Several years ago, I was putting store bought baby clothes, socks that barely fit over my thumb, little caps that would fit my fist and one -piece baby gear, into the washing machine. This was just days before my first child was to be born. My wife was sleeping upstairs and for some reason I thought, “Why do we have to put our kid in all this standard stuff? How hard could it be to make something different?” I wasn’t thinking about printing creative images on store bought clothes. I was thinking about making something different for the baby.
I kept one of those tiny, store bought, one-piece baby shirts out of the wash and cut out the stitches with my pocket knife. After I had all of the pieces, I traced them on the cardboard of a case of beer. After I had cut out all of the cardboard pieces I traced them on an old t-shirt. I cut the pieces from the old shirt and found a friend to help me sew them together into homemade baby gear. The result was rough, but really cool. I showed that thing to friends, other moms and dads, and to grandmas and uncles. I sought the advice of people who had much sewing experience. After all of that discussion and plenty of trial and error I have developed the process to create up-cycled, one-of-a-kind baby gear from t-shirts. When you send your t-shirt to Paterfamilias it will be created into a completely unique garment made in the United States by real people with scissors and sewing machines.
I should say something about the name. I thought about names to represent the fact that this product is designed by a dad with experience with a hammer and a chainsaw but no experience with a sewing machine. I thought about names reminiscent of construction terms but they were either taken by some other product or they just didn’t fit. While watching a movie I had seen before, I heard a character exclaim, “I’m the paterfamilias!” to his wife who had left him. I looked the word up and it is Latin for “the male head of the household.” The character was certainly not the head of his household and I was a dad trying to figure out a way to do something I definitely didn’t know how to do. The name is meant to be ironic, to express my excitement to be a dad, but recognize my incompetence with all of this baby stuff. I had a lot to learn about babies but I knew it could be cool. The name is hard to pronounce but it is the best name I came across and I’m sticking with it!