Read Across America- The Yellow Wallpaper

We're celebrating Read Across America all week here at Pattern Revolution, and today I'm going to share with you my creation inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper."


I know most people will be making cute little outfits inspired by Dr. Suess or based on some other fanciful children's book with a great story line or gorgeous illustrations. But since the only book my daughter has any interest in (and the one I am forced to read 3 times a day every day) is this book, I am finding little inspiration. In fact, the only thing I am finding is a quick route to the insane asylum. If you're the mom of a toddler with with a fixation on one book that must be read over and over and over, you probably know just what I mean.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Author. Sociologist. Feminist.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Author. Sociologist. Feminist.




Speaking of the insane asylum, have you read "The Yellow Wallpaper?" If not you can get the full text HERE free thanks to the Gutenberg Project. If you haven't read it yet, you're probably wondering what all the crazy talk is about, so I'll give you a little background. Gilman wrote this story in 1890 after suffering from a severe bout of postpartum depression.  The semi autobiographical work is about a woman who is forced by her doctor husband to stay in a room alone to cure her from hysteria. The yellow wallpaper in the room becomes her obsession, and she imagines there is a woman trapped behind it trying to get out. The themes of inequity in marriage and the honest talk about the unhinging results of lack of feminine expression were rather shocking for her time, and make the story both groundbreaking and unnerving.

Time to tie it all together....

This crazy little spitfire is my daughter. She has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Notice the green bruises on her forehead? That's because bangs her head on the floor when she needs more sensory input. Ouch. 


Her speech is delayed, and the lack of expression only fuels her frustration, then crazy headbanging ensues. Her behavior is not typically what is considered acceptable (it actually scares the crap out of most people), nor is it easily manageable or predictable, and due to the challenges of being in public with her, I rarely get out any more. 


When we do get out, we go for a walk in the woods or visit a park where she can run and have free range.


She is not the type of child that does well being contained. And I'm not the type of woman that does well being contained either, so having to be a recluse thanks to her SPD has me feeling like I'm going crazy sometimes too. I just don't bang my head on the floor to cope the way she does, though some days I think it might help.


I chose these particular patterns because Sisboom patterns are known to have a very neat interior finish. Many kids with sensory processing disorder cannot tolerate unfinished seams, so a clean finish is key to keeping them calm and unbothered by their clothing. Both the top and pants have full facings, so the only exposed seams are the side seams and inseam which you can easily convert to flat felled seams to reduce irritation.



The yellow pants fabric is from Hobby Lobby and I thought perfectly replicated the look and feel of the ominous wallpaper. The top fabric is Honey Child from Jennifer Paganelli. The name alone is significant; my sweet baby girl, despite all her difficulties, is still my honey child. With the bright feminine colors bursting out of the yellow background, just like the woman trying to escape from behind the wallpaper, I knew it was the absolute perfect fabric for this project because it represents hope for my daughter and me. We will get through this.


Spoiler Alert: The woman does escape from behind the wallpaper. And I'm hoping and praying my daughter and I can claw our way out too.



You can read my full review of the pants pattern HERE and enter for a chance to win the pattern while you're there.