Fabric Fives: Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage

It goes without saying that options for boys when it comes to buying or sewing clothes are not nearly as cute or varied as they are for girls. That might still be true when it comes to the major stores and pattern companies, but in the past couple years companies like Patterns by Figgy’s have brought all sorts of great boy’s patterns on the scene. (I have their Dapper Dillingers trousers pattern, and I will sew some soon, I will I will!) Add to that the increasing availability of boy-friendly fabrics, and I say no more complaining, sewists!

And if there’s ever a sign that boy’s sewing has arrived, it’s a book from a major craft publisher. PbF’s Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage (and every other DIYer with a little dude or two in their lives) are celebrating the release of their new book Sewing for Boys: 24 Projects to Create a Handmade Wardrobe. You can tell a lot of thought went into the selection of patterns and accessories — all seasons of the year, occasions, and stages of childhood are covered. There’s also a wonderful attention to detail, and even the more formal wear is designed to be comfortable for the kiddo wearing it.

I asked Shelly and Karen to name their Fabric Fives for this stop on their blog tour. Of course they included lots of boy-friendly fabric options …


Five Favorite Fabrics in Your Stash Right Now


1 . Marimekko, Hetkia 191 Black & White (above)
2. Nani Iro, Neutral Fuwari Fuwari
3. An amazing printed knit that doesn’t have a designer or maker name
4. Rowan Shot Cotton
5. Robert Kaufman Kona solid (red)



1. Nani Iro Muji Thick Double Gauze (Rain)
2. Spoonflower Organic Cotton Interlock with Made by Rae’s Whale Print (above)
3. Robert Kaufman Essex Linen (Natural)
4. Recycled Hemp and Organic Cotton (Grey, from Hart’s Fabrics)
5. Italian Shirting (Blue Stripes)


Five Fabrics on Your Wish List


1. Liberty of London Tana Lawn, Poppy Rose (above)
2. Nani Iro, Grey Saaa Saa
3. Organic Cotton Eyelet Knit Cream
4. Pendleton, Eco-wise Wool Fabric
5. Melody Miller, Ruby Star Spring, Bee Nightlite


1. Nani Iro Muji Thick Double Gauze (every color – I’m tragically almost out!)
2. Anna Maria Horner Solid Voile (every color)
3. Liberty of London Tana Lawn Lillian Berries in Lavender (above)
4. Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush Velveteen Queen of Hearts (Royal and Red)
5. Kokka Echino Linen Solids (every color!)


Five Fabrics You Could (or Do) Consume by the Bolt


1. Nani Iro Basic Pocho Knit
2. Pro-Weft Interfacing (Karen got me hooked)
3. Rowan Shot Cotton
4. Anna Maria Horner LouLou Thi Voile - Clippings in Sherry  (above)
5. Any and all of the big rolls of fabric at Bolt Fabric in Portland


1. Robert Kaufman Essex Linen
2. Natural Organic Cotton French Terry
3. Fashion Sewing Supply’s Pro-Weft Interfacing
4. Anna Maria Horner Good Folks Buttoned Up  – Ink is my favorite but I have and treasure a bolt of each :) .
5. Plain ol’ muslin!


Five Most Recent Acquisitions (and Your Plans for Them)


1. Peacock Lane by Violet Craft for Michael Miller. I’m making a few things with this suuuuper cute fabric: bubble skirt for my neice and snack pouches for my son’s preschool class.
2. Denim: back to school pants for the boys.
3. Robot Factory by Caleb Gray (organic) for Robert Kaufman: PJs for the Sewing for Boys Trunk Show
4. Maharam “Precisely Jet” wool blend upholstery fabric to re-cover my sister’s couch
5. The no-name knit I mentioned above … I will make myself a shirt before 2012!


1. Michael Miller Always Peace Canvas (above)
2. Kokka Ouka (out of print Lt. Blue and Red))
3. Kokka Echino Double Gauze Chelsea Print (Purple)
4. Anna Maria Horner Good Folks Buttoned Up (Ink is my favorite but I have and treasure a bolt of each :) )
5. A bolt of Plain ol’ Muslin!


A Favorite Five Fabric Combo


This is not so much of a combo as it is a love and admiration: Daniela Caine, aka Tangerine Samurai, designed most of the fabrics we used in our book. She is an amazing talent and the book would not have been the same without her designs. Her designs are available via Spoonflower.



Thanks SO much, Shelly and Karen! Sewing for Boys publisher Wiley Craft is offering a free copy of Sewing for Boys for one lucky True Up reader. Name your favorite boy fabric in the comments to enter — maybe you’ll inspire another sewist who has never sewed for a boy before! (Hint … some of the other ladies on the blog tour have presented some amazing options.) I’ll draw a winner randomly Friday, September 23, around noon central U.S. time. The contest is open to U.S. residents only.


Follow the Tour …

9/5/11 Made by Rae
9/6/11 Sew, Mama, Sew
9/7/11 The Southern Institute & Film in the Fridge
9/8/11 Elsie Marley
9/9/11 Noodlehead & Oh, Fransson!
9/10/11 I Heart Linen
9/11/11 Anna Maria Horner
9/12/11 Craft Buds, Pink Chalk Fabric , Prudent Baby , Sew Much Ado
9/13/11 Very Purple Person, Quilt Story & Sew Sara
9/14/11 The Long Thread
9/15/11 Susan Beal
9/16/11 True Up
9/17/11 All Buttoned Up & Bolt Fabric Boutique
9/18/11 MADE & Wiley Craft


Update: The winner is Silverlady who wrote, “I think my husband would enjoy it if I made something for our son out of ‘robot factory’.” Congratulations! Thanks to everyone for reading and playing along, and thanks to Shelly, Karen, and Wiley Books for the giveaway!


  1. Jennifer says:

    I’d love to win this for my boy!!

  2. Melissa says:

    Right now I am using upcycled wools and canvas’ for my little boy’s fall and winter clothes, but I also like a red fish blue fish interlock from http://www.nearseanaturals.com and the ML Marsh Collection: Organic Designer Fabrics WInter 2011 flemish blue/charcoal stripe!! Thanks for the chance to win!

  3. silver says:

    I think my husband would enjoy it if I made something for our son out of ‘robot factory’

  4. erin d. says:

    i’d love to win this book! what a fun book tour it’s been! :) i love anything michael miller boy, or some fun echino!

  5. Jeri says:

    My recent favorited is Alexander Henry’s Rush Hour (in multi). I rencently made my younger son’s 1st birthday outfit with it! Sooo cute! I would love a copy of this book!

  6. Shelly says:

    I always loved David Walker’s Robot line. How cute were the little robot dogs?!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    My favorite boy favorite is Alexander Henry’s 2d Zoo in Pool. I have always loved those little animals!

  8. Megan says:

    This is such a great list of fabrics. I can attest to the fabulousness of the recycled cotton/hemp fabric from Hart’s. I work there, actually. I made a pair of sailor style shorts and they are just the coolest. That fabric sews and presses like a dream!

  9. Megan says:

    I love the whole Storyboek collection by Birch. Organic cotton, mmmmm. So dreamy! Especially this one, super cute cheater print.

  10. Alli says:

    I haven’t sewn boy clothes yet, but my favorite boy fabric for quilts is Storyboek! Thanks for the chance to win. :)

  11. Jennyroo says:

    We have been big fans of the Michael Miller disco dots (black and white, and the blue and green colourways!). They are fun, and boyish, but not overly boy “themed” if you know what I mean. I would love to win a copy of this book for my own selfish use – my boys are aged 5, 3 and 4 months. At the end of this blog tour, if the random number generator hasn’t smiled upon me, you can bet I’ll be picking up my own copy!

  12. Sofia says:

    Any fabric that has robots on it is fun to work with for my lil boy.

  13. Alyson says:

    OMG, I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! My fav fabric right now for boys is also the Robot Factory by Caleb Gray, both because it’s robots, and because my son’t name is Caleb. :-)

  14. Bree says:

    Right now my 4 yr old is loving the cammies that I up cycle as his fabric of choice hard to work with but he loves military print love tp win this ty

  15. Karin says:

    I don’t have a favorite boy fabric yet, because I haven’t had anything to sew for my boy until this book!! Haha! I think the Hooty Owl Roll Call in Blue from Riley Blake that I have stashed away for him, though, will be my favorite. I think it will make GREAT pjs!

  16. lee says:

    I like the Michael Miller guitar fabric! cute! thanks!

  17. Melinda says:

    The boy prints in Children at Play by Sarah Jane is my current favorite!

  18. Tara says:

    I like a lot of Michael Miller fabrics and I like the ones shown from Tangerine Samurai. I just love fabric! thanks!

  19. Ginger says:

    My favorite boy fabric is a long discontinued fabric with cars on it. I’ve used it several times.

  20. valerie says:

    My fav boy fabric in my stash right now, is a blue background with red whates that have on white hats. I bought it years ago at Joanns, and have been waiting for the right project to use it!

  21. Erin says:

    I’m loving the children at play boy designs. So cute, love that whole line :)

  22. MJ says:

    My favorite boy fabric currently is Sydilla’s Monster Trucks…the only problem is that it’s european and crazy expensive!!

  23. Carla G says:

    My favorite right now is Ready Set Go! My boys love all the vehicles on that fabric line! This book looks fabulous! Thanks for a chance to win! :)

  24. Roberta says:

    I love linen for boys but right now I am using a lot of my left over cargo pants instead of donating them. I know there are pant patterns on the book that would be great!


  25. Kelly says:

    I really love Kokka cotton/linen blends – they’ve got a great feel and the patterns are great!

  26. Amanda says:

    I really love that your post is about fabrics. I’ve been following the book tour and I’ve seen the projects many times now, but I’m definitely loving the fabric inspiration. I’d love to know what they used to make the Easy Linen Shirt.

    I have a pattern to make a boy’s button up dress shirt and I’d love to get some shot cotton for it. I also want to get the book and make the treasure pants with a cute print… I’m in a coop and hoping that they do some cute prints with helicopters and air planes and foxes and campfires that they were gauging interest in the other week, some were from a collection called Hoo’s in the Forest but I’m not sure that was where all of the fabrics came from.

  27. ErIca Childs says:

    Timeless treasures, crosshatch

  28. wendy says:

    I don’t have a favorite boy fabric. I am usually reusing old shirts to make him some fun pirate pants. {longish shorts} He’s a fan of stripes though.

  29. Wendy says:

    I absolutely love Marine from Birch Fabrics.

  30. mo says:

    I don’t believe in limiting creations for my son to only boyish fabrics, so it’s not an official “boy’s print,” but I often make him things from my stash of Heather Ross’s Mendocino line. My favorite so far is a shirt made of the little seahorses.

  31. VickiT says:

    I just love Alphabet Soup Boy by Zoe Pearn Designs for Riley Blake Designs. Such cute little boy fabric.

  32. Amanda says:

    I’m really excited about this book! I loved Oliver and S City Weekend and am now loving some of the prints from Sarah Jane Children at Play.

  33. Stacy says:

    I don’t really have a favorite boy fabric because I never seem to find any boy fabric! My daughter gets the pick of the store, but my son gets the short end of the stick. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book!

  34. Debra L says:

    My favorite buy fabric would be from Michael Miller Groovy line!

  35. Tammia says:

    I love thick cotton flannel for my boy right now…impending winter, I guess!
    That book looks great–can’t wait to get my hands on it!

  36. Amy says:

    Such a fun book tour! thanks for the opportunity! My favorite fabric would be the whale fabric by Rae Hoekstra – Loved it ever since she featured it on her blog!

  37. Amy says:

    I try not to look at fabric as boy or girl. My 2 year old girl is in love with cars and taxis so I have used a small car print for her little lovey and she loved it. I think this book is a great book for girls as well!

  38. Becky says:

    I like using chambrays for boy clothes. For prints, I love Alexander Henry’s 2D zoo. My son loves a Michael Miller print called rat race as well.

  39. krystina says:

    The new Sara Jane is fabulous and has some great girl and boy prints. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

  40. Kirsten says:

    I love the Melody Miller, ruby star rising viewfinders. I’m trying to track some down for the boys in the blue colorway. :)

  41. Vanessa says:

    My favorite boy fabric is my husband’s old clothes, repurposed into things for my 2 little guys!

  42. Fiona says:

    I love Micheal Miller’s boy fabrics, my favourite would be the dino dudes one. Can’t wait to see Figgy’s new book :-)

  43. Erin Grover says:

    I love anything orange for a boy.

  44. Jennifer O. says:

    I made some super-cute pants for my nephews from Ikea’s hippo print. I also have some Heather Ross goldfish that’s destined for them somehow.

  45. Amanda says:

    I am so excited about this book and offering up fabric choices and sources is even better. I must get this book and get to work.

  46. Rae says:

    I’m drawn to pretty much anything with cute cartoon hippos/elephants/alligators, etc, but I also love the Michael Miller bicycles (esp. the grey, blue, white color scheme).

    I’d love to get this book to make things for my nephews. The nieces are easy, but I can never find anything to make for the boys.

  47. Audrey says:

    Boy fabric is so hard to find it seems! I like Alexander Henry’s 2D Zoo, and the guitars by Michael Miller.

  48. Robin says:

    I love that squid fabric up top from spoonflower, but I recently saw some adorable whale fabric in light blue and orange that was SO cute that had a submarine fabric that matched! Oh, I love it! And can’t remember for the life of me where I saw it!

  49. Liz Mouse says:

    Aside from the occasional gender neutral nursing cover or pair of burp cloths in blue fabric, I’ve never sewn for a boy. I do have a nice stripe fabric from Riley Blake that would make a nice boy item. This book would be a good starting place!

  50. Keri says:

    I love a good solid for boys clothes, but I think Heather Ross’ West hill frogs would make a great button-up shirt!