Over the past week+ or so, I have sewn up a gazillion pair of shorts for the children.
They all seem to have shot up four inches in the space of time it took for us to have a week or warm weather followed by a cold snap.
They are almost universally flat front with an elastic waist back, which is my preferred look on children. Generally, if I’m going to do an all-elastic waist for the girls, I just make a quick skirt. And cute shorts for boys tend to be easier to find at the thrift store, so I don’t feel pressure to provide our son with a mountain of variety in that regard.
I’ve thought a lot about shorts length while I was sewing these. I love a good board short on a boy, and Dana’s boy lengths really achieve the look of a young boy who isn’t being baby-fied (not a word, but you get me). It seems like a goofy thing to focus on, but length is kind of a huge deal, and length on boys can be problematic: he wants to look like a Big Boy, but he’s not really THAT big, and how do I honor his desire to BE big while still giving him space to be little a while longer? I don’t want him to look like a tiny adult, because he’s not, but I do want to respect that he’s a tiny person, who has his own opinions and desires, and clothes give me a chance to do that.
The length on girls can be tricky, too. Our schools have minimum length requirements (nothing shorter than the tops of the knee caps), but summer is hot, hot, hot here, so I want to balance the needs of their school with the needs of their internal temperature regulators.
This is one of the many things I love about sewing. That whole inner conversation you can have as you’re sewing something and step back to look at the finished product and ask, “What is it about this that I don’t completely love? Where is there something to tweak? What does it say about my ideals and values and tastes and desires that I want to change that one thing?” I think sewing can be both smaller and bigger than we make it, you know? That on the one hand, it’s just sewing, and it can be simple and unencumbered and rewarding without being too fraught with deep meaning. And on the other hand, it can change the world, because each time I have a finished project to admire and enjoy, it absolutely changes me.
That is the sweetest part of life. Any of it, all of it, is always both things: big and small, weighty and light, bitter and sweet. What a treat that I can sit down and make something as simple and utilitarian as a pair of shorts, and it can offer me a moment to reflect.
And then a chance to take all these tiny people outside into the sunshine to forget deep thoughts and play.