Friday, February 19, 2010
Sew With The Flow: Part 2
Alright, to continue with the flow...
You might like to grab yourself a cuppa and a snack, I am feeling a good long ramble coming on.
If you missed it, you can read Part 1 here.
I believe I was going on about clothes for children and inspiration motivation and I was about to reveal who was knocking at the door. But first, I want to talk about Walter.
Walter was a substitute teacher that I had from time to time at the Junior High I attended in Santa Cruz, CA. He was young, enthusiastic and a complete surfer dude. If we walked into Mrs. Lamb's English class and saw Walter sitting on the desk, we would rejoice and run up to him like a gaggle of goslings vying for his attention. The rest of class time would be spent listening to Walter's outrageous surfing stories; they usually started something like this, "Oh man, I took the buggy down to Baja with a couple of my bros in search of some righteous waves..."
Now, I imagine you are asking yourself what this has to do with anything. I am just getting to that, I promise.
So, one day Walter shows up to sub for my sewing class. We had never had a sub before and I wondered how this was going to play out as I had some serious issues with my appliqued pillow project. He was a fish out of water but, if you can just imagine a cute young surfer dude in a class full of teenage girls...well, it was a blushing giggle fest. Only myself and one other student were putting our noses to the ancient Kenmores, intent on our dubious creations. At one point, the other student began to wail and moan over some trouble she was having at the machine. Walter was passing by and wanting to lend support of some kind, looked at her and smiled a beatific smile and said in true guru fashion, "No worries man, just breathe deep and Sew With The Flow!" I have a vague recollection of the girl bursting into tears after that. Walter's words resonated with me though, and have stuck with me all these years. Sew with the flow indeed. I find that sewing can be like that, sometimes the surf is rough and you wipe out but, sometimes you have a stellar ride on a righteous wave.
So, there I was getting my flow on with a jacket for Pony Girl, when a knock came at the door. Well looky there, it's the UPS guy, dressed in his crisp brown uniform with the shorty shorts, hat just so and mirrored cop sun glasses. He smiled as he handed me my package but, he did not speak. He looked like a character from a movie, all back lit by the sun - and I almost asked him if he would mind if I took his picture for my blog but, I thought that might give him the wrong impression. Off he went without a word.
What UPS guy delivered to me was this book...
Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn is a beauty! I had pre-ordered it ages ago and was quite excited to receive it. Nancy Langdon of Fledge/Studio TANTRUM and Sabine Pollehn of Farbenmix, were a couple of women I discovered when I was looking for inspiration to create magic clothes for my girl. The patterns that they and several other talented artists had put together, were just what I had been looking for. Unique, fun, colorful, creative and magical.
I ordered a couple of patterns, and though some were in German, I had no real trouble putting them together and in fact, found them a joy to work with. I loved the way they encouraged my own creativity. I found that the clothes fit so well and really worked with the way kids moved and played.
Along the way, I had sent an email or two to Nancy Langdon, to my surprise and delight, she answered those emails and since then, has offered just the right words of encouragement and support when I needed them most. It was really she, who inspired me to create my first pattern from scratch. I said it in my very first post on this blog, and I still believe in it's truth:
"To be empowered is wonderful,
to be encouraged is soul saving!"
This book is both empowering and encouraging. It encourages you to use your creativity and imagination and helps remove some of the intimidation you might feel at trying something new. The patterns are as good as ever (the book includes 10 full multi-sized patterns for children 18 months to 12). The emphasis is clearly on clothes for girls but, there are a couple of patterns for the boys as well. While the bold and colorful look of the clothes may not be for everyone, the patterns and construction are solid and can be made up to look any way you can imagine. There are some very good tips and tricks of the trade, with clear instruction and advice.
For the truly novice seamstress, there might be some unfamiliar techniques but, all that is really required are some basic skills, and you can create one of a kind clothing for your own superstar. I love that the underlying message of the book is to really have fun creating "real clothes for real kids" and "Because childhood is here and gone so quickly... it is important to dress a child for each special occasion." That special occasion might be a first day of school, a climb to the highest branch, an afternoon of puddle jumping, etc. Childhood itself is a special occasion!
As I was reading the book cover to cover that first night, there at the top of page 12, was the caption "SEW WITH THE FLOW"! How about them apples!
So, to Nancy, thank you for the beautiful book you made, the encouragement and the continued inspiration.
And to Walter, wherever you are, thank you for your wise words.