C’mon, you know they are. I’d venture to say the ones who are most sensitive are the ones who show it the least. As a society we equip our girls to deal with their sensitive sides, but less so, our boys. I cannot comment on the best way to help our boys grow into men with a minimum of emotional bruising from the outside world, because I’m still navigating that task as a mother, myself. However, boys are sensitive in other ways, too, and I *can* help with that!
Those of you who have been around here for a while know about Peter’s challenges as a young kid. I have a 12 year old who was diagnosed at a young age with sensory integration issues. After months of occupational therapy, and home treatments such as brushing his limbs before bedtime, and squeezing him tightly, placing weighted mats on his lap in school, requiring movement in the mornings, and having teachers assign him tasks which involved taking notes to the office in a box containing not only an attendance list, but a dictionary, too, to physically "ground" him; I thought his issues with clothing were exclusively a result of his special needs.
He’s grown out of his sensory difficulties for the most part. He can be in the same room with a flushing toilet, or a blender, or a coffee maker without “hurting his ears.” He still wears some of his store bought undershirts inside out, but I think that’s primarily intended to irritate ME in the mornings while we go through his a.m. checklist. There’s so much about our lives that we have adapted to suit Peter, that I sometimes have a hard time remembering what it was like before I knew he needed the additional structure and special touches to make his day run smoothly.
So much of the pre-emptive work I do to comfort Peter before he exhibits discomfort has become second-nature that when Ella was born (almost 10 years later) I was still only buying or making the softest clothes and blankets. Only singing and rocking and dressing her gently, as I did for Peter. This became apparent after she was over a year old and was complaining about her store-bought clothes being “crunchy.” I had made everything for her up until that point, and she had never experienced a serged seam with extra threads tickling her sides, nor a scratchy tag at her neck or waistband. What could I do? I simply didn’t have time to make every single stitch she’d wear. Ella isn’t “extra-sensitive”, she doesn’t face sensory integration disorder, or any other special needs, but being comfortable in her clothes makes the rest of her day easier. It isn’t just my special needs child who acted out for seemingly "no reason" until we discovered what was making him physically uncomfortable or distracted. The potential for distracting discomfort is present in all children. It’s difficult to concentrate on a task or request when there’s a “something” bothering a child physically. This realization led to my finding a better way to construct clothing for extra-sensitive kids.
Later this week, I’ll be sharing a technique for sewing raglan t-shirts with the seams on the outside for a completely smooth interior. We’ll be offering a Raw-edged Raglan 3-ways pattern soon (oh look! another preview!!) but in the meantime, I hope that understanding this technique will open up your imagination to finishing seams in more comfortable ways for any clothing you make for your children!
As you may know, in addition to producing my custom clothing lines, I have recently joined forces with Shelly (creator of “Patterns by Figgy’s”) to develop clothing patterns. In all our patterns, we will be including illustrated steps for my "comfort finishes" for you to use in constructing our garments and hopefully apply to other patterns you already use and love!
Having met on Flickr, Shelly and I quickly realized how valuable we would be to one another; both in friendship and in business. We each have a strong passion for design and respect and empathy for the home seamster. Because of this, we have developed a generous “sharing” policy: “Patterns by Figgy’s” allows the home seamster to sew our patterns for personal use as well as for sale in online venues, farmers markets, craft fairs, etc. Having online shops ourselves, we know how hard it is to design your own outfits, draft the pattern, sew up multiple sizes and then pray you’ll make a little money for all the time invested. We want to save you some time and stress, and we LOVE to see the modifications and imagination our customers put into their interpretations of our designs.
…and just look how cute Nels is in his:
We have just added our first pattern for boys, and as part of “Celebrate the Boy” month, we are giving away a copy of this pattern along with a raw-edged raglan tee from “One Boy Circus” to one lucky winner!
See Shelly’s blog for the pattern details, and come back later for my tutorial and enter on either (or both) blogs by posting a comment. We will draw a winner from the entries (up to two per person – one on each blog) on Monday, March 1.
But wait, There’s More! Everybody can win, because Patterns by Figgy’s is also having a Pre-Order sale for readers of Celebrate the Boy month!! If you order your pattern before March 12th you will receive 15% off when you mention Rae in your order. Please email Karen & Shelly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to check out the archives of Celebrate the Boy and follow along for the rest of the month. I feel like all I want to blog about is how great their projects are (for both genders of child, to be honest!) and how honored I am to be a part of it all!