Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday Project - Embellishing Shirt Designs

In August, we've worked on designing T-shirts by dying them, stenciling on designs, and stamping.  Today we'll pull the designs together by using some embellishment techniques.

Pens and Metallic/Sparkle Paint

On my sage green, vine and flower shirt, I decided to use a fabric pen to outline all my stamping and stenciling and metallic and sparkle paint to add some pizazz.

There are quite a few metallic paints available - I use Lumiere and Tulip Metallic Soft Paints mainly because they're available at my local craft store (Joann's) and they've always worked well.

Scribbles 3-D Paint is designed as a "puffy" paint - one you squeeze on in lines that stay raised up.  I like to use these as regular paints and apply them with a brush.

For fabric pens, there isn't anything I know of that can beat Tee Juice pens.  They last through washing without fading and that's all I ask for!  Some people have had good results with Sharpie pens.  I love them for drawing with, but they fade for me on fabric and continue to fade each time I wash them.  It could have something to do with the type of water where you live - ours is pretty harsh in the desert.

If you can't find these where you live, Dharma Trading Company carries most of them.

The first thing I did was to paint on the metallics and sparkle paint.  The sparkle paint adds a lot of bling!  If you'd like the full bling, paint this on as a last step AFTER ironing.  If you want it toned down a bit, paint it on before you iron.

When the paint is dry (it doesn't take long), I outline everything and add extra details with a fabric pen.  After all painting and outlining is finished, iron on the back for 30 seconds to 1 minute (check your fabric paint instructions) and then iron again on the front (covering with a piece of cloth to protect your iron) for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.

The finished shirt:

I didn't put anything on the back of this shirt, but I'm thinking a vine wrapping around to one of the back shoulders might look nice!


Embroidery is my usual method for embellishing fabric I print.  I use it much as I did the fabric pens in the first shirt - to outline my stenciled and stamped designs.  Before you begin embroidering, heat set the fabric paint by ironing as described above.

For the purple shirt, I outlined each star with a chain stitch (this is a lazy daisy stitch you keep repeating in a line) and then wove a different colored thread through the chains to give it a festive look.

And the finished shirt, front and back:

This will be my Halloween/Day of the Dead shirt this year!  Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) is big down here in the Southwest and the sugar skull is a popular image and treat.  These are treats made of pure molded sugar that is decorated with colored icing.  This just adds to the kids' Halloween candy highs!

For my third shirt, I used an outline stitch to outline just about everything, a running stitch (just put the needle up and down, leaving space between the stitches) to add details, and a feather stitch for feathers on the birds.

And the front of the finished shirt (on the back, I put the other side of the sun on the right shoulder):

I hope these past weeks have given you inspiration in designing your own shirts or adding bits of stenciling, stamping, and embellishments to clothing.  The main thing to remember is, the more techniques you use (the more layers you have), the more interesting the final piece will be.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

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