No series on clothes I sew for kids would be complete without a feature on my nephew, Axel. He is, after all, my favorite boy in the world.
Clothes can be a hard sell as a present when all you really care about is play dough and robots. Luckily I happen to have a 5 year old nephew who is not unaware of his effect on the ladies (like at reading hour, or the pool), and he appreciates looking handsome.
So, my parents had shown me over the past thanksgiving holiday a pair of cowboy boots and a hat they would give him at Christmas. After 5 years of coming up with gift ideas to secure my “Best Auntie Ever” status, I was actually coming up short with what the next phase of awesomeness would be. Until I saw those boots! And that hat! So there was my inspiration for his Christmas gift. I was reminded of how much he had liked a cowboy shirt I made him when he was about 2. He was fascinated by the pearl snaps I’d put on it and he wore it to pieces. I asked my mom if he would really want another one now. She assured me that every time Grandpa wears a shirt with pearl snaps Axel will make a point of getting up in his lap and looking at them in envy.
I was so excited to find a new pattern and the coolest fabric with printed soda bottle caps. When I last saw Axel we had been at a pizza place that had bottle cap push pins on their bulletin board, and he spent a lot of time counting and reading all the names on the caps. I imagined him wearing the shirt and doing the same thing.
Now, as I mentioned, this was intended to be his Christmas present. I sent it to him about 2 weeks ago. How terrible is that?? You see, even though I derive a great sense of satisfaction from sewing, I also have a perfectionist streak that sets me up for a profound sense of heartache when projects go awry. It’s like they scowl and tell me, “You with your amateur mistakes…you’re dead to me!” Exhibit A below is evidence of the plain and awful truth: I cut the entire thing out with the pattern going the wrong way.
All the momentum and excitement just drained away as the days left before Christmas just kept flying by…and then I wound up not going to see my family after all…and then I was traveling for work…and so on. The project entered a lingering middle state known to seamstresses as a UFO (un-finished object). Every one of us has one. Or many. Those spontaneous weekend projects that never make it to Monday in one piece. Those fantastic dreams of whipping up an ambitious party dress for a big event only to be stymied by a mishap at the machine…then a mad dash shopping trip to find a ready made replacement in time. Those chair covers your neighbor talked you into that you swore would be done in a jiffy, but linger half sewn in a bag in the closet. A permanent pile of things that need mending, hemming and altering. Most of which you forget you even own.
“Snap out it!” I said, like Cher in Moostruck. “Is that any way to treat Axel’s present?!” At the rate I was going it would be his gift for next Christmas, except by then he would have outgrown it!
So I rallied my sewing mojo and got back in the saddle, so to speak. We are in a western theme here right? And in the end result, I think I did right by him. I even threw in a rubber band pistol and some Gumby & Pokey figurines to make it a more eventful package to open.
Now what I really have my heart set on is a trip to the rodeo with him if I can make it to Utah at the right time. If not, I will have to rely on my mom to get the little guy to pose for more pics…clearly he’s not camera shy!
Here he is the pensive lone ranger…
And no shortage of ammo for his ambush on the outlaws… apparently two toy guns is how you really get the job done.