Natural. Rugged. Melodic. Tough. Masculine. Canvas. Patched. Storied. Stitched. Art. Relaxed. Raw. Somehow, these words were the beginning of what you see up there.
Boy duvet covers.
They are what had me going on that 500 page audio book the week before the magazine shoot. They’re also what was up with those three empty spools of thread many hours later, those late-ish nights (with great effort, I can make it until 10), those crazy-early mornings (much easier), and that insane amount of fabric and thread all over the floor. They are what broke out as a final design sketched in pencil onto the back of a piece of mail on a late evening just seven days prior to the lights, camera, and action. I may never understand how pressure and creativity can birth such cool things at the last minute.
Although a faint design notion was all I had to go on until that pencil-sketching day, the color plan had been known for quite some time, as each boy had come pre-programmed with his own set of color preferences – mossy greens and gray for the oldest, red and blue for the middle guy, and orange for the youngest. These colors, which are theirs just as surely as their fingerprints, were then tossed in with requests for specific fabric prints: camouflage, football, and guitars, respectively. Striped sheet sets in just-right colors, a gray and a blue, both from Overstock.com, and the orange from Pottery Barn (all discontinued, sadly), and double-washed drop cloth provided large-yardage base layers for the accent fabrics as well as the pattern and colors from the Seven Wonders fabric collection by Parson Gray.
It was the design, I think, that brought such disparity of color, ideas, and prints into a cohesive order. And whoever first called it a ‘design process’ certainly knew what she was talking about. You lay fabric out this way, then that way. You drum your fingers against your pursed lips; you try another layout. You walk away and do something else entirely (but really, the gears are always turning), then you come back and try it again.
By this particular evening, I had thus far scrapped four or five ideas. They were all close, but not quite. So I kept going. Kept the process open, left it room to unfold (but, yes, also kept in mind that this had to happen, um, SOON!). Interestingly, after I’d decided to take a break and peruse Pinterest – just my random feed (which has nothing at all to do with sewing) – that it all came together in my mind. Form and color and layers that I saw in architecture, landscapes, and interior design sired the final sketch that ran off my pencil point soon thereafter.
And even then, I wasn’t sure if it would work. After I laid patches in random patterns over the drop cloth base and sewed them down, I still didn’t know how it would be in the end. But it felt like a true conversation that I was willing to continue. Some fabrics were a bit loud, so I turned them over, wrong-side out, so they’d quiet down. I left the patch edges raw and didn’t worry too much about keeping stick-straight seams while sewing them on. I machine darned would-be holes with rich black thread. I left open spaces for monograms and birth years (have you noticed how boys like numbers?)
All this because these things under my hands were more than cloth pieces sewn together; they were my interpretation of my boys. These bed covers spoke of their wandering paths, their frayed edges (I think of boy jeans, worn hard with frayed knees and cuffs), and their unplanned days that always end up weaving into perfectly boy-fit lives.
Loft Update! I will be showing snippets and sneak peaks of the loft now and then over the next few months as we lead up to the full reveal with the upcoming release of the magazine! Thank you so much for being patient! You’re the BEST!