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September 2014

HOW TO: turn a book into fabric // kid's clothes week

HOW TO turn a book into fabric

Hey everyone! It’s Ari from Max California, are you excited about this season’s KCW? I know that I am, and the theme is the absolute cutest! Today we’re going to check out how to get inspiration from books and use the colours in outfits through the fabric. I think turning an actual book into fabric would also be neat, but we’re just going with colours today okay?

I sat with the kids and picked out some books, which pretty much involved them rediscovering a lot of things in our bookshelves that they forgot that we have, until we were surrounded in book heaven. I flicked through some of the books, picking out some classics with really identifiable colour schemes: for example Dr Seuss books with the red and white striped spines or the little golden books with their gold and black spines (i’m not sure when I became so interested in book spines?), then I went through some of my favourite books that the kids have and flicked through the pages until I found ones that really inspired me with their colours. Ready to see what we chose?

Our first book was a gift for Vincent. It’s called Uno’s Garden and it’s about this strange little man named Uno who lives in a beautiful forest home. As the story goes on, though, more things are built closer and closer to the forest until there’s a big city and a lot of the amazing creatures and plants around his home have started to disappear. It’s so beautifully written and illustrated by Australian’s children’s author Graeme Base (he’s incredible). While the entire book is crazy inspiring with the colours and the creatures, I chose a page about grazing Gondolopes and the elusive Snortlepig.

The colours are really beautiful blues, teals and a I guess a beige colour as well as some whites. I picked out a few colours and came up with the palette above. Finding fabrics online was a little difficult, since usually I’d probably browse the aisles of the fabric store, but I did find a few fabrics that would be suitable. It’s a pretty magical little book, so if I was making this up I’d most likely use a pattern that feels floaty and pretty: for example the Persimmon Dress by Willow & Co. Patterns or the Edelweiss Dress by Hey June. Sewing for a boy? How about the Seraphic Pants by Figgy’s (I’ve sewn them up before here so you can read my review! hint: this pattern is A+) with the Dolman Tee by Kitschy Coo?


Uno's Garden fabric palette
1. interweave chambray in lagoon by robert kaufman, 2. framework double gauze in teal 3. teal polypop,

4. herringbone pond by free spirit fabrics, 5. xoxo in ghost white by cotton + steel


Our second book today is Horton Hatches the Egg! But basically? Any book by Dr Seuss. I love that man, like it’s true love I swear. I’ve been obsessed with Dr Seuss for a very long time. I’m not sure I need to give Dr Seuss an introduction, but pretty much he wrote about a million children’s books. Not just any children’s books. Weird and wonderful books that use specific words and also made up fun words to help children learn to read. Instead of choosing a specific book, we’re going with the iconic colour scheme of Dr Seuss books, the zany red and white striped spine with blue and yellow.

Dr Seuss

Dr. Seuss books are so vivid and bold, both with the pictures and the stories. It really wasn’t very difficult to choose fabrics for this one, any basic bold primary coloured fabric is just perfect and you could mix them with colourful and busy patterned fabrics for a really fun look. All the fabrics below are from the Kitshy Coo shop, pretty much your one stop shop for the absolute best unique and colouful fabrics!

Dr Seuss inspired fabrics from Kitschy Coo
1. Air balloon organic cotton jersey, 2. Bright orange organic plain jersey, 3. Pony Bloom organic cotton jersey,

4. Strawberry stretch terry, 5. Turquoise & white stripes cotton jersey


Of course there is also several lines of licensed Dr Seuss fabric that you can buy, by my favourite fabric designer Robert Kaufman if you wanted a more literal interpretation. As for patterns? Colour-blocking is definitely in order! Colour-blocking friendly patterns include the Twisted Tank by Titchy Threads (super excited to sew this one up!), the Anytime At All tee by Shwin Designs as well as this free shorts pattern by Eloleo.

Our third book is Tea Rex! It’s a super funny book I bought for Vincent all about a fancy little girl throwing a tea party for a very special guest, a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The book is adorable, outlining all the rules of teaparties, although the pictures are depicting very much the opposite happening. It’s a pretty book, and I chose it today for the pastel colours (as well as the cute story and illustrations!)

Tea Rex colour palette

Most of the palette inspiration came from the wallpaper of the room the teaparty is held in, as well as some complimentary pastel colours too! The inspirations are pretty and fancy, but perfectly wearable in case a dinosaur comes to tea! We’re talking durable fabrics but why not some pretty things too, like lace?

Tea Rex fabric inspiration
1. Powder cotton tencel chambray, 2. Floral Printed denim stretch, 3. Mint vanity fair stripe,

4. light mocha floral stretch lace, 5. gray toffee vines jersey blend knit

There’s two pattern companies that came to mind like instantly with sewing up clothing inspired by this book, Violet Field Threads and Oliver + S. Both have really good reputations for classic children’s wear that are both beautiful but practical. For little boys how about the Sailboat top & pants (there’s also a skirt) or the Sketchbook set, and for girls the Emmaline and Pinwheel Dresses?

Where the Wild Things Are colour palette

And last but definitely not least is my favourite book in the entire world, Where the Wild Things Are! In the ENTIRE WORLD. I’m serious. It is the best. The book is about a little boy called Max (holler!) who gets a bit cranky at life at home and sails away on a crazy crazy adventure where he meets some really strange monsters. They love each other so much “We’ll eat you up – we love you so”, they have the best party “Let the Wild Rumpus start!” and there is LOADS of inspiration for costumes and outfits even if you’re not looking for colours.

The colour scheme from this is very colourful but very muted. I know that’s probably the worst description of colours but roll with it! The illustrations seem so textured, lots of cross-hatching and other shading techniques, which is the PERFECT basis to choose fabrics because… well fabrics are textured! I’ve chosen a bunch of fabrics, most of them are from the Imagine Gnats shop but the middle one is from Girl Charlee, both excellent fabric stores that I have had the pleasure of dealing with! The apricot organic knit fabric pictured below is in my fabric cupboard as we speak/type/read and I have to tell you it is the SOFTEST thing I have ever held.


Where the Wild Things Are fabric palette
1. black interweave chambray, 2. strawberry interweave chambray, 3. moose mania cotton jersey blend,

4. winged plumage in apricot, 5. gramercy: commute by limoknit


That’s all I have for you today! Hopefully it’s given you another angle to look at sewing Storybook inspired clothes for your kiddies! It doesn’t have to be literal, it can be as obscure or as fun as you want. I can’t wait to see what everyone makes this season! Kids Clothes Week this month falls on our special Sew Geeky Weeky for the month of October so you can be sure that there’ll be lots of awesome (and nerdy) kiddy clothes going on over at Max California as I knock out two birds with one stone!

If you’re into creating palettes too, or just want a great resource for finding colours that go together, check out Colour Lovers. I use it quite often actually,  it’s very useful and if you ‘discover’ a colour that doesn’t have a name yet you can name it yourself. There are a few named after Eddie & Vin, heehee.

inspiration: patterns {kcw fall 2014}

inspiration: patterns

Hello everyone! I’m Marisa from Melbourne, Australia. Some of you may know me from my blog, thirtynine. Today I’m hoping to get you thinking about the upcoming Kids Clothes Week with a selection of fantastic digital patterns, some of them tried and true, and some more recent releases.

While it’s fall for those of you in the northern hemisphere, here down south it’s springtime. I think of fall and spring as mirror-images of each other: both are transitional seasons, in-between times when the weather can be warm, cold or anything in-between (and if you live in Melbourne, all those things in just one day!).

The way I see it, what these seasons have in common is the need for layers. So here are some fabulous layerable patterns to inspire you as you start planning for Kids Clothes Week.


Long-sleeved, short-sleeved, rolled-up sleeves… shirts are the perfect trans-seasonal garment. Here are three super-cool styles to get you started.

inspshirts1. Maxwell Shirt  2. Charlie Shirt  3. Sketchbook Shirt


If your tastes run to the frilly and feminine, you’re in luck, because there’s plenty out there. Floaty dresses are perfect for mild days, and are lovely teamed with a cardi and leggings for cooler weather. If you like a sportier look, check out the Joey dress (centre) with its cute kangaroo pocket. I can just imagine my daughter stuffing that with toys!

inspdresses1. Bohemian Babydoll  2. Joey Dress  3. Charlie Dress

Shorts and skirts

Perhaps you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where the weather is mild enough for shorts – or perhaps you, like me, have a child who refuses to wear anything other than shorts all year round. Hey, even if it’s too cold for shorts, your girls can always layer them up with tights or leggings, right? Those Clover Shorts would look great as part of a cool-weather ensemble.



1. Clover Shorts  2. Kid Shorts  3. Sunny Shorts  4. Alder Skirt  5. Fiesta Skirt  6. 2+2 Skirt

Long pants

My son and daughter are united in their refusal to wear long pants, but if they weren’t so stubborn I would be making a beeline for those skinny jeans…


1. Small Fry Skinny Jeans  2. Parsley Pants  3. Kudzu Cargos

Cardigans and jackets

Cosy in fleece, or lighter in cotton, layer up with some of these cuties. And by the way, that beautiful woollen vest is a free pattern!


1. Aster Cardigan  2. Woollen Vest  3. Letterman Jacket

So – are you putting together outfits in your mind? Or just thinking about one or two key pieces? Whatever your taste, I hope I’ve given you some food for thought as you plan for Kids Clothes Week. Now go forth and print, tile, cut and sew!

inspiration: color {kcw fall 2014}

inspiration: fall colors

Hi everyone, Maartje here from huisje boompje boefjes. I’ve got the honour to kick off this KCW fall season with some color inspiration. For me, fall is the best season, I love going out into the woods, rolling through the fallen leaves with my rascals, hiking across the moors or just walking along the coastline and enjoy some hot cocoa and pancakes afterwards. The colors in nature are just gorgeous and looking at the fashion collections for fall 2014, a lot of those colors reappear. So what can we expect this fall?

Blue & Grey
First up is a color scheme I feel totally at ease with. I love greys and blues and use them in a lot of my projects. Colors you can wear all year round and can be easily combined with a contrasting colour to make the outfit pop. Match them with purple or the classic fall colors this season and you’re on trend.

color blue/grey


Keeping to the theme of this KCW season, I matched the colour schemes with some book illustrations to get the creativity flowing. 

blue/grey illustrations

1 Bringing down the moon by Jonathan Emmett, illustrations Vanessa Cabban, source
2 Mathilda by Roald Dahl, illustrations Quentin Blake, source
3 De vraag van de olifant (sorry only in Dutch) by Leen van den Berg, illustrations Kaatje Vermeire, source


Next up, the purples. I must admit this is not my favourite color for clothes, but it’s growing on me, and I’m even considering sewing up something purple for my boys. Time to get out of my comfort zone of the blue and grey scale.



Now take a look at these purple book illustrations. Maybe I should make them Willy Wonka jackets?

purple illustration1 Harold and the purple crayon by Crockett Johnson, source
2 A bit lost by Chris Haughton source
3 Charlie and the chocolate factory by Roald Dahl, illustrations Quentin Blake, source


Classic fall colors
And last, but definitely not least, fall fashion is not complete without the classic fall colors, the yellow, green, cognac and red.

fall colors

There are a lot of book illustrations out there containing these colors. The woods are, after all, the setting for many fairy tales and stories.

fall color illustrations

1 Can’t you sleep little bear by Martin Waddell, illustrations Barbara Firth, source
2 Le petit prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, source
3 Little red riding hood  by Charles Perrault, illustrations Walter Crane, source

For more inspiration, check out the colors pinterest board I made for this KCW.
Can’t wait to see what your KCW color plans are!