Back to School with Bella Sunshine Designs

Oh my goodness- I made it! Made it through the end of the summer. Well not really, our schools don’t start for another 3 weeks but boy has this been the longest summer by far! Here we are winding down from all the camps and most people are looking at supply lists. I always loved back to school when I was a child because it meant that I got new pencils and folders and I just love new supplies. For us in Vermont, our school system pays for everything, even down to providing breakfast, lunch and a snack for our children- so my only joy for back to school is creating something fairly epic for my kids to wear.
This year in honor of the Back to School Blog tour being hosted by Bella Sunshine Designs, I decided I was going to tackle the beautiful Gabriella’s Winter Coat because in Vermont back to school means we need to winter gear since snow can hit as early as September and as late as May!
As you have read on my blog before, Sweet Pea has a very definite style aesthetic and often for outerwear will make requests and this year is no different. She had to have a dragon coat. So off I went to modify a really beautiful pattern to make my dragon child happy!
First things first I chose beautiful silk jacquards from my stash (well ok Sweet Pea dictated which colors) because I wanted the coat to be a statement piece and make use of some of the gorgeous fabric that had been given to me. I knew that a coat out of these materials would be lush and rich while being functional for Vermont’s long frigid winters. I went with the size 3 because Sweet Pea, while measuring a 2, will want to wear this coat over her winter gear and over multiple layers.
Next I scoured several different online tutorials, plus used a combination of other patterns to figure out the dragon wings, spike and tail. I did a mash of 5 different styles to get the shape for these wings and opted for spikes that were 2 inches wide and 3 inches in height. For the tail, I used a Dino Tail Tutorial and measured how long I wanted it to hang and began trimming it down from there. I used regular interfacing for the spikes and foam interfacing for the wings. On the tail, I created a placket to attach the tail rather than the circle and straps that the tutorial uses.
Initially I thought I would directly attach the tail and wings however one of the requirements for children here at school is that clothing cannot be distracting AND since Sweet Pea is still in a car seat, additional modifications had to be made. Enter KAM Snaps ( I purchase mine from Kimmy Snabric), I made the wings and tail able to come off so that they do not impede her sitting completely flat in the car seat.

So much snap placement, checking and rechecking the modifications. I opted for 2 snaps on each wing, checking the placement between the spikes so they would be consistent. I went with 4 snaps on the tail to allow for the width of the tail I created. For the actual coat, since the back pieces are cut on the fold, I added 1/4 inch seam allowance and cut out 1 pattern piece into 2 pieces. On the skirt I also cut that pattern piece in half and added seam allowance so the shape of the coat stayed 100%.
You can see here she is in a dragon frame of mind. While I know Sweet Pea wont go very long without the wings and tail off, I love that I can keep her car seat safe but she gets the coat she loves.
The coat pattern is spectacular. It is very easy to follow (I have never made a fully lined coat before and only got hung up in one place.) Make sure to take your time with putting in that lining is all I can say! The structure of the coat has a vintage vibe with the swing shape and double breast closure. We opted for snaps there instead of beautiful vintage buttons because this coat is all about Sweet Pea and she struggles with button closures. I feel like while the snaps are small, they still look great and work well for accomodating kiddos that need to have snaps instead of buttons. The standing collar is going to work perfectly with a winter hat that will snap under the chin (I am off to find the perfect pattern to make for this coat – if you have a suggestion for one, pop it in the comments for me and I’ll definitely credit you if you find me the perfect winter hat.)
The results are gorgeous and this was the perfect back to school make for her!

PS There is a current Back to School Special (girls patterns are $6, ladies are $7, and bundles are reduced to $12) running until Sunday. Run and get your Gabriella’s Winter Coat while you can. And while you are there check out those Sansa Flare Pants if you need a quick pair of pants with excellent fit while your at it!
If you are joining us for the last day of the tour and missed out on the other posts, catch up on them below.

****this post contains affiliate links

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