I find it extremely difficult to define my daughter's style (and my own for that matter). She's not boxed into one look but definitely likes variety--one day it's a fancy dress with ruffles, the next day it's an old pair of sweats paired with a t-shirt, purse, and jewelry! But no matter what it is, Ella always makes sure the outfit has a feminine touch.
Her outfit for the Pattern Anthology Winter Wonderland Pattern Collection blog tour is no exception!
With cooler weather fast approaching, I decided to swap out the summer clothes in Ella's closet and replace them with winter clothes. The problem is that she had outgrown almost all her pants and jeans from last year. Lucky for me (and for Ella, too, I guess), I had just signed up to make a pair of Tree Climber Trousers and a Sweet Bonnie Top for the Pattern Anthology tour. She'd have at least one new outfit for fall and winter soon.
Sometimes the most difficult part of a sewing project is choosing the fabrics, but not this one! I immediately knew I wanted to use the hot pink, white, and silver striped knit that had been lying around waiting for that perfect project. Every time I open my box of knits, Ella begs me to make her something with it, and this time I got to say yes! She was thrilled.
This led me to remember some teal stretch corduroy with silver specs in it that I bought a couple of months ago. When I finally found it, it looked great paired with the pink fabric for the Sweet Bonnie Top, but I wanted to tie the two pieces together more using the silver accent. Since I had no silver fabric in my stash, this meant it was time to go shopping!
We headed to Joann's and combed the aisles in search of the perfect shade and texture of silver fabric. Finally, I came across this silver pleather. I was a little concerned that it might not hold up well in the wash or to the rigorous play of an active little girl, but my choices for silver fabric were pretty slim, so I took a chance with it. I tested a piece of it in the wash and it seemed to hold up just fine.
For the Sweet Bonnie Top, I used the silver fabric with no added interfacing on the collar, and I lined the back of the pocket using the knit fabric. Check out my mad stripe matching skills at those sleeve shoulder seams! My mom taught me well!
The most challenging part of making this blouse was using the metallic thread to topstitch the collar and pocket! I learned much later that there are specialty needles for sewing with metallic thread (still need to buy one), but I did manage to finish the entire project using a regular needle. If you decide to give this a try with a regular needle, I'll just warn you that you might get frequent thread breaks that can be a little frustrating at times!
I love the raglan style of the Sweet Bonnie Top and the fact that it can be made using wovens or knits. Besides the peter pan style collar, the little pocket and the pleats at the sleeve cuffs, the back includes a zippered closure to help make slipping the top on and off a lot easier.
I'm fairly new to sewing zippers into clothing (this was my second one and done the same week as my first one which I blogged about here). It was very easy to do using the instructions and pictures in the pattern.
Next, I planned how to embellish the Tree Climber Trousers to make them perfect for Ella's style. I started by quilting the knees using the metallic thread and two layers of regular quilting cotton for backing. In addition to working with the finicky metallic thread, I was also now working with stretch corduroy! What was I thinking?!
This fabric definitely required the use of my walking foot. It was stretching and sliding/slipping all over the place until I stuck that on my machine. Quilting the knees took a while, but the look it gives the pants was all worth it!
I then constructed the front pockets by lining them with a coordinating quilting cotton fabric for a little peek of color. I used the same fabric to make the inner waistband and to line the back pocket flaps.
For the back pockets, I used some double sided Wonder Tape to hold the folds until I could edgestitch since pins would have left permanent holes in the pleather. Double sided Wonder Tape is a great product! You should definitely get some along with that sewing machine needle for metallic thread!
You might just notice that the back pockets on these pants are rather large. In fact, I used the smaller pocket for the size 5 pants that I made Ella, and they are still that big! Of course, you can always scale the back pocket pattern pieces down to suit your personal taste.
And since I wasn't feeling challenged enough, I decided to try my hand at inserting a zip fly for the first time EVER! The Tree Climber Trousers pattern comes with pattern pieces and instructions for sewing a faux fly and a completely elastic waistband, but for some reason, I felt I had to do a real zippered fly! The pattern instructions include a link to a couple of great tutorials (one by Melissa and the other by Shauna) on how to sew a zip fly and modify the waistband, so once I was completely free of any and all distractions, I was able to figure it out. I'm so glad I did because I love, love, love the end result!
It may not be perfect--obviously it isn't since I sewed the fly shield so that the serged edge shows--but it functions and looks pretty darn good from the outside!
Now that all being said about how happy I am with the results of the zip fly, I didn't really consider that this modification would mean that all the elastic would now end up in the back waistband only and not be distributed across the front as well. Because of this, the rear end looks a little more cinched than I think it normally would had I followed the exact details of the pattern instructions.
All I know is that I learned a few new tricks while sewing this outfit, tried out some new materials, and most importantly, made one little girl very, VERY happy!
To learn more about Pattern Anthology and to purchase the 8 pdf pattern Winter Wonderland Collection which includes both the Sweet Bonnie Top and the Tree Climber Trousers, click HERE!
I was provided copies of these two patterns free of charge in exchange for my participation in the pattern tour, and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.
Be sure to check in with Andrea at The Train to Crazy, Kate of See Kate Sew, Melissa of Melly Sews, and Shauna of Shwin & Shwin each weekday through November 18th for links to all the bloggers participating in the Winter Wonderland Tour! Or click HERE to see all the outfits already revealed. You won't want to miss it!
I'd love to hear what you think of my Winter Wonderland outfit. Please let me know by leaving a comment!