Today’s guest is Deborah from Whipstitch Fabrics (Etsy store and real store in Atlanta, USA) and blog. As well as a great selection of fabrics and patterns (and no problems shipping internationally), Deborah runs sewing courses in-store and on-line. She encourages everyone to give sewing a try and has helped to build the sewing community through her (very scientific) sewing buddy program. And I love this button:
One of the challenges in sewing for boys is in finding the right pattern for the style you’re trying to create, and then pairing it with the perfect fabric. OK, I admit, that’s MOST of the challenge in sewing for boys. I thought it would be fun to grab fabric I have on hand, right now, randomly waiting to be sewn, and pair it with some of the patterns and tutorials that are available online to get some creative juices flowing with ideas for how to put the two together and come up with some great results!
Let’s start by addressing what I think is the most overlooked arena for boy clothes: solid fabrics. I love me some twill and linen, and most of those come in solid colors–but isn’t that just what you’re looking for when it comes to a great piece of clothing for your boy’s closet? Twill has a lovely, understated texture that’s a delight, and the weight makes it hold up well to hard wear on the playground. Pair some solid twill with the Dapper Dillingers pattern for a really great, versatile pair of pants he can wear three seasons out of the year:
Next choice after twill, in my book, is a really great linen fabric. These come in mostly solids, but here and there you can find a delicious check or stripe:
Either of these fabrics would be a fabulous choice for the Tabby Pocket Shorts pattern, which is a free download.
I love that you can mix various solid fabrics–maybe a khaki linen with the navy here–and make some really graphic looks that are appropriate for both younger and older boys, and look very chic without looking hopelessly homemade. Now, I’m not averse to prints–I love me a good novelty print, in all honesty. But I think the way you use a print makes or breaks it. Combining a print with another fabric can tone it down, especially if it’s a really, really novelty print. Take this example:
The Monsterz print is very sweet and juvenile, but the yellow and teal prints tone down the novelty print-ness of it, and make it more suitable for older boys. Another example is this Alexander Henry fabric:
The skeleton print might be overwhelming for an entire garment, but combine it with the animal print and you tone it down enough to make something that any little boy would love to wear. I’m thinking of using both prints in this Little Military Shirt, making one the placket down the front, and the other for the body of the shirt. Or maybe it ought to be a little bowling shirt? You see where I’m going here.
Now, if you’re not into novelty prints, there are lots of great prints out there that give color and visual interest without being too baby-boy or too feminine for your little guy. Check out all of these:
The Pezzy Print (top), the Summerville cross-hatch (middle) and the Quilt Blocks navy flying geese (bottom) are all great, graphic, simple prints with a light background that make good woven shirts. I like them for the Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirt particularly, and think both styles would be so superb with that collar and button placket:
Tone-on-tone prints work great for this pattern, too, like these two (top from Tula Pink’s new line, Birds and the Bees, and bottom from Patty Young’s new line, Heaven and Helsinki):
All of these lighter-weight shirt fabrics also make great linings. Maybe you don’t want to see a ton of a print, but you like the color–something like The Overmost, which is lined, can give you a chance to use those prints and just see a peek of them, without having to commit to an entire garment out of that print.
And don’t forget flannel! For the cooler months, flannel can be amazing for shirts or for linings, or for pajama pants, boxer shorts, and reversibles.
I like flannel for the reverse side of a pant like these Boys Cargo Pants–or even just to line the cargo pockets, if you don’t want an entirely lined pant in your climate.
Now, I recognize that I might have more yardage lying around the house than the average person–I know I’m one step away from becoming a hoarder. But I bet you have some fabrics at your place that you never really thought about away from the quilting collection they came with, or apart from the project you originally planned to use it for (even though you haven’t done it yet). Take that pattern, pay it on the fabric, and start picturing the possibilities!
Thanks for the inspiration, Deborah (and you’re not alone with fabric hoarding…). Just what I needed, more projects added to my “to sew” list.
So what is your favourite pattern/fabric combination?