kcw and me: Melissa

Hello fellow KCW’ers! It’s Melissa from a happy stitch and I’m honored to have been asked to reflect on what KCW means to me. It was, of course, a surprise to hear that Meg and Dorie are moving on and it’s been hard to avoid feeling a little sad at this kinda-sort-of-a send off. Big sigh. They worked so hard to create an inspiring, nonjudgmental, creative community and the results are evident. In their wake they leave hundreds of us who make kid’s clothes and share them and thousands (maybe more?) unique clothes for kids. What an accomplishment! As sad as it is to see them step away, it is equally as exciting to see what the uber-talented Julie from Our Chez Nous will do next!

Looking back

I can hardly believe it myself but I started participating in KCW in 2011 before it had it’s own website and was run on Meg’s site Elsie Marley. I’m betting many of us did! It amazes me to think that I’ve been a part of nearly every challenge since then…that’s five years of KCW!! What a revelation it was back then to discover a whole world of talented sewing bloggers. Many of whom I watched and admired from afar and others who became real-life friends. Over all these years, I’ve been pushed, stretched and inspired to try making complicated and challenging items of clothing that I never would have tried without the backing of a supportive community….welt pockets and jackets; button-down tops and elaborate sweatshirts. Those accomplishments in the world of kids clothing lead me to venturing out into making my own clothes as well.

Kid's Clothes Week a happy stitch

Kid’s Clothes Week kept the steam in my engine and the making kept happening, the laundry basket filled with clothes I had made. As my boys got older, their tastes changed and they no longer wanted woven shirts…so I stretched into working with knit fabrics, something I was so afraid of! As I eased into working with knits, I started the tradition of making them pajamas. By the way, sewing with knits is so easy, I never should have been intimidated!

Now that they are older, they prefer Star Wars/Pokemon/brand-driven shirts and stripy sports pants to the ones I make them. I’ve had to reluctantly respect their own self-expression. But, they still request the mama-made pajamas and love the ongoing tradition of a new pair of pjs.

Kid's Clothes Week Pajama Making tradition

The other night, we were reading in bed and they both popped up on an elbow to look over at me. I saw their matching striped arms in fabric I had chosen for their love of animals and felt my heart melt. At the cuddliest, quietest part of the day they were wrapped warm and tight in what I had made for them. It was a moment brought to me directly from KCW. And, I kind of freak out thinking about how many of those moments are out there in the world thanks to this fantastic-ly simple challenge. Who knew that a week of sewing an hour day could give birth to so much great joy?! The internet can be a place of cruel comparisons…my imperfect and messy life compared to your well-curated, beautiful one. But KCW has managed to avoid becoming that kind of place. Lead by Meg’s great honesty and upfront nature, it’s a place where we admit mistakes, celebrate success and soldier on.

Kid's Clothes Week Memories a happy stitch

The Future

The future! Such a perfect theme for a perfect moment. One secret little thing I love about KCW is it’s subtle subversiveness. Every time I make the boys an adorable and unique in-the-world pair of matching pajamas I do an internal “take that Hanna Anderson”. From my head to my hands, it all pours into the clothes I make for my boys to become something so much more than just clothing. It’s love and time and thought and creativity. What KCW means to me is the multiplication of that great energy by everyone who is participating. I am certain those things rocketship out into the universe and form something amazing!

Can’t wait to see that keep growing into the future! Yay for Julie!

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