Thursday, February 16, 2017

Finally, Fashion!

Clothing tagged with my own brand

For many years now I have wanted to design my own fashions, particularly for kids. I'm serious when I say "many" years; I have been thinking about this ever since I used to play with my Barbie Dream Store, a favorite childhood toy. I did and sometimes still literally dream about owning my own store! Of course, over several years I've built up a brand of sorts on eBay and Etsy, and I do sell kids' clothes and toys and dolls, but these are mostly curated rather than created by me. Now I am so excited to finally be creating my own pieces!

My son in his shirt
For Christmas I got a Silhouette Cameo machine from my husband. It's taken me a while to get the hang of it. I'm getting fairly good at designing for heat transfer material but have yet to even attempt the etching, stamp-making, or sketching functions. I have started making shirts and bodysuits and I'm really thrilled with the designs I've made so far. My first design was this Chosen Child shirt for my son and other adoptees. I am focusing primarily on uplifting shirts to celebrate adopted and special needs kids.

My Unique Unicorn design

My daughter in her shirt
Next, I created a unicorn decal that says "Unique" inside the body. Back in the late 1970s or early 80s I had a sweatshirt with a stuffed puffy unicorn appliqued on the front. Behind the unicorn a rainbow shot across the shirt with the word "Unique" inside it. That shirt was my absolute favorite and I can still see it in my mind. It was definitely the inspiration, for this design, although I don't have the skills to make crazy rainbows and stuff on my machine yet! I made the first unicorn shirt for my daughter and then made a couple bodysuits to try out decals cut from flocked and glitter transfer material. The flocked material gave me serious trouble at first but I finally got it figured out and have now confirmed the special materials wash well. I was worried the glitter or flocking might flake off but it doesn't. I have these test shirts listed on eBay and Poshmark and have them available by order on Etsy and Facebook.

My design as a flocked decal

My design as a glitter decal

About the time I was making my unicorn shirts my youngest son was having some trouble dealing with his physical differences. He was born with a cleft lip and palette and besides the often painful medical procedures and effects, like frequent ear infections, of this deformity, his appearance occasionally bothers him. I think his repair surgery was extremely successful and that he's adorable, but as he has grown he's developed an underbite and some unevenness to his nostrils. This is due to the fact that the missing bone in his mouth where his cleft was open isn't growing like the rest of his skull. This will be fixed; his next surgery will most likely be later this year, but in the meantime it gets him down. I decided to make a more masculine "Unique" design for him. I chose a narwhal and explained to my son that, just like a narwhal is unique among whales, he is unique among children. He is thrilled with the design and it must be cooler than I thought, because my daughter requested one as well!

My Unique narwhal design

My son in his shirt

My daughter's shirt

In a complete departure my oldest son, not to be left out, requested his own shirt: a political environmental activist shirt featuring Smokey the Bear as a resistance symbol. I studied vintage Smokey the Bear posters to style the image and typography. Then I cut it from yellow flocked vinyl and ironed it on a purple shirt because purple and yellow are his university's colors. This design has been pretty popular on my social media feeds, so I'm offering it for sale. It's been one of my most ambitious projects to date and I messed up a bunch of expensive flocked vinyl before I got it to cut correctly but now that I've worked out the kinks it should be smooth sailing.

My political resistance design

It's really hard to even describe how great I feel about being able to sell my own brand of clothing! I have plans to start sewing some outfits and then applying my designs to them and even have ideas about making stencils to print my own fabrics. My ultimate goal is to have as much as possible made entirely by me, here in the USA! Of course, I have wanted to make my own dolls for many years now as well. Maybe one of these days I will actually be able to hire some employees and make my big dreams come true, but these shirts are a step in the right direction. Please visit my eBay and Poshmark shops to buy ready-made fashions or order custom designs from my Etsy and Facebook shops. I can print the solid color shirts in a day or two, but the tie-dyed shirts take a week or so due them having to dry before I can print them.

My son in his shirt

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