It’s been ages since I put my looks together for Stylo, but I wanted to share a little bit about them on my blog. You know, since making them consumed most of my brain during the Christmas season. Just trying to pick fabrics and come up with a direction for the shoot was enough to melt my poor brains. Then there was the act of trying to get editorial photos of an infant who can’t sit up yet and keeps puking on his outfit, and a 3 year old who can’t control the large and erratic flailing her body seems to produce for every waking minute of her life.
All that considered, I think it went pretty well! Lol.
To start with, I made this backdrop out of cardboard, gesso paint, and paint from a little sample jar I already had from Home Depot. I just wanted something neutral and clean, yet kind of wintery and graphic.
You can still see the tears in the poor little man’s eyes in the above shot. He’s wearing the raglan style sweater I made him from the Brindille and Twig pattern shop
The fabrics I used were organic solid knits from fabric.com in a charcoal french terry and cream baby rib. Both out of stock. The graphic is my own design, done with a freezer paper stencil. I kinda like how the black on the mustard triangles looks like I rubbed charcoal on it. I just used black acrylic paint and dabbed it on over the dried mustard color. This spoonflower print was my inspiration.
His harem pants are also a pattern from the brindille and twig shop. They lose some haremy-ness with the diaper butt. I wasn’t planning to include this insane flannel from Dear Stella but wound up buying some when I made an order for something else. We called them the “crazy christmas pants” because it looked like I had wrapped the kids in gift wrap. They remind me of something Rodney Dangerfield would wear.
Omg. I just love them.
The kids both got faux fur hats made with the Oliver and S cozy hood pattern. It’s not a downloadable pattern, but you can find it in the Little Things To Sew book. It’s not meant to be made with fur, but I just made sure to size them generously to make up for the extra bulk. I love that pattern for all the possibilities it offers. Because I’m a moron, I seem to be incapable of sewing the ears onto this pattern properly. It’s not like Liesl didn’t show pictures of how to do it, and offer notches to guide the placement. I always seem to put them in backwards. So, now they look kind a wonky but still cute.
The kids both got brindille and twig leggings, which I wanted to make with a modern geometric print, but just couldn’t find what I was looking for in a quick economical way. Time was short, so I just got an organic navy interlock and decided to do my own embellishing. Violet got ankle armor in gold paint, and Hawthorne got claw-like jagged gold marks.
Violet is wearing her crazy Christmas pants here with a faux button placket (which I love). I would have preferred a skinnier leg on these, and slimmed them down on another pair I made. I also dropped the crotch more the second time.
Her shirt is the flashback tee in organic charcoal baby rib, with cream baby rib bands. I failed to show it at all in the photos, of course, but I added a Max wild things silhouette to the tee.
Violet is wearing a lap tee made with a brindille and twig pattern. I used this really weird ITY jersey knit from fabric.com (out of stock!) that feels like swimwear. It’s got a cool pattern, and good drape, but it’s just really…..weird. Very silky and slinky. I’m not at all a polyester fan so I’m probably just being a natural fiber snob, but I won’t be doing the ITY thing again unless it’s for swim gear. At least it’s made so it can’t pill. The tee is ribbed with organic baby rib (out of stock but on backorder).
I had this grand vision of a wintery scene wrapped in stringed lights and the kids in fur hats. Dragged the whole fam out to world market for lights. Then at the very end of the photo shoot from hell I remembered that I’d bought the lights and they were still in the box. Glad I remembered because I really like this picture!
Then there’s the direwolf sweater dress. Sometimes a project just satisfies you deep down in your guts. This one did that for me. Being that there was no french terry knit in a black and cream stripe, I decided to just make one. I wanted it to be kind of handmade and arty looking so I ironed freezer paper to my fabric in irregular widths and painted between the paper pieces.
The sweater dress pattern is brindille and twig made in organic ivory terry knit and organic charcoal from fabric.com. After I started sewing it I realized that the pocket feature was FAUX. What the faux, yo? Violet would inevitably think they were real and keep experiencing disappointment she tried to use them, so I tweaked the pattern and made one big tunnel pocket that goes all the way through. You could do this with any sweater I think. Maybe a good tutorial?
This experience taught me some valuable things about photo shoots with kids.
1. Don’t try to force your kids into a style that goes against the grain of their personalities.
In my head I saw this stark, European, modern vibe with kids who look solemn and moody lighting. Violet is just not that kid. She’s exploding with life and the sillies. I was almost in tears trying to get her to stop kicking everything over, making bizarre poses, causing blurry pictures, knocking her brother around. I should have kept the kids separate and the mood light and let things happen. I was just so wrapped up in making things look good so I wouldn’t disappoint anyone that I couldn’t adjust my plans. And poor Hawthorne, he just didn’t like being stuck someplace and having to look at me without being held I think. Because he cried during our photo shoot. A lot. I had to shake toys above my camera to get him to stop crying and look at me for a few seconds at a time.
2. make sure you have adequate lighting
I struggled to keep my camera settings where I wanted them and not get blurry photos. It was dark and wintry here and natural light was weak. Outside shoots weren’t possible because of the cold and my patterns not involving outerwear. Kids move a lot. You need light to keep your shots from blurring
3. Don’t make a busy scene
You don’t want your shots looking cluttered. Less is more
4. Don’t dress a drooling baby, who pukes constantly, in solid gray
Seriously. Just don’t. Every drop of wetness was like an ink blot on a white sheet.
5. Props are good
Give your kids something to focus on besides how much they hate posing for you.
6. Styling and staging your photos makes them better
I think more about how I’m going to style my photos now. How the background will look. Props. That sort of thing. I’m sure this is old news to just about everyone who takes blog photos, but I’m a slow learner. Lol.
From what I hear, Stylo 2 is underway! I’m excited to see what comes of the second edition. It’s bound to just get better, I think!