Project Run & Play Week 4: Fall-Inspired Holiday Wear

This week, I’m serving as guest judge over at Project Run & Play.  If you haven’t been following along, Project Run & Play is an elimination competition whose contestants design children’s clothing each week according to a theme, with the winners heading to the next round the following week until finally there is a winner!  The ideas and the execution over there are really stellar, and what I like best is the inspiration I get from seeing how other folks who sew approach a theme and a challenge, and what interpretation they bring to their projects.  I pick up ideas for techniques and colors and how to put garments together in ways that fit an over-arching idea, which is fun and asks me to step outside of my usual go-t0 patterns.

This week, though, I think the theme is pretty challenging.  Honestly, I really do.  Holiday wear is one thing–many of us jump straight to Christmas party dresses and that’s it.  But FALL-INSPIRED holiday wear?  That’s tougher.  Picking’s are pretty slim in the fall holiday sewing-and-tutorial department–just a little Googling will tell you that.  Those fall holidays get such short shrift, as far as I’m concerned, and I think Thanksgiving is THE under-rated holiday of the calendar.  So coming up with something that’s a holiday outfit but fall-themed is harder for me.

My first thought is something for the holiday table, like Lucy’s Thanksgiving Dress (via Flickr).  I love the idea of making outfits for the children to wear to the Thanksgiving table, something to mark that day as special.  So I’m wondering how many of this week’s contestants will interpret the challenge as a garment with a formal-dinner-but-not-frilly-party flair?  I did my own version, years ago, with moderate success, but I think my main theme then was “corn.”

Or what about a play outfit, like this one from Mud Pie Baby ?  Granted, this is a to-purchase and not a to-sew ensemble, but I think many of us could pull off applique holiday tees faster than a whole fancy outfit?  Maybe?  Of course, the challenge there is to avoid the trite and overdone appliques, and really reach for something clever and unique.  That’s always my struggle–I don’t want anything too cutesy or kitschy, but that doesn’t leave many shapes left that are (1) fall themed and (2) easily appliqued.

My instinct would absolutely be to choose a classic pattern, like this download from Lily Bird Studio, and adapt it to the holiday through fabric selection and color and trim.  I love a simple, clean line on children, and have a zillion prints in my stash that could be used to accent something like this and make it more holiday-friendly.  The secret: a little is enough, so maybe just a light hand on this one.

What about the rest of you?  How would you tackle the theme “fall-inspired holiday wear”?  I’ll be over at Project Run & Play later this week to judge the entries–take some notes for me!

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  • brooke
    October 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I don’t know about this one. I totally got my weeks mixed up and didn’t find out till Monday that it was holiday week so I am not prepared with outfit ideas at all. Seems too over-done to do a Halloween costume but what else is there for a boy? Hmmm need some ideas!!

    • Deborah
      October 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      I didn’t get too far past vest-and-bow-tie, but again: that’s my default position. There has to be something fun you can do with the neckline of a jacket or fleece vest that will be fall-weather-inspired and yet chic-but-masculine? Right? Agreed: plain fall isn’t too hard, but fall holiday is a challenge, indeed.

  • Karen McSpadden
    October 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I for one am so excited….fall holidays are among my favorite– especially Thanksgiving– so I am excited for a reason to create a really festive dress for that occasion. Good advice on the prints…..fall prints and colors are beautiful but can be overwhelming. I am normally print-crazy but I think I may look to solids first this time around. I too can’t wait to see what everyone does.

  • Diane
    October 11, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Eons ago, I did a dress for your younger sister and Heidi Kidwear.
    Simple dress shape with bodice and gathered skirt. It had a Peter Pan collar and three-quarter gathered sleeves that ended in bands. The dress itself was a fall-toned calico, the collar and bands were Kona natural. But the kicker was the pinafore that went over. High bodice gathered into a full skirt that buttoned all the way down the back. I’m sure I had giant patch pockets on the side seams of the skirt. It was another fall print, but in a larger scale, and may have had pumpkins or leaves. Heidi’s school photo was taken in that dress – she was probably 3 years old.

    For a boy, I’d do some fine corduroy Bermudas (to the knee) with a Kona shirt. Eton collar would be my preference to go to Grandma’s, but a camp style with straight hem instead of a shirttail hem would work, too. Use fall colors in coordinating tones, or stripes/plaid for the shirt – again, in fall colors.

  • Project Run and Play Week 5- Fall Holiday | oliversfancy
    October 11, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    […] challenge was your signature look. Oops. I thought about sitting this one out, but after reading Deborah’s post on Tuesday night, I was inspired with some great ideas for Thanksgiving. I designed an outfit that […]