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Tiny pants: They’re like lunch

A charming little fabric store opened up in my neighborhood! After working in very nice fabric store during college, I am a total fabric store elitist. I also possess the extremely useful superpower of being able to identify fabric content by touch. I can be all THAT’S BAMBOO RAYON! THAT’S A SILK-LINEN BLEND! I have saved the lives of many attractive, scantily-clad women and small, adorable children using this power. Anyway, the only place we had here in Mediocre City was a horrible chain craft place that smelled like potpourri, AND their labeling was often a lie. For example, a bolt would say linen when any idiot could tell it was a cotton-linen blend. Plus 99% of what they carried was polyester. AND THEN they moved from moderately convenient to the other fucking side of town.

All of which is just to explain why I was so excited to have a new place open. Walking distance! With an appreciation for Japanese imports and adorable grosgrain ribbon! (And they’re a Bernina dealer, Jenny! I thought maybe I’d upgrade but OH MY GOD THOSE FUCKERS ARE EXPENSIVE!) I admired the website for a while before packing up all my babies and finally making it over there.

Turns out it’s one of those places that caters to dilettante sewers who only make children’s clothes. All the patterns were for little girls, and although the fabric was all very charming, they didn’t have the things I’d need for me, like lots of black. But then I realized that I pretty much am a dilettante sewer who only makes children’s clothes. It’s been about four years since I did any sewing for myself. (Which is why I don’t deserve a Bernina.) After accepting the painful fact that I am their target market, I enjoyed looking around. I bought some adorable Liberty prints, and some ribbon with radishes, and some serviceable goods for making tiny pants for the babies: A very soft pinwale black corduroy, and a lovely denim-colored hemp. The owner asked me what I was making as she was cutting the hemp, and suggested I top-stitch the tiny pants in red, because HOW CUTE.

When I eventually got around to cutting out the tiny pants, I contemplated doing all sorts of elaborate things. I could making little bloomers with cuffs that buttoned! I could trim the pants with radish ribbon! I could add pockets in an adorable contrasting fabric! I could top-stitch in red!

And then I thought about lunch.

Back in the day, before that unknown commenter wised me back up, I’d been making all kinds of elaborate shit for Bun Bun’s lunch. And she just threw it on the floor. The more effort, the faster it went on the floor, and the more horrified her expression.

The best way to ensure that she would behave as if the pants were made of burning acid poison was to put a shitload of work and love into them. The only way to have any chance at all of her wearing them was to make them as simple as possible. So I did. Except I had to put cuffs on because I love cuffs. And a little ribbon tab to tell front from back. BUT THAT’S ALL.


Perfectionists will note that the ribbon tab is not centered with the waistband seam. But if it had been, she wouldn’t wear them.

And she wears them. Enough that they’re all soft and worn now, but being hemp, have not fallen apart. And Bunlet wore his once or twice before becoming too fat for them.


They could use a good pressing. But if I pressed them, she wouldn’t wear them.


27 Comments Post a comment
  1. Now, when the heck do you have time to do all this? Going shopping, LEISURELY perusing fabrics, picking them with your PICKY-PICKY sense, cutting, sewing absolutely LOVELY tiny pants for absolutely LOVELY miss BunBun… What the what, Bunny? I mean, shouldn’t you be working or something? Tenure made you all soft and this… this… Perfect Mother. You are hereby excluded from the slob mums club, there, we’ve cut your card in two! Now, would you be a darling and glue it back together and just erase the name from it for us? We’re in the middle of watching the real wives of something while eating bonbons, as any self-respecting mother should.

    April 3, 2013
  2. Adorable…..damn it….I have an identical-sounding fabric store that is now calling my name….no. NOOOOOooooooo!!!! Gotta go. Bye

    April 3, 2013
  3. Poor, innocent BunBun, already bereft of a mother’s true, pure, self-sacrificing love. To say nothing of fat Bunlet, obviously starving…FOR LOVE. and radish ribbon. Thank heavens he has that giant snake to look to for nurturing.

    Bean has had exactly one pair of pants and one awkwardly appliquéd shirt (appliqué bat for Halloween; shirt originally from someone’s free pile). They will write haunting memoirs, our children.

    (The content by feel thing was a major life lesson from my mother. The others were: how to curtesy, the five basic positions of ballet, how best to stab someone in the chest, and which countries and cities make the best steel for same.)

    April 3, 2013
    • Your mum should start up a Wes Anderson-style mail order fan club. I would totally join.

      April 4, 2013
      • Me too! And yes, I’m pretty sure that Bunlet’s first word will be Snakey.

        April 4, 2013
  4. Those are very cute! Well done!

    April 3, 2013
  5. You know I love a cleverly titled post. This one is no exception. However, you sew? You can tell the difference between polyester and a poly/cotton blend? You know what grosgrain is?! You would even consider IRONING your children’s clothing?!?! Ahem. This level of domestic sophistication makes me uncomfortable, but the fact that you have learned a valuable parenting lesson through a Food Thrown On The Floor comparison is redeeming. And those tiny pants are just adorable by the way. A-dor-able.

    April 3, 2013
  6. Those pants are sooo cute! And I think you have become a very wise Momma.

    April 3, 2013
  7. I can barely put a button back on my pants if it falls off.

    But I love this post. And amen to those parenting lessons.

    April 4, 2013
    • I can barely put my pants back on if they fall off.

      April 4, 2013
  8. Those ARE adorable! (I can also tell most fabrics by feel, though doubtless less well than you; I never worked in a fabric store. It is dead handy.) And wait? You have a SERGER? Envious. Though I should add my mother’s giving me her spare serger this summer. At one point she had seven sewing machines. I come by it honestly; I only have two so far though. The other one’s an old Viking Husqvarna with those insertable cartridges for fancy stitches (MIL gave it to me when she got a fancier one).

    Also, you’ve reminded me that the repair guy STILL has my beloved Bernina (did I tell you it’s from 1954 or so – it was made in East Germany! and it has Bakelite! – and therefore didn’t cost me an arm and a leg? I think my aunt rescued it from a garage sale or something.) and maybe I should call him and ask what the heck WAS wrong with the timing, anyways. Besides how I broke a 120 needle in it. Also the non-computerized ones are SO SO SO much better than that new electronic shit, which is nice and all, but my machine is made *entirely* of metal. Yeah, it only does 20 stitches, but I’ve also only had it repaired twice since 1998. Once was a new flywheel belt. So maybe one day you’ll run across a nice used one. In fact, someone I know here just got the 1975 version of my machine, and it’s fantastic.

    Ahem. Lengthy sewing machine digression aside, you DO deserve a Bernina. Everyone who sews deserves good tools!

    I find the advantage of sewing children’s clothes is that they’re tiny and not very complicated. I never have time to sew adult-sized clothes. When your children are less ‘larval bag of need’-ful? At least that’s what I tell myself!

    April 4, 2013
    • Well…I guess it’s a comfort to know you’re not making your children live on oatmeal and useless bottles of grapefruit seed extract so you can buy fancy sewing machines. Also, stop sewing rhino hide. Endangered!

      April 4, 2013
  9. What adorable tiny pants! I’d love to make tiny pants. But there is this thing called time… I still only have 1 page for Monkey’s quiet book, which is looking less and less likely to be a birthday present.

    Also, it is highly cost ineffective for me to make tiny pants. I can buy them in a few minutes for like $6, but I can’t make them for that price!

    They are damn cute though.

    April 4, 2013
  10. um, yes, i too would like to know what this magic portal is from which you draw forth extra time? because, as my children would say “pees, peez, pees, PEEEEEEEEEZ” show me how to open it!?!? after a significant energy investment in internet-perusal, i acquired The Most Perfect fabric to cover a cushion for a bench in one of the boys’ room (bears!). Approximately 5 weeks ago. A cushion cover. Wanna take a wild stab as to whether or not that cushion is covered? Sigh. But i don’t hate you because i’m overwhelmed by I WANNA PINCH THOSE CHUBBY FEET AND POUTY LIPS feelings. and oh, the hair. I bet she just lets you brush all those tangles out without a murmur of complaint, eh? 😉

    April 4, 2013
    • You are lazy and selfish, clearly. The magic portal involves having an easy and luxurious life, and only one toddler. Whaaddayou talking about, tangles? My child’s hair is all perfect and smooth, and always looks tidy!

      April 4, 2013
  11. I can only go as far as cotton vs extremely high thread-count cotton (thank you, short stint in fancy bedlinen store), so I am astounded at your fabric-touching skillz. And your pants-making skillz. I have made the kid one pair of pants, and they are so embarrassingly shit that I can’t even send them to childcare with him to be destroyed.

    PS, Ironing is for suckers.

    April 4, 2013
  12. I am Completely Impressed. Did you really make those? Like, by hand, yourself? – I feel like shouting at you from afar. Also: you’re a genius! It’s funny, people do this to me with the cartoon stuff, and I say, well, yes, I learned to do it, like any skill. Anyone could!
    You might think this would offer a useful parallel, but no, I am still All Impressed and A Bit Wistful that I could too.

    It’s good to know Little pants are like lunch.

    April 4, 2013
  13. I am once again impressed by your craftiness!! My one foray into sewing (in the second grade) ended with me sewing something to my actual person. It’s funny how something on the smaller side – like a lovely fabric shop opening – can make all the difference. And walking distance is a nice, nice bonus (especially now in, fingers crossed, burgeoning spring).

    April 4, 2013
  14. Ana #

    Color me impressed. By the sewing, the finding of time for said sewing, and the invaluable parenting lesson contained within the whole episode. Oh, also the clever title. I was initially thinking they were just so tiny and nomm-able, but…I actually learned something re: toddler behavior. Seriously, WHEN do you get around to sewing? Must be the same time that I’m settling down to watching yet another episode or reading just another chapter of something-or-another every night. Hmmm….

    April 4, 2013
  15. Great pants. I have a scarf that I have been knitting for approximately three years. Is Bun Bun still flinging food? S flings food a lot. The worst is now he says “I fling it!” Sigh.

    April 5, 2013
  16. SRB #

    Ah, the fabric store elitist is lower on the “insufferable asshole” scale than the wool store elitist. I WIN!

    Please make me the exact same pants? Pretty please, with radishes on top??? I will knit you something, I SWEAR. 😉

    April 5, 2013
  17. Maybe you can start a pattern co-op with me if I were ever to have a girl to wear such things.

    We do have such places here in Madison and I’m expecting so in Boston too. Still I’ve never had a good clothing use for a Liberty print.

    I love sewing. Instant gratification for the use of time spent. It’s even better when adorable children can wear item reminding you of such.

    April 6, 2013
  18. That sounds like an awesome store! And a great lesson learned, too.
    Also, I’ll have to admit that I own a Bernina, but haven’t sewed a thing since moving here. Sigh. So you would clearly deserve one more than I do.

    April 6, 2013
  19. Oh, tiny pants! Is there anything more heart-melting? I am reduced to quivering jello. (Yes, I am pregnant. Why do you ask?) Like everyone else I am impressed with your domestic prowess. I want to be all “me too, me too” about it, but sadly I am still stumbling along as a beginning sew-er. Sleeves totally stymie me, I just learned how to change the needle on my sewing machine, and I definitely can’t tell fabric content by touch. Unless it’s something totally obvious, like polyester pretending to be linen. ANYWAY! Those pants are the adorable-est.

    April 7, 2013
  20. your post + the bernina website sure makes one want to learn how to sew. But the tiny pants I would make would end up being just cloth with some stitches on them, not even on the same continent as pants.
    Did you learn to sew as a child or is it a skill you picked up as an adult, something you set your mind on like geography?
    Those tiny pants are beautiful! Bun Bun is beautiful!
    And keep those parenting lessons coming, please. Some of us are gaining all of their parenting acumen vicariously.

    April 9, 2013
  21. God, i love you bunny.
    And I also LOVE grosgrain ribbon.
    The pants are awesome, I love the thrill of walking around a new fabric store. Love love love it, there’s so much hope in those walks, you dream about what you’re going to sew (and hey sometimes you even follow thru on the dream, bonus). Anyway you are very wise as always . X

    April 10, 2013

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