18 November 2011

Caps for Sale: Simple Simon & Co

 I have a couple of newcomers here at Once Upon a Thread today!  Elizabeth and liZ of Simple Simon & Co.  Did you follow the most recent round of Project Run and Play?  These two were the winners with design after amazing design.  Not only that, but they are now the ones running Project Run and Play, so they're doing double duty.  I love the clean, simple, modern lines they use in their designs.  Like these Audrey Hepburn-esque capes--I'd love one for each of my girls.  They go all out with their photo shoots, as you'll see below, making their projects shine even more.  SO pleased to have them here today!

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The book Caps For Sale, by Esphyr Slodbodkina, is the story of a mustached peddler who wears his entire stock of caps on his head and strolls through towns and villages chanting, "Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!" One day, while napping under a tree all the caps are stolen by a troop of monkeys. The peddler orders them to return them but the monkeys only imitate him. It is not until he stumbles on a simple solution that he can once again chant, "Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!"
There are many reasons why we love this book. First of all, the vintage feel of the story is so our style....and secondly, the color palette and artwork is just so inspiring (I originally wrote sew inspiring....which is so true! ) And the story, well you already know, is so well-loved by children of all ages.
So here are our interpretations of this classic children's book....
It was really the illustrations of this book that fired my imagination...the black outlined images, patches of white, and clean patterns. Simple. Understated. Awesome. And I wanted to create something with that same understated coolness.
Then as I kept looking at the images I started to get an old time circus vibe from the prints...and it even brought to mind images from the movie "Big Fish" (don't worry if you don't know it---it's strange but I LOVE the imagery). So I started thinking about the traveling peddler and traveling perfomers and came up with this---black knickers made from heavy black fabric with pleats in the front and just enough body to make them interesting, paired with a black and white cape with antiqued gold rick rack. Worn with a white T-shirt and knee highs that she already owned I was happy with the look but became even happier when she put on one of Elizabeth's caps and a crocheted pin made by her mother.
It's simple, understated and something that I'm going to have her wearing throughout the holiday season.
Hannah's outfit was inspired by both the black and white feel of the illustrations with splashes of color. I also love the look of the stripes in the fields and so I envisioned a black and white striped skirt with a mustard colored jacket and a red hat. I never found black and white stripes with as wide of stripes as I wanted, so I pieced some heavy-weight twills together to get the kind of stripes that fit the vision. (They are 4 1/2 inches wide if you are interested.) The skirt is a gathered skirt with a flat-front waistband and is made much like this one if you need a tutorial.
Her cropped jacket is simple a-line shape (made from a dress pattern turned around again--I took pictures this time and will post it soon) with a single vintage button closure in the front that I made from a mustard cotton and linen blend.
And what about the caps? You can't not have caps in Caps For Sale.
Well, you are in luck...because here is the tutorial for these little vintage-esque beauties.  They were inspired by a knit hat that my grandma made me when I was young, straight from a 1950's knitting pattern that was cream angora wool.  I so didn't appreciate the hat at the time (it wasn't so cool at the time) but now I am in love with recreating it.  And so I came up with the following little hats for girls.
You are first going to need the pattern.  It is HERE.

Thanks Katy for the inspiration to do these....these little hats have been on my to-do list for a long time...and I am so glad to finally get to them! 

Amazingly cute, girls!  A perfect alternative to hats and earmuffs for the cool weather (and a whole lot cuter!)  Thank you Elizabeth and liZ!


  1. Thanks Katy for letting us play along with!

  2. Oh my, could that shoot be any cuter. Love the imaginativeness of the setting. Love the big buttons; the white tights and black shoes. These were beautiful to look at...

  3. That book was one of my our favourites too when we were kids, oh, 20 years ago. Love the outfits!

  4. That is a fun book and great photo shoot! So cute:).

  5. I loved this book when I was a kid! The little felt hat is too cute . . . another win for the Simple Simon ladies! Love it!

  6. My boys LOVE this book. And I love what you whipped up for your girls. My boys just use lots and lots of underwear (clean) (I hope) for caps, layering them on, to role-play the book.

  7. Love the hats... and I love the movie Big Fish! anything Tim Burton... really.

  8. Sabra--that's hilarious! I hope you get some photos to blackmail, er, show your kids when they're older ;)

  9. Beautiful job ladies!

    I love the colors that you pulled from the book. Really beautifully done.

  10. Adorable! I love the more feminine caps. We lvoe this b ook at our house--it's great for little girls trying to perfecgt their "c" sounds!

  11. such a great job! i love the colors and that colorblocked skirt is amazing.

  12. I love everything about this! Those caps are just darling! And the color scheme might be my favorite.

  13. Oh. My. goodness. Those girls blow me away every single time. I love love this book. The outfits are perfect and the pictures are darling. I'm pinning this for the hat tutorial. Too cute.


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