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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Monday, July 7, 2014

Sewing for big kids

When my children were little I sewed a lot for them. 

Sweat suits, outerwear, anything they needed really. When they were very little I taught sewing classes in some evenings and what I made for them also often doubled as my classroom samples. It worked out for everyone.

Then when the kids got older and developed their own taste, made by mom went out of style, except for my daughter who continued to have me sew special dresses. Of course as they got older I also got busier with my work too and my sewing sort of drifted to only for me.

However last summer I made my youngest son a novelty camp shirt with bungalows on it for his birthday. Surprisingly it was a hit. 

So this year I made another one with bridges on it.

There is a story to this. 

This kid was always, and still is, big into building things. The first thing he built was a wooden bridge to go over a small creek we had in the backyard. He was five and it took about 5,000 nails. Recently we had to retire that bridge because it was getting rickety. I was afraid the little girls would hurt themselves on it. Also I was in New York when I got this idea and as I was traveling across the Brooklyn Bridge everyday to the garment district and I could feel a theme developing.

Here is that shirt, on me in the fitting stage because this was a surprise:

Trying this on made me think I need a plain old loose camp shirt for myself, not all life was meant to be fitted.

And here is the shirt on my son, the thing on his head is a hat with a birthday boy badge on it, the little girls thought that was a good idea:

A real character this one, the king of the solar panel, the shirt suits him. I just noticed his border collie's head in the background. We all seem to have attached dogs in this family.

The pattern I used was this one from Vogue, but I think I am going to try Collette's Negori for the next one because that seems to be what hip young males sewers are making for themselves. BTW there are a lot more men's patterns around these days, just look at Vogue, which I find very encouraging. We shouldn't have half the population thinking they can't sew, or not being able to experience what sewing your own clothes offers.

I also made him some board shorts from this excellent pattern from Jalie. Very pro pattern with all the details exactly right:

The fabric for the shorts came from the Fabric Fairy . My surfer loved them.

So much so that my husband, son-in-law, and nephew have all ordered up a pair. In plaid, something conservative, and something that looks Greek respectively.

Then my son in Brooklyn heard about the shirt and informed me that loud shirts were very hip on the Brooklyn BBQ circuit. He even sent me this picture of one he was considering buying, except it is $230! which just goes to show the non-sewing world has lost its mind, I mean this is a cotton short sleeved shirt:

So he asked me to make him one too, with a button band and a button down collar (I figure this pattern will work) and I sent him a link to Hawthorne Threads which has outstanding prints and probably the best and fastest service in the universe.

The result of that little exchange was he sent me back this link to the fabric he liked best on their site, not having seen his brother's shirt at all:

All of which goes to show that what goes around comes around and after about a twenty year hiatus it looks like mom is back in business, starting with some bro shirts. They would have never let me sew the same thing for them when they were small - the lesson here to all those mothers out there with kids in that teenage thing, eventually you too and the family will be back in style.

Just you wait.


Colleen Gander said...

Thank you for the encouragement. I have been reduced to sewing novelty boxers for my son for the last few years. He loves them and looks forward to a new pair on his birthday and Christmas, usually in an aircraft theme. But the last time he was home, he casually asked if I knew how to make shirts. Perhaps that was my signal? Love the bridges. My son's favourite so far was aircraft blueprints.

Janlynn said...

I always enjoy your posts and your sewing.
I have made a few shirts for my husband and while my son approves of them ,has not asked for one yet. My oldest daughter continues to order one Vogue pattern after another . I would like to sew just for me.
Have you tried the Islander shirt pattern.? There is a camp shirt, a dress shirt and my favourite, the cowboy shirt. They are great patterns and stitch up quickly,

celkalee said...

It just proves that milestones can also be measured in fabric and pattern!

Nakisha said...

This almost made me cry! What an awesome shirt...and son!

knitmachinequeen (KMQ) said...

Your son looks great in the shirt but sew do you!

Anonymous said...

You know this shirt features the bridges of Portland, OR? I didn't realize they were selling this fabric all over. I thought it was a local thing!

carolinascallin said...

What a great story! Love that both boys picked out the same fabric - that's too funny! Enjoy this new sewing phase.

BTW...awesome board shorts!

Gail Pickens-Barger, E-RYT said...

Thanks for sharing. Makes me want to sew!

Nana said...

Love the shirts and story. I too have sewn for my boys in younger years. Now the youngest wants some tailored shirts. He brought me one that fits just before he left for DC last week. I am now working on getting a sample to see if I can still handle the task. I also made my grandson and SIL matching shirts about 2 years ago. They loved it.

Anonymous said...

Love the shirt and the shorts. Your sewing looks impeccable. You also look wonderful in your son's shirt. Yes, indeed, you should have one too. It's sweet knowing that those are the bridges of Portland. Love that city. Definitely worth a visit, that place.
Happy also for the dog pic, even if it's just a nose!
Vancouver Barbara

Judi Pinkham said...

Love the shirt! Loved reading the story behind it, etc!!!!

Рябушкина Ольга said...

Your son looks great in this shirt! You are a lucky mom!
I also sewed and knitted for my daughter when she was at school, but then she switched to ready-made clothes. Well, no problem -I'll wait for grandchildren)))
Thanx for your posts!

Jane M said...

Wonderful shirt and special fabric full of memories. Thanks.