Ok, ok. Before you make judgments about my personal style, just know that I approached this as an art project. Not necessarily something I'll be wearing on a regular basis. Though there is a part of me that really likes this jacket. Call it batty old art teacher style. You'll see it all over the runways soon.
Do you read no big dill? If you don't, I highly recommend it. Katy is a designer/sewist/mom extraordinaire who comes up with the most creative, artsy things. I enjoy reading her blog so much and I love her sense of style and color. She's also the genius behind the Once Upon a Thread series where sewists are challenged to create a project inspired by a favorite children's book.
I decided I wanted to play along last week. I love sewing practical and useful things, of course- but isn't it fun to make something totally wacky and frivolous every once in a while? I wanted to try some techniques I haven't attempted yet. Painting fabric, namely. It seems like the perfect marriage between my day job and sewing.
Now I realize that most people who participated in this challenge sewed for their own children. I don't have any children of my own yet, but I do teach art to almost 600 a week! I spend most of my day socializing with four to ten year olds (oh the things I hear...) so I felt like this challenge was right up my alley.
I chose the book I Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow. I collect kid's books that have to do with any sort of art-- being an art teacher. But I also L-O-V-E the illustrations in this book. They're completely wild. Very Dr. Seuss-esque. For those of you out there who are horrified by the improper language, just know that Karen Beaumont based the words on an old folk song, It Ain't Gonna Rain No More. The book can be read, sung or chanted-- whatever. I've read it and I've also sung it to my kindergartners. But only when the aide is not in the room. I have no problem singing to 25 six year olds, but not to another adult ;)
The book starts out-
One day my momma caught me
paintin' pictures on the floor
and the ceiling
and the walls
and the curtains
and the door
and I heard my momma holler
like I never did before...
Don't you love the drawings? Look at those little feet sticking up out of the bathtub.
But of course the main character does paint again. Then the book goes on and talks about all the places he paints. Good for teaching body parts.
I read some reviews of the book where parents were upset about the book encouraging kids to paint all over the place, but I think most kids know the book is silly and fun. At least the age that I read it to does.
Here's my fabric painting set up in case you are interested. I sacrificed a few old towels and laid them out on our dining room table. Then I covered the whole thing with brown postal paper. It only seeped through in a few places on to the towels. I decided to cut my pattern pieces first instead of just painting the whole piece of fabric. I figured I would have more control over what color went where. I used a white cotton bull denim, which was a dream to work with. I wet my pattern pieces first so they would absorb the paint better. I tried to treat it as I would a watercolor painting but not all the same techniques applied. Tricky to do an even wash on cloth. Fabric is much more absorbent than paper, so the paint continued to "travel" long after I stopped painting. Some colors overtook others while some seemed to have less pigment. It was a fun experiment.
I used Jacquard Dye-na-flow paints which I ordered from Dharma Trading Company. They have any number of fabric paints. I chose these particular paints because they are thin- like dye- so the fabric stays soft. You can heat set, too, which is a plus. I cut a few linoleum stamps for the paint splotches and ants. I brought out my old printmaking supplies and blew the dust off. Super fun. Funny how I keep band-aids in with my linoleum cutters-- and yes I needed one later. I always poke myself. I used standard black fabric paint for the stamps.
The ants are on the inside, creeping out around the lapel. I love me some stripey buttons, too.
I decided to put piping around the faux pocket flaps and lapels. I wanted to bring in some more black like the illustrations. All the top stitching is done with black thread.
The jacket pattern is Butterick 5647. I used the variation with the shawl collar but also used the cuffed 3/4 length sleeves. I wanted the jacket to have a shrunken feel so I went down a whole size. I actually really like the fit even if it is a tiny bit short on me. Quite a nifty little jacket pattern, if you ask me. I liked the construction. This one will be bookmarked for a more wearable jacket one day.
Quit all that racket!
Gonna paint my....
(sorry- lame attempt at rhyming...)
I sure did have fun working on this. I'm happy I broke out some old art supplies, too. It's about time some of those things saw the light of day again. Hooray Katy, for your awesome idea! I really enjoyed seeing all the things made that were inspired by kid's books.
There's got to be SOME time and place appropriate to wear a hand painted jacket, right?
And I can't promise you that I ain't gonna paint no more...