PR&P week 5: japanese tea party

we’re getting down to brass tacks here on project run & play! it’s week 5, and in case you may have missed it, last week’s outerwear voting (and judging) was so close they decided to make it a non-elimination round. that means this week is a DOUBLE elimination round, heading into the finale next week! eeps!

one thing that i’ve tried to be conscious of throughout this competition is remaining true to my aesthetic. it’s surprisingly easy to start feeling swayed by what other people are doing in a situation like this, especially because i tend to design things that are much more understated, normally. so i have worked hard to keep to my own look while still pushing myself to add “wow.” i think this week is my best example of that balance. the jacket has clean lines and is very wearable, the pink shirt and ballet skirt are more elevated from the everyday. most of the time i’m sewing what i hope she’ll want to wear anyway, and using pink, elephants, and ballet stuff are always a good bet!

for initial inspiration, i couldn’t stop looking at this lovely loveliness. it guided me to make the skirt, textured top, and use olive green tones.

source: pinterest, original site appears to be defunct

i did a bit more sleuthing around on the skirt and i believe it’s from shabby apple, although theirs only looks to be in white. regardless, i had to make it for my ballerina girl. it’s a batiste circle skirt on the bottom, then three layers of cream tulle, also circle skirts. gotta admit, i felt pretty smart when i realized i could cut them that way and avoid hemming the tulle!

oh and the shirt! did anyone recognize it from Em’s birthday???

i even used the same petal template! it’s all pink voile (the birthday pinata is tissue paper). i hand cut the 65 petals and decided to leave all edges raw for a fluttery look. i lined them up in a row, stitched them down, layered the next ones on top, stitched those down, etc. i then sewed the front and back parts of the shirt together, bound the neckline and armholes, and hemmed the bottom. pretty easy, but a really nice textural effect and added the dose of pink that Em loves.

here are my initial drawings of both:

so i had the general concept down and knew i wanted a textured shirt, but didn’t have the idea for the kimono jacket until monday this week! that morning, feeling a little stuck, i asked Em what she wanted me to make her. she told me she wanted an elephant coat with elephant buttons (i’d shown the buttons to her before)! i thought a kimono would add to the japanese vibe of the peony shirt, so once again, i hit the fabric store on my lunch hour. i don’t usually drive to work, so i walked to the only fabric store near me, which is smallish and has just a little of everything. jackpot, though – they had this dark olive sueded twill. i paired it with the kona olive that i keep on hand because it’s my favorite, and i thought the tonal effect was pretty magical.

i’m now calling this her “ballet ninja” jacket. other PR&P post titles i considered this week were “tea for elephants” and “skirt as top’s skirt and top,” but i chickened out. :)

for the jacket pattern, i took the one i made for little red and shortened it, slimmed it a bit, and shortened the sleeves by a couple inches. then i drew a subtle curve from one shoulder to the other armpit, similarly to how i drafted my sweet tartan dress. so the pattern is still originally based on the oliver + s sunday brunch jacket (out of print but can be found in stores, and they’ve been realeasing lots of out of print patterns as digital ones lately), but the only original elements left now are the armholes and shoulder seams! it closes with three of those cute little elephant buttons.

and yeah, i totally hand-finished the whole neckline and sleeve bindings with a blind stitch. i wasn’t going to, but at 10:30pm the night before i planned to take photos, i decided it was a must to preserve the cleanliness of the jacket. i’m so glad i did, even if it meant another late sewing night.

the lining is marrakech elephants by valori wells. i’m sure Em wishes it was on the outside. hehe.

all photos were taken here, which turned out so perfectly – i had forgotten that their house was the same colors as the jacket! my lovely host was thanked profusely and gifted some special fabric for the trouble.

i got waaaay too many great photos, so please forgive the overload!! oh just one more thing: the pretty little orchids in her hair came from the same florist that did our wedding flowers, and i just happened to go get them ON my 8 year wedding anniversary! i thought that was kinda cool.

i’ll stop now so you can head on over to project run & play to vote! japanese tea party! double elimination! vote here!

domo arigato!

**Voting is now closed.**

psssst…want EVEN MORE photos??? check out THE OUTTAKES!

45 thoughts on “PR&P week 5: japanese tea party

  1. Carolyn says:

    There are so many things that I love about this outfit! But first of all, you cut 65 petals! I am in awe of that! And all the handfinishing on the coat! But mostly I love how it is so “you” and how you drew so much from things that your daughter loves (and actually wears). So gorgeous!

  2. katie says:

    oh my god i am in LOVE with that elephant print you used as the lining. in LOVE. also, she is too cute for words with her little toes pointed out to the side.

  3. kate says:

    really cute! I love your understated style! That is one of the things I don’t like about this competition also. The scallop top is so pretty, I could see myself wearing one!

  4. Danielle says:

    I totally thought of that piñata when u first saw her shirt! Once again your work is amazing. This outfit is so balanced. The proportions are great and the colors work so well! And the sewing is tidy and perfect as usual. I hope people will link this up and spread the word and vote for you!! You certainly deserve it!!

  5. gail says:

    carolyn is right, this is so “you.” it’s a stunning ensemble and the top is such a standout – so unique and creative and special. beautiful work!

  6. Sara says:

    I love this outfit! I love how understated it is and the Japanese influence and the elephant fabric lining. Completely my idea of the type of outfit that should win!!

  7. Stef says:

    This outfit is so pretty and soft. I really like that layered petal shirt and I love that your daughter loves elephants-so cute!!

  8. Wendy says:

    I voted for you before I came over and read this post. Loved your design this week, and most definitely chose it because of what you said above. I appreciate that you stayed true to your normal design aesthetic which I sensed before you read this post. You’ve created a truly special outfit that your daughter obviously loves AND is comfortable and not over the top. My favorite things are the petal top and that gorgeous lining. Good luck!

  9. Rachel says:

    I’m impressed that you made 3 pieces, loved your inspirations, you’re an expert at these types of skirts… 65 petals !?! that was a lot of work !
    I voted for you :)

  10. Tara says:

    Once again, you did a beautiful job. I love that you held fast to your style. And I haven’t seen the new valori in anything yet. It’s so gorgeous! I just made a wrenly skirt for my three year old.

  11. sandy says:

    Oh, this is just the cutest outfit.
    And I even love the lining in the cute japanese jacket. Soooo Classy!
    It even looks as if Em could wear it inside out too! (could she?) The fabrics are beautiful.
    This is one of those times that less really makes more!

  12. Fiona says:

    Hello. I just popped over from the Project Run and Play site, and I have to say that I simply love your style. You did such a great job on this outfit, and the understated elegance of it would fit right in here in Europe, where I live. Keep it up and don’t doubt yourself or your style!

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