Signature week – Punky Brewster Style

DSC_0059Signature week has arrived. If this is your first stop also head on over to  Project Run and Play and check out all the other designers looks. For Signature I decided to incorporate a little of my personal style from  each weekly challenge and then I challenged myself to use a lot of solid colors, very little print and still be bold just like I like it.

pic (1)My signature style very much includes Isabella’s style as she is the one I sew for most of the time and we both have about a 50/50 input into the thought process . We make a great creative team. My very favorite thing is when Isabella wears her mom- made clothes and people compliment her on it and she replies proudly ” My mom made it”  We both like funky, a little fancy, but also very comfortable. She loves to look like a lady but she wants to be able to dig in the dirt looking like one.

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Signature for me means lots of colors, different textures and fiber content fabrics, Ankara printed fabric, fiber arts, layers, different techniques and more importantly ONE OF A KIND, my hope is to always stay true to my unique style, It should look handmade but not homemade.  Can I draft a pattern? Yes, but I also love using patterns from my favorite Indie pattern designers and putting an ArtBella spin on it. This week’s colors are compatible with all the pieces from week one. I chose denim and solids a lot the season so most of the pieces can be worn with separates from different weeks.

A  good friend of mine mentioned that Bella reminds her so much of Punky Brewster and I completely agree, hence the title.

THE DRESS:  I love beautiful, rich colored hand embroidery and even though I’ve done hand embroidery on dresses before, I have never gone to this extent. Doing it for Project Run and Play presented the perfect opportunity. I made the design on paper first, cut out my bodice and transferred my design by tracing my paper design onto the dress with white graphite paper.  
The dress is made of a teal linen blend (it’s more stable than linen) and I used all my and Bella’s favorite colors of DM floss to embroider my design. Lots of chain stitching and then some french knots and satin stitches. I will not go into detail on how many hours I spend on this but it was pure joy to see the design come together. 
I used the building block dress book from Oliver and S again to draft the dress pattern. The dress is fully lined and both the outer skirt and lining has three layers of gathered tulle ( It ended up being about 30 yards in length if I would all add them together) My gathering foot made the ruffling a lot easier, invisible zipper, the collar from the School Photo dress pattern also from Oliver and S (It is my favorite winter collar) Bella wanted three quarter sleeves so it doesn’t get dirty easy but not tight so I love how these came out. Both skirts have homemade biasbinding hems ( another signature style I use most of the time.)
The LEATHER BLAZER – I knew this was going to be a challenge so I was ready for it. TIP OF THE WEEK – Goodwill stores are awesome leather shops. I look out for good quality XXL men’s leather jackets and buy them when I see them. It is much cheaper than buying leather, you reuse something and the leather is soft so it’s easier to work with.  I could have just made a bomber which would have been a lot easier but I was looking for a short blazer that will not cover any poofy dresses and will sit just below her waist. I used the basic blazer pattern from Melly Sews,  shortened it quite a bit, two double welt pockets on the bottom and added two more welt pockets on the chest with flaps. I made pintucks on a big piece of leather and then cut the top part of the sleeves ( this is one of my favorite features), added a hoodie lined with faux wool and the lining is a beautiful African vlisco that brings out the colors on the dress.

 I added a pleat to the lining back in the middle for movement and both the sleeves and jacket lining was attached by using an invisible hem done by hand and again like last week added my label and a leather loop for hanging the jacket up, metal buttons, buttonholes galore. The biggest challenge with leather is not that it is hard to work with but layers of fabric can become very thick, you can’t iron it which is horrible because if your mama taught you right you know you need to press after every seam sewn. My sewing machine is a powerhouse and I was very thankful for it during this sew. Leather needle is not optional but a must. There were a few times where I thought it was going to break but I managed to only break one needle.
THE TIGHTS and the TEE:  Bella don’t like tights and also not socks much, but she likes the socks I made for her in week 1 so I meshed the Flash leggings pattern and the cozy critter socks pattern to make the perfect tights. ( It’s made in an activewear knit which makes it super cozy and moveable ) The Tee is the Skiff tee also from Jennuine design, I narrowed it a little, color blocked it in most of the colors present on the embroidery on the dress bodice. The neckline has a double ribbing with two different color knit fabrics.
The DENIM DUNGAREES:  My girl loves these so much and it completed my Signature week look in a perfect way. I used the Loverall dungarees pattern for Petit a Petit Patterns ( it is available in the Project Run and Play Shop ) Just like with Jennuine design you might have noticed that I use Celina’s patterns quite often. The fit is great on my girl and I never have to make changes on fit after I have taken measurements. I drafted my own front bib and widened the pant leg in the bottom but the rest all stayed the same. I used lots of denim thread for topstitching and made free motion hearts on all three pockets. Bella calls them maze hearts and likes to follow the thread path with her finger. Just like I recommend using a leather needle when sewing with leather, the same goes for denim.
After I made the dress I asked her what item  she really wanted and she asked ” Mom, can you make jeans, you know those ones with the straps?” She has outgrown her favorite pair from Target just this past summer so I wanted to make her a plain pair that she can just wear and she can dress it up with the shirt I made in week 2 tor just a t-shirt.
I chose the leather blazer as she can wear it for both casual and fancy. You can see the tights underneath which makes it so ideal for  winter. She doesnt have socks on but with the tee and tights under the dungarees everything is covered.
We took pictures in the beautiful  Princeton Art District ) The weather turned so fast the past couple of weeks I tried to keep that in mind while designing as I wanted to take some outdoor pictures – After Ann posted a quick puff stitch crochet hat pattern, I quickly made one(I lie, it was two, I made one, she took it to school, she left it there the last day before break and I made another one:) I made an orange and a teal one so she has plenty for the winter and it fits mom too)  to keep her head and ears warm during pictures and added some handmade pom poms 
here is the link to the puff stitch hat tutorial
picture overload I know but I loved them all 🙂
Thank you for following along , what a pleasure it was indeed to share my craft and joy with you.   You can vote here

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