This is the third in a series of posts detailing the outfits I made using Cotton and Steel fabrics for Stylo Magazine last fall (see the previous posts here and here). This outfit features a Geranium Dress made with a cotton from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s new Mochi line, the Moon Pants made with Bespoke double gauze (previously seen in this post), and a gold pom-pom headband. Both Mochi and Bespoke are Cotton and Steel lines currently available in fabric shops.
For me to even consider doing such a large project within the first year of having a baby, I knew I would need to do a significant amount of planning. So I’d like to talk about what it takes to get a project like this off the ground. If I didn’t know anything about the project I might have guessed that the photoshoot itself probably took the most work, but I personally think the shoot is the easiest and most fun part. It’s the planning that can really kill ya, in my opinion.
Perhaps it will surprise you to know that this project began last summer (or maybe not?). Here’s a brief timeline for the project:
June: Discuss with Stylo possible contribution to Fall issue
July: Correspond with Cotton and Steel to ask about possible collaboration
August: Cotton and Steel sends Fall 2014 samples, select and photograph samples, plan fabric/garment combinations
September: Fabric arrives, commence actual SEWING (six garments, three headbands), photo shoot, Edit photos, deliver photos to Stylo
November 3: Stylo Issue 3 release
I decided to do the spread because I knew it would be a great way to promote my children’s sewing patterns in a highly visual way, while at the same time producing a cohesive set of clothing samples that could then be used later to promote the patterns in other ways. I love the way that a magazine, digital or print, can really produce a stunning visual presentation, and Jess and Celina do it really well with Stylo. The next question was: which fabrics? Initially I thought I might use Lotus Pond, but as the magazine was set to release in late fall, the summery cotton prints would have been amazing but a bit out of season. My next thought was Cotton and Steel, because they’ve made an attempt to create cohesive collections that are printed not just on quilting fabrics, but on other garment-friendly fabrics as well, making it easy to create outfits for children that coordinate (a pair of canvas pants worn with a cotton gauze shirt, for instance). That is something I’m pretty sure is unique to Cotton and Steel, by the way; no other company that I know of does that, though most fabric companies do offer unique lines on their various substrates.
I initially asked Melody Miller, the founding designer of Cotton and Steel, about using their Spring 2014 fabrics, but at that point they already had samples for their Fall fabrics so she suggested that I might like to try those instead, which were to include one of my very favorite fabrics, DOUBLE GAUZE (EEK!). It was definitely hard to keep the whole thing on the hush-hush until the fabrics debuted at Fall Quilt Market. Another bonus: because the deadline for the magazine was nearly a month before Quilt Market, the samples could also be used for the Cotton and Steel booth.
One more thing: I did very little of the sewing for this project. Karen and my assistant Tashina did most of it. I did some of the cutting (that double gauze can be tricky!) and I did some of the sewing and all of the hand-stitching for the Charlie Tunic (see this post), but mostly I just hovered at the studio with a baby on my hip.
Anyway, the dress is Clementine’s favorite of all of the things we made for this project; she even wore it for school picture day (and it would have shown up in the photo if she had taken off the sweater she wore over it *facepalm*). I also want to highlight a couple of the other accessories because she really enjoyed those as well: the gold tattoos were designed by Rifle Paper company for Tattly, and the sparkly TOMS I found at Bivouac in downtown Ann Arbor by my studio. Both were instant hits with my girl who is pretty fond of sparkly things.