It’s week #2 over at Project Run & Play, and the theme this time around is “Crafting a Story”. We were asked to ‘weave elements of our favourite children’s storybook’ into our designs. My mind whirled for a few minutes – but in the end, it should have been obvious to me. The books I read over, and over, and over again as a child were The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis.
The book from this series that’s probably the best known is The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. In it, we follow 4 children who have been sent out of London to the relative safety of the English countryside one summer during the war. Playing hide and seek one day, the youngest sibling finds herself inside a large wardrobe full of winter/fur coats. When she pushes to the back of the wardrobe she comes to see she’s now outside in a wood, and it’s winter! Soon her siblings discover this new world as well (Narnia), and work together with the King of the land (a lion named Aslan) to help break the curse of perpetual winter that the White Witch placed upon it. In the end, the children become joint kings and queens of Narnia.
I love imagining alternate worlds, and C.S. Lewis captured and entranced my young mind with these stories. So that’s that! I HAD to do an outfit reflecting this! My model this time around is going to be my youngest daughter.
Lewis wrote these books in the 1950’s. Perusing Pinterest one day I came across a picture of this vintage 1950’s dress, that I fell in love with and decided to re-create in kids sizes. It’s the perfect start for my little girl who would wander through a wardrobe to eventually become queen!
I used Adobe Illustrator to self-draft my version of this dress. I decided to make the portion that's brown/orange in the above picture almost as an overcoat, with the striped portion being a basic gathered skirt with a front panel.
I like the clean look of a circle skirt, so the outer skirt was drafted as that – with a "chunk" taken out to allow for a better peek at the underskirt. I also made sure my underskirt was a few inches longer, to contrast the two a bit more.
The short sleeve on the original dress is nice, but I'm a big fan of 3/4 or elbow length, so that's what I made instead.
Presenting (what I'm calling) the: "Gallium Dress"!
Once the dress was completed, I wanted something “more” to tie the whole thing into my story. I decided to make one of the fur coats that the children grabbed from the wardrobe when they found themselves in the land of perpetual winter. So, back to Pinterest I went, in search of some 1940’s/50’s inspired fur coats. Here’s what I found/liked the most:
This time I didn’t bother with Illustrator, and rather just hand drafted the coat (using some basic pattern pieces of mine, from a different design I’m working on, as a “jumping off” point). I wanted to incorporate the collar, the wide sleeves, and the angled out/wider swing at the bottom of the coat. I also added a layer of flat batting to give the whole thing more structure and warmth. Welt pockets with a hint of leather piping finished off the look. Here’s how my version turned out:
Everything is made – let's tell a story!
Did you get it? Could you imagine being transported to a whole new "world"???? Man, I loved those stories! Make sure you head on over to Project Run & Play to vote for your favourite contestant this week (starting Tuesday). I'm really excited to see what they all came up with!