The inspiration for my outfit came from a fabric remnant I found last year with little birds sitting inside of a heart made of vines and flowers. Ironically enough it reminded me of my former disdain for Valentine's day and I instantly decided to call my outfit "love is for the birds!"
I actually started this outfit with another piece. (I thought this was the men's shirt week. Oops, well I am ready for next week too!) The light blue chambray fabric came from my men's shirt, and the main piece that I made out of the men's shirt I decided to save for next week.
I wanted to make a dress to go underneath. Last year I bought a ton of white turtlenecks on clearance at Wal-mart for $1 each. My daughter hates turtlenecks. I knew I needed to try something with them, so I chopped of the neck and created a ruffle around the neckline that I encased in pink bias tape.
Since prior sewing mistakes have led me to realize that it is important that the shirt actually fit over the child's head, I sewed a Henley placard onto the back encasing my rough edges of ruffles and bias tape. Then I used three different vintage buttons from my stash to close up the back.
Next I added a skirt onto the shirt at a higher waistline, gathering it so that it would make it full and poofy!
When I tried it on my daughter the sleeves on the former turtleneck were too long, then I accidentally cut them too short.....oops :-)! So I decided to add ruffles to the sleeves as well in the same striped fabric which turned out perfectly.
I really wanted the outfit to have layers so I started working on a knot dress to go on the top. I have made knot dresses before so pretty much use my own drafted pattern that I altered from a McCall's Pattern. I used the chambray from my men's shirt and the bird fabric. Since the bird fabric was a remnant I didn't have enough of it and I wanted the skirt to be lined. So I had the idea to open up the back of the dress so that it would drape open and create a button closure only at the top. I used two more mismatched vintage buttons for this section as well.
This served two purposes, I wanted this outfit to last more than just the winter. With the length of the open backed knot dress she can use as a shirt over a pair of pants.
Finally, I really wanted to do some applique. I had an idea for a nest with appliqued eggs and the nest just made out of strips of fabric. I couldn't find any plain brown fabric in my stash, but I did find tan bias tape that was leftover from a project and used it in strips to create the nest. I appliqued the eggs first, then just started sewing on the strips of bias tape until I made the nest.
Before I attached the apron to the knot dress I tried both the under dress and knot dress on her to see how they fit. I realized that both pieces really needed a sash, but two sashes when the dresses were worn layered would be a bit overkill. Instead I attached the apron to a removable sash. I put button holes in the sides of the sash and then attached buttons to both the knot dress..........
and the underneath dress........
This made the apron interchangeable between the two dresses. (the apron is reversible too, plain on the other side for those kinds of days)!
In the end the outfit was even better than the original sketch that I had made of the dress in the first place. Also, my Aria has been carrying around this stuffed kitty everywhere she goes and I decided the kitty needed a matching outfit. So she has a knot dress and ruffle pants! I learned a lot of things about sewing for a stuffed animal, things I will share in a later post!
So here is my ode to Valentine's Day..........
Let's be honest......"Love is for the Birds!"