The Little Butterfly Princess (PR&P Signature Look)

It seems like all summer I’ve spent the idea of a signature look rolling around in my head. What do I like to wear? What do I enjoy designing? What colors draw me to them? For myself, I have some more pondering to do. For children’s wear, especially dressing Grace, the answer is much simpler:

Classic/Historical Silhouettes. Bright, youthful colors. And the ever important washable and wearable. Those three elements plus hours of pinterest / google image surfing led to this:

table

I don’t draw inspiration from any one particular fashion era. I tend to gravitate towards 1950s for me, but I’m pretty equal opportunity when it comes to Grace. Lately, I’ve really loved the sweet drop waist dresses and giant bows of the Edwardian era – roughly 1905-1915 (the era was longer but that’s when this fashion was on-trend). I mean, how can you not ooh and awww over this cutie? (source link)

Or this 1905 dress, from the Wisconsin Historical Society collections (source link):

circ 1905

The slim bodice with a dropped waist over a fuller pleated, fairly short skirt had a resurgence in the 1960s. I found a few available in modern stores, too. Let’s bring this style back! To me, it’s the epitome of sweet little girl innocence. If you want to see more inspiration images, they’re all on a Pinterest board. I’ve named it The Little Butterfly Princess dress after my all time favorite movie – A Little Princess! There’s some screenshots on my board. It was written in 1904; the film is set in the mid 19-teens. The original Tasha Tudor paintings never fail to stir my heart.

standing

To bring this classic style to the modern era, I chose super soft denim for the main fabric of the dress. I love this denim. I’ve used it at least half a dozen times, maybe more. The bow and box pleats are a neon butterfly quilter’s cotton – the very last scrap from Grace’s baby quilt (which I PROMISE I will finish one of these days. It’s only been 2.5 years… The binding is attached, and about 20% stitched in place It’s finished! See here). If Grace could label her signature style, it would definitely be butterflies!

pleats

I started with the Oliver + S Sailboat top in a size 3. I altered the sleeves to my favorite elbow length – so much easier with a messy toddler and frequent hand washing! I cut the shirt tails off straight and attached a box pleated drop waist skirt. I did a lot of math on this skirt to make it come out perfectly. The denim is only on the front face of the pleat; everything hidden is butterfly. There are 8 pleats total – 4 front, 4 back.

prim

I found these little pearly buttons in the depths of my stash. I love how simple they are, yet they really pop!

runrun

I toned down the bow a little from the 1900’s look. That was a little overwhelming! Although Grace does have the natural curls to pull it off… I may track down one.more.scrap. to make a bigger bow! Speaking of scraps and bows… the sash was supposed to be out of a pink swirl print used in the quilt. Apparently it all got used or misplaced. The blue is borrowed from the neckline of a pillow case dress and while I love the pop against the denim, it isn’t cutting it. I’ll be taking it off to find something better suited.

back

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So there is is – my Signature Look for Fall 2013! Classic sillouette, bright modern colors, and totally washable and wearable, even if pressing those pleats back into place will be a little time consuming. And now, I think I will give my tired design brain a break! See the other signature looks here.

bow

Birthday Tulip Dress

What does a mama give her special two year old for her birthday? A dress of course! And one for Baby, too!

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I got brave – I finally conquered knit fabric! I’ve been putting it off for years, for no good reason. I think I’m afraid of it stretching funny and looking bad. But I’d purchased this Michael Miller print on impulse a few months ago and it was begging to be sewn up.

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The perfect pattern for it was the Birthday Party Dress from Lily Bird Studio. I’ve made the dress up twice now, and used elements from it (bodice and sleeves) on a couple other creations since purchasing it a few months ago. The simple pieces lend themselves well to the bold graphic print. I only changed 2 very minor things from the pattern – if you know me, and how I sew, this is absolutely shocking. First was to use 2 pink kam snaps on the back instead of buttons, since the buttonhole on my machine is acting funny and I don’t feel like trying to figure it out. The other was to reduce the fullness of the skirt and bottom ruffle to better work with the knit fabric.

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The bow is fold-over elastic not folded over (lol), stitched into a loop. 1″ wide strips of scrap fabric make the double loop bow. Couldn’t be easier!

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I drafted Baby’s dress using her original jammies and estimating the rest of the shapes. It turned out good enough. It’s completely open on the back and held with velcro – more toddler friendly than snaps.

My only disappointment was it ended up cold at Grace’s birthday party, so her birthday party dress had to be covered up! It was still cute and fantastic, though – she fit the flowers theme perfectly 🙂

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Details

My beautiful 2 year old

My beautiful 2 year old