Hi, this is Kristi from SweetKM. Today’s KCW Interview is Cherie from You & Mie. You may know Cherie from her Japanese Sewing Book Series, and the recent Happy Homemade Sew-along. Before Kid’s Clothes Week I had been a casual reader of Cherie’s blog. When I saw her watercolor dress in the KCW pool, I went on a You & Mie binge and read every singe word of You & Mie! Not only does she have a ton of amazing finished garments, it is jam-packed with sewing tutorials and ideas for customizing fabric. Please welcome Cherie.
1. Please tell us about the kids you sew for.
I sew for my two daughters who are almost 4 years old and 10.5 months old.
left: Itty Bitty Dress, right: Jump Rope Dress
2. When did you start making clothes for your kids? Why?
I started making clothes shortly after my first daughter was born. We were going to a wedding when she was 6 weeks old so I made her a dress using Made By Rae’s (free) Itty Bitty Dress pattern. It was a success! And I was hooked. I’m not really sure why the idea of making clothes appealed to me so much, besides the fact that it’s fun to dress up your kids however you want! But seriously, I love the challenge of coming up with an idea for a garment or outfit and then figuring out how to make it happen. It was also far less intimidating and less costly than sewing for myself.
When was your first Kid’s Clothes Week? How did it go?
My first Kids Clothes Week was Spring 2012. I was super crazy ambitious and tried to make a bazillion projects. Well, actually it was only 4, but I remember staying up super late every night and letting the house get all messy, but I LOVED it. The best part was the community – I was constantly checking the photo pool for the newest projects and I loved giving and getting comments and encouragement and knowing that I was in it with hundred of others. I was hooked. In terms of the actual sewing, I made an awful pair of shorts, a skirt that was way too big, a decent top, and my biggest accomplishment that week was an Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress.
4. How do your children influence your sewing?
My soon-to-be 4 year old, Yuki, is extremely picky when it comes to clothes, so when I make things for her, I really have to think about what she will actually wear. That includes type of fabric, type of clothing, fit, color, print, etc. She’s really into comfort so I sew a lot more with knits now. She’s also really into dresses, so I’ve been making a lot of those, whereas a year ago, she wouldn’t touch a dress. As she’s gotten more opinionated, I’ll ask for her input more as well. I’ll let her choose from a stack of fabrics or weigh in on certain details. I also sew based on what my kids need. Both of my girls need some new leggings/knit pants and Yuki needs some new pajamas and a birthday dress, so those are all on the to do list.
5. How do you balance your work/ family/sewing time?
Oh, I’m so bad at that “balancing” thing. Basically, I work during my work hours. When I’m at home and my family is awake, it’s family time. When everyone is asleep, it’s sewing/blogging time. When do I sleep? I kinda don’t. It’s not a very healthy schedule, but it’s the only way I know how to do things. Luckily, I have a very supportive partner that helps out by taking the morning shift with the kids or even on weekends if I have a big project to work on. But honestly, time management is my weakness, so I have no helpful advice here. Anyone have any for me!?
6. You do a lot of painting on fabric, which is your favorite technique? Why?
Ooh, yes, I do love painting on fabric! I like using fabric paint for freezer paper stenciling and stamping, but my favorite right now is to use these specific paints, Pebeo Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paints, to get a watercolor look that is permanent on fabric. I’m drawn to the organic images that are produced with watercolors as well as the uniqueness that comes with freehand painting and knowing that it is one-of-a-kind. I also love that these paints dry soft if you mix them with water first, so you can do all over washes of color without making the fabric stiff. I recently shared a post with a whole bunch of tips on how to use these paints. Experimenting with these paints are definitely my favorite type of fabric painting right now. One thing that I’d like to try more of, is combining the watercolor fabric paints with other techniques like stamping or stenciling. I did a little of that for this bag and for this dress, but I would love to continue playing with mixed media on fabric.
above: Water Color Dress
What inspired the watercolor sundress you made for this KCW?
I was inspired by the KCW theme, Kid Art! Yuki loves painting, but I hadn’t ever thought to let her paint fabric, so the theme is really what encouraged me to try fabric painting with Yuki. And it just made so much sense – I love painting fabric, Yuki loves painting, she loves to be involved – why not!? I’m so glad that we had the push to do it! It was fun, though not perfect, but a good experience for both of us. We both love the finished result and can say it was a true collaboration. Yuki’s definitely proud to say that she painted her dress. I mean, how many kids can say that!?
8. What is your favorite thing you’ve ever sewn for one of your kids? And/or your favorite type of thing to sew for your kids?
Ooh, this is hard. While the Watercolor Sundress is up there, I think this Vintage All-star Track Suit I made a couple of years ago is something that I’m pretty proud of. I made it for one of the Project Run & Play sew-along challenges and was one of those things that I had envisioned and then worked really hard to bring it to life. I drafted my own patterns and didn’t really know what I was doing, but tried it anyways and I was pleasantly surprised with the finished outfit! It’s obviously not perfect, but I had so much fun making it and seeing it on my daughter and I think that’s the part that really matters in the end.
And now, what I really like to sew for my preschooler, is something that I know she’ll love. When she gets excited about something I’ve made and says, “Thank you, Mama! I love it!” and gives me a big hug, and then wants to wear it all the time . . . those are the things I love sewing for her. Most recently, it’s been this Elsa dress.
9. You have a ton of detailed sewing tutorials on your blog, which is your favorite?
I don’t really know, I tend to like whatever my latest tutorial is 🙂 Which right now, is the Fluttering Fields Dress. I made the first version with Rae Hoekstra’s Fluttering Fields fabric from her Lotus Pond line, which is where I got the name for the dress. The second version I made is the Watercolor Sundress I linked to above. My daughter loves both dresses, which is awesome and I feel like the design is original and fun. One of my most popular kids clothes tutorials is the Quilted Jacket.
Thanks Kristi for inviting me to be here today! As a huge fan of KCW, I’m so honored to be part of this interview series. And truly, one of the things that I’m inspired by most when it comes to sewing is all the people who sew for KCW and the people behind KCW, so thank you!!
Thank you Cherie! I can’t wait to try out fabric stamping and those beautiful water color paints!
This is my last contribution to the KCW blog. I would like to thank Meg for inviting me, and YOU for reading along. As everyone has said before, the supportive community is the best part of Kid’s Clothes Week, and I really enjoyed being a part of it. Until next KCW you can find me at SweetKM.