Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Grandpere & Me Alligator Shirt

When choosing grandparent names there are a lot of ways that you can go. You can choose the classic "Grandma" and "Grandpa" or the popular alternatives "Nana" and "Papa." You could also go with some short, cute variant on the classics like "Granny," "Grammy," "Granna," "Grampy," "Gramps," and "Granda." In fact there is a website to help you choose your grandparent name.

My parents, however, did not choose one of the traditional names, nor one of the trendy ones, nor one of the playful ones. Instead, they went the international route and chose the French names "Grand-mere" and "Grand-pere." Now, this is not because they themselves are French, or their parents are French, or even because their grandparents were French. No. It is simply because they love France and the French culture.

As you can imagine, it is rather difficult to find cards and presents that say "Grandmere" and "Grandpere" on them, so instead of buying gifts, I go the crafty/DIY route. Since I had made a personalized handprint keepsake for my mother for Mother's day, I knew that I needed to make something for Father's Day that would make my dad feel just as special.

After all, James ADORES his Grandpere (and of course Grandpere adores his James too). A relationship like that deserves to be celebrated. Here they are together watching sports. I love how they have the exact same completely mesmerized expression.

Since I knew that my parents would be coming to visit us for Father's Day weekend, I decided that the perfect present would be to surprise my dad by putting James in a Grandpere themed outfit. It really wasn't hard to pick a design either. My father is also a University of Florida alumnus and is obsessed with all things Gator themed. So, using Photoshop Elements I created a design with a big gator to be my father, a little gator to be James, and the title "Grandpere & Me."

I started with a plain brown T-shirt and used Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 to attach the fabric elements. I then hand stitched around all of the elements with color coordinating thread. The fabrics that I used are a bright green jersey and a white and green patterned flannel.

You can find the pattern for this design here. If you would like to make the same design, but with a name other than Grandpere, you can find the letters you need here.

If you have never used Lite Steam-a-Seam 2, here are some basic instructions:

1. Trace your design onto the Steam-a-Seam paper BACKWARD. Tracing your design backward is VERY important because you will be sticking the Steam-a-Seam to the back/wrong side of the fabric.

2. Peel of the back piece of paper from the Steam-a-Seam.

3. Stick the Steam-a-Seam to the back/wrong side of your chosen fabric.

4. Cut out your design/pattern.

5. Peel off the other piece of paper from the Steam-a-Seam.

6. Stick the fabric element you just cut out to your T-shirt.

7. One you have it exactly where you want it, iron it in place for a permanent hold.

My dad loved the T-shirt that I made for James, and James loved it too. It was just perfect for playing dinosaurs with Grandpere.

And, no. When I got James dressed that morning, I had no idea that he and Grandpere were going to match. It was just one of those lucky coincidences.

Happy Crafting!

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