A few, erm, years ago, our littlest babe turned one, and to celebrate the bigger kids made her a birthday shirt. Since then, the making of the shirts has become a family ritual we all look forward to. We may have missed a birthday or two with all our crazy adventures in the past two years, but now that some of our kids are older, I am reminded several weeks in advance that it is time to make the new shirts; it’s a bit of pestering that I really don’t mind.
This year, as our third child turned three at the beginning of December, it was starting to look like we might not be able to pull it all together, what with all the Christmas preparations and a special surprise birthday that required a quick trip back to my childhood home. But in the end and even though it was completed in the last few possible minutes, it was done, and I’m glad I had all my helpers pushing me to finish.
It’s sometimes hard to tell who loves these shirts the most, the givers or the receiver!
The process has changed in the few years since we began this little tradition of ours. I still tape a scrap of an old tshirt to a piece of cardboard to stabilize it, but now instead of having at it with sharpies, we’ve purchased a few fabric markers that don’t bleed. The peace of mind I have when I throw the shirt into the washing machine knowing that it won’t ruin any other clothes is totally worth the extra expense in my mind!
As the kids get older, the designs become more elaborate, which makes a bit more work for me in sewing it all together. Where I used to stitch the pieces in place using reverse applique, I now just use a running stitch to attach it to the top. That’s one extra step saved! And unsurprisingly, the only one who noticed or cared was myself.
We have another special first birthday to celebrate in a few short weeks, a last first birthday for our last and littlest babe. I can’t wait to see what the kids come up with!