It is already time for another season of Project Run and Play. Last fall, I successfully completed all of the challenges, although not to the level I had originally sketched out. This season, my goal is to follow through on all of the elements I have planned. The first challenge is a Pattern Remix of The Party Dress from Cottage Home. There were two elements in the design that stood out to me and influenced my final product: the looped button closures and the extra wide sash. I immediately pictured the button loops on the front instead of the back, and the sash reminded me of an obi belt on a kimono. The sketch I drew felt very Asian to me, and my youngest remarked it would be a perfect look for her upcoming Japanese unit in school. I decided to only make a top, since she is really not into dresses right now and I want her to wear it more than just the one time for her class performance.
After searching various thrift stores for a fabric that read "Japanese" in some way, we kept coming up empty handed. And so, I bought my first bit of new fabric for the first time in several years. I still have mixed feelings about this purchase. On the positive side: we bought it from our local, independently owned fabric store and it was used to make a well-constructed garment that will last through several children. On the negative side (for me): the fabric was not produced sustainably in any way and I feel badly about supporting an industry that does so much harm to the environment and exploited people groups. It is probably a decision I will always feel conflicted about. In the future, I will continue to look to recycling fabrics first, and will probably be more willing to compromise my vision and settle for a less desirable fabric. Maybe.
Despite my feelings about the purchase, I really do love the prints my daughter chose. We spent a lot of time with some cute Kokka fabrics, but most of the available bolts had too much pink. Besides avoiding dresses, she is also into avoiding pink. Just as we were about to reluctantly pull some fabric to be cut, she discovered a section we had somehow missed that was full of very traditional Asian prints. I love that she picked a design with a white background, as it keeps everything lighter and younger looking. I also knew I already had two vintage Bakelite buttons that had a similar shape to the red flowers in the fabric.
For the remix, I simply turned the bodice around to feature the closures in the front. I also did a very simple "peplum-esque" bottom to turn the dress into a top. For the sash/obi belt, I followed the concept of this tutorial, sizing it down to fit my daughter, of course. The pants are basic drawstring pants made with leftover fabric from last season's white sheet challenge (the top is also lined with that fabric, as well). She requested grey pants to match the small grey flowers, and they amazingly came out after the first batch of dye. I used some of the scraps to create an origami butterfly for her hair, which, really, was a nice idea in theory, but did not translate well in real life, hence no close-up shots of that! We are in the midst of a drizzly winter in the Pacific Northwest, so we took our photos inside of a Japanese subway car at the Seattle Children's Museum. She was really happy with the look and looked pretty adorable in the Japanese section of the museum.