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Itsy Bitsy Sneak Peek....

I get a lot of questions about why I don't design prints for boys. Its not so much that I make a decision not to, it's just that I find drawing artwork for them a bit tougher. And I always seem to want to use the hottest, sharpest pinks, which doesn't make it any easier. I am so pleased to report that there is at least one print in my upcoming line for Kokka that will work for a baby boy's nursery (maybe two, if the pink piggies aren't too off-putting). And I'll admit it, it happened sort of accidentally.

I set out to design a print around the Nursery Rhyme "Itsy Bitsy Spider", which was one of my babies first favorites. I wanted the composition to have that same "up and down" feel that the song does, and I wanted my spider to be chubby (yet itsy bitsy) and mostly eyeballs, so that he wouldn't freak anybody out. I've been obsessed with the combinations of citron and yellow against taupe and gray, which, turns out, is a prety perfect little boy color story. The results are below. Give it to me straight, would you put this print in your baby boy's room? 

This print is the first of several that I have developed recently that began with solving the puzzle of composition and repeat rather than with an illustration or character. The surprising lesson here, for me, was that this is a great way to build a print that feels more graphic and geometrical, and as a result, more fit for boys. I'm curious to know what you all think....

And if you want to learn more about my method of fabric design, we still have two spots left in the second Photoshop for Fabric Design workshop in New York in April. You need not be an expert in Photoshop to take this workshop, we use only the simplest tools within the application and everyone will work on their own designs at their own pace.

Now back to those chubby, soggy spiders....


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Reader Comments (43)

I am a 48 year old menopausal woman. My youngest boy is 18 years old today. Looking at those chubby, soggy spiders just made me lactate. So, yeah. I would most certainly use that fabric in my baby boys room!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Give it to me straight, would you put this print in your baby boy's room?

I like the trendy grays and yellows, but, nope, I wouldn't not put it in my baby boy's room. Why? 'Cause the guest room that is becoming the nursery is conveniently blue and I have no desire to paint the room. The particular blue I have isn't one that will jive with this particular sample. Well, and I'm really already sold on a theme of stars and rockets. Right now I'm considering spoonflowering my own fabric because searching for a fabric to match my theme and my room's color hasn't yielded any results.

Now if I had decided to redesign the entire room and start from fabric? Hm, actually still not. Grays and yellows just don't jive with my house decor as a whole =\ I'm a blues and greens sort of gal. (Even if baby boy were a baby girl the walls would still be blue.)

The pattern itself though? I love the flow - I think it'd make fantastic sheets and possibly really neat curtains depending on the pattern scale.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanell

Yes! I love this pattern and the color way, it would be nice to have other colors too but this is perfect. More please? (I would also put this for a girl but my niece gets dragons, castles, knights, in addition to fairies and unicorns.)

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKrystyna

I think it is perfect for boys and honestly it is great for boys and girls. As I was reading I was wondering how you could make spiders look appealing, but yours are wonderful - I love it.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I love the spiders and the 'weather' but I think this fabric looks choppy and I'm not real fond of yellow and gray. I'm not crazy about this print but again, I love the spiders.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBonney

I'm not one of those "boys must have blue and trains" and "girls should have pink" kind of people. That said, I know some people are. Using that type of definition, I honestly I thought you did "boy-appropriate" prints well in your early collections. Gold fish and orange/aqua seahorses spring to mind. The dogs and racecars come to mind as well. I'm not sure why people think you don't do "boy" designs? If I were a gender-specific kind of fabric buyer, I'd think this is more of a "we're waiting to find out the baby's gender later" kind of print than a boy print.

Seems cute to me, but everything depends on scale, of course!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I love it - what a cute little itsy bitsy! I love the colours too - perfect for spiders (or girls, or boys). I do find the repeat a little too cramped and busy though. Maybe little itsy bitsy needs a bit more leg room around him? But maybe that's just me.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkim

Love it. A baby boy's room, a baby girl's room, in my case, the boy kitties' room, YES!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCurlypurl

yes I soooo would! And I'm TERRIFIED of spiders. So if I can handle these then they are okay. I like that they are sort of like moons to the sun...at least that is what I tell myself to not be freaked out by them. ;)

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

I'd use that in my 8 year old boys room. He's not young enough for nursery rhymes but spiders and grey plus yellow are 'macho' enough for him! And besides, he likes pretty much anything. He's so easy.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteramy

really digging this fabric! i would most certainly use this fabric and build around it for a nursery!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

If my wee lady Charlotte was a boy, she (um, he?) would have a load of goodies made with these spiders... Great colour combo. As it is, we've just entered a rather hard core singing phase, focused mostly on Itsy Bitsy and anything bird related... So hurry up and print these lovely little spider dudes!!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

No boys in this household, only little girls. I just showed it to my two-year-old, though, and she immediately gave me the puppy dog eyes: "I want to really have that. Can I really have that?" So add another check to the positive feedback column...

I 'm personally such a fan of all your work, and this is no exception. Absolutely adorable.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

I have two boys (3 and 6) and I'd love to use this for them!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterInkie

YES i would put that in my son's room! it's painted gray with aqua and lime accents, and the yellows would play nicely in there too. but honestly i'd rather make him some cozy pajama pants out of it! he loves it when i sing him itsy bitsy spider before bed. it's so cute and different, i love it. i'd use it somehow! maybe lining a bucket hat or a little jacket? yep, i'd definitely use it. :)

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkristin

My boy isn't a baby anymore, but ABSOLUTELY!!! In fact, I'm certain I will have to make something out of this for my son....now to find the perfect project! :) This isn't the first boy print you've designed, but I look forward to more! Really, it's absolutely wonderful!!

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen S.

Brilliant print, Heather. I almost wish I had a baby boy. ALMOST!

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I love the spiders. I love thecolors....On first glance I thought the suns were birch tree trunks and didn't quite get it. I would enjoy more flow between the spiders and less choppy sections of sun....make them flow together more so they create more of a scene. I know it will be adorable. Great wallpaper!

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I think those spiders are really, really cute. I love the design, but not excited by the colours. Whilst I think the yellow and grey look great (and it's really trendy right now), I personally prefer to use a lot of colour for babies and toddlers. I would probably go for a blue, with the same tone on tone thing going on. You could probably work it with a purple or a greeny blue too. What about if the suns get the tone-on-tone treatment, too? I guess it still needs to work in with the rest of the range it goes with, but definitely has potential.

Oh, and up until a year ago, I was the mother of two boys, and no girls, and I still bought plenty of your fabric. Who says you have to make stuff for boys? Is there a rule? I just remembered that I have some rabbits and race-cars stashed here, that's a boy fabric, the lightning bugs range works well for a boy too. The Owl and the Pussy cat is fine for a boy too.

If you want ideas for boys, I would love to see your version of Hey Diddle Diddle with cats and cows and dogs laughing and dishes and spoons running away together.

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarmel

Haha Mary's comment made me laugh a lot!!
I love it, love the cute spiders, and I would probably have all three of my boys (age 4, 9 and 10) demand something made out of it, from a pencil case to a cushion to a hat. I'm not much of a 'themed room' kinda person so I'd probably also make a cushion out of it to put on our family room sofa. Love.
We already have quite a bit of your owl & pussycat and moons fabrics around for our boys :-)

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJane

Not only would I, but I will, if I ever get that fabric in my hands :) I'm certain my soon-to-be four-year-old boy would love it too. Spiders are good. :)

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnja

I dont like blues for a boys bedroom..and this IS JUST BEAUTIFUL and PERFECT!! so YES YES YES!!! I would use it and I will buy it even if my kids are not little any more,Its just gorgeous Heather!! : D

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterishtarolivera

This is adorable. I have a baby boy, but he's almost 11 now (wipes tear). If my boy was still truly a baby, I would be dying to use this for a quilt for him. Love it. Also think it is cute for either gender. I think it would make some cute little pants for a baby boy too, to put over a onesie? Can't wait for all of your new goodies! Would LOVE to come to your photoshop fabric design class, it's just what I want to do. Tell me I can make it through NYC all alone without dying of anxiety?!!! :)

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLori Porten

Actually I would use this not only in a little boy's room, if I still had any little boys, but in a small quantity in another room - say a throw pillow in an adult bedroom or a living room or study. I think it would work because of the graphic-ness of the design. From a distance it looks like dots and stripes but up close you get those adorable spiders. Bonus!

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTabitha

Love this print, perhaps not as wall paper but for fabrics it would be fantastic. And very little boy-ish.

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAna

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