Sunday, February 1, 2015

Boys CAN Wear Pink Series, a Tutorial and a Giveaway!

The idea that pink is a "girl" color is a relatively new concept. For centuries, babies and young children were dressed primarily in white because it was easiest to keep clean with the help of bleach. And dresses were worn by both girl and boys until the age of 6 or 7.
In the early 1900's, manufacturers started to assign colors to genders. And pink was assigned to the boy team. The reason, it was a strong color much more suitable for a boy. Blue was given to the girls because it was dainty and soft. Right around the time of World War I, the colors shifted and blue was given to the boys and gender dressing became the norm with boys being dressed like their fathers and girls, in dresses and pink like their mothers.

The people who made this decision? Manufacturers and retailers.

Welcome to the biggest and most successful marketing campaign ever.

With parents now buying gender specific clothing for their first born, they stand a 50% chance of having to buy new, gender specific clothing for child number two. Pretty good marketing strategy, huh.

Since the baby boomers, children have been coded in their blue and pink and trucks and flowers. There was a brief time in the 70's that girls were dressed more gender neutral and pink was abanded in the name of women's liberation. But that trend didn't last long and pink made it's way back into girls clothing a couple of years later.

So with all that being said,

Truth is, they CAN! It's just a color. It is not an identifier. Color does NOT have a gender.

People dress little girls in blue without questioning what type of person a little girl will become, but dressing a boy in pink makes him "girly" or a "sissy". And why is being a girl a negative thing? It's a terrible view! Sadly, there are little boys who are ashamed to say that pink is their favorite color. They hide it. They love it in secret and tell people a more socially acceptable answer like, blue or red. While girls can proudly exclaim their love of blue or red, or whatever other color they have fallen in love with. It's time to break past the rules that society has fallen into thanks to retailers and manufacturers and dress their boys, in whatever color they like!

Boys CAN wear pink!! And, this month I have a whole list of sewing bloggers lined up to help inspire you to get some pink into your boy's wardrobe.

And sponsors! I have some amazing and generous sponsors for this series. At the end of the month, one winner will be drawn using rafflecopter for one sweet prize package. Curious what's inside?

The prize package includes:
One yard of Stenzo Pit Stop Poplin in pink from Mabel Madison
$25 gift certificate, plus a surprise fat quarter from Phat Quarter Shop
One yard of solid cotton/lycra & one yard of coordinating fabric from Purple Seamstress
One pattern of choice from Paisley Roots
$20 store credit from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop
One pattern of choice from Patterns for Pirates
One pattern of choice from Mouse House Creations
Bottoms Up Pants Pattern from If Only They Would Nap
One Pattern of choice from Titchy Threads

To enter the giveaway, scroll to the bottom of this post.

I also have a coupon code for Mabel Madison for you. Use the code "PINKBOYS" for 15% off during the month of February!

We also have a sewalong happening on Facebook. Share your guy in his pink gear on the Sew for Boys page with the hashtag #boyscanwearpink. There are no prizes or judging. Just a fun way to show off your work and get inspired by others. :)

I'm kicking off the series with a freezer paper stenciling tutorial for this shirt.

It's pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

The pattern I used for the shirt itself is Peek-a-Boo's Classic Ringer Tee. After cutting out the pieces and before sewing together, I did a freezer paper stencil to put the design on the front. It's super easy to do!

You'll need to gather a few things. Something to stencil (our shirt), freezer paper, fabric paint, cardboard or something to place under the fabric you are painting to protect the work surface or keep paint bleeding onto the back of the shirt, make up sponge, iron, and electronic cutter or exact-o knife.

I used a Silhouette Cameo to cut out my design. I LOVE my cameo for cutting out freezer paper. I stick the top side of the freezer paper down onto my cutting mat, the matte side, not the glossy plastic side. The glossy side will be up facing you. I find it sticks better this way.
Be sure to flip your design in your software before you cut!

I have an old mat. Lots of old mats actually and none of them are sticky anymore. To make them stick again, I do a really light spray of Elmer's Spray Adhesive to the mat. Do NOT do this on your cutting board, you will have a sticky cutting board. And a really light spray is all it needs. Let it sit for a couple minutes before applying your freezer paper to create a temporary hold. Read the directions on the can.

If you don't have an electronic cutter, you can print off your design and trace it onto the freezer paper and cut it out with an exact-o knife.

After cutting out your design, you need to decide where to place it on your shirt.
To find the center of my shirt, I folded it down the center and ironed a light crease.

Then to keep it straight, I folded up the shirt and ironed, creating a crease where I wanted the top of the design to be.

After you have it marked, place your stencil onto the shirt and iron it into place. Be sure to remember the little shapes inside the letters like B and O. Yep, the middle of the e and a are missing below. They were added. I find it easier to add the middle pieces one at a time, rather than all at once. Then nothing shifts around on you when you aren't looking.

Iron well! The better you iron it down, the less paint you will have bleeding under the edges. Flip it over and iron from the back, also. Really make sure it's ironed well.

After you iron, let it cool a few minutes. Now is a great time to get your paints ready.

I used Tulip Soft Fabric Paint and Anita's Acrylic Craft Paint. I normally use all fabric paint, but I didn't have blue on hand. Some acrylic paints work well for fabrics. Just read labels. For applying the paint, I like to use make up sponges.

Now you may notice that my design does not have the word "can" in it. That is because we are painting in layers. The word "can" is layered on top of "BOYS" and "wear".

Blot the paint onto the fabric. Start lightly. Dip your sponge into the paint, then dab off the excess a bit before applying to your fabric. You want to build the paint up in layers. If you go heavy handed, your paint will bleed under the freezer paper no matter how well you ironed it into place. Go straight up and down with your blotting. You don't want to push the paint under the freezer paper. (notice a theme here?)

Where you change colors, be careful not to get your color into the wrong area.

This is after the first layer of paint. Let it dry between layers, otherwise you are just lifting the paint off the fabric and it will take more layers to get an even coverage.

When you have a nice even layer of paint and, it is dry, carefully peal off the freezer paper.

Beautiful, right! Now, place down the next layer in the design, in our case, the "can".

Again, iron it down well. Be sure to protect the fresh paint from the first layer with a pressing cloth while you iron down the second layer.
Paint the can in. It took LOTS of layers to cover up the blue paint in the first layer.

You can use a hair dryer to dry the paint in between coats if you are impatient like I am.

I got impatient. I used too thick of a coat of paint at times and did have some bleeding under my freezer paper.

 Just take a small paint brush and clean up the edges using the same blue from the first layer.

See, nice and clean now.

Using a pressing cloth, heat set your paint with a hot iron. I iron the back as well, without a cloth.

Now assemble the rest of your shirt and you have a kicking pink shirt for a boy!

Want to make a shirt just like this? It's your lucky day!
Here is the Silhouette file design. This one will only work with Silhouette software.
Don't fret though! Here is the pdf file for those without a Silhouette.

Stop by tomorrow to see our next pink inspired boy's wear!

Giveaway rules:
By entering into the giveaway, you are agreeing to the following rules:
International entries welcome, but winners outside of the US will be responsible for shipping of physical prizes.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be notified via email within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you to all of the sponsors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for including the stencil pattern! I can't wait to make a shirt like this for my boy.

  2. Wahoo! I'm so happy you've decided to do this series. And I'm super excited to see what all of these talented designers have come up with for their kiddos. Gender neutrality is a big thing that my family specifically pushes for (my husband is a stay-at-home dad and we have our own battles to fight on a daily basis with "gender norms" in society) and I adore that there are so many people on board with this fun series! Thanks Kelly!

  3. I have been fighting my husband (and society) on this for years! Pink is for people that like pink. NOT just for girls.

  4. I had the cutest button down for my little one.

  5. Ties and button down shirts are great options for boys and men to wear pink! I need to find some pink fabric to make play shirts for my son too.

  6. I love that you're doing this series!! Pink is just a color--I feel like I tell my husband this All. The. Time! Pink is one of my son's fave colors, so I try to use it for accents and for tees. :)

  7. So cute! I've always wondered how to do the stenciling and the info on gender colors was neat to learn - thanks!

  8. Oh and pink vests :) all my groomsmen wore them

  9. Love boys clothing with pink in it!

    Kim M.

  10. My boy loves pink, he even has a hot pink bike. He is great at telling other kids that "boys can like pink too, its just a color" and he has been accepted for it. My dad is even on board now, after 7yrs of telling him that its totally fine for a boy to wear whatever color he likes! We go for gender neutral for most everything, and lots of bright, happy colors, pink included!

  11. I like a pink button down for my boy.

  12. Gosh, he is just adorable...looks great in pink too!!!! Thanks for hosting this. I cannot wait to see what everyone come up with :)

  13. My teenage nephew does wear pink through funky patterned socks. My sons and former husband had pink neckties, One prison started dressing the inmates in pink because they believed it calmed the men down. Pink Power.

    tushay3 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  14. Both my boys have had pink dress shirts and ties and LOVE them.

  15. My 4yr has no prob rocking some pink💕 id say his fav way to sport pink is....shirts with pink writing, pink polos & "momma jammie pants" he picks the flannel, i make him jammie pants! He said he would wear some with pink stuff on it.... "Just not like princess or ballerina stuff!"

  16. Such a fantastic series!! I'm not a big pink girl myself so I do pink in moderation. A little splash of pink either in an applique or a highlight in a print.

  17. Fantastic series! My 3 year old loves pink, he has pink sweats and a coupe shirts and I am so happy to see others showing it is okay for boys to wear pink! He saw the pictures in your post and was excited to see another boy wearing pink :)

  18. What a fabulous post!! I had no idea about the history of assigning gender colours - it just goes to show how marketing can completely influence our lives! I'm so excited to follow this series - I really wanted to join in but unfortunately knew I wouldn't have the time right now. I can't wait to see everyone's amazing creations :)

  19. What a fabulous post!! I had no idea about the history of assigning gender colours - it just goes to show how marketing can completely influence our lives! I'm so excited to follow this series - I really wanted to join in but unfortunately knew I wouldn't have the time right now. I can't wait to see everyone's amazing creations :)

  20. What a fabulous post!! I had no idea about the history of assigning gender colours - it just goes to show how marketing can completely influence our lives! I'm so excited to follow this series - I really wanted to join in but unfortunately knew I wouldn't have the time right now. I can't wait to see everyone's amazing creations :)

  21. I love it in stripes fr boys.... so its there, but subtle.. love this tutorial.

  22. I loved seeing my son in his fitted cloth diapers that were handed down from his sister. She had plenty of fun, bright prints that looked fantastic on him.

  23. Love this series! I'll have to see if my boys will wear pink, they're pretty picky.

  24. Love this idea! My little boy pointed at the pink in the fabric shop the other day and I've been wondering what to make him. I love the pink t shirt with funky logo idea :)

  25. When it came to the marketing of Gender Specific colors in regard to clothing, blue (and its variants) was considered to be the feminine color while red (and its variants, including pink) were considered to be the masculine. All of that changed in the 1960s and the rise of Second-Wave Feminism.

    In fact, a June 1918 article from the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

    When the feminists came in the mid-1960s, with its anti-feminine, anti-fashion message, the unisex look became all the rage until about 1985, when the feminists insisted that only girls can wear pink.

    Seriously, can they just make up their minds already? Or are they not done shooting themselves in the foot yet?

  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  27. WOW! nice Color choice for boy kids pink wear. lovely little
    Boys Fashion Wear


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