Sewing with Boys meets Chelsea Briner Blogger and Pattern Designer


Hi, I’m Chelsea and I blog and design over at GYCT Designs.

How long have you been sewing?

I started sewing when I was a junior in high school.  I made some pajama pants and a t-shirt quilt.  Not my brightest sewing moments, but I still enjoyed it.  I continued through college and actually got my degree in Family and Consumer Science Education.  Which means I have a Home Economics degree.  I taught sewing for 7 years to high school students.  This past year I turned 30, so I guess that means I have been sewing for myself 15 years and teaching sewing for about 9 of those years.

How many boys do you sew for? How old are they?

I tend to sew for any boys I can find.  But mostly I sew for my 5 year old son.  He loves creations made by Mom and often tells me what I need to do with certain fabrics.  However, I have tons of nephews that I tend to sew for on Birthday’s or when someone needs a project done.

What is your favorite item you have sewn for your boy/boys? 

That is a hard choice.  I have LOADS of Boy Projects on the blog.  However, I guess I have a couple.  Any of my son’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle projects I love.  Mostly because he absolutely adores them.  I’ve made him a TMNT Backpack, hoodie and last Halloween him, his sister and two cousins were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  But the pattern I sew for him the most is the Rival Raglan pattern I have in my pattern shop.  It is so fast, fits great and he can have endless tees for his closet.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles in sewing for boys? 

I think that finding good boy fabrics can be the biggest challenge.  That is why I started venturing out into dyeing fabrics, using freezer paper stencils and making appliques.  That way I can create a design that I love and that is still for a boy.

Where is your favorite place to buy fabric for boys? 

When I sew for my boy, I tend to sew a lot of knits.  I joined the Fabric Dealers Facebook group this year and I think that is where I find a lot of my boy fabrics.  I also love Peekaboo Patterns lines of knit fabrics also.  Perfect for tees and tops.  For woven fabrics, I’ll get a little all over the place.

 Who are you favorite boy pattern designers? 

Well, if I didn’t say myself I would be lying.  So GYCT Designs is my favorite, only because I make designs especially for my son and daughter.  But I also love Peekaboo Patterns, Scientific Seamstress, and EYMM.  I am always up for trying out a new designer if they have a pattern that I like.

What are your favorite sewing with boy resource? 

I LOVE blogs.  I started GYCT Designs 4 years ago, which is crazy.  I blogged a little back then, but I followed a lot of really great sewing blogs.  MADE is one of my favorites.  Homemade by Jill has fun projects, she doesn’t blog anymore but her projects are still available.  Some others like Made by Rae, Peekaboo Patterns and Crazy Little Projects.  But there are so many it is really hard to choose.  Each site is great for so much inspiration.  Now that I blog more regularly, it pushes me to think outside the box and try new boy projects.  

Do you sew with the boys in your life? If so, what do you make with them? 

My son is just starting to be interested.  Mostly at this point he likes to choose fabrics and decide on a pattern.  I am sure he will want to learn and I am happy to teach him.  Even if he only ever makes a pillowcase, he will know how to operate a machine.  When I taught high school, my students, male and female, all made pillowcases, pajama pants, drawstring bags, some made recycling projects.  We did tons of projects and most of them really enjoyed it.

Why do you think it is important to teach boys to sew? 

I think teaching anyone to sew is important.  And in my teaching experience, boys are actually much better at operating and understanding sewing machines because they seem to be more mechanically inclined.  But learning sewing basics will help throughout your entire life.  Need to hem some pants?  How about sew that button back on your shirt?  Duct tape will only take you so far in life.

What would you like to see more of in the Boy Sewing world? 

Everything!  More fabrics that are colorful without having to have a character on them.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Ninja Turtles, but we only need so many tees with them on it.  I’d love to see more PDF patterns with boys in mind.  You can only have so many tees.  Believe me, I know.  I have designed them too.

How do you challenge yourself to break gender stereotypes when sewing for your boy? 

I think the first thing I do is talk to my son.  If he likes it, why shouldn’t I.  How else do we learn about the world if we don’t try something new?  He loves having his own apron to help in the kitchen.  He has his own receiving blanket for his stuffed toys and dolls to be wrapped in.   Sometimes Dad has an opinion and we discuss that, but if my little man is comfy in it, I am happy to oblige.  

What (or who) inspires your boy sewing? 

My son is my main inspiration.  He is such a tough yet kind and gentle little guy.  He knows what he likes and he knows exactly what he doesn’t.  I personally love simple, classic looks.  Something that will stand the test of time.  When I make something, I also don’t just think about how my little man will love it, but how it will hold up over the course of a few years, multiply kids and as a hand me down.  Because the best clothes are those that can be worn for years and years and still look great.

Tell us a bit about your favorite boy! 

My little man is one of a kind.  He just turned 5 and really is one of the happiest dudes in the world.  Don’t get me wrong, he for sure has his moments.  But he is so special because he has Cerebral Palsy.  If you don’t know it, you probably would never notice.  But as his Mom, and chauffeur, I will tell you he is a trooper.  Despite all the tests, therapies and school, he is still so bright and happy and he LOVES going to the Doctor.  I know, weird right?!  But anytime he goes to see a doctor, he is so excited and can’t wait.   But the best part is, no matter what Mommy made item he is wearing, playing with or carrying he has to tell everyone that his Mom made it for him.  He loves to show off his Mom’s hobby.

Tell us about your blog and what inspired you to start it.

I started my blog about a year after having my son.  My life was in total chaos and I thought having the blog would make me more accountable.  And it did.  I’d do a project and blog and I got my act together.  I started mostly sharing sewing and crafting projects that helped get my home and family organized.  But as it developed I realized most of my passion was in sewing for my kids.  So that is what I started showcasing more and more.  That is how GYCT Designs was born.  Now I try to blog twice a week and share a fun sewing or craft project or tutorials that revolve mostly around my kids.  Although, I will share other projects as well.

Thanks for having me!



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