Project Run & Play – Birthday Dress(up)

party2This week’s theme over on the Project Run & Play Challenge is celebrations around the world which seemed to me like a great excuse to make some party outfits. We celebrated my youngest daughter’s birthday this weekend so that seemed like the perfect (and most practical) choice of celebration. I tend to make a birthday outfit of her choice every year anyway and more often than not she chooses a costume, which I interpret to make as wearable as possible (last year’s was a shark hoodie and mermaid leggings!). This year she requested a hawk dress which I did my best to interpret into something that could have multi-purpose wear but also the flamboyant make-believe fun factor I know she appreciates. I decided to go with a simple dress that could be paired with a cape that serve as wings (or a simple jacket or jumper on other occasions) and chose a colour scheme that drew inspiration from a hawk but was also aesthetically pleasing.

sp1For the dress I used the bodice from the Oliver+S Fairytale dress as a starting point, but lowered the neckline and curved the front waistline. The fabric for the under layer of the dress is upcycled from a silk/cotton blouse found in a charity shop. The top layer of the dress is some supersoft illusion tulle in a pinky beige colour. There is also an additional beige cotton lining layer on the bodice section. DSC_3298I added extra pleats to the bodice in the top layer at the waistline to create texture and interest, and more gathers for the skirt section. The bottom edge is left raw on the tulle to create a more weightless feel and finished with a standard hem on the lining layer. The back is fastened with an invisible zip.

DSC_3287 (1)For the wings I created the shape with a single piece of tulle and stitched on a cotton section for the upper wing. The texture of the lower wing was created by sewing lines of gathered tulle (from Minerva Crafts) strips onto the tulle base layer. The tulle strips were snipped to create a feathery effect. For the upper wing  I cut up strips of different colour fabric (including some of the fabric used for the dress) and cut them into feather shapes. I did this by concertina folding the strips and cutting out the feather shape like a people paper chain. I then stitched these on to the top section of the wings in alternating layers but working from the lighter to the darker shades.

DSC_3294The neckline is finished with bias binding with a button closure. The wings can be worn loose as a cape, but also have small elastic loops on the inside for the wrists so they can also be played with as wings.

DSC_3343So my older daughter didn’t feel left out, (even though it’s not her birthday until the summer) I made a more classic party outfit that could be worn at any special occasion (but also mixed in with her general clothes).hp1sq

The dress is self drafted to create a classic bodice that is fitted but not tight with collar, turned up cuffs and a gathered skirt. The fabric is a lovely cream crepe with gold finish, bought at my local fabric store (Simply Fabrics). Again I used an invisible zip closure and went for a raw edge finish at the bottom hem to contrast with the classic style. The raw edge is actually the selvedge edge, so whilst it has a ‘frayed edge’ feel it isn’t actually frayed and won’t degrade with time or washing.

DSC_3274 (1)It is paired with a pink jumper made from cotton french terry (Nosh organics fabric) using Megan Nielsen’s Mini Briar Top. I pretty much used the pattern as is, but softened the curve on the high-low hem to make it less exaggerated. The lion design is hand painted on in fabric paint and came about (because she didn’t want a hawk!) as her birthday falls in the summer making her a Leo. I drew out the design in pencil, then ink on paper first, made a few key marker points (eyes, nose) on the fabric before painting the design directly on.


The bomber jacket is again self-drafted, made in a lovely shade of pink velvet (also found at Simply Fabrica). Making welt pockets in velvet is not up on my list of favourite things to do but I was determined that the jacket should have them. To break up all that pink I used black cotton ribbing at the neckline and some lovely striped black, gold and cream Albstoffe rib at the waist and wrists. The lining is a scrap of fine cotton lawn I had left over from another project.

So that’s it for this week. Again I’d love it if you headed over to the Project Run & Play site to see what the other participants came up with, vote or sew along and link up your own project.

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13 thoughts on “Project Run & Play – Birthday Dress(up)

  1. Oh Toya, I’m absolutely in love with both outfits! They are gorgeous! I love the feather cape, the pink dress, the sweater, the bomber, the lot! It’s definitely something I would make if I had little girls. It’s even something I would wear if I WERE a little girl. ❤ Good luck, you have my vote!

  2. Your pictures are so beautiful. That pink dress is just classically gorgeous. The lion is just wow. The whole post perfection. So now I have to go back on your posts to go find I shark hoodie and mermaid leggings!

  3. These outfits are stunning Toya! I can’t believe you hand painted that lion. It’s just amazing and your sewing is impeccable as always! I definitely want to make my girls that tulle dress. Just stunning!

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