Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On the other hand

...a few reasons why I don't make many of my daughter's clothes.

Because you never know when you're going to inadvertently kneel in still-wet leprechaun tracks. (And because the paint at Kindergarten is not as washable as the paint at preschool.)

Also, because who thought it was a good idea to give Kindergarteners real pens?

And also, because this. (Yes, that's two pairs of leggings ruined in less than a week.)

I'm not saying my daughter is suuuuuch a tomboy, she does like twirly-girly things, but she is sort of inattentive to general matters of kemptness. (The kid who neither notices nor cares that she has magic marker all over her face? That one's mine.) And she's enough of a tomboy (or whatever; actually I kind of think that term is problematic) that her primary sartorial concern is: Can I stomp in rain puddles effectively while wearing this?

My man commented the other day that the clothes that I make for my girl hardly ever get worn. (Not that she doesn't wear them; it's not that she's rejecting them, it's that I rarely suggest them.) For the past several years I've made her a dress/outfit for her birthday, and one for Christmas. And maybe, in fact, that's all my schedule can support!

But I'd like to make her more (and for them to be worn more). Partly because I have tons of ideas and it's fun to make adorable kids' clothes, and partly because I like the idea of being able to make her exactly the garment that she has dreamed of.

I have this really distinct memory of wanting, when I was in maybe third grade, a prairie dress with "pink and blue rosebuds on a fawn-colored ground," an idea I must have gotten either from the Little House books or the In Grandma's Attic books. No, I never had that dress, but I remember how much I wanted it (and how vividly I imagined it). And I think how cool (and how much easier, in an age of indie pattern companies and Spoonflower) it would be to fulfill that sort of wish for my girl.

So, anyone have any tips on getting over the fear of handmades getting ruined, so that they can actually get used?


  1. I suffer from the same agony - though it is also compounded by the fact that they grow out of things SO FAST! Perhaps this could be turned around, though. Tell yourself if she doesn't wear it, she'll just outgrow it - and then all your work will be for naught. :) Just make sure to take a photo the first time she wears it. Then if and whe it gets ruined/outgrown you have the photo to keep!

  2. Ohmygod, let her wear it all! Stains can be soaked, holes can be mended, and if even if it does become too tattered, think of the stories each piece of clothing will tell when she looks at them later in life. There's nothing fun about clothes that are too precious. : )

  3. Clothes well-worn (holes, stains, etc) by your girl are clothes well-loved and evidence of a life lived fully. How is that? Also, don't feel guilty that she isn't clad in a fully mom-made wardrobe. A special (like the dress request) piece here and there is well remembered (I still remember how excited I was by a dress my mom made me for my 11th birthday, and I'm pretty sure my kindergarten photo has me in a mom-made dress).

    It is so hard to find the balance between treating hand-made things as too precious to use and well, whatever the opposite of that is.

  4. This is all such good advice, thank you all for understanding. I can't believe I couldn't see this before. After all, I love imperfect and worn-in things, why wouldn't I want what I make to acquire that status?