Friday, September 27, 2013

Evolution of the Brown Plaid Monogrammed Pumpkin Ruffle Top Skirt with Matching Suspenders

With the huge success I had from the Turkey Ribbon Dress in my first year open, I wanted to replicate the same idea of a seasonal inspired dress but in a different design. At the beginning of the new Fall season last year, I quickly came up with a picture in my head of exactly what I wanted, and it turned out pretty much how I imagined. 

My initial sketch
I knew I wanted plaid, I just had to have plaid for some reason. Before I even sketched a design, I had settled on a plaid cotton-weave fabric choice. If I remember correctly, I had been watching a lot of Anne of Green Gables (as I do every year during this season), so I'm sure that influenced me greatly!

I kept the same idea of a personalized monogram, but I didn't want it just anywhere. I felt the plaid was too busy to have a monogram randomly placed somewhere. I had already found the plaid fabric I wanted to use, and it has the most beautiful colors in it. I think it is the perfect Fall fabric without having falling leaves or pumpkins all over it like some typical Fall-themed fabrics. Plus, it has such a lovely vintage-inspired feel to it, I really must have been watching a lot of Anne, because I can imagine her wearing this skirt!
I wanted to highlight a dark pumpkin-color that was in the plaid, and my brain just followed with the idea of making a pumpkin applique. It takes the theme up a notch, and it was a sweet background for an initial. It occurred to me to keep the ribbon aspect going from last year's dress, so I attached a simple brown ribbon loop at the top of the pumpkin as a whimsical stem.
As much as I loved the plaid fabric, I felt it needed a complimentary pattern to break up the lines. Polka dots will probably always be the answer to, "Which patterned fabric should I use now?" I love the sweet cream and brown colors that soften the skirt up a bit. I had been experimenting with tiered levels, and I love the way it looks so I kept the design idea for the skirt. I think the tiered polka dots underskirt really brings the design to another level.

I kept the suspenders like in the original drawing, but I used the same plaid fabric instead of my initial idea of the pumpkin-colored fabric. I didn't like the way it broke up the skirt visually. I crossed the suspenders at the back for a bit of nostalgic whimsy, and the ruffle top will always be my favorite detail with an elastic waistline.

The very first person to purchase the skirt was Angie Goff over at Oh My Goff, and she sent me such adorable pictures of her daughter modeling her new outfit! I think she looks so sweet and adorable in it, and I love that she chose the skirt for a special outing to the visit the train! You can see more of her precious pictures on her blog.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Separates of Midnight Moon (Tops)

Wrapping up the Midnight Moon collection series by highlighting the tops. I designed them to work interchangeably with the bottoms, and I really do feel like this collection is perfect for mixing and matching. I kept the sleeves long since it's obviously for colder seasons where you need another layer of warmth, but I also kept in mind the muted colors. Although most of the tops were designed with coordinating bottoms, they are lovely additions to your little one's wardrobe in their own rights. Their neutral colors and storybook charm make them ideal blouses for this season!

This little top stands out from the rest because of its sweet details. I had been wanting to make a peplum top for awhile now, and I love the way it turned out. From the puff long sleeves with the added ruffle at the shoulders to the Peter Pan collar, this blouse has all the vintage inspired charm you're looking for! It is in a lovely winter white/ beige color with a very subtle floral motif pattern so it's a wonderful basis for any look. I pictured it paired with the Cats and Dogs Ruffle Top Bloomer Bubble Shorts and some black tights that can help her look fashionable even in the colder days!

I am so in love with this cat print, I can't even describe my feelings on the subject! I would take each and every one of cats could home with me if I saw them because they are so cute and friendly looking. I like to see what each of them are doing because some are sleeping, some are grooming themselves, some are smiling like they know a secret you're not in on. I want to take a marker and color in all the fun things they are doing, but it's a wonderful blank canvas to inspire an outfit! I paired it with a darling black and white polka dot print, and the Peter Pan collar and elbow patches really set off the whimsy factor. 

Continuing with my fascination of polka dots, I kept this top solely in a tiny polka dot pattern cotton fabric. I took my original Ruffle Neck Long Sleeve Shirt concept and bumped it up a notch by adding a drawstring so that a necktie could form into a bow. I designed it with the idea that the sash could be interchanged with other fabric choices, and I plan on continuing to make this pattern shirt so you could always switch out the neck ties if you wanted from different collections! I love the way it turned out, and it also aligns with my drawstring idea I had going with the Yellow Fern Drawstring Wide Leg Pants. I created it specifically to be worn with the Brown Vine High Low Ruffle Skirt with Matching Suspenders, but it is a wonderful basic blouse that could match anything.

I had originally created a design that was sort of a Winter jumpsuit idea, but after some consideration, I broke it up into matching separate pieces that would be easier to take on and off for potty breaks. My niece has been learning for a few months now, but sometimes one just has to go "RIGHT NOW!" I didn't want it to be too difficult a task to wear, so I created this blouse and the matching Starry Night Ruffle Top Wide Leg Navy Pants in the same fabric to look like a one-piece jumpsuit without the hassle of actually being one. I love the ruffle created at the neckline from the elastic, and the flowy feel of it is so bohemian and carefree!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Separates of Midnight Moon (Bottoms)

I will say, I think the designs for the bottoms of the Midnight Moon collection are some of the more versatile and fun pieces I've created so far. I love the way everything in the collection sings together to produce this whimsical set of everyday play clothes that takes you from school to a trip to the children's museum or a picnic in the park! Any of these options would work beautifully paired with your favorite pieces, and they will take you from the crispness of Fall through the coziness of Winter!

How much fun are these sweet little pants? I love the idea of a drawstring pant, but I wanted to make it even more whimsical for a little girl. So, I added a little ruffle at the waist that is gathered from tightening the belt, and I cut the pants straight down for a wide leg sophistication. The sash is extra wide to produce a large dramatic bow at the front. I kept the fabric in the pale yellow fern pattern so it could be paired with many color options.
The skirt and suspenders are a spin-off of the seasonal favorite Brown Plaid Monogrammed Pumpkin Ruffle Skirt with Matching Suspenders. I wanted to create something exclusive for the collection, but also redesign some elements. I kept the ruffle top waist, but I added a high-low skirt. I love the way the polka dots mix with the brown and black ivy print, although I know not everyone is a fan of brown and black together. It's subtle enough while still being interesting and playful.

In keeping with the "Midnight Moon" theme, these pants are perfectly suited for a walk in the park or playing inside on a snowy day! The dark navy blue backdrop creates the perfect setting for the twinkling white star pattern. Hidden side pockets are ideal and deep enough for collecting lots of treasures and knick knacks. The wide leg cut creates a polished look, while the cotton fabric is comfortable and easy to wear.

This is such a charming vintage-inspired design, and I love all the sweet details. From the ruffle top elastic waist to the gathered ankles, these pants will look adorable with your favorite top! I initially designed these in capris for the Spring/ Summer 2013 Collection, and I loved the way they turned out so much that I decided to bring them back in full length pants for this collection. The brown and black colors make it an ideal foundation to any colored or neutral top.

Polka dots on top of polka dots, what is not to love? There is so much whimsy and playfulness wrapped up in this sweet skirt! The black and white color scheme is so sophisticated, and the polka dot patterns will delight girls of all ages. I wanted to break up the circles a bit, so I added oversized square front pockets for a change in shapes. There is elastic in the back waistline for growing tummies, and side ties gather at the back into a large bow. 
Last but not least, I designed these shorts and imagined them being worn with some fabulous tights and a great pair of boots or sparkly flats (or "happy shoes" as my niece would call them). The print is so imaginative and fun-loving with tons of charming animals playing around in a garden. I love the double ruffle effect from the elastic at the waist and the thighs. It is definitely one of the more popular designs I have available because of its versatility and charm.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dresses of Midnight Moon

I love dresses. I wear a lot of dresses. I think dresses are so much more comfortable than jeans. Dresses are usually my go-to outfits because (little secret about my personality) you don't have to match it with anything like you would with separates. It's already a built in outfit, you know what I mean? So much less time spent putting pieces together. Plus, dresses are so lady-like and feminine, and little girl dresses have to be some of the sweetest things around. That's why I love to design dresses. (How many times can I say dresses in this post?)

Rough draft sketch ideas
I somehow always manage to design a lot of dresses every collection, so I am continuously building on or redesigning ideas I haven't manufactured yet. I get a lot of inspiration from watching old movies and looking at vintage patterns from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s when there were so many lovely design elements in an outfit. Dresses were impeccably made and the attention to detail was amazing, so I try to continue the tradition in that sense.

Since this is an Autumn/ Winter collection, I knew I wanted dresses that could be worn differently and accordingly with specific weather conditions. I know in other parts of the country where people actually experience all four seasons and not just hot and humid or hot and arid, one would need layers of protection against something called snow and icy wind. So, I drew up some options I thought would look cute when paired with cardigans or long sleeved shirts.

I love the details of this little dress! The print of the dress is really playful with the cats and dogs and the colors are sweet and muted. I think the bib design paired with the Peter Pan collar really adds a whimsical element that's not too over-the-top. I also like the puff-sleeves with a ruffle at the wrist from the elastic. The sash tied into a bow at the back allows for a better fit, and the whole thing comes together to create this darling dress that lets your little one have fun, be imaginative, and look stylish all at once! 
I designed this dress with a nod towards the White and Cream Reversible A-line Top with Front Bow Detail. Continuing with the kitty cat theme originating from the first dress, I added a new fabric full of fun little fluff balls ready to excite your little girl. I also kept the muted blush color as the yoke fabric, but I used a polka dot print for the skirt to add a bit of whimsy. Add some tights and a cardigan, and she will be the coolest cat on the block!

I've had this design in my head for months. This is also a little homage, but this time to the Ariel Inspired Pink Ball Gown. I love the peplum, that design is so popular right now, but I wanted to take the charm up a notch. I wanted puff sleeves and ruffles and a great big bow. I love the way the side ties wrap around the waist at the back and tie together at the front. I think the two soft colors pair beautifully together, they remind me of the subtle hues the moon casts at night. This dress really solidified the name "Midnight Moon" for me when it came to dubbing the collection.

Continuing with the peplum idea, I wanted a more linear option to juxtapose the curves of the previous dress. I kept most of this dress at a 90 degree angle, from the peplum to the bib and the neckline. I liked the way the strict cut played with the flowing medallion pattern fabric of the main dress. It allowed the dress some softness, along with the buttery yellow that picks up the yellow in the other fabric. The blues and silvers in the main fabric are gorgeous, they brought out all the mysterious qualities of a brisk Fall night.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fabrics and Feelings Behind Midnight Moon

With the Autumn/ Winter Collection in full swing, I wanted to talk a little more about what inspired me as I was creating this collection. Back in the summer, I had been seeing a lot of mustard so that was definitely influencing my color palette. I was loving that color and wanted to use it as a foundation piece. I went to the store specifically with that direction in mind, it was going to tie in all the beautiful colors of Fall but also work nicely through the winter season with the other fabric choices I was going to make. What did I do? Go in a completely different direction!

As soon as my eyes spotted this fabric print, I fell in love! Everything I had planned went out the window, and I went with my gut instinct. The way the sweet cats and dogs are seen playing and exploring tickled my imagination. I could see them playing out in the garden and seeing mysterious things no one else saw, delighting in fragrant flowers, and maybe seeing a glimpse of fairies.

I spent hours walking up and down the fabric aisle trying to match fabrics and create a cohesive look. I love the fabrics I chose, they all work together to tell this soft little story that really spoke to me. Instead of the saturated tone of a mustard color, I went mostly with very soft and muted shades that include a pale pink and beige/ nude color. These are offset by deep blacks and navy blues for balance.

I chose my original Cats and Dogs print fabric to be the basis for the collection. Every other choice revolved around it, so of course I was excited to make the first dress out of it. As I finished that first dress and continued making the rest of the collection, I kept thinking about nighttime adventures and how things are so much more mysterious and more like a fantasy with all the twinkling stars out. I remembered staying up late with my friends making up stories to tell one another in the moonlight, and so it just felt natural to name the collection "Midnight Moon." It captures the feeling, colors, and emotions of the fabrics and the designs so perfectly, and I'm still imagining what those cats and dogs are up to on their midnight walks!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Looking All Profesh

Yes, I finally have my website up, and yes, it is awesome! My very first blog post back in January had me talking about building the website. Well I was attempting to do it with Google Sites because of cost efficiency, but it was not efficient with anything else. I was literally building it from scratch, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I sat for HOURS working on it and feeling like I hadn't accomplished anything. What I did have was a sad looking at best, not very professional. So I put that plan on the back burner until I had more time to devote to it.

I have been in such a proactive mood lately to shape up Papoose that I researched my options with website builders. I had thought about possibly hiring someone to do it, but when I came across Weebly, I knew it wasn't going to be as bad as I thought. I had already bought my domain, so I chose their Starter level. I had looked around at different websites to get inspired, and I knew I wanted it to look modern, professional, and welcoming. 

I used green with pops of turquoise because I have always loved the color green. To me it represents growth, freshness, energy, all of which can be ascribed to children, and the turquoise brings in the creativity, imagination, and sophistication.I chose a font called Fredericka the Great because it was playful, childlike, and reminded me of doodlings on paper. I wanted to keep the background simple but not glaring, so I went with a soft gray tone that is a nice backdrop for the clothing.

This really is a huge accomplishment for me professionally and personally, I love that I can now claim this as a business and not a hobby. It is definitely empowering to see how Papoose has grown and to see the goals I have being met. I love scratching them off my list and moving on to make new ones! The website really defines Papoose visually, but I also have my vision statement on the About Page that really goes into what Papoose is founded on and where it is going. It is exciting to see the new logo up and have the website up that showcases all the hard work I've been doing for the past few weeks, and I hope you all enjoy it too!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

History of the Turkey Ribbon Dress

Back in 2011, my sister, Michelle, came to me with the request to make a Thanksgiving outfit for my then 11 month old niece since we were making the big trip down to Louisiana to see family that year. Of course it had to be fabulous, so we put our heads together to come up with something fit for the little papoose. Michelle had been seeing the turkey with ribbons all over the Internet, and so I took that idea and ran with it.
I wanted something that could be worn in different weather climates with different accessories, so I settled on this sweet crossback tunic A-line dress. Since it opened at the back so dramatically, I had to add bloomers to it. Once I got thinking about it, why not be a little cheeky? I decided to embroider, "Gobble til you Wobble" on the back of the bloomers so it can peek out from the back of the dress.

I love the way the fabrics came together. I settled on the brown vine print first because I wanted a darker backdrop for the more colorful ribbons I went with, and they really do pop against it. It also reminded me of harvest time and farming, which I thought was seasonally appropriate with all the pumpkin patches to visit. Since it is a lined dress, I chose a vibrant red cotton that is so dramatic and fun.

I initially went with atypical Fall colored ribbon just to spice it up a bit and add a different element. I couldn't get enough of that ribbon, I just kept adding more and more because a turkey should have a full tail feather plume! I think it looks so much better layered that way than with only four or so ribbons. And my sister LOVES a personalized monogram dress, so I indulged her and added Harper's name below the turkey.

Even after it was all sewn up and done, I liked it but felt like something was missing. I had some orange rickrack laying around and decided to sew that all around the dress. I was afraid it might look a little busy and overdone, but it really brought the whole outfit up a notch.

I've had to change out the ribbons since some get discontinued, but I still like the bohemian effect of all the different patterns and styles. It was my most popular dress the year I debuted it in the shop, I was so busy that Fall! I get tempted to take it down and discontinue it every year because it's so different from my usual style, but it's definitely a Fall favorite. And it is such a happy little dress to wear!
The Turkey Ribbons and Ricrac Dress and Bloomers is available at
Available in infant sizes 3-18 months, and also toddler sizes 2T-6T.

Monday, September 2, 2013

New Logo with Parker Payge Designs

I had desperately been wanting to redo my logo for a long time, practically since I had the first one made. I used Vistaprint for the initial branding because it was so convenient, and I was hopelessly unaware of what it meant to have your very own business logo that no one else has. The basic idea had been rumbling about in my head for awhile, but it wasn't until I came across Parker Payge Designs through an Etsy search one day.

Veronica Lowe-Brumley, or Roni, is the mastermind behind this business, which is named after her two children. Her simplistic approach was modern and refreshing, especially surrounded by frilly and over-the-top designs that I knew I did not want. She notes "Simplicity, Strait lines, Modern strait fonts, Minimal graphics, Modern Unique Edgy Designs" as key elements of Parker Payge Designs. I wanted a streamlined overhaul but with a whimsical factor, so I knew I was in the right place when I contacted her.

Her prices are very affordable, considering the time, expertise, and accessibility she offers to make your design absolutely perfect! She took a little idea I had and transformed it into what Papoose Clothing is about: modern, whimsical, imaginative, free-spirited. You can choose to have a custom design made especially for you, or you can choose from one of her pre-made one-of-a-kind designs. Another awesome feature? You can add on Facebook covers, Etsy banners, and other important marketing tools to make your business look cohesive. She can also print that awesome new logo on whatever you need to succeed as a business owner! Whichever option you chose to go with, Roni will be there to make sure you have the best representation of your business.

Etsy Shop: