Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wearable Art

When I was a little girl, I used to go and explore my grandmother's room. It wasn't a big room but my grandmother, being a pack rat, managed to cram all sorts of wonderful things in it. She must have had at least two bookcases in there as well as a large, heavy wardrobe with a mirrored door. Then there was a smaller cabinet that she kept locked although she would unlock it when I'd be there. She knew I enjoyed looking at all her little treasures.

The first time I saw her sewing machine must have been the first time I ever saw a sewing machine. It was a Singer--the kind with a heavy metal stand and a treadle.  At the time, I was looking for ways to get more clothes for my dolls. This discovery told me that I had found the answer. All I had to do was to learn how to sew! I didn't know anything about patterns. I didn't even have fabric. But my grandmother did (of course). It wasn't long before the weekends would find us in her bedroom, in front of the sewing machine sewing up whatever she thought would be easy enough for me to try.

The doll clothes came much later when I was able to deal with sleeves and darts and such. I also learned how to do a French seam because my grandmother liked everything tidy. When I was older, I took sewing lessons and even learned how to draft my own patterns. 

Nowadays there are endless patterns to choose from and while I don't spend a lot of time sewing, I find myself buying patterns for those just-in-case moments. For the longest time, however, I've been mulling over a dress pattern that I felt would be ideal for someone like me who likes "shapeless" clothing. Since I do lots of planning and designing in my head (not ideal when you come to think of how my mind flits about but well, there you have it), I had been mentally drafting the pattern and reminding myself to commit it to paper.

Then I found Tina Givens! Her clothes aren't for everyone and maybe most of them belong to a whole other era altogether, but I knew I found what I'd been looking for. Best of all, she shares four free patterns that are PDFs that you can download, print, and try out.

I downloaded the ones I wanted to try out and quickly realized that they're easily adaptable. I also delighted in the fact that they made perfect "canvases" for whatever I felt like painting on them! So I sewed one of the patterns and after I washed the finished blouse, I grabbed my box of yet unused (and bought during a huge online sale) DecoArt Fabric Paint. It was the first time I used this brand of fabric paint. In my teens, I used a Japanese brand.

When I bought the paints, I also bought a resist medium and I was truly thankful that I did! It helped keep the paint from spreading out too far and it also made the leaf outlines possible. After 48 hours, I washed the blouse again to see how the paint would fare. It was perfect.

I sewed the blouse using the smallest size option because I had my niece in mind when I started the project. After sufficient drying and a quizzical once-over, I wrapped it up and sent it off to Hawaii. Today (just when I was starting this post), she popped me a message on Facebook to let me know she got it and even shared a photo of her wearing it. I hesitate to share it here because since she blocked her face with her phone, I figure she wouldn't want me sharing her image with the rest of the world (not that the world reads my blog but it sounds nice, doesn't it?).

I'm still going to draft that pattern in my head at some point, by the way. The painting in my head needs a "canvas" and that dress will be perfect for it.

Next up will be the painted wooden bangles although they might make their appearance on my Paper With Everything blog because I'll be using mixed media which means more tea bags and paper!  

Thursday, March 20, 2014


I was going to the let week go without posting on any of my blogs. I've been under the weather--not something that happens a lot but I guess when the hubby stepped off the train a couple of weeks ago, he had invisible guests who came over to stay for a while. So there, sniff, sniff, cough, cough, and all that.

A couple of days ago, someone on the news mentioned that today, March 20, was the first day of Spring. I know lots of people are looking forward to warmer weather and most of the posts I see have something to the tune of "I'm so done with snow/cold/winter!" A couple of posts from people who must have the same dread when it comes to heat as I do still posted how much they love snow. All the same, everything seems to brighten up a bit with the word Spring.

Again, I had no intention of doodling something up because I wanted to rest some more. Like napping, I'm not too good at resting. Resting makes me restless and my mind, in spite of its cottony clouded state, never really stops. But I did want to give it a go.

Of course it didn't work. The image wouldn't leave. I went over my email, checked my to-do list in case there were things that couldn't wait (none), I even played Township on my iPad thinking I'd get sleepy or something. Finally, I picked up a pencil and started to doodle. Then I dropped the pencil and moved over to my computer and picked up my stylus. I also had some old music on. The combination tends to be lethal and I didn't get up until I had drawn my Spring doodle, posted it on Facebook, and used it as my new profile picture.

As an aside, Stevie Wonder's I Just Called To Say I Love You was playing. I know, it's unusual that I didn't have an audiobook on. For the record, I'm now listening to White Cargo by Stuart Woods although I'm not sure if I'll finish it. It's not holding me the way Under the Lake did.

On the surface design note, I'm about ready to upload this month's assignment to the Bootcamp Gallery pages. Drawing jello stuff was fun even if I'm not a huge fan of jello. Lilla's Nougat color palette was yummy and I switched out the original colors I started with. Here's a peek at one of the prints I came up with:

Next post will feature wearable art and patterns I found from Tina Givens! I can't wait to share those!