Monday, 25 February 2013

Silhouette T-Shirt Painting How-To

My t-shirt painting method: use regular paper as a stencil, and dab on the paint.

Sounds highly technical, no? Should I try patenting the method? Yes, I am kidding.

By Cicely Ingleside
A horse t-shirt for me
Earlier this year, I experimented with painting on t-shirts, and had some mixed results. What I finally figured out worked well for me was making painting silhouettes on t-shirts, and I made a bunch for Christmas presents.  Here are my tips for anyone who wants to try this.

By Cicely Ingleside
I made a fish t-shirt for a Pisces, and a Mustache T for someone who  participated in Movember. Really, mustaches seem to be everywhere now, don't they?

First, find what you want to print. At first, I bought stencils from a craft store, but then I realised it wasn't very complicated to make my own. I found pictures on the internet of silhouettes and printed them out. Now, a lot of DIY-instructions you may read about fabric printing will tell you to use an acetate sheet or something hard and plastic. Now, I think that's a good idea if you are planning to re-use the stencil. However, for a one-off t-shirt, you can just use regular paper. If you want, you can use a slightly more thick paper.

By Cicely Ingleside
A fish  T for Susan the Pisces and a Scorpion for Barry the Scorpio.

Then, cut out the area of the design. Tape your paper down, using painter's tape (that green masking tape) or the blue masking tape - whichever one you've got ... these are tapes that are easier to take off than normal masking tape. If you have little parts on your drawing, like the legs on the scorpion t-shirt I made above, then put a little bit of tape on the back of the paper in these areas to make sure that part of the stencil stays down. Put a piece of cardboard (I used an old cereal box) in between your t-shirt layers.

Then, take a thickish brush and some fabric paint, and start dabbing the paint. I like to dab around the edges where the stencil meets the fabric first, filling in a sort of outline. Then, dab the paint inside. 

By Cicely Ingleside
Personalised Ts for my little ones.
The reason I recommend dabbing the paint - I mean kind of smushing your paintbrush down - is that I find that it helps it to go on thickly, while not pulling on the t-shirt like a brush stroke would do, and the paint doesn't seem to bleed. In some of my not-so successful experiments, I tried making a fabric stamp by carving it, which worked great for stamping on paper things, like cards, but on fabric the stamp just did not get enough paint down to make a solid picture. (Maybe it depends on the fabric paint you use - who knows?)

On the t-shirts above where there are names, I used a set of alphabet-letter stamps I bought at the craft store. These were a worthwhile purchase, since I've used them for lots of things. The bird on the t-shirt is a purchased stamp too. I found these stamps worked best if I used a brush to spread a thin layer of fabric paint on the stamp and then press it down. But the bigger your item, the less well the stamp method seems to work  - so the crab above is done with a stencil, like the others above.

Another method I have been reading about is cutting out your stencil on freezer paper, and then ironing it on to your t-shirt so it doesn't move when you paint. Haven't tried it yet, but I think I will soon.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Fabric-Decorated T-shirt How-To

Fabric-Decorated T-shirt How-To by Cicely Ingleside

Here's a quick project I did last week, and some tips on how it's done in case you want to try it. And maybe make a better looking bow shape instead of an X.

Nice summer colours are starting to appear in stores, even though it's still snowstorming here in Newfoundland. I love the bright pinks and yellows that have been popular the last couple of years, and so I bought my daughter a pair of nice yellow pants and a yellow shirt for spring:

But a plain t-shirt seemed a little boring. I was trying to decide how to liven it up - thinking a ribbon or bow would be hard to wash -  when I remembered seeing this sweater on the Anthropologie website:

I had been thinking that this would be a nice DIY to fancy-up a sweater for me. But it seemed a good idea for E's shirt. A flat bow would be easy to wash! 

(Hmm... got to work on my photography skills or do some photo-editing.)

So I cut and pinned on some fabric in her favorite colour, purple. 

I wanted the frayed-edge look, so I didn't turn under the fabric, and stitched it on with a zig-zag stitch.   

Now, this was supposed to be a bow, but both my husband and E looked at it and said "It's an X". So now it's an X.  Next time, I'll cut a bow shape in the round, instead of trying to twist finagle a bow shape with straight pieces. I'm thinking this shirt is practice for when I try to do this on a sweater for myself.

The important thing is that she likes it!
Fabric-Decorated T-shirt How-To by Cicely Ingleside


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Multi-Hued Tulle Skirt & Wood Bead Necklace

I am a beginner sewer and my expert seamstress mother-in-law says I was a bit crazy to start with this project. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and I love tulle!

So, I thought I would share with you some pics of a skirt I made, with a little trial and error. Here it is, and sewing saga is below, in case anyone else wants to attempt this.
Multi-Hued Tulle Skirt & Wood Bead Necklace by Cicely Ingleside

Last year, I fell in love with the pictures of this Marc Jacobs dress:
And I wanted to make one like it. I even found some flowers I planned to sew on, but the project evolved a bit as I went.

I originally tried to make this using the Burda pattern 7317 view E. First, the fabric I chose for the underskirt had a super-strong perfumey smell, presumably from the fabric dye. Then, this pattern called for cutting and sewing together the tulle in pieces, but what this did was to de-pouf the skirt - pretty much the opposite of what I was going for.  I was frustrated and abandoned the project for a while.

Then, just before Christmas, I saw this gorgeous skirt in Anthropologie:
and was inspired to try again and make the tulle skirt work.

So, I used Butterick pattern B5285, view A (and I skipped the pockets). This was much better, yay!  I found a nice cream taffeta to be the underskirt.

Then I deviated from the pattern by cutting 6 layers of tulle in the same shape as the skirt. (Well, truthfully, my kind mother-in-law cut these and tried to salvage the pieces I had cut in the old pattern's shape. This is why you may see in the pics a seam or two in the tulle - that's from the old pattern.)  I used 4 different colours of tulle, all variants of blue and green, and I love the multi-hued effect this generated. It's not as easy to see in the pictures, but I swear that part looks nice!
Multi-Hued Tulle Skirt & Wood Bead Necklace by Cicely Ingleside
Then, I just followed the pattern and treated the 6 layers of tulle and the taffeta as if it was one piece. No need to hem the taffeta though!

Making the wood bead necklace was super simple. Finding large wood beads was the hard part. I bought these large and small wood beads from Urban Homesteaders on Etsy.  The medium sized ones are from an old necklace of mine.  I simply threaded them onto some string - I used coloured string from the beading section of the craft store - and then I tied a thicker, cream coloured string/ribbon to make it into a necklace. And voilĂ !

 It might be a good idea to paint the beads with a clear coat to increase durability - but I haven't done that yet.

So, it took a year and some persistence, but I have my poufy tulle skirt. I wonder if I could get away with wearing this to work?

P.S. I have since discovered a pattern for a tulle skirt for an adult. The Estelle skirt at Violette Field Threads looks lovely, and if I had seen it before making this skirt, I might have tried it!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Hello! and Embroidered Pillows for Kids

Hi there, welcome to my blog! I enjoy following other people's blogs a lot - although honestly, I just discovered the whole blogging universe fairly recently. I know, welcome to the decade.

While I never thought of myself as very creative before, I found that all of these DIY ideas I came across especially have made me excited about trying new things. So, I thought why not try to post some of the things I have been making?  Maybe no one will read the blog, but I bet my mother will at least.

So, for my first post, I thought I would post one of the projects I am most proud of. Last year, I took a class at the fabulous Anna Templeton Centre here in Newfoundland (that's Canada in case someone international somehow stumbles across this in a freakish Google search gone awry), to learn to embroider.

Embroidered pillows by Cicely Ingleside Blog
The project I ended up with were these two pillows I made for my kids: my five year old boy and three year old girl.

How It Was Done

 I copied drawings onto a piece of fabric (unbleached cotton) by putting the drawing underneath and tracing with a "water erasable marker" available at any sewing or craft store. These are better than "fading" markers, which may disappear before you finish your project.

I used embroidery patterns I purchased on Etsy: the Little Red Riding Hood pattern is from A Little Sweetness, and the Entomology pattern is from The Floss Box. Of course, you can use any drawing you find anywhere, and scale it with a photocopier or computer program.

Then, the embroidery was done by putting the fabric into an embroidery hoop and embroidering.

I think the single most useful thing I learned in the class I took was that most of the embroidery thread you buy is composed of multiple (often 6) strands. And instead of using the thread as is, it is WAY WAY easier if you cut a piece about the length of your forearm, and then gently pull out one of the threads, separating it from the others. Take out two to three strands in this way, hold them together, and thread into your needle.  This 1) makes the strands less twisty and 2) gives you a thinner amount of thread to use which is WAY easier to pull through your fabric.

In terms of how many strands to use, test and see what you like the look of, and maybe use one strand in some places and three strands in other places. I typically use two strands together at a time.


When I was finished, I cut the embroidered fabric, and turned the sides under, then sewed it onto patterned fabric. I then sewed lace or ribbon around it, which is decorative and also covers the sewing marks. I chose this floral pattern and eyelet lace for my daughter's pillow, because I thought it was a bit retro and reminded me of my childhood (yes, in the '70s).


My son was really into bugs (and still is) and I loved doing this pillow too. After sewing on the embroidery to the pillow fabric, I cut another piece of patterned fabric, and used my rudimentary sewing skills to sew them together to make a pillow case and add a zipper. Those grade 7 Home Ec classes were useful after all!

I bought a pillow forms at a sewing store - they are also available at craft stores - but you can also use that big puffy polyfill stuff to fill a pillow if it is cheaper or if you don't want to have to measure your pillow to meet the size of the pillow form.

I bought a great book called "The Embroidery Stitch Bible" by Betty Barnden, which I found to be a great reference book, showing how to do many different types of embroidery stitches.

So that's my first post!  How did you like it, Mom?!
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