Designing Inspiration in the New Year!

Here we are at the beginning of another


Hard to believe it’s 2018.

I am not one to make a lot of specific resolutions,

but I do like to have some loose plans

directions I think I’m heading,

things I’d like to move away from.

I celebrated with the family

I am blessed to have.

My Honey Bunny, Tom

our kids, and extended family, too.

The season included some crafting gifts from me…

as well as the usual, frantic last-minute scramble for more presents!

Today I’m working on my next custom order.

I’m also thinking about all the ideas swirling in my head

of what to make next.

I’m likely doing this to avoid thinking about the upcoming tax season!

but you’ve got to have a little fun

among life’s miseries, don’t you?

Lately, I’ve noticed lots of posts about lack of motivation

struggling to come up with ideas for projects

and just generally

being unsure about where to begin.

I am occasionally there, too.

Most of the time I don’t have much trouble

coming up with ideas.

Let’s talk about some places to begin when

you don’t have a good idea of where to go next.

First, and foremost

I really believe that the number one cure

for this problem

is flexibility of thought.

If you always start from the same beginning point

you are likely to end up at the same destination

over and over again.

Not necessarily bad,

but it tends to make

all projects take on a very similar flavor.

How to reverse this?

To branch out just a little?

If you make mostly basic, waisted dresses

try a swimsuit, or an evening gown.

If you reach first for solid colors?

How about a splashy print?

Ask yourself if you might try an entirely different color scheme.

perhaps one you seldom sew with at all.

(ever notice how we tend to sew with our own favorite colors?)

How about grabbing two patterns from your selections

and asking yourself if you might choose detailing from one

to apply to the other?

Or finding pictures of finished clothing

that will work with existing patterns or ideas.

I saw this outfit…

(from Pinterest, source unknown, not my picture)

and made this outfit…

In this case, many of the elements

are copied fairly closely.

This is not always the case.

How about working from a more abstract point of view.

Scrolling along on Pinterest

I loved the French sensibility of this little school girl

It produced this doll outfit.

Not identical, but the thought is there.

Don’t forget to give it your own spin.

I decided to move the effect of the hair wrap down to the waistline in a pretty knot-front belt.

I also thought the royal blue metallic flats were a stylish choice.

This one outfit started me thinking about

the French influence in design.

A casual, effortless elegance in simple lines,

whether for dressy looks or sportswear.

These outfits all came from that ‘thought space’.

(top from the Ezy T pattern, front collar from the Enhancements pack, pants pattern not available)

(top is an Ezy T, embroidered design from embroidery library, pants pattern not available)

(top is an Ezy T with collar front from the enhancements pack, skirt pattern not available)

(top is an Ezy T with sleeve additions, shorts are from Erin Hentzel’s book, ‘Sew in Style’)

Sweater dress from All Dolled Up, pattern ‘Gigi’. Originally released as a top pattern only, I lengthened this to a dress. Terrie has since added the dress length for you!

We’ll visit this topic again and again,

as I feel that creativity and inspiration

are critical to good design.

I use these same thoughts when designing new patterns.

Only a few months ago I was planning a simple circle skirt pattern.

Something like this one, shown here with a ‘Recital’ pattern leotard.

I don’t generally release patterns for separates, preferring

to provide buyers with a full outfit option.

Casting about for a top choice I hit on the idea of a crop top.

Certainly appropriate but not entirely interesting.

Next, I found this sketch.

Here was a fun back detail!

wanting to add pattern options and realizing

that I had not been able to find a handkerchief hem skirt pattern

when I wanted one?

I decided to add both of these to the pattern.

What do you know? For our dolls – that triangle back crop top was easily reversible, front to back!

The delicious result of all of this thought was the Candy Shoppe Circle n Crop pattern.

As luck would have it,

once the pattern work was under-way

I became aware of a popular trend related

to TV personality, JoJo Siwa.

With a signature style of flirty skirts, pastel color mixes and

enormous hairbows?

I incorporated this into some of the cover garments

and added my favorite ‘Big Bow’ hairbow template.

Here is the final cover.

Lots of different ideas – all took time to develop.

Give ideas time to drift around in your mind.

Try things.

Don’t expect every idea to work,

or to work effortlessly.

Take a meandering journey from original concept

to finished product.

See if you don’t end up in a delightful new location.

3 thoughts on “Designing Inspiration in the New Year!

  1. Edna Trussell

    How thought provoking!!! I have been in a rut. Not getting to sew and having to make an adjustment to my life by going back to work part-time.
    Thank you for making me rethink my new year and saying it’s okay just adjust and make changes. Stepping out of the box is a good thing.


  2. Kathy

    Janie — What a wonderful post. It echoed the ideas that I have been working with this past year. Now I feel so affirmed! As a grandma making doll clothes for my own dolls as well as little girls, I realized my thinking was in yesterday’s rut, so I began to pay attention to what little girls wear today and to incorporate those ideas into my sewing. Thanks again, and I look forward to future posts.


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