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June 2014

KID ART: art with kids

KID ART: inspiration from art

Hi KCW sewers and blog readers. Shelley (aka Lightning McStitch) from Bartacks and Singletrack here to talk a bit about art as inspiration for making kid’s clothes. This is exciting for me as there’s nothing I like better than taking an idea, possibly unrecognisable to anyone else, and then getting completely carried away with it.

Often you’ll see art on clothing and the clothes themselves may be more familiar than the original artwork. A Magritte T-Shirt for example (René Magritte 1898-1967) or a Mondrian shift dress (Piet Mondrian 1872-1944). These examples may be familiar to us grown ups, but not at all to our kids. So how do we define the theme KID ART? (did you notice we haven’t?!). I think our kids can be very astute viewers of art in all it’s forms and their reaction to a piece of art is usually immediate and brutally honest. Kind of like how they can react to something we have lovingly sewn for them to wear, right?!

I want to show you how your local gallery can be a source of inspiration for your sewing, as well as a fun outing, so I collared a couple of kids (my own as it happens!) and we set off for the state gallery (NGV link) NB: All images from the gallery were taken myself and links reference the gallery or the artist directly. Other links for images or general information go to Google, Wikipedia or other external websites and blogs

You started it... I finish it 2013

 Paola PIVI
You started it… I finish it

These larger than life bears filled the foyer and instantly my daughter was in love. Brightly coloured, oversized, feather bears, what’s not to like? Feathers will never go out of style if you ask a little girl! (Or a big girl for that matter, I’ll take that Oscar de la Renta dress please)

feather composite

 1: Miss Selfridge 2: Oscar de la Renta 3:

 I was fascinated by what the kids found interesting and why. Visiting the gallery with small children gives you the licence to not try and “understand” the art but just allow yourself to react to it.

Bul LEE untitled 2003


 The scale and space-bug-ness of this room-filling sculpture had my son enchanted. For me, my fingers were itching to make a sketch in order to cut a freezer paper stencil. Perhaps silvery white paint on a plain black T-Shirt. A bit more esoteric than a Star Wars stencil but every bit as cool, no?

Alternately, the art inspiration can be in the fabric itself.  This fabric, covering a whole wall of the gallery, is typical of the 1960s style and has been reimagined many times over.

Vernor PANTON Geometry I 1960

Geometry I

I couldn’t help snapping a picture of my daughter who happened to be wearing that very “mod” dress silhouette, the School Photo dress by Oliver + S.

What if your little girl is more into the princess style?

Issey MIYAKE Bustier 1980-1981


Honestly, when my daughter saw this she loudly requested that I make her one! Then my son pointed out how the shadows look like angel wings and suddenly all three of us were imagining a fairy angel costume that involved wings and a red, patent leather bustier with peplum. An Issey Miyake knock-off is just the kind of princess dress up sewing I could get excited about.

Olarfur ELIASSON Limbo Lamp 2005

Limbo Lamp

A less literal idea came from this wonderful light sculpture. As the kids chased and played in the moving light from the central spinning reflective disc, I was reminded of Shisha (mirror) embroidery. That’s a technique I’ve wanted to learn and play with for a while now and I think it would make a lovely detail on a skirt hem, or even within a quilt. (Shisha tutorial link)

But when techniques fail and it seems the sewing gods are conspiring against you there’s still the chance to say you were inspired by art. The kids love this video installation:

Charlie SOFO 33 Objects that fit through the hole in my pocket 2013

Charlie SOFO
33 Objects that fit through the hole in my pocket

watch video here

…and all you need is a pair of beige, rolled up trousers with a hole in the pocket!

Robert MORRIS untitled c1970


This felt sculpture could inspire a boys T-shirt. Perhaps a reverse effect using Alabama Chanin technique cutaways. It also reminds me a bit of this t-shirt from Zoolander which inspired this remake by A Little Gray. Film Petit is a hilarious sewing series and a fantastic example of art (film) inspiring kid’s clothes.

Luke RUDOLPH Portrait no.24 2010

Portrait no. 24

A modern painting (a mix of geometric abstractionism and abstract expressionism if you like your art with definitions) can be great inspiration for fabric painting. I can imagine painting the background geometric shapes onto silk then letting the kids loose with a large brush. The fabric would then make a lovely shirt or shirt-dress. In fact, I’d want one myself I think.

Finally, another sculpture that had us all enthralled,

Kohei NAWA PixCell-Red Deer 2012

 Kohei NAWA
PixCell-Red Deer

…and another idea that I really want to run with. Could I sew tiny clear and amber glass beads onto a black knit sweater to make a mini PixCell red deer pullover for my daughter? I’m really thinking I might just do it, I’ve gone as far as tracking down the beads I would use…

I did mention I was prone to getting carried away with ideas, didn’t I? I hope I’ve inspired you to take a trip to your local gallery, look at the art, perhaps try to understand it, but don’t be ashamed if all you can think is “how could I recreate that?” or “what pattern would I use to achieve something like that?”.

You’re not alone.

Just try not to think out loud.

XX Shelley

KID ART: art-like fabrics

KID ART: art-like fabric

Hi there ! Sophie here all the way from sunny France! I am so honored to be a contributor for this summer KCW and I hope to help you get ready for this season’s KCW. When I heard about this seasons’ s theme: KID ART, I immediatly thought of how it would apply to fabrics and prints. This theme was enough to fuel my creativity and it opens the door to a huge amount of  prints!

I went on a hunt for you on the internet to find the coolest prints for this season. I have selected a few themes : kids favorite characters, doodles, paint and watercolor. I also have a special Nani Iro section.

So let’s dive into my favorite prints for this season’s theme:


Kids love to paint, they love brushes and water and even painting with their fingers! Here are some fun paint patterns I found for you:


#1 A fabulous Spandex nylon print! it is saying “sun and sea ” to me!! Love it!

#2 I could really see a girl’s swimming suit in this print ! don’t you? Spandex knit fabric sold by Girl Charlee

#3: Bloom: this print is perfect for summer and spring: paired with solid white , it would make a lovely girl’s dress.

#4: By Andover, this print comes also in a lovely purple and a bright yellow: How much fun is it? It would work perfect as a solid in combination with a busier and lighter print.


Our kids love to doodle colorful arts and I think there is something very genuine and touching about these happy drawings. The following prints are spot on this season’s theme!

doodling #1  On track would be perfect for a boy’s shirt, like the  Mulberry tunic by Willow &Co .

#2: This P&B Textiles print really hits the theme!

#3 This fabulous print is a favorite of mine and I think I would like to use it for a girl’s dress bodice.

#4 Ed Emberley designs some of the best kids prints ever: this Scribbles is perfect for backgrounds and boys garments.


Princesses, horses, unicorns, animals of the jungle… all these are some of our kid’s favorite characters. Taken from there bedtime strories or straight from their imagination they make great prints for both boys and girls. character#1: The whole Far Far Away collection is a delight! Heather Ross did wonders and who could resist this princess and the pea print?? wouldn’t it be perfect on a bed spread or even on a dress?

#2 Those snails have my heart: designed by Made by Rae, this collection is perfect in terms of design and colors.  This print is great for boys garments: hats, shorts… I am inspired!

# 3 I have this print in a different colorway and am planning to sew a Caroline party dress for my own girl with it during KCW.

#4 Ed Emberley is the best illustrator for kids animal prints.

I made Parsley pants for my son out of this other Ed Emberley print:a favorite in our home:




Nani Iro ‘s fabrics are made in Japan: they are amazingly rich in textures and colors ; the prints are etheral and poetic. I had to highlight these amazing prints: brush strokes, uneven large dots, splatters of neon colors, these have got to inspire you. #1, #2 and #3 were found on Miss Matatabi, an Etsy shop selling absolutly amazing fabrics. I encourage you to go and visit this shop: you are bound to find a print matching this season’s theme.

nanicollage#1: How modern is this!

#2: This print is simply amazing: it looks like an actually piece of Kid Art!

#3: Small uneven dots, so lovely!

#4: This Nani Iro print was found in a french online shop : Cousette. It is the perfect combination of brown and neon pink and it is made out of a soft flannel. Just a hint: this fabric is on my cutting table right now!!



Of course, I could go on like this for ages!! Fabric is addictive and this season’s theme is so inspiring. I could not give you a complete list of my favorite prints … But let’s just have just two more of my current favorite:

#1  Jeni Baker Dreamin Vintage collection: so fresh, so happy, the prints all remind me of some naive kid’s drawing. Who could resist this floral print, really?

vintage#2 Wild collection by Wee Gallery for Dear Stella: I am in love!


Now, are you inspired? Are you itching to start searching your stash or even add more to it? This list is in no way a closed list! Quite the opposite, it just a way to inspire you as you search for the perfect print!

If you are shopping online, use the “search” engine in your favorite shop and enter words such as ” painting, drawing, watercolor, children ..” and just enjoy!

summer trends for kids on KCW

inspiration : summer trends

Hey guys! I’m Julie from Our Chez Nous, and I’m here today to talk to you guys about, you guessed it, trends! I love trends, for me, they’re not something to go off specifically and follow, but more something to be inspired by and create from. They can give you that kick in the butt that you’ve been looking for to create something you’ve been envisioning for ages, or inspire you in a direction completely different from what you’ve been thinking about originally.

Trends are constantly changing and have an evolution of their own. But if you start paying close attention (which as sewers, I think we generally do), they have a continuous cycle, slightly changing with the current times. This summers trends are no different, they give a nod to past styles and trends, yet are ‘modernized’ or ‘revitalized’ thanks to new details or execution. For this post, I’m going to discuss a couple of the trends that I think are going to be big for the summer.




Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4

Whimsical to me isn’t just a sense of the romantic for the girl. It’s something about the entire outfit, a feeling you get, either by use of colour play or fabric. That doesn’t mean it’s not romantic, but for boys, I find the whimsical tends to be sometimes even a bit kooky, but in a good way.  This would be fun to play around with, using a variety of colours, and learning to use new types of fabric as well for your kiddo sewing.


Be Bold


Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4

Take a step on your wild side, and go bold! I love this one, since there are so many options and possibilities, not only to play with colour, but also with your own skills with combinations. You can either do a little, or a lot. Try mixing in one bold colour you wouldn’t normally use in a neutral outfit. Colour blocking is still going strong this year, so think of different ways to play it up as well. Have you also found a crazy print that you never in your mind thought of using?! Well don’t shy away from it! Make an outfit based on that one print, or use it in small doses. Going bold doesn’t mean you have to go crazy, but it does bring a bit of drama to your sewing. This is one of the things I love to do the most in my own sewing, and watch out, if you start, you may never go back.


Classics Gone Modern



Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4

This trend is one I think is really continuous as tastes changes. It’s really basic, using classic lines, but giving them a new life, or twist. Either by use of colour or even switching it up a bit by using asymmetrical lines. Also, think about those classic looks, but slim them down . Especially for boys, this gives classic look a more tailored appeal.


Boy Scouts



Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4

I find this one to be for the active kids, in other words, pretty much every kid. I dub it the Boy Scouts. This is for the everyday child, who runs, climbs and more or less doesn’t really care what he looks like as long as he’s comfy, with of course, the fashion factor. Giving those comfy clothes a look all to their own. Just because your child wants comfort, doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice fashion. A great way to play this up would be by using knit fabrics for shorts and skinny tees with graphic but minimal prints.


Retro Mod



Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4

I have to admit, I absolutely love retro looks and past eras, and this one hits a soft spot. I find that we embrace more and more of past looks into modern day fashion. Think Peter Pan collars! Two great ways to embrace past looks are by using retro inspired patterns with fresh bold colours, or vice versa, using modern and clean lined patterns with retro inspired fabrics.


So there you have it, a quick glimpse into my watch list of trends for the summer. I hope you’ve found some inspiration. I know I have, and I’ll be doing a bunch of pinning before Kid’s Clothes Week to add on to this inspiration. So make sure to follow on Pinterest here.