I have to be honest, when I first saw the challenge list for this season of Project Run & Play, I wasn’t thrilled. Design an outfit inspired by candy? I almost sat this one out. In my mind, the only candy worth eating is chocolate. Good chocolate. Preferably with flakes of crunchy sea salt and maybe some almonds stirred in. With a cup of dark coffee or… Sorry for the rabbit trail! Point being, candy doesn’t inspire me when it comes to clothing. I spent weeks wrestling with ideas – too literal, too costume, too “never going to wear it again.” Plus, I wanted to use only supplies I already had in my house.
Then I decided to actually *sort* my fabric stash and see what I had on hand. It’s now in clear bins organized logically – apparel yardage, cotton yardage, clothes to upcycle, large scraps, small scraps, knits… and as I was sorting, I came across this gem of Ann Kelle diamond print fabric I bought on a whim to round out an order for free shipping back in the spring. It’s in the Summer Remix line. Once I saw it there was only one thing I could think of – STARBURSTS! Those chewy fruity squares of color have never been my favorite for eating, but you’ve got to admit, they’ve got some pretty cool style.
Do you remember being a kid and making chains from starburst wrappers? Or gum wrappers? Or sometimes even strips of notebook paper so you didn’t fall asleep in class? (ahem…) Then came the phenomenon of the candy wrapper purses, wallets, bracelets. Which led into the strange (Capri Sun pouch bags, anyone?). But I have fond memories of those little scraps of colorful waxy paper woven together for no other reason than because they were there. And that, my friends, added to the lovely fabric, led to this week’s candy creation.
A loose cut blouse and clean khaki pants doesn’t sound like much, but I love all the details tucked in these pieces. Starting with they’re layer-able, mix-and-match-able, and even grow-with-her-able. The pants have 4 pockets and and the top floats out when she spins, so Grace is thrilled. The top is actually based on a historically accurate chemise pattern my friend Amy is offering free at her blog, Thistle and Lilly. It’s pretty quiet over there, but that’s only because Amy is working on something really big and really cool – starting her line of historical children’s patterns, primarily for the reenacting community. But I absolutely adore the clean, classic lines! I think they translate really well to modern children’s wear. I only modified it slightly by adding rick rack trim.
The white rick rack takes the place of the candy wrapper chains, since adding more color to this already colorful print would be overwhelming. I used it at the neckline and armholes on the top, then to edge the pockets on the khaki pants:Speaking of these pants, I’m in love. The pattern is the Ben and Mia pants from Lily Bird Studio. I bought the pattern last winter but was never inspired to make it. Why? Grace wore cloth diapers, which are huge, and I didn’t want to put effort in to fixing the pattern to accommodate. She wore dresses and stretch pants. BUT! We’ve been potty trained for 3 weeks now – it’s time to introduce some real pants into this girl’s wardrobe. The pattern is as close to perfect as I would ask for. It’s got some special details, too, like the directions for ready-to-wear style top stitching. I think that adds such a nice touch and I wouldn’t have thought of it myself. These slacks just look so PROFESSIONAL! A huge part of that is the pattern. The other part is they started their life as a pair of my husband’s slacks. After an incident with his bike chain they retired to the upcycle pile. These were nice slacks – super soft from 5+ years of washing and wearing, but still very sturdy with lots of life left. Can you see the permanent crease? I was able to cut super carefully to line that up where it belongs on Grace’s pants! Victory!
And of course, the crowning joy – a candy wrapper chain headband. I couldn’t claim to be inspired by them without making one! I used the tropical flavor Starburst pack – same colors as the original but brighter, which better matches my fabric. I used a tapestry needle to thread a ribbon through each end; the ribbons are tied in a bow at her neck. Simple and sweet.
The neckline is a little loose since I sewed after bedtime – this chemise pattern really needs fitted before sewing the neckline. This is neckline #2 – #1 was way, way too tight. A simple cami from her drawer keeps her covered. I can see the top over jeggings and a long sleeved tee as the weather cools off. All in all I met my goals and am extremely pleased: meets the challenge, wearable pieces, and I didn’t buy any fabric! (Full disclosure – I did by a pack of rick rack and the starbursts, though. Grand total, under $5)
A big thanks to my husband who gave me a crash course in Photoshop this afternoon. I feel all fancy, what with watermarks and color balanced pictures and all! And even a collage of out takes! We took these photos at the Farm & Home store, since we needed to buy chicken feed anyway and they’ve got these cute rustic bulk candy bins by the door. And horse feed, which apparently makes a good jungle gym: