10 May 2010

kids' clothes week: inspired by books [frog + toad edition].

kids' clothes week: frog's pants

 I have been looking forward to the elsie marley kids' clothes week challenge not only as a motivator to sew consistently this week, but also to try out something I've been wanting to do for a long time now: make clothes for my kids inspired by some of our favorite children's books.  Because how many times do I look at a great illustration and think, "Wow, I want to make that/I wish my kids could wear that." 

[OK, really the thought is something more like "I want to live in this book and wear those clothes!!"  And then the sad process in which I must admit how not cool I would look wearing Madeline's yellow coat or Olivia's red dresses at my age.  Ah, three cheers, then, for reliving youth and wardrobe freedom through my offspring.]

kids' clothes week: frog & toad pants

So, did you recognize that outfit above?  Arnold Lobel is one of my all-time favorite author/illustrators, and I recently realized how his "look" is defined by his very limited color palette: the browns+teals of Mouse Soup, the greys+oranges of his illustrations for the first two Oliver Pig books (written by Jean Van Leeuwen), and the greens+browns of the Frog and Toad series.  So, when I found the fabric above at the thrift store--a really lovely greenish twill with lines of brown and yellow woven through--I didn't have to think long before I realized what they reminded me of.

I pre-cut some of my projects last week and got a head start on the sewing this weekend during some mother's day alone time (thank you, wonderful husband who wrangled both boys and assembled a 10,000-part IKEA bunkbed at the same time).  Then I put in my "challenge week" hour early this morning--in time to finish up...

kids clothes week: frog & toad pants

...and have an unusually-cooperative photo shoot with the other person around here who loves Frog and Toad:

kids clothes week: frog & toad pants

kids clothes week: frog & toad pants


Now the nitty-gritty: These are a simple "trace a pair of folded pants" elastic-waist number. I was aiming for an even shorter length with the cuffs for summery "capri" pants (what do you call that length for boys, anyways?") but they still ended up fairly long. Still, they are a nice light weight so I think they'll get worn this summer anyhow. And there's a second hem hidden under there, so all I'll have to do in the winter is let the cuffs out. Presto change-o, a two-season pant. (And p.s.--the jacket is a thrift store find, though I'd love to sew a nice boys' suitcoat someday.)

I may fuss with the cuff construction and add some patch pockets later, but for now it was nice to go from idea to wearing in just about 24 hours. Thanks so much, Meg (and looming eyes of Bloglandia), for lighting a fire under me.


Lise said...

What a great idea! I can't wait to see what else you come up with!

Cotton Kiwi said...

Love the outfit and wonderful to have it inspired by a favourite kids book. We have the same book. It was my husband's when he was a little boy. (visiting from the Elsie Marley Flickr page).

Liv said...

Nice job - very cute!
I like to call capris for boys "crops", as in cropped pants.

Kayanna said...

These are ADORABLE little pants! I love that book so much, what a great inspiration :)

Pati @ A Crafty Escape said...

LOVE this... especially the inspiration behind the design. The fabric is so neat as are those cuffs!

Cook Clean Craft said...

Very snazzy pants. I have some very similar fabric I was going to make into pants today for my little man, although I was going to try flat-front pants - may be a bit too ambitious for me though! I'm loving kids' clothes week!

Little C and Little J said...

MF! These are great and I love the connection to children's literature. It is a magical world isn't it! As always, you are so thoughtful. Isn't kids clothes week fun!

mama-pan | Mary Frances said...

thanks so much, everyone! just finished a long sewing evening; hope to have more to show for myself tomorrow!

mama-pan | Mary Frances said...

ps, Liv: "crops" is exactly the word I was looking for--how manly! thanks!!


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