Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Elephant & Piggy

I've been sewing again and it feels great to not be doing it on a deadline!

I just love the Once Upon a Thread series Katy runs over at No Big Dill, where her and other bloggers create clothing and crafts inspired by books. It combines two of my greatest passions, sewing and children's literature! I thought I would join in on the fun. (What? I'll take any excuse to sew something for Drew!)

We are big Elephant & Piggie fans. Mo Willems is a genius.

The first book we read from the series is My Friend is Sad. It's also a special book for us because it was the first book Drew was able to read independently (besides those silly little phonics readers that aren't real literature anyway). The Elephant & Piggie books are perfect for beginning readers who need practice reading fluently (easily, smoothly, and with expression). In contrast, some children are so focused on "sounding out" words, that they sound choppy and stumble over the text. Think the kid reading on Billy Madison ("T-t-t-today Junior!"). Just try reading these books without expression!

Okay, don't get me started about children and reading. The first grade teacher in me gets all excited! Let's talk about the dress...

This dress is inspired by gray elephant and pink piggy, which is such a perfect color combo! Sophisticated, but girly. I had a completely different dress design in mind using solid gray and a solid pink and actually had both bolts in hand walking to the cutting counter when I happened upon this striped woven gloriousness. I practically dropped the other bolts right there on the floor. Because first of all, it was on clearance! And second of all, I am a complete sucker for stripes. You would be disgusted to know how much striped clothing I have bought for myself and my two children.

I played with the stripes on the bodice and the pockets to create some visual interest, but wanted to echo Willems' perfectly simple illustrations, by keeping it simple yet playful. No frills. No ruffles. There's nothing flashy about this dress, but it still makes a statement.

Drew was more than willing to be my model once more. She even had a few new moves and poses ready for me...

I am supposed to snap the camera every time she freezes, whether I approve of the pose or not. Thank goodness for digital cameras!

More about My Friend is Sad.

It begins with Piggie who notices that his friend, Gerald, is sad.

And Piggie resolves to cheer him up!

Piggie tries to cheer up Gerald by dressing up as some of his favorite things, like a cowboy, a clown, and a robot. But none of these seem to make Gerald happy!


You must read the book to find out what finally makes Gerald happy again!

Why do I think Mo Willems is a genius? Because with so few pen strokes and minimal text he is able to convey so many emotions, great story lines, and of course, humor. I enjoy these books as much as Drew does. We haven't met an Elephant & Piggie book that we don't love! Not to even mention Willems' Pigeon books.

I am so excited to have found yet another source of inspiration for children's clothing... literature!