Week 5 The Real McCoy

5:00 AM

Last week no one went home for Project Run and Play because it was so close, so this week the pressure is on with a double elimination, and it determines the top 3 designers for the finale!

So it's the big times and the challenge for this week was:
Special Occasion/ Party
From the beginning when I found out all the challenges, this was the week I was so excited about.  I was bummed it was week 5 because I wasn't sure I could make it that far in the competition, and I really loved my design and plan.  So I'm not only thrilled that I made it this far to be able to compete this week, but I am so proud of my looks.
The Real McCoy
I made a vintage inspired suit for my son RJ and a satin champagne dress for my baby Ellaria.
When I thought of special occasion/ party, I immediately decided to sew for my kids, as you never want to go to a special occasion without a date!

My inspiration was mainly from my Grandpa.
He was a WWII marine and just an overall handsome, amazing man.  My son is named after my Grandpa, and we have the center photograph taken in 1941 hanging in his room.  I love the formality of the 1940s and 50s where dresses and suits were everyday wear.  

I also of course thought of James Bond, and the scene in Catch Me If You Can where Leonardo Dicaprio buys a suit and wants to make sure it's the exact James Bond replica.
I called my look "The Real McCoy", mainly because I put all the real details in this suit, no faux fly or pockets this time around, this suit is the real deal, just kid sized!
Also, the title references Frank Sinatra, another suit wearing inspiration from this era.  
I listened to Frank a lot as a teenager.

So here's an overview of everything I created for this week:
suit jacket and trousers, refashioned tie and belt
champagne satin dress, ribbon belt, satin bow headband, over-sized pearl bracelet, and hand dyed wine tights

I think I'll start with the suit.
I first chose a charcoal herringbone suiting.  I liked a color other than standard black, and the subtle texture of the herringbone.  I do have to mention what a dream wool suiting is to sew with.  It presses so smooth and crisp, like sewing with butter.
Overall, I just love this suit and I'm so proud of it.  
It's one of those garments it was finished and fit him so well, I am still shocked I was the one who made it!
Even last summer I don't think my sewing skills could have pulled this off.  
RJ was dancing to Michael Buble's "Feeling Good"
I did a lot of research on suits to design this.  I really didn't know much, maybe two-button versus double breasted and that's all.  There's tons of info out there, but this post is a good comprehensive list of different styles with examples.

So you may not care, but I thought about all the details in depth to design this particular suit.  Before I did any research, a suit was just a suit.  But learning more made me have specific preferences, like a notch lapel rather than a peaked, etc.
So here's the run down.

Of course the biggest feature that is unexpected on this suit are the exposed zipper pockets.
I thought they added a punk vs refined contrast, military vibe, and just fun kid element.  And it's kind of becoming my trademark, as I loved them last week on my Squadron Bomber Jacket too.

The next unexpected feature is the lining.  I've found my kids always love the things I sew if they have some input in the process.  So I let RJ pick out the lining, as no one really sees it.
I wasn't surprised when he picked camouflage spiders.
LOOK OUT! I have spiders in my coat!

The coat and all the pockets are lined with these spiders and he loves them.
His favorite is to unzip the waist pocket and tell me the spiders are getting out to get me, then I'll scream, and he'll zip it up fast to shut them back in there.

 We even have spiders in our trouser pockets!

The inside of the coat has another welt pocket and a label.  Just like I made in my husband's pea coat, I added a sentimental note/ clothing label to my son.  Kind of like signing a painting for an artist or dedicating literature for an author.  The piece of white satin I used for the label is actually a scrap from my wedding dress which I thought was a fun detail/ memory.
"for my son, RJ Boy/  with love, Mom" label from my wedding dress scrap
The back of the jacket has curved side seams, that become the double vents.  My french curve and I had a late night drafting those curved seams, and they ended up laying perfectly flat and shape the back really well.  I was really excited when that all worked out!
From what I understand, the double vents are an Italian style, and meant to give access to both back pockets without disturbing the silhouette of the jacket when you sit, etc.  My husband really likes a double vent from living in Italy a few years, and so this was an obvious detail I wanted to include.

Now on to the trousers.
It seems like they emphasize on the real Project Runway how difficult a well fitted pair of pants can be.  That's why I was so thrilled the seat or butt of these trousers fit so well!  You don't want a baggy butt, but you definitely don't want the back seam up their crack, so there's a very narrow "tailored but comfortable" zone to aim for.
I'm also proud of the buttoned welt pockets on the back too.

 I've put so much effort into this suit, I really wanted it to be able to grow with him, so I have a large hem  to lower as his inseam grows.  Then for the waist, I knew I needed to make the adjustable elastic waist like you find in most manufactured kids pants.
I looked for the button hole elastic but couldn't find any, so I ended up just cutting this elastic out of a pair of jeans he has that were thrashed and too small.
Adjustable button elastic waist, belt loop detail, zip fly and hook/eye closure.
 You'd think a suit might be uncomfortable or restrict movement, but my little guy seemed to be moving just fine.
that's right, no socks...going a little euro today
You can also dress it down for a more casual, going out to dinner look.

This face was just too hilarious not to share.

But back to our date...and on to the champagne satin dress.

I am not the best at designing girl things.  It's a lot easier for me to get excited about boy looks.  
But I had 1 yard of champagne colored satin and thought I would try to make a great girls dress.  I had been inspired by my idea for the skirt a while ago and planned to have a basic scoop neck bodice.  I was searching "champagne dresses" just to get ideas on how to accessorize/ style with this color, and found this amazing vintage gown from the 1950s and it became my inspiration for the neckline, and the over sized pearl accessory.

But a cowl satin neckline looks great on a form with a chest.  It was a challenge to work the fabric to be subtle enough it's a texture on such a small and boxy shape as a little baby.  So I ended up liking the idea of a twisted cowl, where I started at the bottom and twisted the fabric as I shaped and hand tacked it into the cowl shape.  In the end I loved the result and the texture it adds to an otherwise simple bodice.  I also kept the sleeves simple with just a baby cap.

The bodice has a dropped waist, or at least for most baby girls dresses it's lower.

The sheer ribbon belt velcros in the back and is removable because I didn't want to commit to a particular color.  This way we can do lighter colors for spring/ summer, where wine/burgundy  felt like a winter look to me.
The skirt is quite full, not a true circle skirt, as it's narrower through the hips then bells out.

 This girl became much easier to photograph once she fell asleep.
The accessories are pretty simple.  I used satin wine ribbon to sew a simple bow headband.  There's about 2 inches of 1" wide elastic at the base of the neck to hold it on.  The big pearl bracelet was made with plastic pearls and that stretchy clear elastic found in the jewelry aisle at the craft store.

 The skirt was my favorite part.
I designed it with the concept of having a sheer pleated texture on the satin skirt.
To accomplish this look, I cut the skirt into strips, along with champagne organza strips.  I pieced the skirt around alternating the satin and organza strips.  The I sewed the  seams together, making the organza strips fold on themselves like a huge pin-tuck.  This ended up giving an architectural element to the structure of the skirt, sheer folded texture, and a slight shimmer from the organza.  I used a scant self made bias tape hem, and loved the end result.

 So in the end RJ was a good little gentlemen to take his sister on a little date to the lobby of my husband's work.  They tried to dance....

had a drink...

then the shoes came off...

...and when your date passes out you know the party's over.

Thanks for making it this far in this epic, long post.
Remember if you like all this, you can vote through Sunday at Project Run and Play!

I did want to mention how grateful I am for my kids to assist me in my hobby.  It ended up stretching across three different photo shoots due to different things that came up, bad moods, naps, no light, etc.
It's not their favorite thing to get pictures taken, but they did great!
I think RJ got a wedgie bending in half  with his head upside down on the ground.

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  1. BRAVO - amazing designs, amazing sewing. Love the photos too :)

  2. they look amazing! And the photos are too cute, great job!!

  3. Absolutely stunning! That jsbsome masterful sewing. I am beyond impressed.

  4. HOLY GUACAMOLE!!!! Amazing job!!

  5. You are so talented it's incredible! I can't believe you made a whole entire suit! You're looks are phenomenal and have my vote!!

  6. Those are amazing! I love them both! And what a great style ! I voted for you and WOW you have stiff competition over there! But really, yours is, in my opinion, the best.

    Absolutely amazing.

  7. Oh my word! I can't fathom how much time must have gone into these works of art! And then the part about the evening is over when your date passes out was HILARIOUS! Yes, I did just use exclamation points on every sentence!

  8. I am so, so impressed!! Excellent job!

  9. After doing just two welt pockets, I am amazed at the work you put into you sons suit! It must have taken you hours and hours, but its impeccably done. And I love the pleated overlay detail on your daughter's skirt. I definitely voted for you!

  10. That suit is amazing! Great job. I never would have had the guts to tackle a little tailored suit...or a big one for that matter.

  11. Those outfits are truly incredible! Every detail was really outstanding!

  12. Out of control stunning! I am in awe and wonder. Great job!!! I wish I was brave enough to give a suit a try.

    Just Another Day in Paradise

  13. This suit is one of the most amazing pieces of sewing I have ever seen.


  14. Oh Jess! Everything turned out so perfect.

  15. Visiting from PR&P. Phenomenal job. Great background story. (I'm inspired.!)

  16. You made a suit!!!???!!! WOW. I'd say this one is in the bag. You are seriously talented. And your baby dress is darling too. Babies are hard to sew for. All those tiny little seams.

  17. Seriously this is so great...again! I love how you take inspiration from past eras. And I know it's only Friday morning but...you're winning! Woot! ;-)

  18. WELL DONE!!! This is one of the cutest things I've ever seen!!! I love it! I wish my suiting skills were that good :)

  19. I voted for you this week-LOVED everything about your outfits! Little Ellaria is ADOR-able, and the little suit is fantastic...all those details...wow! I'm sufficiently impressed. ;)

  20. This little man has to be the most well-dressed little guy out there! Love all his looks! And he rocks all your creations! LOVE everything you've made for him; makes me want to have a little guy of my own! And the baby sister is so elegant and sophisticated!

  21. Amazing. You are my sewing inspiration.

  22. Once again you stole the show! I loved all the personal touches and inspiration that you added. Well done!

  23. Mammoth post. But all that work needs the detail. Great job on both outfits. I can't imagine how much time they took to create.

  24. Jess, this is amazing. Absolutely perfect! I love all the details, so so great!

  25. Oh my goodness, truly amazing! Too adorable for words.

  26. These outfits are so beautiful I am in awe! And the photos are so hilarious and adorable I was literally laughing here at my desk as I read blogs during lunch. Love you blog!! Off to vote... fingers crossed for you :-)

  27. Oh my word, Jess. Truly Incredible! And the pictures are too cute for words-the ones of your son showing his moves? LOVE!!!!

  28. hand tacked twisted cowl neckline tutorial please !!!
    thanks for the dying tights idea !
    loved the wedding dress fabric patch ~ so sentimental !!!

  29. Love it! Especially the pictures of your little ones! Good luck!

  30. Amazing, beautiful work. My boys would ADORE the spider lined jacket.

  31. You have the cutest kids!! Your son reminds me of my son at that age. I made him a suit to wear to his uncle's wedding. He loved it so much, he literally wore it out!

  32. Holy moly girl! kudos!bravo!congratulations!
    Impressive and beautiful and inspiring work=way to go.
    I hope your struttin' around with pride...
    (and of course you got my vote)

  33. Oh I absolutely Love this! Is adorable. You did an amazing job as always. You definitely have my vote!!

  34. Oh I absolutely Love this! Is adorable. You did an amazing job as always. You definitely have my vote!!

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  36. I'm speechless. What a fantastic job! I'm super impressed by the suit and the back double vents and the pockets and the skirt part of the dress and I may've gotten a bit teary eyed when you said the label was a scrap from your wedding dress. (sorry about the typo and deleted comment with the typo).

  37. I'm dying, seriously, dying!!! Can these kids be any cuter?!! And your outfits, a-mazing!

  38. I am so blown away buy these outfits! You are an amazing seamstress! The pictures are so fun too. The one of RJ with the bug lining is hilarious!

  39. You are incredible!!! That suit is amazing and all the details and the dress is great too. I love the photos too - Congrats on a job well done!!

  40. Absolutely beautiful and amazing!

  41. SUCH an amazing feat of sewing - you are incredible! nicely done, Jess.

  42. The skirt to that daaarrrling dress looks like it would take forever! I absolutely LOVE it!! LOVE the suit too - such fantastic details!! And your son is the cutest dancer I've ever seen. Fantastic work!! Oh - where did you get that spider fabric?

  43. The work you have put into this is just mind blowing!

  44. this ensemble is insane! you did such an amazing job. too bad this wasn't for the finale because it's totally worthy of winning! all the detail, the tailoring, the thought about style. beautiful.

  45. I LoVe that last picture.~ Perfect ending. Sweet.


  46. Wow, every time I read your blog I am more amazed and impressed! GREAT JOB on the suit and dress!

  47. The suit! Oh my goodness, I don't know where to begin. It is amazing. Totally amazing. I love all the little details that make it totally unique- the lining, the zippers, the note! I love this project so much. Just fabulous!

  48. Haha wedgie. But seriously, your work is amazing and so inspiring! And your little guy is quite the model! Love this!

  49. Absolutely adorable! Found you via BurdaStyle and the outfits and the kiddos are too, too sweet! Great job!

  50. Oh- my- gosh!!! This is insane!!! I am nothing short of blown away by this! All I can say is that after this, there is no doubt in my mind that there is no competition here! You are the winner! Can't wait to see the final weeks- you are awesome!

  51. So pleased you won this week - it was well deserved. That suit is just amazing and the dress is adorable. Can't wait to see what you make for the next challenge. Hoping there might be a suit tutorial when you're less busy :)

  52. YAY JESSICA!!! Congrats on another win! I have been rooting for you from the beginning of the contest. My family loves you and your entries. Heres for the win, hoorah!

  53. As if your fantastic designs and execution weren't charming enough, your little models put everything over the top. Super job!

  54. You did an amazing job on the outfits. Your son seems to like the suit a lot. I laughed lots at the faces he pulled and the way he acted for the camera. My sons are the same way they seem to make more faces then proper smiles. But I wouldn't change the way the ham for the camera. Some of the best memories.

  55. Very nice outfits shown for kids. Kids also look beautiful and comfortable in these outfits.There are a lot of designer kids clothes available that comes along with a wide variety.

    Miss grant ruffle dress

  56. I love this! Especially the suit, I really want to make my 3 year old a suit for Easter . . . but I am terrified!

  57. Do you have a pattern for your suits? They are darling and I have 3 boys that I would love to style this.

  58. Do you have a pattern for your suits? They are darling and I have 3 boys that I would love to style this.

  59. I am too late to vote, but I would have! The picture story is so darling!! The suit has too many nice details to ever be able to list them all! Your children are totally adorable!


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