If you have arrived from Project Run & Play, a warm welcome to you! Today’s post is all about the romance and sparkle that comes with winter. Although it’s been sunny and mild in the San Francisco bay area, there are many ways to celebrate a magical Winter Wonderland! What better way than ice skating outdoors at Union Square?
I started my design process by selecting colours and finding fabric for a collection of layering pieces. I chose soft winter whites with pops of contrast in black and gold to provide visual interest. Here’s a mood board of the fabric and trim samples that I used:
For my style inspiration, I went with Kate Middleton again. She can pull off the coat dress like no other and I thought it would be the perfect starting piece for a winter wonderland outfit. I took bits and bobs from each of the following dresses to create a version of my own.
The top of this coat dress is pretty much a mash-up of two of my favourite oliver + s patterns! I started with the Music Class Blouse pattern to get the basic shape and redrafted my pattern pieces to create a simplified, fitted bodice. The 3/4-length sleeves were narrowed and I borrowed the sleeve cuffs from the School Photo Dress pattern. Then I added a couple of faux darts (inverted pintucks) on the front and back, that are centered on inverted box pleats to give it a tailored fit, yet full A-line skirt.
Matching mother of pearl buttons give the dress a delicate touch. A narrow black velvet ribbon “belt” hides the seams and draws attention to the waistline. Flannel in-seam pockets were added–leftover black & white polka dots from Froo’s School Photo Dress. I took extra care to finish the seams with bias binding to give the inside a professional look (great tutorial from things for boys).
The fabric is AMAZING. It’s a heavy-weight stretch cotton twill with a soft flannel-like feel on the inside. The coat dress is more champagne than ivory, with flecks of silver to give it a metallic sheen. The fabric really sparkles in the sunlight, giving it a magical feel, which is quite hard to capture in photos.
The 3/4-length sleeve ballerina top is based on the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern. I made the pattern in size 5, omitted the neckband and cuffs, choosing to hem with a double-needle instead and lengthened the shirt by several inches. The fabric is a light-weight knit cotton with raised gold polka dots. I purchased it from Girl Charlee, but it looks to be out of stock. I made sure to buy 3 yards when I had my chance–I used it in 3 of the 4 pieces I made! The gold sequin ribbon was hand stitched to the shirt afterwards to create a faux Peter Pan collar. The fit is spot-on and the pattern is so versatile–every version I make is completely different. I LOVE the Flashback Skinny Tee!
To give the dress more volume, I made Froo a tutu. I lined it with the same gold-dot knit fabric, so Froo can also wear it as a stand-alone skirt. Two different types of ivory lace were used to hem the lining and one of the four layers of shimmer tulle. In order to hide all of the seams, the layers are sandwiched between black sequin elastic and plain black elastic on the inside. I was surprised at how easy it was to sew over sequins–although, black is a very forgiving colour and the thread remains undetectable, even with squiggly stitching!
Finally, the outfit is completed with a warm, fuzzy vest. To draft my pattern, I traced Boo’s H&M vest onto Swedish tracing paper, made some modifications and stitched it up to make a muslin. The quilted cotton Sherpa was a bit of a splurge, purchased in Vancouver, at Dressew for $19.99/m. But I just had to buy it and I’m so happy I did! By cutting pattern pieces on the bias to get a diamond-shaped grid and adding gold hardware, it began to resemble an iconic Chanel handbag. The lining is the same cream gold-dot knit. I used fusible fleece (ironed on low heat with a pressing cloth so the dots wouldn’t melt) to back the knit for stability and extra warmth.
The shape of the vest itself is rather simple. I chose some design elements to give it a fresh and updated style: a rounded hi-low hem, overlapped front pieces and offset placement of the closures. I attached the collar using the Wiksten Tova method and finished it with hand stitching because the layers were really thick. I found the ornate golden hook closures at Dressew for $0.99 each and I can’t imagine the vest with any other buttons!
That’s it! Four coordinating pieces that can be worn layered altogether, or mixed and matched to create multiple looks.
Froo was pulling faces while getting dressed. Hence, no face:
I took oodles of photos of Froo at Union Square in downtown San Francisco. You’ll notice that the buttons on the coat dress are undone from the waist down. One of the buttons popped off in the car and I didn’t have an emergency sewing kit. Yikes. I still took some photos, despite our minor wardrobe malfunction. The next day, we took the kids to the San Jose Christmas in the Park to take some more photos of the coat dress. Froo & Boo are thoroughly enjoying their winter in the San Francisco bay area!
Thank you for visiting my blog! I’ve loved every moment of designing and sewing up each piece of my Winter Wonderland collection and it’s an honour to share it with you. I would love for you to vote for me, over at the Project Run & Play website!