Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Guest Judge: Melly from Melly Sews

This week we have the ever-talented Melissa from Melly Sews joining us as a guest judge for boys' week and we are so excited.  She loves sewing for boys and has made it an art form on her blog.  Thanks Melissa for being here this week......

Hi all - I'm Melissa, from Melly Sews and Blank Slate Patterns, and I am so excited to be guest judging for Boys Week! Let me start with a little story about me - from the ages of 5 to 7, I refused to wear pants. At all. Ever. The frillier and pinker the dress, the more I liked it. Though I now love to wear pants, my own personal style has always trended toward feminine and romantic, with a healthy dash of preppy. Fast forward many years - and I am now the mom to not one but two boys!
My boys, nicknamed Tater and Bean
These guys have stretched not only my heart but my sewing in unexpected ways, and I have to say I now prefer to design and sew for boys. But sewing for boys is different than sewing for girls. Boys clothes, more so than girls clothes, must be wearable and durable. Things like seam finishes become important, because if they're not done well, boys will shred the clothing quickly. Fabric choice is important for the same reason. But today I want to talk mostly about wearability - and a staple of any boy wardrobe: t-shirts. After all, t-shirts are the epitome of comfortable, wearable garments that for boys to move in (mine never sit still). Now some people might wonder why I sew t-shirts - after all they can be cheaply and easily found at any store. But t-shirts found at the stores near me don't look like these:
(By the way, all those pictures are linked if you want to know more about any of them).
Also, I prefer to use thicker fabric for my t-shirts than is usually used in store bought shirts - contributing to these shirts being durable - Bean has many shirts that have survived and been handed down from Tater. Do I have you convinced yet? T-shirts are both wearable and durable, and I am happy to say that at this point the majority of the t-shirts in each of my boy's closets are made by mom. I have a bunch of tutorials with t-shirts to get you started. First, draft yourself a basic pattern using these instructions (or if your boy is between sizes 2-4, you can download my free basic t-shirt pattern from that post). Once you've conquered the basic t-shirt, you're ready to use any of these tutorials to spice up your shirt (click on a picture to take you to the tutorial):

Raglan Sleeves
Reverse Applique
So as you can see, a few techniques, combined with cool fabric choices and embellishment, and you have unique clothes that your boys will wear again and again. And that is my favorite thing about sewing for my boys - sure, there's fun in creating the frilliest, pinkest special occasion dress. But I get to look at my boys every day and see them wearing clothes I've made them over and over.

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  1. I have to say, this is a very inspiring post! Ts are the one thing I generally skip sewing, b/c I can usually find a solid T & decorate to my liking. BUT you are right - thin fabrics don't hold up & things like V necks & buttons on shoulders don't show up in Walmart's selection of Ts ;-) You've definitely inspired me to pull out the serger!

  2. Oh Melissa is the PERFECT boy judge! :)

  3. Thanks for the tips! I agree that t shirts found in stores do not compare to those you can make yourself. :) Especially when you have a little one with a super long torso...no belly shirts for my kiddo! Thanks again. Love your work!

  4. Where do you buy your knit fabrics? I have a difficult time finding quality knits.

    1. My favorites online are Banberry Place, The Fabric Fairy, Near Sea Naturals, and Spoonflower - listed in order of priciness! I prefer to sew with interlock knit, so I'll often buy a bunch of white or off-white interlock and dye it the colors I want using procion dyes. I also upcycle a lot of thrifted t-shirts - I can get them at $0.50 to $1.00 at one of the thrift stores here.

  5. I love making tees for my son! I use hubby's favourite old tees so they always have cool prints and fit well. He's a tall skinny one so it's hard to get tees off the rack that fit him. Great ideas for embellishment!


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