PRP Herringbone Rejects

As a contestant on Project Run & Play Season 11, I confess I struggled this first week. I found the "Nothing But Knits" prompt to be so broad that I had trouble narrowing down a look. In the end I love where I landed -- completely self-drafted, constructed of delicate knits, and very much The Peanut's style. But it took sewing and setting aside five (5!) other garments to get there. Let's have a look at those today.

Sewing with knits for Project Run & Play Season 11 Week 1 | The Inspired Wren

I began my attempt to pin down a "Nothing But Knit" look in the fabric store, and found myself really attracted to a certain stretch herringbone. In the past I've loved using basic grays with pops of color on The Peanut. But for some reason the color-pop alluded me this time 'round. I came home with a dark and mature palette of delicate drapey knits. It was a classic Project Runway failure-at-the-fabric-store moment; those producers would have had a field day watching me flame out and attempt to rally this week. 

I envisioned wide-legged pants, a cross-back narrow top, and a chunky crochet sweater. Ha! The sweater was quickly out when I attempted to hook up a kid's sized version of an adult pattern with a yarn that kept splitting like it was it's job. I set it aside because this is really a sewing competition after-all (and I may yet revisit it for my final Week 4, "Signature" look). This began compounding my Week 1 troubles; I lost not only a layer, but also the one somewhat brighter color in the look (and I say that loosely, because I realize mustard isn't exactly a "bright").

Back loop single crochet | The Inspired Wren

Moving on to the pants. [Garment 1] The first pair were comically large around the child. I swear her waist is getting smaller as she get taller. Gumby. I've said it before, she is a living Gumby who stretches up and gets narrower in the process. I still liked the flat front and accent-trimmed pockets enough to give it another go. [Garment 2] The second pair fits. Just. They are a little tight across her back end and there's something "off" about the silhouette that I can't put my finger on. Since this is a sewing a competition and fit is important to voting, I worried but moved on to the top to see if I could still use these.

Sewing with knits for Project Run & Play Season 11 Week 1 | The Inspired Wren

The top is exactly what I envisioned, sort of. [Garment 3] My twin needle tunneled and wobbled and did not like the fabric on the first version which I then burnt with my iron; but I finished it as a muslin for fit and design. I noticed a wave across the back, and incorrectly assumed it was because I speed-sewed my way through it. [Garment 4] The second version of the same top is...  well, it's the wrong fabric in the wrong color. The drapey poly-knits are not working across her shoulder blades (that wave isn't doing the crossed-back yoke justice and is not competition level sewing). The dark color isn't helping either. There are details of the top that made it to the final piece (a contrast back yoke, forward-shifted shoulder seams, and the extended cuffs) so the process was important; apparently I was sketching, but with fabric and thread instead of pencil and paper.

Sewing with knits for Project Run & Play Season 11 Week 1 | The Inspired Wren

Together the silhouette is too slim for my vision, too mature for the competition, and altogether not my best sewing, or fit. The first pants will wait for her to waist to grow before getting a final hem. And I still want to make that top again, but in stable knits -- I love the design; maybe I'll even release it as a free one-size pattern/tutorial. The second pants and second top are going in the drawer for her to wear, just probably not together. The ensemble looks to me like she should throw on a pair of flats and head to her cubicle in an office building somewhere. Not at all what I envisioned for PRP.

Sewing with knits for Project Run & Play Season 11 Week 1 | The Inspired Wren
This would be perfectly okay if the pants weren't too tight and the back didn't wave. But "okay" was not my goal anyway.

That's when I dropped all my available knits in a pile and tried to Tim Gunn myself to "make it work." That's when the final look finally sparked. Yet that's also when I was still trying to make that herringbone happen. [Garment 5] This time in a form of basic leggings to go under the dress. Too dark. Too drab. Still lacking the play and youthfulness and Peanut-ness it needed. It was then I realized my problems began all the way back with my very first fabric choice and laughed at the irony of it all. I always say that shopping in Mood in such a short time would be the most difficult part of Project Runway for me. Why didn't I remember and prepare for that when it was my turn?!

BUT! I really do like my final "Nothing But Knits" look. I'm proud that it's self-drafted and constructed of delicate knits. I love that it is something The Peanut will wear regularly. It is sporty yet feminine, sophisticated yet playful, and wonderfully cuddly to hug. And it really seriously needs your vote right now! Voting closes the evening of Thursday, February 4. Please go vote!.

Sporty and feminine knit outfit for Season 11 Week 1 Project Run & Play from The Inspired Wren

Ren Murphy writes for The Inspired Wren.

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