A Philadelphia father is building a bond with his daughter by sewing clothes for her. Michael Gardner is the creator of Daddy Dressed Me, a fashion content blog featuring designs by the 36-year-old father and modeled by his 9-year-old daughter, Ava. Gardner started creating designs for Ava when she was just 3-years-old, refashioning thrifted women’s clothing.
He was looking for a new way to strengthen his relationship with his daughter and, after seeing his sister sew, decided to pick up the hobby.
After hours of Youtube tutorials, Gardner created his first clothing item, a pair of pants he had sewn from a woman’s skirt. As soon as he saw the look on Ava’s face and the confidence with which she posed, he knew he was on to something. To date, Gardner has created more than 200 outfits for his daughter, often coordinating them with his clothing so the two can match when they go out.
He said his sole focus initially was to help Ava build self-esteem and confidence, but now it’s so much bigger than that.
“We are a team. We collaborate on everything. I want Ava to feel empowered by this experience. She shares her ideas and inspiration, picks fabrics, helps with styling and photoshoot locations. We encourage and motivate each other along the way. Our bond is built on positivity and love,” Gardner told Because Of Them We Can. The debonair duo posts their fashions regularly on Instagram and have since taken their talents to TikTok. Gardner hopes that he can inspire other fathers to find creative ways to bond with their children, regardless of their gender.
“Be present, be consistent and emotionally available. I wanted a son first, but it makes total sense that I have a daughter. Having a daughter opened my mind and heart in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It’s so important to be a great example of what a man is along with teaching her how she should be treated. The quality time I spend with Ava means everything to her,” Gardner said.
He hopes to continue bonding with Ava through creative outlets. He is learning how to do her braids and taking the time to paint her nails. The budding fashionista has already begun sewing herself. She sewed her first dress for her Pre-K graduation a few years back. Gardner hopes one day he will have the honor of sewing for many more of Ava’s memorable moments, like prom, though he stands firm that it’s entirely up to her.
For now, he’s content with just bringing joy to his and his daughter’s lives through sewing.
“My favorite part is the joy of having an idea in my head become a reality. Ava brings the clothes to life, and that’s what I love most about us having this experience together. My creativity means everything to me and having the ability to create and merge my fatherhood experience is the biggest blessing in my life,” Gardner told BOTWC.
This is how people reacted to this post:
Brenda Jensen Robinson – Traditional Wedding dresses ain’t no joke! But God bless y’all, you just might pull it off! Salute Sir!!
Julie Knochelmann Bowen – Love this! My dad sewed a lot of things, including coats, formal wear, upholstery items like chair covers. All beautiful stuff.
Barbara E Garcia Austin – Bravo!!! What a great dad!!! This is awesome!! I applaud this father for finding a way to bond with his daughter.
Paulette Harper – Congratulations big money, and your own money!! I’m so happy for you!!!
This Article Was First Published on becauseofthemwecan.com