Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Shirt in Progress

It’s that time of life again when the 24mth Naartjie hoodie that looked perfect last week, suddenly wraps Joaquin’s belly like a tight (and short) hug. Also recently, Don Joaquin has decided that there’s nothing more disgusting in life than a cotton button–up shirt. Knits only! — he seems to demand. Is this an indication that he’s going to turn out as ultra–sensitive as his dad? … Perhaps… It could just be that blooming Lion King attitude, of which I just can’t get enough (NOT).

So I have three handmade jersey raglans in the works, and preliminary plans for the three motifs are: The Little Prince (by me), Angry Flower (by Joaquin), and perhaps some topographic abstract design for number 3.

But I’m stuck.

shirt mockup illustration closeup

Obviously, I’m not trying to go for any close resemblance to Saint–Exupéry’s original illustrations (I don’t want to get my butt sued by his descendants), but I’m totally inspired by the concept of the little prince watering his very special rose. And so, because my illustration has these very tiny details, I initially struggled with whether the shirt should have the whole design, or just a larger crop of it.

Joey thought I should keep the whole planet and I kind of agree; without the planet, this would look like just any kid, not my very special Little Prince. But including the whole planet means a tiny prince figure. So now I’m struggling with the decision of which technique to use for the transfer… Screenprinting, reverse appliqué, regular appliqué, embroidery perhaps for the rose… I think that appliqués are cuter and more special than ink, but a screenprint would perhaps retain more of the tiny details.

While writing this post, I’ve played a bit with the design. The planet could certainly be smaller; I mean, Saint–Exupéry’s illustration of B 612 doesn’t leave room for a house, so why should mine… Arg!… A decision needs to be made… I’m so itching to try my new serger!


  1. On , Jennifer W wrote:

    I like the overall feel of your illustration (I’m not at all familiar with those of Saint-Exupery, however). The only thing I keep thinking with it, though, are the two little – mountains? Volcanoes? The way they’re positioned makes me think of those Japanese ‘cat’ anime-style things, as they look like little kitty ears.

    SO, not a criticism… just a curiosity. I really love the idea and especially the colors you’re playing with.

  2. On , Maria wrote:

    Yes. The little Prince has three volcanoes in his tiny planet. At first, I had all three. Then I decided to leave only two (the other one is on the other side of the planet). But in the final shirt I went with three. All along, I had your exact same impression of a Japanese cat. HA! HA!

    In the end, I changed the scale of the illustration from what you see above, and I really like the final result. Will post it soon — I’m trying… Working right now on a big project (monumental for a full-time mommy trying to start a part-time business). Exciting stuff though! Can’t wait to share the news…

  3. On , Vivienne wrote:

    Ohmigosh!! I love the Petit Prince shirt!! So adorable! And in a funny way, the ears/volcanoes thing works for me… it reminds me of a strange and lovely animated film we saw, My Neighbor Totoro. :)