The theme for this week’s challenge over on Project Run & Play is ‘Inspire by Nature’ which really appealed to me. But I then found it very hard to pin down to just one idea as there is just so much to be inspired by! I settled on those trips to the beach, not necessarily the summery ones with ice creams and swimming costumes, but the long autumnal walks, where beach combing and staring out to sea seems to restore the soul. I was determined to keep the design inspiration non literal and just be inspired by the shapes, textures and colours of the sea itself (which remain a focus), but then a fabric design print idea popped into my head (and sketchbook) and wouldn’t leave!
Originally I’d intended just to have brightly printed leggings to balance out a large navy blue jumper/tunic but after I’d gone to the trouble of cutting all the stencils I thought it might be fun to play with the print on a different colour background for a top too.
I cut out the pieces of fabric for top and leggings (both self-drafted) first and then printed the design on before assembly. I used my Bobbinhood screenprint set and cut out individual stencils for each of the shapes which are loose interpretations of things you’d find on the beach or in rockpools: razor clam shells, seaweed, the spray of the sea, those shells that always get worn into rings, mermaid’s purses (dogfish egg casings) and anemones.
I chose bright colours because I knew that would appeal to my daughter but also to compliment the dark jumper. The leggings are made in french terry from Nosh and the top is a cotton/linen mix from Minerva Crafts – it features ruffle sleeves, a hidden bias binding neckline finish and a little button closure at the back of the neck. I made another version of this top a couple of years ago and it gets so much wear (and love) particularly in the summer months. I imagined all the garments being worn ‘mix and match’ with other wardrobe basics.
The jumper was designed to have a cocoon shape and large voluminous sleeves gathered tightly into rib wristbands. I’m not sure if the inspiration for the shape was more waves or shells, but either way I used my Collage Sweater pattern as the starting point, sizing it up, dropping the shoulder seam and leaving off the waistband. Those puffy sleeves were created by adding box pleats at the shoulder seam and gathering at the wrist. The fabric was a strange double faced cotton/linen with a sponge sandwich layer that I found in my local fabric shop (Simply Fabrics Brixton) a year or so ago which I paired with navy cotton rib at the neckline and wrists.
For my eldest’s look I went with something more simple and classic, inspired by the colours and movement of the sea, from deep inky blues to the crests of waves. The trousers were prompted by all the great corduroy that’s around at the moment in RTW collections and the colour and texture seemed perfect to capture the inspiration source. (I bought it from a fabric shop in Brick Lane – but can’t remember it’s name). The pattern is my own Graphite Trousers pattern sewn up without the tie. There is a flat waistband and pockets and pleats at the front and an elasticated waistband at the back for comfort. The rise is deliberately generous so that it’s more suitable for being active (no trousers riding down when you crouch down or climb!).
The frilled, flowy shirt is supposed to evoke the froth of the crashing (or lapping) waves as they meet the shore. I used Republique du Chiffon’s Mini Suzon Shirt as a starting point for the bodice and neckline but changed where the seams of the shirt went so as to included a tightly gathered frill all along the front and back. The frill is finished with a rolled hem for a clean but extra frilly finish. I also had to draft some sleeves, which I kept simple to highlight the frills. The fabric was a perfectly textured crinkle viscose in my stash, that was perfect for gathering but harder to create the structure of the shirt with because it was so fluid.
As a final touch I drafted a shell inspired pleated bag (which will actually be used as a pencil case) to make out of rose gold washable paper. It was my first time working with the material and it’s quite an amazing texture. It is reasonable hard work to manipulate through the sewing machine – which did not like sewing through multiple layers at all but does become easier to sew if you work with it while wet. On the plus side it doesn’t need hemming as it won’t fray. It becomes very stiff again when dry which gives it that crispy hard finish (like a shell). It has a simple zip closure and chain handle.
The hat is the model’s mum’s own and there was another model who was also keen to wear it.
Happily as this photo shows the outfits go pretty well matched with last week’s cardigan.
And just to show that these clothes have been well and truly tested for run & play (and digging in sand) see above..
Please head over to the Project Run & Play blog to sew along, see how all the other participants interpreted the theme and, of course, vote for your favourite!