Brienne Moody here, reporting from the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, USA. I have a sleepy little blog over here: briennemoody.typepad.com and I post daily about what I’m working on here: instagram.com/brienne_moody
Guys, I have profound feelings about you all and Meg and about Kids Clothes Week. Making kids clothes as a part of this challenge helped to me to shape who I was as a mom and eep, as an artist? I’m scared to write that out loud but I think that you all should embrace the art in you so I am going to go ahead and do it too.
Are you still reading? Ok, good. So here’s where it all started for me… I discovered the challenge first around the time my son was born in 2009 and took part officially by posting pictures on Flickr in 2013. I think that my littles were two and three then… We were broke but I badly wanted to dress my kids in the playful, sophisticated way that kids in the magazines were dressed.
Inspired by makers like Meg and Sophie, I combed the thrift store shelves looking for knitwear to chop up and re-make into hipster kids clothes. I took on freezer paper stenciling, inspired by Tara, my husband and I worked on this tshirt and stencil together and eventually copied this Pileated Woodpecker design into onesies and tees for our friends. Later, it became his business logo and now it’s on the forklift, yo!
When Kids Clothes Week would roll around I would clear out a space in my dining room, set up my ironing board, sewing machine and an improvised clothing rack. I loved seeing the handmades pile up. Making clothes for my kids alongside my virtual sewing pals made me take my art seriously. I started to carve out time to make them clothes whenever they needed them and my family helped me to make time for myself to do it.
Kids Clothes Week was and is irresistible because it’s imperfect and unfinished. It’s an invitation to come as you are and to do what you can, one hour a day, for one week and – you know, don’t be sorry.
I was honored to be featured among Kids Clothes Week’s esteemed group of contributors back in 2014 and I wrote a piece then that I still feel really proud of and I think it best describes my compulsion to make things for these growing bodies. Here’s a bit of what I shared there:
As I worked on this leather-feathered vest (using this pattern), I finished listening to a novel, The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. About midway through, the book’s writer answered this question for me (why make by hand?) and much more eloquently than I could have.
“In the evenings, she lit a lamp and unfolded the fabric on the table. Following the pattern offered a kind of comfort, a quiet balance [to her day’s work which was] coarse, exhausting [and unpredictable]. Sewing was different. She knew if she was patient and meticulous, if she carefully followed the lines, took each step as it came, and obeyed the rules, that in the end when it was turned right-side out, it would be just how it was meant to be (205-6).”
That passage about a woman sewing a coat for a child is one that I’ll be thinking about for a long time. Even though she’s musing there about stitching, the passage also contributes to the book’s persistent theme of impermanence. The stitching, it helps us to cope with the fleeting nature of things. Of kids and of youth and of thwarted meant-to- bes. And, I think, that’s why I do it.
– January 2014
Thank you for giving us the space to do it, KCW! Long may you run!!!