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March 2015

WILD THINGS: faces // kid's clothes week


Hi, its Miranda from Inspinration again. In our previous posts we, as contributors, showed you how clothes can be animal inspired without using actual animal graphics. This post will be different, this post will be full of animal graphics. I created some animal face based sub-topics and I will give suggestions on how  to actually incorporate animal faces in your kids’s clothes.

Minimalistic animal faces

covered71.Penguin shirt 2. Bunny shirt 3. Polar bear romper 4.Chickadee Girl’s Tutu Shirt

Lets start with minimalist animal faces. The possibilities for this type of garment are vast. Both for the graphic as for the technique, there are many ways to go. You can draw faces with fabric marker, stencil them with fabric paint, cut them from vinyl or embroider them like the bunny face. You could even make a “negative” of your minimalistic face by painting/dying your fabric and leaving the face unpainted with use of crayons or china marker. I made a minimalistic lion face shirt last month and both my son and I love it. When I was preparing my lion shirt, I searched the web on images with the terms “lion”, “head”, “face” “drawing” and/or “silhouette”. It didn’t give me the exact print I wanted, but it did show me which features of the lions face should be part of my minimalistic version.

I can not draw well because I do not have enough eye for proportions and detail. Making a minimalistic face requires a minimal amount of those skills, and most likely, you will also have enough skills to come up with something nice. Search for sharp lines or color changes in your animals face. Converting an existing picture to black and white (just search the web for free tools if you do not own photo editing software) might help you finding the lines you are searching for. Another way to go for inspiration is childrens’ books, many will contain minimalistic animal faces. Added bonus, if you use a book that your kids know, there is a higher likelihood your kid will actually recognise the animal in your piece of art.

Detailed animal faces

covered61.Red panda face shirt 2.Pieced lion sweater 3.Pompom nose 4. Button nose

Detailed animal faces, seemed a logical next step to me. There are even more options for detailed animal faces than there are for minimalistic faces. In minimalistic drawings all birds or all cat races are similar, but with detailed faces you can really bring any animal to life. The level of detail is up to your preference and skill. As you can see in the pictures I selected, a detailed face can vary from a beautifully multi-colored almost lifelike fabric painted face to coming up with your own interesting 3D nose. With the pig for example it really is the nose detail that creates the high overall cuteness level.

Combining a variety of techniques is also a viable option, like with the fabric pieced lions face with snap eyes and fabric marker drawn manes. This sweater sparked my interest in fabric pieced quilt blocks. I had seen this techniques for quilts before, but seeing this lion made me realize that I could use inspiration from those blocks in clothes as well.

For this sub-theme I searched high and low for a garment with 3D whiskers, I really expected those to exist. I did find embroidered versions but that was not what I was looking for. I really wanted pipe cleaner resembling (washable version) whiskers which your kid could shape himself, coming up with new shapes everyday. Anyone up for filling this gap coming KCW?

Animal outline

covered31. Crocodile shirt 2. Deer blouse 3. Whale shirt 4. Elephant dress

Most animals have characteristic shapes, which work great as fabric applications. There are many tutorials on the web how to do fabric applications, this is one I like. You can choose for a large graphic that almost covers the entire garment like with the elephant dress, or you could cut a very small one to use as a knee patch. You can play around with the type of fabric for the body. You can use (scraps of loved) unrelated fabric like in the case of the deer and elephant dress, or you can match the fabric to the animal. The green crocodile is an example of fabric matching for another example of fabric matching look at my previous post on the turtle inspired fabrics.

You can also play around with the level of detail. You can choose to only take the outer shape or you can add eyes, ears or fins, all is fine and will yield great results. For the collage I restricted myself to applications from fabric but you can use the same techniques as I mentioned for the minimalistic faces. This is an example a minimalistic fox that I adore. Children books can again be a great source of inspiration as will be using the name of your animal combined with the word “silhouette” in image search.

Highlighted animal face detail: teeth

covered41.Crocodile shirt 2. Shark sweater 3. Monster Shirt 4. Chomp, shark attack 5. Shark knee patch 6. Shark hoodie

Besides featuring the whole animal you can also choose one specific animal feature and let it steal the show. In my previous post I wrote about sharks and while doing my research, I found so many inspirational teeth pictures I had to share them. My kids would go crazy for all six of them. I found so many nice examples, that I had to make some hard choices. The textile marker ones didn’t make the cut, but that would be a good technique here as well.

If you prefer the animal inspiration in your kids’ clothes to be relatively subtle, the fourth picture should work for you. The teeth are just triangles on the sleeves and only reveal their true awesomeness if your kid crosses its arms. Several of these pictures have teeth sewn on them. How to add 3D elements to your design will be discussed in a later post, so make sure you do not miss any of our posts. For now just enjoy the eye candy on those.

One animals in different designs: black cat

covered51. Wrap cat 2. Bad luck cat tee 3. Bottom cat shirt 4. Cut cat shirt

To wrap up my post, I wanted to give an indication about the vastness of the possibilities while featuring the same animal. I made a collage of black cat inspired clothes which shows just a small sample of the possibilities, because there are many, many more.

The first three garments can be recreated with already discussed techniques like fabric paint and textile marker or vinyl. I really like the idea of the back of the garment being involved in the graphic, for the third picture this will be very subtle, for the other two not so much. The fourth picture could be recreated using this layered fabric technique. Although I chose black cats, you can easily make all four ideas for other animals. I advise you to now just do the mental exercise to picture these four ideas with a bunny. Did you also imagine a cute 3D tail?

I hope you liked my ideas on animal heads and bodies and that you feel comfortable making something that fits your personal preference. You can be subtle or bold and use any technique you like, any plans yet?


WILD THINGS from the forest // kid's clothes week

WILD THINGS in the forest

Hi everyone! I’m Sara and I love to sew. I am so excited to be contributing for this season!

I blog about my makings  – mainly clothes I make for my three kids but also some self care sewing from time to time – over Made by Sara. KCW has always been my favorite sewing event and one of my sources for inspiration and for getting to know wonderful sewing moms and blogs.

Today I am sharing with you some woodland animals inspiration! I had a hard time picking just a few because there are so many cute animals living in the forest – deer, hedgehog, squirrel, bear, bunny, owl, wolf, woodpecker, raccoon… What’s your favorite?

Here are a few ideas from both ready-to-wear and some amazing sewing blogs. Along with these I am suggesting which PDF patterns and fabric you could use to get those looks.

Let’s get started!






From  left to right: Chambray union / Hoppy Dot / Breezy White Batiste /Dreamland flannel Bedtime Bunny


1. Dress –  pattern suggestion: the Tinny dress pattern by StraightGrain;

2. Dress made by Kid Approved, with a tutorial on how to make that cute bunny and pocket, using the Norah dress pattern by Mouse House Creations;

3.  Top with flutter sleeves from Gap – pattern suggestion: the Little Betty top pattern by Sewpony Vintage;

4. Bunny hoodie, self-drafted by Craftstorming (pattern to be released);

5. Skirt by Boden – pattern suggestion: free tutorial by Petit à Petit and Family for a Reversibe Paper Bag Skirt;

6. Pajama – pattern suggestion: the All You Need Jammies pattern by Heidi&Finn.






From left to right: Fanfare organic flannel / Laguna Cotton JerseyThe Houndstooth Foxes /  Blue Stripes 


 1. Bodysuit – pattern suggestion: the Lullaby bodysuit by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop;

2. Top – pattern suggestion: the Library Blouse by Tadah! Patterns;

3. Fancy pants , pattern by Titchy Threads;

4. Dress made by La Gang à Nat, using the Caroline Party dress PDF pattern by Mouse House Creations;

5. Hood from The Children’s Place;

6.  Knit Dress – pattern suggestion: the Boardwalk Hoodie & Henley pattern by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop.


Deer in a forest



From left to right:  Kona Cotton / Forest Animal interlock knit / Woodgrain  /  Bambi panel


1. Hooded vest made by Mend and Make New, using the Peekaboopocket Mix& Match Outerwear top pattern by Little Kiwis Closet;

2. Tee made by DoGuincho, using the Hemlock Top pattern by Elegance & Elephants; 

3. Boy SS15 look by Caramel – pattern suggestion for the trousers: the Mini Hudson pants pattern by True Bias; 

4. Spring Dress made by StraightGrain, using the Hanami dress pattern;

5. Dress made by Behind the Hedgerow, using the Geranium dress pattern by Made by Rae; 

6. Trousers made by Craftstorming, using the Twisted Trousers pattern by Titchy Threads.





From left to right:  DenimBowtie bearShetland flannel /  Camping bear


1. Bowtie Bear made by StraightGrain, using the Otium sweater pattern by Sofilantjes Patterns; 

 2. Bear ears sweater ;

3. Hooded scarf made by  Adirondack Inspired, with tutorial;

4. Dungarees – pattern suggestion: Okey Dokey overalls pattern by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop; 

5. Raglan sweater – pattern suggestion: the Grand Slam tee pattern by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop;

6. Leggings – pattern suggestion: the Basic Leggings pattern by Serger Pepper.

When sewing for this KCW season, we can go for the obvious – using bold animal fabric prints, animal graphic stencils, or clothes with animal ears, faces, limbs, tails (the imagination is the limit here) – or we can sew the theme in more subtle ways – playing with animal colors, color schemes, textures (fur, stripes, scales, spots) and shapes, which can be translated into fabric choices.

As for color inspiration, we can think of all these animal fur shades – orange, brown, gray, black -, all the green shades from all the trees and greenery, and even some hints of red because of the colorful birds that live in the forest.

So, pick your favorite woodland animal, pick your color and texture and make something fun! Can’t wait to see it!


WILD THINGS from the savannah // kid's clothes week

WILD THINGS from the savannah

Hi! I’m Lisa Mabey from Mabey She Made It, and I’m thrilled to be contributing this season. When I heard that the theme was wild things and we got to pick a habitat as a starting point for our inspiration, I knew I wanted the savannah. I was able to visit South Africa several years ago, and I’ve been enthralled with these gorgeous animals ever since.

There is so much to be inspired by! And while everyone immediately thinks about leopard print, zebra stripes, and even giraffe spots, I’m hoping to think beyond the obvious today and show you a few things about elephants, lions, zebras, and giraffes that inspire me (and hopefully you too!). I’ll point out a few things I love, then show you how I translate them into fabric, shapes, and patterns. Let’s get started!


When I think about elephants, I think about wrinkles. Not the too-lazy-to-iron wrinkles–the depth and texture of fabrics and how something monotone can be gorgeously complex because of that texture. I also love elephant ears. They’re beautiful, multifunctional, and they drape wonderfully.
Elephant Collage


Dark Silver Crinkled Chiffon | Navy and Off-White Herringbone | Crinkled Cotton-Polyester Jersey | Black Crinkled Silk Organza | Cotton Bubble Gauze

Knit Sweater | Gretchen Dress | Muse Jacket

The fabrics above have depth and movement to them. They’re crinkled, bubbled, and have slight variations that make them interesting although they’re mostly solid. I love how that translates to the clothing as well. A heathered sweater, a herringbone jacket with subtle details, and a floaty white dress with sleeves that imitate elephant ears.

Elephant Patterns-01

Girl’s Flouncy Dress | Glass Onion Top | Jude Jacket

Naturally, the patterns I chose also have some of these same elements. I love the sleeve detail of the Flouncy dress, the curved back panels of the Glass Onion Top, and the subtle details and texture of the Jude Jacket.


These majestic animals are fierce, massive, and powerful. And what would a male lion be without his mane? While lions also don’t necessarily have a lot of color variation, they make up for it in thick fur and wonderfully wild cowls.

Lion Collage


Dark Tan/Natural Herringbone | Crushed Panne | Turkish Flannel Spotted | Chocolate and Off-White Striped Cotton | Oatmeal Watercolor Knit  

Brown Tutu | Ferocious Felt Lion Coat | Coat with Detachable Hood by Zara


So let’s talk about the fabric and color selections above. I kept it within the neutral browns, but still wanted some movement and depth. Once again a herringbone, some crushed panne, simple stripes, and even a floral combine to give these effects. Moving down to the clothing, I love the layers and wildness of the tutu, absolute cuteness of the Ferocious Felt Lion coat, and the (perhaps obvious) fur-lined hood of the second coat. All three of these pieces demand attention just like a lion.Lion Patterns

The Eleanor Dress | Little Bow Pleat Dress | Bimaa Sweater

For these patterns, neck details were important to me. The split cowl detail of the Eleanor dress, the mandarin collar and bow of the Little Bow Pleat Dress, and the drape of the Bimaa Sweater all draw your eye to the neck, just like a lion’s mane. I also find it interesting that the patterns I was drawn to are all of girls (although the Bimaa is for boys too). And while these darling girls don’t look ferocious, they do catch your attention.


The zebra’s stripes are undeniably cool. The patterns are unique to each animal, but we’re drawn to the bold, eye-catching striations that are common to all zebra.

(Fun fact: zebra moms take their babies away from the herd for a few days while the baby learns it’s mom’s stripes. Then, when the baby knows his mom visually, they return to the herd.)Giraffe Collage


Black & White Houndstooth | Black Cotton Chambray | Silver Animal Brocade | Black and White Striped Cotton Voile | White/Black Fleur de Lis Cotton Poplin 

Check Top | Argyle Sweater |  Zebra Top


So in addition to a zebra print, I found bold black and white prints visually inspiring as well. Everything from houndstooth to stripes, to small flour de lis caught my attention. And I threw a little black chambray in there for good measure because you can’t go wrong with chambray, and half of the fun of the zebra is creating a distinct pattern.Zebra Patterns

Twist & Shout Pants | Isabella Dress | Asymmetrical Color-Blocking

That’s where these patterns come in. I love the asymmetry and the chance for color blocking in each of these patterns. The twisted side seam of the Twist & Shout pants is unexpected, while the diagonal ruffles of the Isabella Dress and the unique lines in the Asymmetrical Color-Blocking shirt give you plenty of chances to create your own distinct patterns and visually stunning combinations.


I don’t really know what it is about the giraffe that I love so much. They’re so awkwardly long and they’re not graceful, but I still love them. They have a beautiful pattern, but I think more than that it’s silhouette that sets them apart.

Zebra Collage


Pumice Ikat Print | Italian Silver/Brown/Black Striped SuitingGiraffe Print Fashion Fur | Dirty Moss Floral Cotton Poplin | Mustard Faux Suede

Fringed Patterned Poncho | Zara Look 8 | Smart Tomboy

I had so much fun finding these giraffe-inspired fabrics and clothing. Ikat was a fun interpretation of giraffe spots with their similarly uneven edges and I loved bringing yellows and mustards into the color palette. Florals, stripes, spots, and solids rounded out the fabric selections, and I love how different each of the fabrics feels while not straying too far from the inspiration. And those clothes! I love the fringed edges of the ikat poncho that imitate the fringy mane. Combine that with plea dots and long leggy silhouettes and I’m just dying to put my girls in giraffe-inspired outfits.

Giraffe PatternsBeachy Boatneck | Skinny Jeans | Flashback Skinny Tee

That being said, these three (unisex) patterns lend a lot to a lean silhouette. Pair some skinny jeans and a skinny tee with any of those fabrics, add in some fabulous accessories (can you tell I have all girls?) and you’ll feel like you’re ready to walk with the giraffe.

And that’s it for today. I hope you’ve felt a little of my love for savannah animals and that you’ll find your own take on these wild things for the rest of the season!