitch around your applique.

  • Pin the t-shirt collar all the way around your own neckline. You will use this similarly to how you used the t-shirt hems. Sew.
  • Fold over and pin. Sew.

  • I forgot to take photos of this last step, but essentially I just used the bottom hem of the sweatshirt as the bottom of the varsity sweater. I started out aiming to do this like I had just done the collar but when I added it and trimmed it closer to the seam I decided I liked the rolled look it gave at the bottom.
  • Also, as a note… if you don’t have a coordinating sweatshirt on hand, no big deal. It just happens to be what I had handy. You could also use your rotary cutter/scissors to cut another strip from your t-shirt and make your bottom edge out of that. Be resourceful!

You’re done! And your little one (boy or girl) will look amazing in their Varsity Sweater!

Note: My methods aren’t precise and most of my creations come together pretty organically, so please be kind. I hope that my sharing will help spark the creation of something even better! I’d love to see what you create!

My Feathers Are Ruffled

23 Jan

So – week three of Project Toddler Runway has come to a close. I’m a little sad about this one. But before I tell you why my feathers are actually ruffled – here’s the look I created:

It had several mishaps along the way (which I will share more about one day) but I absolutely love the evolution and the way it turned out. I actually had to photograph it, enter it, and then wrap it up as a gift for a friend’s little one’s birthday. They loved it and it really held its own in the competition this weekend which had me grinning so big people didn’t know what was going on. The end of the weekend set me back quite a bit but none the less I feel like my outfit was well recieved… by the WWW, and the new owner, little miss two year old Emma Marie.

But here is the deal, my little bit of pout in all of this excitement – my favorite this week? This one:

I mean people – its an adorable dress with a REMOVABLE feather skirt. And an adorable hair piece. I’m not sure who designed this yet but I’m so upset that they are “going home”. Bleh. I’d be sad about any of these amazing ladies leaving – and any of the designs this week since they were all fantastic…but this one? Just call me shocked.

Okay – back to happy stuff. I am stoked for next week’s challenge and I can’t wait to see what other designs result. I’m sure my to do list will grow and my jaw will totally drop next Friday when the projects are posted.

Tutorial: Garden Party Skirt

17 Jan


  • White Cotton Fabric
  • Fabric Paint
  • Tulle (in coordinating colors to paint choices)
  • Wide Elastic
  • Fray Check
  • Paintbrush
  • Skirt (that fits your little party-goer well)
  • Paper or Fabric (for tracing pattern)
  • Small Circular Object











Step 1: Fold main fabric in half; fold skirt in half. Match up at the fold and trace, allowing room for seam allowance and waistband. Cut. Repeat for the back of the skirt.









Step 2: Trace out your scalloped edge onto your pattern paper.









Step 3: Cut out pattern.









Step 4: Trace pattern onto white fabric for as many rows as you need to cover your skirt. In my case it was 4. Cut.









Step 5: Paint strips. My goal was to have a fade effect between this step and the tulle overlay; I painted it on thicker at the bottom and then brushed the remaining paint  up to create the fade. Allow to dry.









Step 6: Cut tulle the length of your scalloped strips. I used the rolls of tulle and it worked out perfect for my width.









Step 7: Double tulle by folding over. Pin to fabric. Trim around scalloped edges. Repeat for all colors. Apply Fray Check to all scalloped edges.









Step 8: Pin bottom strip to front of skirt. Sew all four layers together (skirt front, scallop, tulle, tulle). I used two rows of straight stitches at this step, about 1/4 apart.









Step 9: Trim excess fabric above stitch line. After I did this I used another stitch (you could use a zig zag) to go over the top edge of my scalloped piece.









Step 10: Repeat for all strips. Your top layer should be close enough to the top of the skirt that once you create your waistband the stitches for that one will be covered up.









Step 11: Pin front and back of skirt right sides together. Sew. Trim edges, finish seams (serger/zigzag).










Step 12: Create waistband based on the width of your elastic. I did this by pressing about 1/4 inch down from the top edge. I then folded again covering my top seam and allowing room for my elastic. I sewed around the waistband leaving an opening for my elastic.









Step 13: Insert elastic and close your open seam in waistband. Hem bottom edge or apply Fray Check .

And, On To Round Three!

17 Jan

This is the Garden Party outfit created for week 2 of Project Toddler Runway over at Shwin & Shwin. I am in love with it because its who we are around here – fun, laid back, and even a little beachy with that frayed edge at the bottom of the skirt. So with the snow storms and cold season in full effect here, this was a real pick me up to make. Spring — here we come!

This challenge was called “Be sure to wear a flower in your hair” and we were given inspiration photos from this sponsoring etsy shop, Addison Renee. My inspiration photo was this one:

The tutorial for the Garden Party Skirt will be up later today and the Party Faux-Cardi should be up by the end of the week. As a side note – I’m still working on the Preppy Blazer tutorial for week one. In the throws of the competition and everyday life I haven’t found time to make another blazer to lay it out. Soon. (At least thats what I’m telling myself.)