You know how they say that you can build an entire wardrobe by building on a couple simple pieces? That was, in part, the inspiration for my newest pattern, Aurora Belle. That... and a little girl who likes to layer many different tops and bottoms together to create her own (very eclectic) look!
Aurora Belle offers a simple summery design that can be used as the starting point for a whole variety of different looks by changing the skirt length, adding layers, or making separate pieces. I hope that you will agree that this one pattern is a great basic for any girl's wardrobe!
Aurora Belle starts out as a skater style peplum or dress with a fitted bodice and half-circle skirt. This skirt offers the perfect balance of flare and twirl with a smooth un-gathered waistline. The sweetheart neckline has an elastic halter, which makes for a safe comfortable fit on the back of the neck without knots or long ties, and the back of the bodice can be shirred or made with elastic casings. The instructions include both methods. There is also a link in the pattern to my Shirring: Testing & Tension blog post if you want to learn how shirr.
This pattern includes three length options. The peplum falls to below the hips and is very stylish with shorts or capris. The mid-length comes to at or just below the knees and is perfect for everyday wear. And the full maxi length skirt makes for a beautiful formal option. Even better, these three skirts can be layered however you want so you can mix together different fabric types or prints. My daughter loves to mix, match and layer to her heart's content! Included in this pattern are options for an exposed or covered waistband option for making a separate skirt... which means that you can make the peplum and add however many different skirts to wear underneath!
This pattern is lovely in cotton, but it's also perfect for different woven fabrics. The bodice is lined and with the layered skirt it works beautifully for thin, sheer, slippery, or drapey fabrics. Try it with eyelet, rayon, charmeuse, or voile. The pattern includes instructions for how to do a bias tape or facing for the skirt hem, or you can use your preferred method for hemming curves.
Aurora Belle is definitely going to be making up a lot of my daughter's summer wardrobe this year. Pick up your own copy in the Pattern Shop for the special new release price, today through Friday March 17th. Dresses for church on Sunday and peplums for every day, this pattern has us covered! Now all my little girl needs is a shrug or bolero to take this pattern from one to three seasons... good thing I have my sketchbook handy to start working on my next design idea!
One of the things that first inspired me to start designing was how much I enjoyed taking nothing more than an idea and turning it into some REAL. Sometimes it's a matter of discovering a need and making something perfectly suited to meet that need, or maybe it's a fabric or color or texture that sparks inspiration. Then, sometimes, it's both.
I bought myself a new Bible for Christmas this year. Suitably, it is called 'Inspire', and for a creative person like myself, it couldn't be more perfect. Big margins so I can make notes, and also lots and lots of drawings to color. Since getting it, I've been taking it with me to church Sunday mornings so I can color and listen at the same time. Those kids that you see doodling on the backs of the church bulletins? Yeah, that was me. I can concentrate better on listening when my hands have something to do.
But carrying my pencil crayons wrapped in an elastic band has been getting a bit annoying, and last week my 4 year old got hold of the elastic and was stretching it from hand to hand. Um... yeah... that was just asking for trouble. I can picture the look on our Pastor's face if suddenly struck in the forehead by a flying elastic band... at least he has sons of his own and I'm sure would understand it wasn't meant as a comment on his preaching. But the elastic band had to go.
So what is a creative girl to do? Check her fabric stash of course... whereupon I discovered the most "inspiring" rainbow fabric and the idea for the perfect bag for my Bible AND my colored pencils.
I love designing something without a pattern. It's fun to just see where things take you. I had one meter of this bright Robert Kaufman print and as soon as I saw it I knew I needed to make it work. I wanted a bag that fit my Bible comfortably, with a little extra room in case I needed to put something else in the bag (because with kids of course you never know what they are going to hand you and say "can you carry this, mom?") It also needed to have room for all my favorite colored pencils so that I can see and put away each one quickly and quietly. On the outside? Yes!
You know what is perfect about stripes? And particularly ideal about stripes that are about 3/4" wide? They are exactly the right size for colored pencils... and you don't have to worry about making them uneven or taking the extra time to draw straight lines!
First I cut the fabric wide enough to wrap around the front, back and spine of my Bible. Added an inch on each side for extra space, and seam allowances. I cut everything double so that I could fully line the bag. I cut the strips for the sides and a long piece for the shoulder strap. Then I needed to figure out how to make the pockets for the pencil crayons. I have 23 that I use, which was too many to fit across the front... hmm... why not wrap the pockets around both short sides too? Wouldn't you know, that exactly the right size for half of the width of fabric so I can line the pockets too... have I said perfect enough times yet?!
A basting stitch along the bottom of the pocket panel and a teensy bit of gathering brought the width of the pocket panel in to just the right size (with the added bonus of giving each pocket a little more room for the pencil to fit). With the pocket and side panels in place, I stitched between each stripe (making a teensy little bubble shape with each one), and VOILA!
I had a couple inches of fabric leftover, so with the contents of my button box dumped on the floor I rooted through them to find a beautiful vintage button that looked like the perfect compliment to my new bag. Make flap, add button hole... and it's absolutely perfect.
Coloring in church this Sunday with my new bag was definitely better than dealing with that bunch of elastic-wrapped pencil crayons (though I expect my son would disagree). I'm looking forward to bringing along my "bag of many colors" to many more places!
Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the digital world. When I'm not designing (or, more likely, attempting to keep up with housework or schooling my three rug rats!) you'll probably find me with my nose in a book, escaping for a few precious moments into a world of fiction or learning with single-minded focus about my latest interest. Here, I'd like to share with you some of the things that I'm currently working on and a bit about all the ways I like to keep my creative juices flowing!
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