March 25, 2014

Elephant Legs? Put Me in the Zoo!

I was so excited to start blogging in part so I could officially sew a long with Project Run & Play. Season 9 is upon us and I was raring to go. And then they announced the challenges. I'm so very happy that I'm not a formal contestant because the Week 1 challenge stumped me right out of the gate. (I hate to jinx myself now by saying I had clear ideas for the remaining challenges early on, so I won't. But I did.)

An Elephant & Piggie outfit sewn as a solution to Project Run & Play Season 9, Week 1's Zoo challenge. | The Inspired Wren
Piggie, Gerald, elephant legs, an ice-cream cone, and a tribute to Robert Lopshire, too!



Week #1---"Put Me in the Zoo" Challenge. Take inspiration from your favorite (or your child's favorite animal) and design and construct an outfit. Remember to make it "inspired by" and not a literal costume.


An Elephant & Piggie outfit sewn as a solution to Project Run & Play Season 9, Week 1's Zoo challenge. | The Inspired Wren
Loving the sweater/jacket even without the appliqué! Slightly modified pattern from Ottobre Design.

When I realized I was stumped on this first challenge, I turned to The Peanut and asked her what her favorite animal is. "ALL OF THEM!" True. But not helpful. I briefly considered just making the yellow dress from Put Me in the Zoo,[affiliate link] but that really doesn't answer the challenge. It just so happens The Peanut turned 5 last week (five!), and as I sought out decorations for her party I landed on her favorite fictional characters of the moment, three certain pigs: Peppa, Olivia, and Piggie (of "Elephant &" fame). Problem is, much like Olivia, I'm not a fan of pink. Then I also remembered that when we visit the zoo she makes a beeline for the elephants. Aha! Piggie and Elephant! Of course.

Now if I was a formal contestant, not just sewing along for practice, I'd worry this doesn't answer the challenge directly. But since I'm not, I felt at liberty to create something I knew my model would LOVE to wear again and again.

An Elephant & Piggie outfit sewn as a solution to Project Run & Play Season 9, Week 1's Zoo challenge. | The Inspired Wren
In Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems [affiliate link] -- Gerald imagines sharing his ice-cream cone with a clearly pleased Piggie.

After I landed on this loose solution of a Mo Willems tribute, the pants seemed obvious: wide-legged and gray like the legs on Gerald himself.

An Elephant & Piggie outfit sewn as a solution to Project Run & Play Season 9, Week 1's Zoo challenge. | The Inspired Wren
Elephants need back pockets for their spare peanuts, of course. Or in this case, their spare mini peanut butter cups. 

Now I was looking at an all-gray elephant outfit in need of color. Since I had already referenced the actual Put Me in the Zoo [affiliate link] by Robert Lopshire, the solution fell into my lap in the form of multi-color polka dots! After that I let the color explode onto the raglan tee. This shirt may be the most colorful garment I've sewn to date.

Solution to Project Run & Play Season 9, Week 1's Zoo challenge. | The Inspired Wren
 The twin needle once again got a workout on both the raglan-sleeved tee and the wide-legged pants.

Details

If you scroll down and you'll see my usual summary of patterns and fabrics. I'm especially proud of the appliqué. For those of you that don't know, I sew on a Singer 5817c from the mid-90s—in other words, completely manual, no computer chip or programming. And I definitely don't have an embroidery machine. Here's how I did it.

First I enlarged the image on my copier to the size I wanted to use, then traced just the outlines of each character onto Wonder Under [affiliate link]. After I ironed the Wonder Under onto the pink and gray fabric (t-shirts on super clearance from Wal-Mart), I carefully cut out the shape of each character. Then I held each up to a window to trace on the detail lines from the source image (page 35, to be specific) using a water soluble marker (1). Next I ironed each appliqué in place on the front panels of the sweater before sewing them down with a narrow, short zig-zag stitch (though not a satin stitch--my machine doesn't do that well on a woven and it really can't accomplish it on a knit!) (2). Then I sat on my couch a couple of evenings and stitched an embroidered back-stitch over the marker lines with floss (3). Then I stitched some more (4.)

Hand Appliqué: 1. Cut; 2. Iron & Sew; 3. Stitch; 4. Stitch some more. | The Inspired Wren
Hand Appliqué: 1. Cut; 2. Iron & Sew; 3. Stitch; 4. Stitch some more.
An Elephant & Piggie outfit sewn as a solution to Project Run & Play Season 9, Week 1's Zoo challenge. | The Inspired Wren
That ice-cream cone button rocks my world! But the wobble on the chartreuse trim burns my cookies.

It wasn't until we came back in from the cold (it's the end of March, why is it cold?!) that I realized I didn't get any visible polka dot pics.

An Elephant & Piggie outfit sewn as a solution to Project Run & Play Season 9, Week 1's Zoo challenge. | The Inspired Wren
Inside, low light? Oh! Look who's blurry again. I blame a sugar rush from the peanut butter cups. Also what's going on with that ice-cream cone button?

So there you have it. My Elephant & Piggie (emphasis on elephant) plus Robert Lopshire homage as solution to Project Run & Play Week 1. It's been ugly with the snow and the sick around these parts eating into my sewing & blogging time. Here's hoping we're through with snow days and sick days until after April 15th!

An Elephant & Piggie outfit sewn as a solution to Project Run & Play Season 9, Week 1's Zoo challenge. | The Inspired Wren
Week 1, done.

Project Run & Play Sew Along: Season 9, Week 1
Click here to see all the great sew along entries!

Pattern

Sweater: Ottobre Design, Issue 4/2013, #11 Cloudy Day Jersey Jacket, size 98wide x 104 tall
Tee: Ottobre Design, Issue 4/2013, #12 Fall Basic Raglan-Sleeve T-Shirt, size 98
Pants: Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids [affiliate link] by Ruriko Yamada, O--Wide-Leg Pants, size 4  

Fabric

Sweater: Sew Classic Knits Ponte, Caviar; Sew Classic Knits Interlock, Tile Blue (all from Joann's Fabric)
Raglan Tee: Doodles Collection Stretch Knit White Dot; Doodles Collection Glitter Knit Green [Note: it said hand wash, I said no, and the glitter was gone in the machine--no big loss, I chose it for being the correct shade of green, not for the glitter]; Sew Classic Knits Interlock, Tile Blue; Sew Classic Knits Interlock, Pink Mist; Unknown gray pattern interlock on cuff from scrap stash (all from Joann's Fabric)
Pants: Upcycled from a pair of maternity yoga pants

Love

The popping, bright-accent color on neutral. Always. That ice-cream cone button. Those fun, colorful polka dots. 

Note

I added the contrast trim and lowered the front neckline slightly on the jacket. And I added the twin-needle top-stitching on the pants. I really wish the weather and our health (just heavy colds, but still) hadn't slowed me down this week. I hated feeling rushed. I have so many more plans for the remainder of PRP, here's hoping they go smoother.

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You should really see all that goes into each project!
From my model preferring to wear washi tape on her belly button instead of the clothes I've sewn for her, to the ingenious way that I’ve re-purposed my favorite sewing tool, a chopstick, into a spool pin for double needle sewing on my machine. Daily updates on Instagram (and Flickr) of works-in-progress will give you that behind the scenes view you’re looking for, and sneak peeks of First Tuesday Tutorials, too.
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The Inspired Wren is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

40 comments:

  1. Super cute! I am loving that applique!!! Great job!

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    1. Thanks! I was thrilled it came out as well as it did.

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  2. This is adorable! The applique is great - and LOVE the placement / use of the ice cream cone button!

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    1. That button drove me crazy because I had seen it MONTHS ago. And then couldn't remember where (Joann's). It took me two trips to the same store (plus other stores in between) to find it again -- why I could see it when I wasn't looking for it but blind to it when I wanted it is beyond me. I was thrilled when I found it because it MAKES that appliqué!

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  3. Very cute! I love the ice cream cone :)

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  4. What a great outfit! I love all the colors together. And the button is adorable. My fave part is the front of the sweater, the way the teal and light green trim work so well together and the stitching at the waist. Great work!

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    1. I agonized in the fabric store over that combo. I have a pile of knit right now that I pulled (from the store and from my stash) as I worked out how best to do it. I agree that in the end it was a good combo...but I stressed it as I sewed it.

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  5. This is fantastic! I love everything about it. Thanks for sharing! (I am a new follower and I found you on Diane's Vintage Zest.

    Krissy (http://hotcommodityhome.blogspot.com)

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    1. Thanks for the compliments. And thanks for following, too!

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  6. I'm a fan of your inspired creation & I love how you added the dots inspired by a child's book to the shirt.
    http://xoxograndma.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks. The polka dots were a lucky find. It helped that I walked into the store open-minded for the shirt to layer under -- I knew I wanted color but didn't have a clear idea. The dots jumped at me because I had sketched and thought and researched (the stories, at least) prior to going shopping. As soon as I saw them they were obvious to me.

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  7. Oh, my gosh, I love it. The characters and ice cream cone button are placed so cleverly - it's the details like that that make an outfit! (Put Me in the Zoo is one of my favorite children's books. Your polka dot shirt is perfect - I made my daughter a pair of polka dot shorts for a similar challenge once.)

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    1. I sewed the front panels first (the waist band and button placket) just so I could place the characters in the right positions. Thanks for noticing!

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  8. Super cute outfit! I love how Elephant is holding the ice cream button. My girls are also crazy about Piggie and Elephant. And Pigeon. And really, anything by Mo Willems. (Secret: I really love reading those books to my girls too!) Anyway, I really like that polka dot print and how the turquoise accents on the jacket call back to the shirt.

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    1. Thank you. I think that's the way to make many colors work together -- they need to call back to each other. I'm glad you noticed.

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    2. And yes! Any Mo Willems, any day. Come sit by me and I'll gladly read (or listen).

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  9. Really cute outfit! I have been eyeing the yellow dress in that book for two years now and I almost made it for this week's challenge. I love your Piggie and Elephant nod though :)

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    1. Thank you.

      I've yet to make a circle skirt for The Peanut. That yellow dress would have started there. Someday I will.

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  10. WOW this is just adorable! We are huge Mo Willams fans here.
    You did an amazing job! I love how you fit the book into your outfit!
    ~Michelle

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  11. Those books are just perfect - the applique(s) is an adorable touch!

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  12. So very, very cute! We used some (reverse) appliqué this week. Some ice cream too, but not on the buttons! Darling.

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    1. Thanks! Your zebra and flamingo are adorable.

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  13. So stinking cute and the button placement....GENIUS!!!

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    1. Thanks! Once I knew I was doing Elephant & Piggie, I knew right away how I wanted to depict them. I almost bought a cupcake button when I couldn't immediately find the ice cream cone.

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  14. so completely adorable!! I think you did an awesome job!

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  15. I love your applique!!! What a cute outfit!

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  16. Brilliant appliqué with the ice cream button!!! Love it!!!

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  17. Very cute. The child looks so happy to be in such colorful and comfy clothes ;)Thanks for linking it to the Sew Book Inspired series

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  18. try a ballpoint/stretch needle for a better stitch on knits

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  19. do you have a store?? I don't sew but my daughter is addicted to Elephant and Piggie!

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    1. Anna, I don't have a store at this time. I find once I sew something one time, I'm ready to move on to a new project. Sewing multiples of any one thing makes me a little crazy and not-so-easy to live with. For the sake of my husband and daughter, I'll stay away from having a store for now. Sorry.

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