I don't remember when I first stumbled upon Danielle's blog, my Sparkle, but I loved her header, and the sparkle of the sun and the sparkle in her peaking eyes. Then I fell in love with her work. She is meticulous in what she does, both her designs and the execution. Look at that stitching on her matroyshka doll, and her dress design. You might recognize the cutie in the third shot. The "Musn't spoil your frock smock" is one of Danielle's designs, available in her shop.
And speaking of cute designs, check out her two cuties. One word: irresistible.
I am so glad to call Danielle a friend, even if we have never met, and that she is here today to show us her amazing design, and check out her precision!
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Hello! I am quite excited to be here among such creative and friendly souls. Thanks Katy for having me.
There are multitudes of Children's books out there with gorgeous illustrations which inspire to be sure, but I chose instead to draw inspiration from the themes and mental imagery created by The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett for my little project. It's a book that I felt strongly connected to as a child and recently picked up again as an adult and realize...I still do.
It's a long book so I won't write a whole synopsis of the plot, but its a story about children who discover an old locked away garden and the wonderful changes the garden brings about in their lives. Its full of passages about magic and the beauty and wonder of living things. It speaks about sunshine and fresh air and feeling alive. But the thing I connected to most as a child and now as an adult, is the glory of having a special place of your own. A little carved out spot protected from the outside world where you are free to laugh loudly, move naturally and unrestrained, dream, think, create and just be. A little spot all your own. It's a wonderful reminder that its the simplest things that genuinely make us happy.
Children know that innately.
"The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in, no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the word in some fairy place."So for my sweet little child, who is bursting with life-- I wanted to create something that was colorful and whimsical and a little special. An outfit that she would feel pretty in-- maybe even inspired in-- and that would feel good on her skin. One that was comfortable and practical, so she could run, play, explore, and romp around our own garden.
(When the snow melts that is... for now frolicking must take place in the living room.)
So... I made her a romper!
Boy, do I love a romper (don't you!) but for some reason they are hard to find past baby sizes. But I am of the strong opinion that those darling little leggies need to be free to feel the breeze and the sunshine on them.
It turns out patterns (at least one that interested me) for rompers are hard to come by too, so I tackled the job myself. And I know there are folks out there who do this sort of thing in their sleep, but can I just say how thrilled and amazed I am that it actually turned out exactly like imagined! I mean, getting a two and a half year old to sit still long enough to try something on a million times and have things pinned is kind of an impossible feat.
"Might I,' quavered Mary, 'might I have a bit of earth?' 'To plant seeds in- to make things grow, to see them come alive?"Sorry there are no pictures of the actual pattern making process but if I had stopped to photograph it would never have gotten finished. At any rate, I sort of used the shape of a diaper cover for the bottom part and a really basic dress pattern as a starting point for the proportions and relationship of the sleeve to the bodice... and then changed everything. Still though its nice to have something to start from.
The fabric is a gorgeous dobby dot cotton from Anna Maria Horner. It was kind of thrilling to sew with. So charming and whimsical, but a little bit sophisticated and old fashioned. And doesn't it just look like a happy garden? I think so. And it feels amazing. Light enough to let the breeze flow through, and super soft. Just the thing.
"Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves ans trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden-- in all places."I designed the yoke to showcase the colorful flowers on the fabric which in its yardage is in little squares-- an idea I actually got from a dress Anna Maria sewed from her own fabric, quite cleverly I thought.
And oh boy do I love an excuse to use a cute button...
The legs are sewn with elastic thread which is a bit more delicate and non-binding than an elastic casing would be. It was my first time sewing with it and it worked quite well on this light weight fabric. Plus I like the little ruffle it creates.
And for a garden inspired frock...petal sleeves seemed quite appropriate! Plus I think they are adorable and love how they let little arms move about with ease. It's quite easy to make petal sleeves from a regular sleeve pattern. If you are interested, come by my blog and I'll show you how.
I asked a lot of this little romper, but I think it fit the bill. My little girl didn't stop giggling and jumping around the entire time she had it on.
"Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off and they are nearly always doing it."
Which feels like success!
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I think she's ready to plant some seeds in that romper that begs to be basked in the sun, and it's perfect for when those seeds need to be planted, standing on one's head. Thanks, Danielle!
[do you think we could convince her to put that pattern in her shop?]