I should have taken a picture of the chocolate I had to give him so he would wear it.

Yes, we’re at that place already.  Picture me pleading with him to just put the shirt on and mommy will give you a marshmallow. I’m starting to give away the clothes I make for him to his friends because it’s less trouble than trying to get him to wear it. Maybe the fact that it’s happening already means he’ll grow out of it faster?  Please, I need hope here!

Anyway, the concept for this tee started with an article about Rachel Griffiths and her cute family in Cookie* last year. She is a fantastic actress. She also happens to have a baby girl with the same name as mine. But what really got the wheels turning was a picture of her son with cute shaggy blond hair wearing a really nifty navy striped-dyed shirt.  As soon as I saw it I thought “I could make that!”  I won’t go through all the other elements of this outfit which I found endearing (such as a pair of Minnetonka beaded moccasins that I am embarrassed to say I actually purchased in hopes that I might replicate this look on my own son), but I will say that there also may have been a pair of bright green skinny jeans involved. 

*the now defunct momma-mag whose demise I bemoaned in this post.  Then someone commented and reminded me how crazy expensive everything in Cookie was. The ridiculous travel articles like “Taking your kids to eco-resorts in Bora Bora!” I’m over it now.

my favorite part is the white contrast stitching

So it would have been easier just to take a white long sleeved tee and tie-dye it.  Let’s just get that out in the open right away.  But I wanted each piece to be individually dyed, and if you look carefully at this garment you can see that this is so. I also wanted a nicer style than your average Hane’s tee, so I cut a Tee for Two (see the Lion Tee Post earlier this week for a pattern review of sorts) out of plain white jersey and twist tied it with those annoying plastic twizzies that come on every electronics thing you buy:

Then I immersed it in half a package of Navy RIT powder dye and some hot tap water and left it for a few hours.  Thanks to Dana and This Momma for providing some how-to on dying stuff that came in useful. Wish I had paid more attention to This Momma because she was right, that powder is Evil. I hates it. I vow will never use it again. I think I may have ruined at least 3 yards of fabric with vagrant powder dust by opening the package in my sewing room. I know, how dumb could I be?  

I did not photograph each step, but you can trust that after washing and drying the pieces, I sewed them together to produce the garment you see here.  It is pretty cute.  Worth all the trouble?  That is really going to depend on if I can ever get him to wear it again or not. 

At least I no longer have to cajole him into riding his new bike *crosses fingers.*  Don’t be fooled by all that cute blond hair, this kid is a stinker.  Would you like to hear about my engagement ring which he played “Ring-Ring” with last week and was lost until yesterday when I found it under the story chair in his bedroom? It went missing from the shelf which I left it on, stupidly enough, within his reach. Attempts to determine the ring’s whereabouts resulted in a multitude of horrifying stories including “I chewed and swallowed it!” and inquiries into the nature of “Ring-Ring” resulted in “I tooked it and I THREWED it into the air!” As my seester Elli so eloquently put it, “I’m sure you felt like ring-ringing his little neck!” I can’t really blame him though, poor guy, I mean, he is only three.  And as much as he makes me want to check into the Funny Farm sometimes, I love him to death.

I’d better quit now before I admit to any more stupidity. Here’s a quick rundown for my Mom-Of-The-Year acceptance speech: bribing children with sweets to wear handmade clothes, purchasing a pair of beaded suede shoes for a little boy, ruining things with powder dye, and leaving an engagement ring within child’s reach.  See, I live to make you feel better about yourselves.  You’re welcome.  Have a great weekend!

UPDATED for Full Disclosure: Since meeting in “real life” earlier this year, Karen and I have become friends and now have playdates with our kids every few weeks or so.  I guess that’s just how life goes.   I actually didn’t have the full pattern when I wrote this post since Karen had given me a computer printout taped together with masking tape precut to Elliot’s size.  Since the writing of this post PBF’s has very kindly given me a Tee for Two pattern so now I can at least claim to own a real copy.  Am I biased in writing this post? Absolutely. Does that mean this pattern is any less awesome?  I sure hope not!

51 thoughts on “I should have taken a picture of the chocolate I had to give him so he would wear it.

  1. I am currently going through the same with my 4 year old. He asks me to make him dress up costumes or I make him clothing and he then refuses to wear them or have a photo taken. When the picture does get taken it must be with a funny face. I'm also hoping that the early defiance means it will be over early. For now I'm willing to give in to the cookie bribe to get things done.

  2. My daughter is three and I can totally see her playing "Ring Ring". That really made me laugh.

    Seriously adorable shirt though.

  3. Oh my goodness Rae, I didn't realize your son was three! We are totally in the same boat. They can be such STINKERS, but we can't help but love them. Every time mine gets in trouble now he puts on his winning smile and starts to do this little dance and says "Now are you happy???" I can't help but laugh. He's such a clown.

    I gotta make some of those shirts (not the tie dye part though, phew, too much work for me). Yours looks amazing! Way to go! And a little chocolate can't hurt, can it?

  4. P.S. SOOOOO glad you found your ring! You and Dana and I need to get our boys together someday… wouldn't that be fun???

  5. First, I love the shirt. I'd totally wear it. Second, it's sooo nice to know I'm not the only one who makes something for their kid who then refuses to wear it. I've vowed not to sew anymore for my daughter – last time I did, she refused to try on the dress so I could see how it needed to be altered (after spending forever making it because I can never find more than 20 min or so to actually get any sewing done). I was ready to ring-ring her neck πŸ™‚ I'm hoping that my son (who is only 1) won't protest clothing choices for a little while!

  6. Somehow my nephew must be telepathically sending him hints on how to make your mom (or aunt, lol) crazy… And I love the "playing ring ring" part. Made me snort a little.

  7. PS – I, too, have bribed my child with chocolate to get her to wear something (in this case a beautiful and detialed sweater my mother had made her).

  8. There is definitely hope that he'll outgrow it! When I started sewing this spring, I made a ton of clothes for my 2 1/2 year-old boy, and he freaked out. Chocolate barely bribed him for a solid minute, and then after that just seeing the clothes would make him cry. NO idea why! I was making button-ups and pants/shorts. When I finally made some t-shirts (incidentally, the the Sienna Dress by LBB makes a fabulous boys raglan shirt too), I freezer paper printed animals on a series of them that he LOVED, which his daddy had drawn and he already liked. Then, all of a sudden, he quit fussing about any of it. He actually told me I'm good at sewing! (which melts a mommy's heart!) He wears it all now – even the stuff I'd given up hope on.

    Good luck!!!

  9. He is adorable! As is your handmade shirt, and the stories to go with it. They do ma you want to tear your hair out some days, but other days you look at them and can't help grinning like a cheshire cat at how much you love them. So glad you found your ring though!

    I can get my kids IN the clothes, but can't seem to get them IN the photos – think hurroied shots of head cut off, a single arm or leg as the subject runs off out of the shot.

  10. Oh, I know all about bribing our children to pose – it is a challenge at times:)
    That shirt is great.

  11. really, really nice!
    i went through a similar stage with my daughter, now 4, and much to my surprise, after I got home from my last trip to the fabric store, when she saw the fabric i got to make her a top, she said: mommy, it's perfect! then I made her a flannel top with another fabric, which she wanted to wear before i even finished, so i had to close the back with a safety pin – she wore it for days, and even when it got wet in the rain, she refused to take it off when we got home. i got so discouraged during the summer, because i had to beg her to wear the stuff i made her, but fall seems promising!
    hope your little guy starts enjoying the beautiful clothes you make him!

  12. Love the shirt! Love the bit about the chocolate! I recently had to bribe my 2 year old (with marshmallows) to get her to put on a dress I made, then more marshmallows to let me take her picture. Now she thinks every time I take her picture, she'll get a treat! Oh No! What did I start??

  13. Such a cute top! I might need to get that pattern…soon. My friend's oldest daughter will also not wear what her mom makes her. The younger daughter will wear it, but E just refuses. Who knows?!

  14. This is such a cute shirt! Thankfully, I don't get much grief yet from my little ones but I haven't made a whole lot for them yet. My son has only gotten a leapster bag from me so far, but plans are in the works for a dress shirt using your tutorial πŸ™‚ I'll let you know how that goes!

    I mainly make bags. I'm acutally giving away two of my bags this week…dadummmm…it's my first giveaway, so we'll see how it goes! It should be pretty easy to win since I've only got 27 followers! Yeah…i said I was new πŸ™‚


  15. Well I am very happy you got your ring back!…I myself handed my engagement ring to my 18 month old earlier this week in hopes he might show me where he put mommy's wedding band which had gone missing. My hope was dashed when he chucked it across the room after catching sight of some legos πŸ˜› Luckily my ring turned up as well!

  16. I have been bribing my 2 1/2 yo to wear things for pictures since about 18 month. Chocolate always works.

  17. oh wow wow wow. Rae, totally cool. I love it. I've never been into most tie-dyeing. But your style is spot on. And the pattern too? Seriously looks like a kids boutique shirt. Really cool.

  18. thanks for the laugh this morning. today is going to be a long family visiting day with my 21 and 3 month old, and i needed a reminder that other moms have moments of crazy too. πŸ™‚ the shirt is adorable. have a great day!

  19. And you found your ring!!! Oh joy. Hooray! So happy. πŸ™‚
    and thank you for the link.
    I feel like it's one of those tutorials that I need to revisit and improve, so I hope you found something useful in there πŸ™‚

  20. This came out totally adorable!

    And, I have the opposite problem with my 8 year old. He ALWAYS wants me to make him things to wear, but making stuff for a kid his size takes way more time and energy than I generally have! I guess I should enjoy it while it lasts!

  21. Just found your blog — that shirt is so cute, as is everything else!

    I recently went through a similar experience with my engagement ring and my 2 1/2 year old twins. I bribed them with chocolate to find it for me — "If you bring mommy her ring, you can have an m&m … please?" I found it, without their help, but they got the chocolate anyways.

  22. Love the tee and so glad to hear another mom living the "hug 'em or strangle 'em" life with a 3 year old!

  23. I would totally wear that shirt on a lazy weekend if I could squeeze into it. So cute πŸ™‚ Oh and add some little thumb holes on the sleeves, bliss!

  24. Super cute shrit!

    Glad to know that my 3 year old is not the only one with an affection for "creative story telling". I have a ring missing too. Stories range from "I dropped it down the vent" to "a bird came and took it". Hmph.

  25. I loved this post. So awesome. Love the shirt – I have been itching to try tie dying & this is definitely nudging me in the right direction (and thanks for the tip about the powder). πŸ™‚

  26. If it makes you feel better, we seriously thought our daughter (2yrs old) had eaten one of the silicone ear-molds to her hearing aids(the rubbery part that fits snugly inside the ear)… we believed this for about 4 days… you know, calling the doctor on a Sunday afternoon, checking diapers for four days to see if it would appear…. A week later we found it in a little crevice in the car. (we'd searched every inch I swear)… lol. Then we had to wait almost a week to get it replaced (with just enough time for us to find the old one!)… Needless to say now she has bright purple ones instead of the "you can't see them" clear ones! lol.

    And… don't worry, years from now your son will look back at these pics and thank you for dressing him to smartly! πŸ™‚

  27. I recently used some of the powdered purple RIT dye to dye some bedsheets. I did this in the bathroom, at least, but I looked up a couple of days later and noticed that I have purple speckles all over the top of the tile wall in my shower. That stuff is Evil.

    The t-shirt is WAY CUTE, though.

  28. Thank you for sharing some non-perfectness!

    I do love the shirt, I am sure it will soon be a favourite of his x

  29. It is a very cute shirt! Don't worry too much about the boy and his not wearing it… it could be just because it has long sleeves. One of mine refused to wear long sleeves at about that age and then when it really started to get cold he forgot all about it.
    For some cute boy stories head to themiddlestsister.blogspot.com

  30. You make me laugh so much. I totally get the 'my kid is a stinker, but I love him to death'. I've got one,too!
    The shirt is awesome. Way to go with matchy stripe dying. I don't sew much for my boys, but that is a cool pattern.


  31. Oh I am a BIG TIME briber… there are worse things πŸ™‚ The shirt is adorable!

  32. This totally made me smile … thanks Rae!! Have a wonderful weekend … and just think, you only have to be responsible for 50% of the parenting the next two days ;).

  33. oh my god. you have me cracking up sitting in front of the computer at six in the morning! that post is hilarious, although maybe only to a mum of 3year old twins. it has all happened in similar ways to me.
    the girls will not wear something i made them until it is too light for the weather, then they want to wear it every day!
    at just three years old, they choose their clothes to wear for the day, i have no more say in it. scary thought! what will it be next??
    i love this post, it makes me feel better about silly things i sometimes do.

  34. gWell, Ms. E says that if Mr. E doesn't want it then she will wear it. Also, she thinks he looks REALLY GOOD in that sa-weet shirt, and would like one as well, in light blue. Then I suggested that we could maybe make some together with you guys? How about it? Are you up for some MBR/PBF crafty time??

  35. I love the shirt. I have decided to make my 4 yr old son his winter t-shirts out of old t-shirts I have. I'm excited.
    I know how you feel about the rejection of clothing. My 6 yr old daughter will barely ever wear anything I make for her. All her friends have things I've made…

  36. It's so great to hear that other people have the same issues I do trying to get pictures of their kids. I'm a professional photographer, and I can take pictures of everyone else's kids without the marshmallows, but my daughter? No way. I have succumbed to the magic of the bribe.

    Love the shirt and I'm intrigued by the green skinny jeans outfit.

  37. You know…the shirt is adorable, and I bribe my kids with things all! the! time!..and all that. BUT, what really strikes me? You had an Elliot….and still went on to have a Clementine. We had a Ming Wai…went on to have a Siu Jeun…and the possibility of him becoming a Big Brother seem very, very remote some days. Like…all the days when we're traveling. Heh.

    You can see where my brain's at right now. πŸ˜‰

  38. It's great! He just knows you want him to wear it so he won't…like most men, really.
    My husband once lost his wedding ring, we looked everywhere though he swore he hadn't taken it off. About 3 months later he found it. It was in the middle (as in wound in under hundreds of layers) of a roll of masking tape (painter's tape).
    He's a man who likes to fiddle with things…

  39. You are so freaking hilarious! Truly, I constantly laugh when I read your blog. That shirt is spot-on perfection. And I most certainly would have purchased those moccasins as well.

  40. oh my gosh – so funny, rae! i have a little blonde 3yr old stinker of a boy myself. nothing you say could surprise me!!! it only makes me laugh with understanding! hahaaa!!

    kelly (who bought that beautiful buttercup purse & shipped it to my sil in nyc, but still wishes she had purchased it for herself!! πŸ™‚ )

  41. Love this shirt and I totally remember that look in the magazine. If it is alright, I would like to point you to a great blog of a former Cookie editor, Jenny Rosenstrach, who has a wonderful blog called dinneralovestory.com and she released a book with the other Cookie editors called Time for Dinner. Love the book, it follows the magazines food section very closely. Just wanted to give a shout out.

  42. we just linked you and your itty bitty baby dress on our blog! we love you! i have made that sweet little dress 4 times and my sis Sophie at least twice!


  43. That shirt is adorable, and it looks great on him! When my sister and I were little, my mom used to make like, 40 percent of our clothes, and I don't think we really appreciated how much thought and effort she put into our stuff until we got older. Now, I realize how lucky I was to have a mom who would put in that kind of time and effort. Also, I wish I could sew:)

  44. At least your kid wears clothes. P loves the stuff I make for her, but when I I try to get a photo, the hat or poncho or whatever is usually the only thing she's wearing. And I still have to bribe her with a marshmallow to get her to sit still. Did you know they have flavored marshmallows now? The strawberry ones are worth their weight in gold at our house because they are the best kid-bribe ever.

  45. great, beautiful blog. i'm adding it today to my list. by the way, i linked your baby tights tutorial today!

Comments are closed.