My girls are all makers. They come by it naturally – their mother is a designer and their father is a mechanic. It has taken a long time, but I have recently come to realize that my little family of five has more in common than I realized.
We all tinker. Take things apart. Make messes. All in the name of putting something together.
My youngest daughter has had a fascination with dinosaurs for as long as she could talk. She is my doodler – always searching for the best marker (usually a permanent one, bleeding through the page and onto the table, floors, etc.) for the job. One rainy afternoon, she took a black Sharpie to her giant drawing pad and presented me with pages and pages of dinosaurs.
Here’s where I make a bad mom confession. When my kids draw pictures for me, I keep them for a while and then they get…well…”cycled through” as more pictures come in. I know – that probably makes me an a-hole. I’m ok with it. Know why? Because the process is just as important as the final product. Always trust the process.
Ok – now that I’ve made myself feel better about throwing away precious memories…
When it came time for these pictures to “cycle through”, there was something about them that wouldn’t let me part with them. They stayed on my desk for a few more days while I waited for some kind of idea to come to me that would allow me to find a different way to hold onto these.
Around this same time, I was taking a Skillshare class on creating repeating patterns for fabric design. I had done some sketches that I wasn’t at all happy with. They were certainly nothing I was crazy about developing into something on fabric.
But a preschooler’s drawings? That could have some potential.
I set to work taking the sketches that would translate best into line art and vectorizing them.
I took photos on my phone, brought the photos into Illustrator, and used my Wacom tablet to trace the lines she had made. Once all of the dinos were traced, it was time to lay them out on a square format.
My 5 year old art director had a really hard time with the fact that some of the dinosaurs fell outside of the orange background. My explanation of how setting up a repeating pattern works didn’t really satisfy her and I had to resort to saying, “Just trust me, ok?”.
Once the layout was done, it was time to upload it to the fabric printing vendor (we used Spoonflower) and wait by the mailbox for our fat quarter and two yards of quilting cotton to be delivered.
When I asked her what she would like to make out of her fabric, she thought a blanket for her stuffed animals would be a good choice. That’s what the fat quarter is for. I ordered the other 2 yards to finish up a project in her bedroom (that I still haven’t found the motivation to complete).
Now that we had the fabric and a plan, it was time for my least favorite part of the project. The Sewing Part.
She chose a puppy fabric for the back of her blanket. I’m not exactly sure why, but that’s what happens when you give a preschooler options in a fabric store. We were able to sew a rectangle without any major meltdowns (from me) and then it was time to turn this blanket right-side-out.
Once the blanket was turned and ironed, I thought it still looked a little unfinished. I added a quick crochet border around the outside and we were done.
The favorite stuffed animal on this particular day just happened to be Foxy, so he’s modeling the finished product. When I tucked the kids in tonight, Spotty and Dotty (a purple leopard and what I think is puppy with missing ears) were using the blanket, so I hope Foxy enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have my own drawings to cycle through. And my own process to trust.