Velocitoddler || Unisex Baby and Kids Clothes || Made in USA

clothing for young terrestrials

Sewing

Exclusive Artwork: The Cuttlefish

Down to Business, SewingTabatha HansenComment

For the last couple of years, I have been yearning and avoiding printing my own artwork for the shop. Yearning because I’ve been drawing and painting for years and my work is the perfect amount of weird and fun for kids and adults, avoiding because it means committing to a risk that is much higher than selecting from bolts of fabric printed with artwork I already like (Charley Harper’s work, specifically). The biggest thing that differentiates VT from other online boutiques is our vision of what gender “neutrality” looks like, though, and what has been happening in my brain is now so far from what has been happening in our real-life inventory that it’s time for a makeover.

The original painting, snapshotted on my broken phone with a breath of relief I had accomplished this beauty how I intended.

The original painting, snapshotted on my broken phone with a breath of relief I had accomplished this beauty how I intended.

The first print I have created is of my favorite cephalopod, the cuttlefish. This creature has the ability to change its skin’s color and texture, and uses this camouflage to hide itself from prey for mealtime and for mating. Males have been observed to change up their do like female cuttlefish to avoid being attacked by more aggressive males. Scientists have found that the female cuttlefish dig this, and it keeps the males alive. They swim using a wiggly, ripply wave of fin that encircles their bod, they can turn their eyeballs to look behind them, and their tongues are swift, absurd coils. I adore this monster.

While I have admiration for clean, geometric art, it’s not how I feel inside and it’s not what I think of when I look at dribbling, chubby wobbling babies dancing and children flying across the park.

The print was created with a gauche line painting in black. While I have admiration for clean, geometric art, it’s not how I feel inside and it’s not what I think of when I look at dribbling, chubby wobbling babies dancing and children flying across the park. Charley Harper’s work is minimalist and colorful—a combination I am captivated by, but does not come naturally by my own hand. It is likely I will occasionally source work of his when I am compelled, but potentially only for personal use instead of for our brand. His work, after all, is not exclusive to Velocitoddler.

“What are you doing? What is that face? Why are you smiling? Who is making you smile for pictures? Agh just look at me!”

“What are you doing? What is that face? Why are you smiling? Who is making you smile for pictures? Agh just look at me!”

How is this fabric printed?

The company I love to work with is called Spoonflower. Many people sewing for themselves browse oodles of designs offered by artists. Every month, a new challenge is offered for designers to compete in and users to vote on. It’s a company that allows people to print as small as a 5”x5” piece of fabric up to hundreds of yards. It is accessible to individuals or companies alike, their eco-friendly method of digital printing uses 100% biodegradable inks, and it feels good to buy from a company who does its work in the United States. As our business grows, we intend on continuing to source and work with USA businesses who keep their business here as much as we can. Because our textile milling industry took a serious dive a hundred years ago and has been mostly outsourced, many of our materials will continue to be imported, but we are committed to keeping manufacturing here. We have a local apparel manufacturer here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I cannot wait to see our growth reach a point to help support our local economy.


Baby bats drink milk, too!

Baby bats drink milk, too!

What is coming up?

The next print I am working on is a project that is heavily influenced by my kid: bats! It has been about six months of reading books about bats before bedtime. Did you know that their wings are actually hands, and they catch bugs in the air to toss them in their mouths? They eat half their weight in insects with every flight. Many of them are downright adorable, some have peculiar, buggy eyes, and they are the only mammal that can fly. This print will be one I am creating with gauche as well, but it will likely have only one colorway, unlike the cuttlefish in two (purple and blue).

What about basic clothing items?

Creating more unique pieces means I’m devoting less time to organic basics, but there are a bajillion of companies out there that offer solid organic clothing. Right now, I don’t mind those pieces taking a backseat to the fantastic creatures and scenes I am working on. This also means I get to only grab the fabrics that reach out and grab me first to make tonal clothing out of. Right now, I’ve got three unusual colors of corduroy that look like 1990s Nickelodeon and they pair energetically with the cuttlefish. They will be chopped into pants with a roomy crotch and legs, with elasticized ankles and waistband and huge important pockets. My kid calls them “comfy pants.” Pair a color of kiwi corduroys with a purple cuttlefish raglan and kid will look rad.

(insert picture of that combo ASAP!)

P.T. 1

Sewing, Life Outside(ish) BabyTabatha HansenComment

Sometimes I think I've let my bad attitude gobble me up. Presenting, Positive Thoughts 1! 

It's late at night. It's early morning. It's 12:30AM and I'm up, reading blogs. Two blogs specifically have been at the forefront of my clickery the last few weeks. By the way, I write this from Disney World, which I have to say is capitalism at it's best. I feel like I'm in The Truman Show but I can't determine how far away I have to drive from here to finally hit the wall.

Also, I'm in a Jim Carrey mood. The guy is not only hilarious, but a cutie pie, too. I wanted to be him in Dumb and Dumber and I wanted to be with him in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. 

This clip!

Back to what I came here to share in the first place: two blogs that have been siphoning my brain over this past week. 

1. Lucky Lucille. She crafts a lot, a lot a lot, but she doesn't ping my CWB (crafty white bitch) radar. Her good attitude is not only endearing, but respectable. Many people with good attitudes strike me with neither of those qualities. I've been reading mostly for inspiration of creating a "memade" wardrobe, I think that phrase goes along with a hashtag, but I'm not quite at that social media stage of development, yet. Maybe you aren't either. "memade," pretty simply put. Something made. By you. Or me. With the hashtag, it transforms from simply a personal accomplishment to a public accomplishment. My beautiful fabric arrived weeks ago, and after a severe fight with my last printer (which involved punching it until it stopped making happy noises), I was out of a means to print the pattern. Since we're already bleeding dollars on credit, I'm going to tuck in a new printer and call that a trip expense so I don't agonize over the cost in a separate financial conversation. Back to Lucille. This lady makes me want to make things. 

2. Fashion Incubator. I've been dreaming of transforming my business from a stay-at-home-mom adorable project into an actual, serious business, where I turn my work space into a work shop and turn this into an endeavor that will support a livable wage. This woman writes a whole bunch of technical manufacturing industry shit and I'm digging through all this information to piece together what will improve my business. I am going to be teaming up with one of my best friends to hopefully share new items, like baby zines (BABY ZINES HOW FLIPPING NEAT), posters, and prints. I've wanted to carry printed items for a while now, and it's time I do. My two biggest visual interests are the modern art movement and 90s grunge. Mid century design has huge appeal, but so does squiggling way way out of the lines. Modesty and it's opposite rule my canvas. I'm moving out all my small cuts of fabric, so there will be lots of one-of-a-kind listings as we get into April, and after that more made-to-order items will crop up. 

I just turned on the light in the bathroom and leapt back when I saw myself in the mirror. That means it's time to read until my eyes itch and I feel like I am drunk, Ken Burns Effect applied to everything I look at. 

The book I'm reading, and wearing down (how is it peeling apart, I've only been reading it a week) is 

It's Lifetime cover doesn't match it's meaty insides. I liked the movie, which led me to read the book, and in retrospect the movie is terrible and the book is delicious. It's Cheryl's account of wiping her slate clean in her 20s after her mother dies, her marriage dissolves, and she becomes a puddle of heroin. Hiking the PCT is now on my to-do list, but since I've got a toddler it looks like I've got a couple decades to go before being able to realize this goal.

Sewing for my Spawn

Sewing, Down to BusinessTabatha HansenComment

I resent my business with about equal frequency as I enjoy it. I hate that it takes time away from hanging out with my kid, I hate that it's led to me creating a weird crafty white bitch persona at markets that depletes my personality into a one-dimensional "mom" who uses her adorable "model" for "inspiration," I hate that it's become a defining thing about myself and I don't like at all what that image of me is. It's not me. 

I am inspired by the ugly, I love the sweet spot where hideous has looped around to become captivating, where old things mix with new and they hug instead of clash. The careful mess. 

Most people have no interest in putting the things I really love on their new squishes, unfurled from the womb, scent unfaded. Most people love creamy, huggable animals with googly eyes floating away in baskets, arms outstretched. Most of the time, I cater to these people. A custom order doesn't bother me. It's that I go out of my way to buy these things I loathe to set out at markets because they sell and I feel like a huge liar. 

I make tiny shoes because they're funny. I make all the tiny things because they're funny. Infants are hilarious. Yes, cute, but mostly they don't make any sense. They didn't exist, and then they did, and they don't have muscles and they're mostly ugly and they seem to vibrate when they get excited, no, they do vibrate, and I want to make tiny things to dress them in because I simply adore the disgusting creature that is a new human.  

Sewing shit that I know will sell makes me a liar. It's okay for people to like those things, I even bought some of those things for my own tiny thing, but it's not okay for me to compromise myself. I've been saying I don't want to compromise myself, but I've done it in every single aspect of my existence. 

Tonight, I stayed up incredibly late to make things for Iris, something I rarely do because I'm so busy lying around, agonizing over ineffective self-created scheduling, all the while depleting calories and failing to replenish them. Two years later, I made a pair of boots and a necklace for her that reused the wooden balls from a teething necklace one of my customers gifted me. 

Currently, I feel okay about it all. I don't feel okay about my photo setup happening right now, my camera seems to be crumbling by the day, the ISO sensitivity becoming numb or something and it only takes grain-free shots in direct sunlight with stark shadows. 

I mean. 

uggh

uggh

Get in the corner, little boots. Outta my visual field. 

blagh

blagh

There were some less infuriating shots I took. Let's all look. 

The boots are stinkin cute. I made them with a fabric scrap I've been holding onto for three and a half years. Once, I made a bandana with it and sold it at the market. Instant regret. These fucking boots and huge bead necklace? Redemption. 

A few months ago, I learned that I can use all the trash ads that won't stop spilling through my mail slot for some sort of stabilizer for sewing leather. I fish for the RedPlum ad, cut out another set of toe and heel with it, lie it on top of the leather, and it feeds through beautifully! Even. Fucking. Stitches. 

A few months ago, I also learned I've been using the wrong size die for my snap setter for three years. Now, I use the right die and the snap sits IN it, not sort-of-precariously-wobbling-and-shooting-out-of-the-press-like-wet-soap. Your snap setter not feeling right? Probably because you're an idiot who should have read the instructions. 

These little boots run about 2.5 hours to make, 3 hours including cutting out and ironing all thirty pieces of fabric/interfacing/batting involved. I've been feeling like kicking the price up to $40 is coming, right now they're at $36 but it's an unfair price to pay myself. Current range is $32-$36, and I think $40-$45 would be fair, considering I use interfacing as well as batting, everything is top-stitched, that's real leather happening on the sole, toe, and heel, and these boots feel good. They feel really, really good in your hand. I also am still sending all orders out with handmade bags that coordinate with their items, as I dislike wrapping up things in paper and plastic, which will head straight to the trash or recycling or your kids mouth or even better the floor for two months, lazily pushed around or stepped on repeatedly until someone asks someone else why we don't they just pick up the trash and suddenly they're questioning their relationship of themselves in the universe and in relation to one another and so forth. 

Three hours of my life should be worth $40 is all I'm saying. 

I think I'll hold off on charging my kid for them, though. She'll "inspire" me by "modeling" tomorrow in the park, where I've promised myself I'll go instead of doing the things I did today which were thoroughly unsatisfactory to her. The things involved Chipotle for lunch and dinner and bingewatching Hannibal. In bed.