17 May 2010

kids' clothes week: inspired by books [goodnight moon].

Well, I fell off the blog posting bandwagon but I did manage to keep sewing. 

kids' clothes week: goodnight moon shirt.

This shirt, another 90-minute special (muscle-style inspired by Meg's), is just for my littler guy. I don't know about other parents of same-gender siblings, but I usually end up concentrating my sewing energy on clothes to fit my older son. Sewing with an eye to hand-me-downs just makes sense--because gosh darnit, if I spend time making something, I want to be sure it gets worn and worn again.

But every once in a while, you realize they deserve something all their own, even if it will only be worn half as often. 

For some people Goodnight Moon might be the classic children's book, but we didn't have it on our shelves growing up.  It took me many, many times reading it as an adult to get over how WEIRD it is.  The colors! The stitled rhymes!  The illogic!  [sidebar: if you've never read Wise and Hurd's companion collaboration, My World, check it out.  Even more bizarre.]

But when my own son started speaking, I realized that what Margaret Wise does so well is capture the way very young children think and speak.  Her books started to remind me of the beginning of James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and if that isn't a favorable literary comparison (to an equally unsettling novel) I don't know what is.  As for Clement Hurd's illustrations, I still think they are weird.  But they are nothing if not recognizable, and so, since I wanted to make something for my second son--who loves Goodnight Moon even more than his brother did--I thought something from Hurd's palette would be appropriate.  I got added inspiration from this amazing quilt, which captures the mood of the book so well.

After sewing the shirt up (again using a thrifted tee and ribbing from Jo-Ann's), I felt like the look was less "Goodnight Moon" and more "Good Morning 1982":


So I added the freezer paper stencil to make my point clear.  It's from the page that reads "Goodnight cow jumping over the moon," and I may even paint those words on, in blue, later.  I love that illustration and the way the picture on the little bunny's wall loses the frame it was pictured in earlier: I think it speaks to the way the bunny makes all the things in his room more real by bidding them goodnight, and the way all our kids' imagination works--especially in those moments as they drop off to sleep.

I plan one more post-kids' clothes week post, I think--it's been so great watching and reading about the amazing things others have produced.


Little C and Little J said...

You have outdone yourself, MF. The whole journey of this post is amazing. I agree, that book is weird and the illustrations are weird and I totally don't get it but my kids LOVE IT. But, the top is great. You have serious freezer paper skills. Also, I have to say...I have so much more appreciation for a comment you made earlier about wanting to open an etsy shop of kid's clothes centered around books. I get it now and I get how absolutely amazing it would be! Keep it up.

Beth said...

If I haven't left you a comment about your clothes before today please accept my apologies - I've been watching your posts and progress with amazement. Your work is fantastic! I love the simple places from where you took your inspiration and how you transformed your ideas into real life moments for your family. Lovely.

mama-pan | Mary Frances said...

thanks so much--you guys are the best, seriously. I couldn't get over all the amazing projects in that flickr group. and as for me, I am a sucker for a theme, I guess. I may have missed my calling by not working on prom committee back in high school.

Flying Squirrel said...

I realize this is an ancient post, but I just wanted to say how BEAUTIFUL this is!

(Goodnight Moon is my children's favourite sleep-time book. It even puts me to sleep!)

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