Today on the blog, we are excited to share with you our interview with Kelly Simonsen, blogger , sewer and talented photographer. Kelly blogs at Handmade Boy, where she writes about sewing for her handsome son. Kelly takes sewing for boys to a whole new level and is constantly inspiring her readers. Now, lets learn more about her.
How long have you been sewing? I have been sewing the occasional throw pillow or curtain valance and annual Halloween costumes for 15 years. It wasn’t until 4 years ago that I started to really get into it and sew on a regular basis. The last two years I have been more focused on producing professional looking items and building my skill to do so.
How many boys do you sew for? How old are they? I don’t sew much for my husband. He would wear it if I did, though! I have a 17 year old son that I sew for occasionally. He actually requests things time to time. Thomas, is 4. He receives the most amount of handmade items in the house.
What is your favorite item you have sewn for your boy/boys? Am I limited to one?! Yikes! The super hero High Five Hoodie is definitely up there. I also love Thomas’s fox Downton Duffle. And I am really proud of his Polar Parka. I have a slight obsession with coats.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles in sewing for boys? I don’t see a lot of obstacles in boy sewing. I think the biggest challenge would be using the cute and fun novelty prints he loves and keeping his clothes looking commercial and not “mommy made”. I like to use them to line pockets, or the yoke lining or collar stand lining of an oxford.
Where is your favorite place to buy fabric for boys? Mabel Madison, Fabric Worm, Hawthorne Threads and the men’s department in department stores. My favorite place for solid cotton for knit projects is purple seamstress.
Who are you favorite boy pattern designers? I love Peek-a-Boo Patterns. Very classic, timeless style that is easy to make my own style with. You can sew an entire wardrobe with just her patterns. Patterns for Pirates has wardrobe building pieces also along with fun stuff like the Wingman. I love the patterns Love Notions has as well. And Blank Slate, Scientific Seamstress/Sisboom, To Go Patterns, Shwin Designs, are all fabulous as well.
What are your favorite sewing with boy resource(blog, books, etc)? When I started to really get into sewing, I had a few blogs that I loved to use for ideas. Dana Made it, Made by Rae, and I am Momma Hear Me Roar were my go to places for ideas. I really like the book Sewing for Boys, also.
Do you sew with the boys in your life? If so, what do you make with them? Thomas has sewn projects with me. He loves it. We made pajama pants together. Check it out here. I am working with my older son to learn how to do simple repair skills.
Why do you think it is important to teach boys to sew? Because they need to be self sufficient. Everybody needs to be able to hem a pair of pants or sew on a button or fix a ripped seam. It has nothing to do with being a boy or girl, it’s a life skill.
What would you like to see more of in the Boy Sewing world? More fabrics would always be great. Lots of boy prints are rather babyish looking, or dated. I tend to buy XXXXL men’s shirts to upcycle to get great stripes and prints.
How do you challenge yourself to break gender stereotypes when sewing for your boy(s)? We use what ever fabric or embellishment we want. Thomas wanted purple My Little Pony pajamas, we made them. He wanted a glittery shirt, we made it. Two actually. We use unicorns and I just received some rainbow fabric in the mail that he has claimed. He has an Elsa blanket and has been requesting an Elsa shirt. It’s in the works. Boys are allowed to like ponies, glitter, unicorns, rainbows, and queens with magical powers also.
What (or who) inspires your boy sewing? Thomas. He is my little muse. He has a lot of input in the fabric I use and the style of his clothes. (He picked out all the fabric of his snow coat and pants.) He gets so excited when I make him a new shirt or pair of pants, or pajamas. Pajamas are his favorite. When he gets compliments on his clothes, he very proudly tells people I made them for him.
Tell us a bit about your favorite boy(s)! Logan, my oldest is pretty laid back and relaxed. He is your typical 17 year old, into video games and hanging out with friends. Thomas is a high energy, exploring, exhausting, little person. He never stops. I think people think he is calm and still and easy going from his pictures, but it is not the case at all. I just have a fast shutter speed.
Tell us about what inspired you to start your boys can wear pink series? It was one of those things that just happened. It started with wanting to sew Thomas a shirt for Valentine’s Day. That meshed into the idea to do a blog post about boy’s Valentine’s Day shirt ideas. That morphed into the Boys Can Wear Pink series.
Please take time to check out this series!
We would love to thank Kelly for letting us interview her and sharing her story.
Click to her blog HERE!