Happy Friday everyone!! If you've been following my instagram this week, you already know I've been hard at work planning my kid's Fall Capsules. (What?? You didn't hear?? My awesome friend and fellow Top Stitcher, Melissa, is coordinating the kids' back-to-school equivalent of my women's seasonal capsule series! See all the details here, then join in the fun on facebook!)
Yes. I'm the crazy who took on THREE capsule projects - one for myself, and one for each kid - to have done by September.(!!!!!) But don't worry. I'm the queen of over-commitment. I have "killing two birds with one stone" down to a science. So I'm letting you in on a little planning secret, and showing you how I plan to simplify by....
Creating a Unisex Capsule.
I have a son (2) and a daughter (almost 4) and I can't be wasting half the month of August printing and assembling individual capsules for each of them! This way, I can get my sew-on assembly-line style, and maximize my time.
What is so much faster, they still have different sizes!
Truth. So I'll be printing the larger size, and tracing the smaller size, which saves me the print/assembly of two different patterns. Also - I believe it takes me half as long to sew my 2nd attempt at any pattern, than it does to sew the first one. I know the assembly order, I've read and re-read the instructions (you do do that, don't you??), and I can stitch confidently knowing I've done it before.
But... are you really going to dress them unisex? Do your kids care?
Ok, so I don't really know if people would ask such a thing. But in case you're wondering, here's your answer: I personally don't believe in gender stereotyping, and have a son who stomps around in my high heels and a daughter who prefers mud baths over the bubble variety. (Ok, so they both like to get dirty...)
That said, they each have their own gender-specific tendencies, and favorite colors, and each have a say in the fabrics I pick out. I will be "Kaelyn-ing" and "Everett-ing" (vs "girl-ing" or "boy-ing") up each of their versions of the following unisex patterns. How?? Fabric choice, for one: prints, colors, and fabric type can change the personality of a pattern dramatically. Also, with details! One of my daughter's favorite shirts this winter was one I appliqued a giant reindeer on. (Or whatever newbie version of appliqueing I've done here..)
Little extra effort, big impact. I also got a chance to preview a super cute dog design from my friend Jeanine who just opened up her own Free Motion Applique Designs shop, and I'm dying to personalize my canine-loving-son's gear with some FMA!
Now - shoes on the other hand, I admit are very gender-y. In part because their dad and I are both big shoe-lovers, and we pick out shoes for them that we would wear (and then we live vicariously through them, as they're a fraction of the cost of ours!). And also because gender neutral shoes are hard to come by. I did find a few on Zulily that I wouldn't mind either kid wearing, except for the boots. Which I adore, but wouldn't pick for my daughter.
ANYWAY, this suggested capsule is meant to be a launching point. Switch out anything you or your child doesn't like for something that you do. Or, maybe you already have some of these pieces, and this tool will help you determine what you need vs what you can reuse!
Let's start first with the plan. After my own summer capsule sewing experience, I really learned the value of the "style sudoku" as a planning tool. (Have no idea what I'm talking about? Go see sudoku planning in action here) I decided this would be a great way to plan all three capsules I need to sew this month! So I created this chart (and made it a free printable for you!), and went about crafting my plan. I did a LOT of research - starting with trend forecasting, exploring ready-to-wear options, and purusing pinterest for new and creative ways to pair wardrobe staples. I shared a lot of my findings on the Time For School Capsule Sewalong's pinterest board. Check it out!
Here's what I determined I'd need:
Row 1: Streamline T / Agathe & Theo / Black Boat Shoe / Aztec Vest
Row 2: Hawthorn Zip-Up / Striped Canvas Shoe / Dressage Leggings / Suburban T
Row 3: Small Fry Jeans / Suburban T / Ethan Button Up / Coral Hi-Tops
Row 4: Boots / Greenpoint Cardigan / Streamline T / Kudzu Cargo
What do you think?? Pretty schnazzy huh?? Perfect for my kid's pre-school wear.
UM. BECCA. YOU'RE GOING TO PUT YOUR SON IN A GIRL'S LEGGINGS PATTERN??!!
I mean, I don't blame you for that response. And I'm SURE my husband is going to spit out his drink when he sees that as I'm having him read this tonight. (That's one way to find out if he's really reading it or not. Don't worry baby, go ahead and scroll up and balk at the leggings. I won't know it's your second pass at the article ;)) Back to those leggings - If it hadn't been for the amazing creativity of Andrea and Melissa in last season's Top Stitchers entries, I would have NEVER thought this could be a pattern for boys. But I LOVE the idea that I can just widen the pattern pieces and create some super trendy looking joggers out of the same pattern I'll use to make my daughter a replacement for her favorite sequins leggings. Who'd'a thunk??
Plus, it's saving me the money on another pattern, and freeing up some space in the budget for all these cool new shoes I found today! Win, win.
What about us who love the ruffles and bows?
Of course, you can always find more masculine, or more feminine versions of these design suggestions, if you're so inclined. For instance, I paired the Agathe and Theo harem pants with the Violette Field Thread's Gretchen cardigan last year.
And the Willow and Co Aster Cardigan is another favorite.
Maybe you don't want two different kinds of straight leg pants, maybe you want to swap one out for another pattern with a lot of character like the Violette Field Thread's Whitney pants, or any of the zillion adorable skirt patterns out there (how easy would a Take 5 be in a pinch?).
BUT WAIT!! I've left out the best part!! The patterns above cover a minimum range of 2T-8Y, and many of them go as low as newborn, and as high as 10 or 12 years! You can re-sew these same capsule pieces for your kids every Fall for YEARS! Go on, just try to tell me that's not awesome. ;)
Not a fan of this capsule suggestion?? No hard feelings, promise! by all means, create one that fits you! I shared lots of tips to get your own style-sudoku set up on instagram this week, and I'll even link that free printable for you so you won't have to scroll back up! XOXO
Hopefully all this research and planning inspires you to get your kids and sewing plans organized for back to school! Melissa is announcing prizes for the sewalong next week, just to get you super motivated to participate ;) In the meantime, have a happy weekend!!