Today we are sooo happy to have our Project Run and Play Season 4 winner with us today.
Jessica is a talented seamstress with mad boys clothes making skills and after reading her post you will never look at sewing for boys in the same way again.
(I promise...it's that good.)
Take it away Jessica.
HELLO PRAP! You guys, the designers this season are just so good. I'm enjoying watching it all unfold very very much... from the sidelines :)
Competing in Project Run & Play was the best thing I've ever done for my creativity. And it really made me realize how much I LOVE sewing for my boy. Hendrix is 3 and was a big reason I got really into sewing. At first, it wasn't really clothes for him, nothing beyond the obligatory appliquéd onesies. But then I started making a few simple things and realized that it was really satisfying to see something I made actually functioning adorably on my child. I kept learning how to make different items for him, pants, knit shirts, and even a coat once. But I didn't realize exactly what my boy style was until my season of PR&P.
Here's the thing about sewing for boys- it's harder. I really think it's more challenging to make a unique and stylish boy outfit than it is to make an adorable dress for a girl. Girls will look cute in almost anything you make them. And there are a hundred sewing tricks at your disposal to embellish their clothes. You can pleat them, ruffle them, gather and trim them all day long. You can literally use any print or pattern for their clothes. But it's not that simple with boys. It takes a lot of thought about colors, fabrics, proportions, and details.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the sewing is actually more difficult. But I think people just aren't sure how to make their boy clothes special enough to be worth the time it takes to make them. I work in a local fabric shop and I hear from people all the time that they don't have any desire to sew for their boy, so the girl(s) in the family get all the goods. It makes me want to jump up on the cutting table and start ranting about how great it is to sew for boys. Of course I don't, so I'll just do that to you guys here now.
I usually begin with two sources of inspiration: Men's fashion or pop culture. I'll show you what I mean. Inspiration on the left, my looks for Hendrix on the right:
These were the boy looks I made for the competition. I wanted to use shapes I had not seen before around sewing blogs, and shapes you couldn't find in any Target or Old Navy. The cropped pants with pockets (boypris!) still turn heads when he wears them because they look like an expensive boutique pair of pants. The details like contrasting yellow topstitching, bright pops of color on the pockets, and the hand stitching on the tank make all the difference in the world. Without any one of those small things, the pieces wouldn't feel as special. On the raglan shirt, I used fabrics straight from women's shirts and an embroidery technique usually reserved for the girls. But on a three year old, these things work and still look boyish.
Here's the rule when it comes to looking at trendy men's fashion: if your husband would look completely ridiculous in it, then your kid would probably look completely adorable in it. Even as I was making these color blocked pants, my man was calling them clown pants. "Why can't you just make him some normal jeans to wear?" (My response: Well we can just buy him some of those for $10!) But as soon as he saw Hendrix in them, he couldn't help but smile at how well he pulled them off. These, you can't buy at Target.
(Life Aquatic, Amelie, Fantastic Mr. Fox)
As I said, I'm constantly inspired by pop culture. I love movies, TV, and music. I'm obsessed with a certain selection of directors, I know every lyric on the radio, (even the crappy stuff, usually) and I can't get enough of shows like Parks and Rec or The Walking Dead. It all pops up in the clothes in certain ways. Fellow PRAP alum Kristin and myself have started a series called Film Petit that marries our love of great movies and sewing for kids. You can find out more about all these movies and looks here. And it all started with that scorpion Drive Jacket I made for movie week last season. That was one week that I got pummeled in the voting, but I didn't care because I loved it so much.
Of course, not everyone is inspired by these same things. But you are inspired by something that you love. Something that's just you. You can put that into your boy clothes while they are young, I promise they won't protest. They will know that you had so much fun making them.
Speaking of fun, I think that's really the takeaway here. Sewing for boys is fun. It can make your husband's Will Ferrell shirt live on to crack you up a little longer. It can lead you to make a purple tank that also has rain on it without even realizing how Prince that is until you are done. It can make you enjoy a whole summer at your very midwestern pool watching your kid skip around in a little blue euro-short.
So let's recap. Jessica's surefire principles for sewing your boy completely kick-butt clothes:
- Details are super important. Use them thoughtfully.
- Look at what the uber-fashionable are wearing. Your kid can work that stuff.
- Don't limit yourself to expected boyish color and fabric choices.
- Be inspired by something you love, something around you in the world outside Pinterest.
- Have fun with it. Sew things that will make you smile when you see him wear them.
Thanks so much for having me back here, I can't wait to see what these talented ladies sew up for the boys!