We’re so pleased to introduce Alissa Bertrand, the creator (and mom!) of the fashionable Jabella Fleur Girls. Serving both Vogue-worthy looks and one-of-a-kind refashioned makes, find out how Alissa creatively collaborates with her daughters to inspire beautiful handmade wardrobes. For many parents who are looking for ways to share their creative passions with their children, we hope Alissa offers you the inspiration you’re looking for.
When did you start sewing a handmade wardrobe for your daughters?
I’ve been sewing for over 20 years now. It was always some household project or every now and then, some sort of garment. I just got back into sewing full time in 2019 and decided I wanted to take my fashion design more seriously and create a fashion line for kids. Due to the cost I started creating little mini collections for my girls because I knew their size and only had to design for them.
Thrift shopping had a big roll in it as well. I would look at adult size clothing and think to myself, how amazing that would look in a girl’s dress or a top. From there, I started to buy the clothing and repurpose the fabric into something else that I wanted it to be. Sustainable fashion and being creative, plus saving lots of money on fabric? I was in! It started off as something to pass the time and has now evolved into a full time hobby for me.
How do Jayla, Ella and Jada express their creativity?
When I’m making an outfit, the girls get to decide on whether they’d like shorts, pants, a skirt or which ever. I also give them the say on which fabric options they like and the colors and pattern print. They definitely have their own opinions on what they like and prefer, all the way down to color and length of the garments.
“It’s so cool! How could they print this on fabric and it come out so well?” – Jada
“My fabric is unbelievable. I never knew it would look like this!” – Jayla
“It’s amazing. I made that!” – Ella
As your daughters have gotten older, have you noticed their creative outlets change?
As the girls mature and have gotten older, they have definitely had more of a say on what they like and what they will and will not wear. It can be fun to watch the process on what they once loved and would never be caught in again. It has also shown that they believe in me as their designer and personal seamstress, to allow me full access to designing, because I do know them well and I can design what they will wear and love.
Have any of the girls expressed an interest in your creative outlets?
Each girl has taken interest in wanting to sew for sure. I have also given them time to play with fabric scraps and mix and match what they please. That is truly the reward, when they mix and match fabrics and come up with ideas that I might not have thought of. I have also shown the girls how to sew on the machine. We started out by cutting patterns and then putting everything together with the machine. Now that I have a lot more time with them due to the Coronavirus, it gives us more time to be together and hangout, plus do something we all enjoy immensely. I have many ideas for them over the summer as well, plus it will give us a way to use up all the fabric scraps and still continue to be sustainable through our style in fashion. They have also come to realize that sewing takes time and is a process.
What is it like to spend quality time with your daughters as they model the garments you’ve made?
We definitely enjoy the process of deciding where we’ll go to take pictures or who’s coming up with the picture style and aesthetic. This gives us time to discuss and be creative. When we do take pictures, I give them the opportunity to express who they are and how they want to express that. I also allow them to tell me what works for them versus what doesn’t. Sometimes that includes not wanting to be a part of the picture and that’s fine too—BUT that is very rare. The time we spend together is creating memories for us along the way. We get to sit and chat, discuss events and everyday happenings, plus be with each other and get to really learn and know each other as individual creatives
What advice would you give to parents who want to share their creativity with their children?
Children are interested and creative by nature. The younger they are, the easier it is. If you have young children, expose them early on with simple, small and fun projects. Let them sit and watch or help with an idea or color choice to help spark their interest in what it is that you love and they will soon follow. Allowing them to be a part of the process and creative side will also help you bond with them as well. The number of conversations that will come up and funny times is irreplaceable. For older children, I don’t believe it’s too late. They will just have more of an option and that’s good! Give them free range to decide on a starter pattern. Bring them to the store with you and let them choose any fabric they like. Tell them how much fun it’s going to be and all the possibilities they will have with endless creations and creativity. Depending on their age, make it a fun time for their friends to join in and be creative together. You can create all kinds of special events through sewing…spa day masks, room makeover pillows, outdoor tents and fairy decor, pirate costumes—the list is endless. The point is to start, and start anywhere. Just let them be a part of what’s going on.