Introducing the Airplane Dress...

Sometimes a dress is more than just a dress. It can tell the story of the past, and inspire the future.

Meet the female engineers and aviators who inspired our Airplane Dress:

 Lillian Todd

Born in 1865 in Washington, D.C., Lillian Todd was a self-taught inventor who was the first woman in the world to design airplanes. She dreamed of piloting the airplane she designed and built, but her permit was denied. On November 7, 1910, one of her planes finally took flight, flown by a male pilot.

 Raymonde de la Roche

In 1910, Raymonde de La Roche, a French pilot, became the first woman in the world to receive a pilot's license. She was a talented engineer, who loved cars and motorcycles, and was also an actor. Today, a statue of Raymonde de la Roche can be seen at the Le Bourget Airport in France.


 Bessie Coleman

In 1921, Bessie Coleman became the the first African-American woman to receive a pilot's license. She moved to France in her 20s to study flight, and then learned aerial stunts. She became famouns for performing in aerial shows, as was known as "Queen Bess" to the crowds who gathered to watch her.

 Amelia Earhart

Perhaps the most notable female pilot, Amelia Earhart was the first woman to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic. In addition to her interest in flight, Earhart had a strong interest in fashion, even starting her own clothing line. Earhart also helped found the Ninety-nines, an organization for female pilots, before famously disappearing during her attempt at a solo flight around the world. 

 First All-female Crew (U.S.)

In June 1984, Frontier Airlines became the first airline in the United States to have an all-female crew staff a commercial flight. Gloria Steinem sent a note to the two female pilots, one of whom was also the first woman hired as a commercial pilot in the U.S., saying they would encourage the dreams of little girls.


These women shaped the history of flight. How will YOU shape it's future?

Be sure to let us know how our dress is inspring your future aviators! Email photos and stories to info@buddingSTEM.com to be featured by buddingSTEM on social media or on our website.

Create a Tornado in a Bottle!

We had a great time at the science party we hosted with Seattle store Satsuma last weekend! A big hit was the tornado in a bottle activity – great for even the smallest kiddos!

With some common household items, this project goes together quickly. Simple and fun!

Supplies Needed:

  • Water bottle
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Glitter


  • If water bottle is empty, fill ¾ full with water. If water bottle is full, empty it until ¾ of the water remains.
  • Add a few pinches of glitter to the water.
  • Add four drops of dish soap.
  • Replace water bottle cap.
  • Holding the water bottle upside down, move it around in a big circle – this will create a “tornado” inside the water bottle, which is easy to see because of the glitter.

So what causes the tornado in the bottle? There are two things going on. One has to do with how you spin the bottle, and the other has to do with what is inside the bottle.

First, spinning the bottle in a circle creates force that moves the water. Where can it go? So long as you screwed the lid on tight, it can’t leave the bottle. So, the water moves around the edge of the bottle. It is going along a circular path. When something moves along a circular path, it also moves toward the center of the circle. That is called centripetal force. 

The second part to understanding how you created a tornado in a bottle is what is in the bottle: water – or a fluid. When you spin a fluid around a central point, it creates a spiral called a vortex. You couldn’t do this experiment if you filled the bottle with gummy bears. (Though, that would be a much tastier experiment.) 

If you look around, you can see examples of vortices in lots of places. Some are created by very powerful forces, such as a tornado or a whirlpool. Others are not as chaotic, and you can find them in your home. If you fill a bathtub and open the drain, then a whirlpool is created as the water rushes out. You can even see a vortex when you drop a bit of cream into a cup of hot coffee. The swirls of cream are vortices – and look really pretty, too.

So get your water bottles ready!! The kiddos who did this activity with us loved it, and we hope that you will, too!!

Rochelle Ballantyne: Queen of Chess

National Chess Champion Rochelle Ballantyne shares her experiences and insights with buddingSTEM as we launch our Chess Collection -- starting with our Chess Queen Shirt. 
Imagine being introduced to a game at age 8. Before age 16, you are the best in the country.
This is Rochelle Ballantye. Rochelle seeks to become the first female African-American chess master in the U.S. You might recognize Rochelle from the 2011 film Brooklyn Castle, a documentary that follows Rochelle and her chess teammates through a year of chess practice and tournaments. Today, Rochelle is a student at Stanford University and has her sights on law school. 

How did you get into playing chess? How old were you when you started? And, were there many other girls playing?
When I first introduced to the game of chess when I was eight years old. I didn't want to play originally, sitting down at a board for hours wasn't appealing to my eight-year-old self. My grandma told me that I was way too active and so she sat me down, showed me the game and essentially changed my life forever.
The game still bored me but the concept of winning excited me; but I never won. My grandma would always beat me and it made me really upset.
Around this time Chess-In-The-Schools, a non-profit organization, established a chess club at my elementary school under my first coach Ian West. I joined the chess club to learn enough to beat my grandma. I stayed because now there were new challengers and new people to beat. In my elementary school, I remember there were five or six other girls on the team which was cool because I had someone to talk to in a male-dominated sport. As I got older though, the number of girls decreased, which both motivated me and inhibited me in some ways. 

What do you love about chess?
When I was younger what I loved the most about chess was beating people, of course, and the trophies were very shiny. As I got older, the competitive nature and drive remained, but I loved how chess affected my life. The cool places I got to travel to, the people I got to meet, the certain character traits that determined who I am today.
Now, even though all of those other things still apply, what I love most about chess is that it is my one chance for serenity. Chess has always been my sanctuary, it has always been the one time where I can really be in my head and be at peace. I never appreciated it when I was younger, but now that I do so many other things I appreciate the time to just be who I always was and hammer out that victory. 

Tell us a bit about your goal to be the first female African-American chess master -- when did you set that goal for yourself? 
My grandma actually set the goal for me. While chess has always been a recreational sport there were never any clear goals in mind, I just wanted to be the best. My grandmother loves order and regulations and she told me one day, "Rochelle you can be the first African-American female master."
My initial response was "yeah, right", and then my next response was, "isn't there one already?" This was around my last year of junior high school and my interest in chess was already waning, so I didn't think too much of it after that conversation. Then after my freshman year of high school my grandma died and her goal seemed like the only way I could thank her for everything she did for me.  

You have excelled in school and chess -- how did you balance these activities?
Originally when I first started playing my mom and I came to an agreement: I could only play chess if it didn't affect my grades and that kinda stuck with me. Chess was fun, but school always came first. It was cool that chess even helped me in school sometimes, not in math and science like everyone always thinks, but in critical reasoning and logic.

How has chess helped you in school and life? Has chess taught you any life lessons? 
Has chess taught me any lessons? Haha! I can't think of a lesson chess hasn't taught me. The way you play chess determines/establishes your personality. I am a very tactical player and in life the same applies: I think and rethink and calculate everything I do. I'm also a very active player, sometimes I sacrifice a piece in the game to get some play, in life sometimes I decide to do crazy stuff like skydive because I can! I would say chess taught me to be patient but I'd be lying, I'm still the most impatient person I know.
I am patient with myself though, I understand that nothing will come easy and I have to work hard for everything, and that comes with a lot of self-reflection and growth.
I've learned the importance of teamwork. Chess is a very singular game and you're essentially playing for your own advancement, but I was also always playing for my team's advancement to ensure that even if I didn't do well I contributed enough points to the team so that they can come out with a good result. 

Why do you think there are so few women in the higher ranks of chess?
I just think chess is originally a male-dominated sport and there's no real motivation [for girls] to participate since there are so few high ranked women. I also don't think many women know the benefits of playing chess.

What are your educational and career goals and how are you balancing these with your chess goals?
Currently, I'm focused on my LSATs and law school. It's been hard balancing both but now I have a coach who keeps me on track.
Generally, I think you get the most out of things your passionate about and it's so important to be passionate/motivated about anything because it can take you to some incredible places, or it can't, but you'll learn something regardless.

Finally, in the film Brooklyn Castle, you often wear headphones during chess competitions -- what do you listen to? 
I don't have a particular music interest, I just listen to whatever my iPod wants me to! My iPod is a big Kanye fan, so I get a lot of those songs when I play, as well as soca songs (soca is music from the Caribbean, specifically Trinidad where my mom is from).

Do you want to build a rocket?!

Looking for some fun kid activities for winter break? Here’s one we love!

These little rockets use Alka Seltzer and water to make the fuel they need to launch into the air. But first, design and build your rocket using a simple 35mm film canister and other items often found around the house – a fun project for kids and adults to do together!  

Supplies Needed:

  • Film canister (like a Fuji 35mm film canister – without a lip on the outside; empty film canisters can be purchased online)
  • Paper
  • Two coffee stir sticks
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Water
  • Alka Seltzer

Building Directions:

  • Remove lid from film canister (remove film if necessary).
  • Using the scissors, cut two wings and a half-circle out of the paper.
  • Tape the wings on either side of the film canister (opening of the film canister facing down).
  • Shape the half-circle into a cone and tape to hold its cone shape.
  • Tape the two coffee stir sticks to either side of the inside of the cone.
  • Tape the other end of the two coffee stir sticks to the film canister.
  • Your rocket is ready to launch!!

Launch Instructions:

To launch your rocket, you’ll need half of an Alka Seltzer tablet broken into two quarters and some tap water.

  • Remove the lid from the film canister, and place the two pieces of Alka Seltzer tablet inside.
  • Fill about 1/3 to 1/2 full with tap water.
  • Place the cap back on the film canister.
  • Place your rocket on the ground (on a hard surface like a driveway or patio).
  • Countdown as your rocket fizzes toward its launch!
  • Watch your rocket pop into the air!!

Rockets can be reused for multiple launches.

We loved this activity and hope that you will, too!!

Gift Idea: Give a Rocket T-Shirt, Space Dress, or Space Leggings with the supplies to make her own Alka Seltzer Rocket!!

Unwrap Inspiration...

…it’s our theme this holiday season. And it’s exactly what happens each time a girl opens a buddingSTEM package. She gets the message that space is for her; dinosaurs are for her; trains are for her.

We started buddingSTEM when we realized that the clothing made and marketed to girls was giving our girls the message that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) was not for them.

It happens so early. Just before she turned 4, Jennifer’s daughter wanted to be an astronaut for Halloween. Until a catalogue of kids’ costumes came in the mail. It showed only boys wearing the astronaut costume. She took one look and said, “I can’t be an astronaut. That costume is for boys.”

A couple months later, Malorie’s 2-year-old daughter was potty training and wanted train underpants, but those could only be found in the boys’ section. Malorie and her husband bought them anyway. And their little girl wore them until realizing at school that they were “for boys”.

We started buddingSTEM for our girls and your girls. To send the early message that these things – things that *all* kids love – are for girls, too.

Encouraging more women to go into STEM fields means that from birth, girls need to get the message that science, technology, engineering, math, and exploration are for them, too. And they need to see other girls who are role models in these fields.

That’s why we love introducing you to young girls like Rebecca (10) and Kimberly (8) who built a homemade space craft and launched it to 78,000 feet!! We were thrilled to have Rebecca and Kimberly model for us at a recent photoshoot held with our retail partner, Seattle’s Museum of Flight. Seattle’s KING5 News featured a story on Rebecca and Kimberly that includes cameos of our photoshoot.


Kimberly and Rebecca with their Loki Lego Launcher!

Watch Rebecca and Kimberly’s video about their project, #LokiLegoLauncher, with your girls and prepare to be inspired!!

And when she opens a box of buddingSTEM’s #STEMwear this holiday season, she will unwrap inspiration!!