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Blockprinting

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handprinted fabric

Creating my own textiles is something I have always loved doing.  You can always find interesting prints when you go fabric shopping, but there’s something truly joyful about being able to make that print with your own two hands.  And then if you can extended that into sewing with your own handprinted fabrics it’s a double win.  Make fabric that you love, and then make it into something that you want to wear.  Recently, I did just that with some plain linen, and by the end of this, I hope I will have convinced you to print all the things.

Creating handprinted fabrics

handprinted fabric

Obviously the first step in sewing with your own handprinted fabric is to print up some yardage.  If printing a couple of yards of fabric sounds daunting, you can always print directly onto a finished project.  I’ve done this before, and it works like a charm.  You can experiment with fabrics of all types, though you’ll get the best results with plain woven fabrics in natural fibers.  Linen and cotton are ideal.

In this video, I walk you through carving your own block, what supplies you need, setting up your workspace, and printing your own yardage with a simple pattern repeat.

5 ideas for using your handprinted fabrics

This is the fun part.  You’ve used your muscle to print up some yardage, now what?  The sky is the limit, but here are some ideas for things to create with your yardage:

Pick a pattern with simple lines

handprinted fabric

There’s times when a design in the star, but with handprinted fabrics, the fabric is the queen.  Choose a pattern that isn’t broken up by a lot of tucks and gathers or otherwise complicated design lines.  Sometimes less is more.

Add a little drama

handprinted fabric

I couldn’t resist adding a little interest to this sundress with the asymmetrical skirt.  The bodice is from my fringed linen sundress, and I made a little cutout at CF and changed up the straps.  But for the drama, I added a little drape on the right side of the dress.  It’s cut-on so I didn’t have to match the pattern or waste any yardage.

handprinted fabric

 

Piece the leftovers

handprinted fabric

There’s a basic Ottobre dress I’ve been making all summer for my daughter.  There wasn’t enough to make the dress plain, so I cut it a couple inches below the waist and added a ruffle to finish off the length.  The ruffle itself had to be pieced, but the seams are hidden within the folds for the most part.  I love how limited yardage makes you think about how to fully use a piece of fabric!

Embroidered patches

Use the opportunity to practice your hand embroidery with any scraps.  I made these in the car on our family road trip this summer.  The embroidery can really add a new dimension to your print.handprinted fabric

Make a bag

handprinted fabric

Little zippered bags can be a great way to use up last little wonky pieces of your fabric.  Zigzag them together, fuse them with some interfacing, and make sew up an easy lined bag.

 

Love what you make, make what you love

handprinted fabric

I hope I’ve got your brain working thinking about all the things you can do with your handmade fabric.

At the end of the day, making handprinted fabrics is a labor of love.  Your sweat and hardwork is in it a little more than all the times you buy the newest fabric–not that that’s bad, but the making experience is just different.  To me it’s really exciting watching a blank canvas become something you want to wear all the time.

This dress has been carrying me through the summer.  My husband and I had fun taking these pictures at Myrtle Beach (I NEED the turquoise wall in my backyard!!!!!), and the linen has been a luxury to wear in the swampy heat.

So what about you?  Have you created your own fabric?  Did sewing it up feel different for you than when you buy fabric off the bolt?

 

shirt dress from shirts

I never got around to posting this dress.  I suppose I didn’t want to spoil it since it appeared in the Winter 2018 edition of Altered Couture, but in truth, I simply forgot about it.  A mish mash of patterns and colors, this shirt dress from shirts was a fun project to play with color.   While this isn’t my coffee dress for The Day and Night Dress Challenge, I wanted to share it today.  It’s a good example of a style choice for your casual coffee dress for the challenge.

_dsc1047

Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment with sewing for contests.  Next on the docket for me is Patternreview’s One Pattern Many Looks Contest.  The goal of the contest is to make one view of a pattern multiple times (at least 2), making each variant look different.  Simple changes like altering hem lengths or the shape of a neckline are allowed, but big changes that require pattern drafting skills are not.  If it changes the structure of a garment, it’s a no go.  So, I could add a seam for the purpose of colorblocking because the shape of the garment remains the same, but I couldn’t convert a dart into a princess seam.

I’ve been thinking a lot in terms like this since making all of my t-shirts for SEWN, so I jumped at the chance to do this contest.  I’m using the Patternreview Lillian Top in the dress view for all of my 4 variations.

bestlilliancollage

Last week, I mentioned some of the items I’ve made for SEWN Denver, and here is my collection of Elizabeth Made This T-shirts that are at SEWN Denver right now.  There’s a lot of mixed textiles in this collection.  True to my aesthetic of “artistic apparel”, the tees feature upcycled goods and vintage bits of fabric.  They’re all a great choice for unique fall tees.

T-shirts are $46.  Details and sizes are below.  If you’re visiting Denver, or if you live here, SEWN is located just a few blocks south of Fancy Tiger on 18 South Broadway, Denver, CO 80209.  The shop’s number is 303.832.1493 if you want to ask any questions.

The Collection!

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Navy and riverside tee with flame cheetah trim

Bust: 30″, Hem: 34″

 

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Blockprinted pinking shears red raglan tee

Bust: 34″, Hem: 39″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Navy stripe toile leaf applique tee

Bust: 34″, Hem: 40″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Deep purple mustard lace tee

Bust: 36″, Hem: 40″

 

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Mixed blues and brown floral applique tee

Bust: 31″, Hem: 36″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Purple and taupe tee with gold applique

Bust: 37″, Hem: 42″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Orange stripe floral applique tee

Bust: 37″, Hem: 42″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Purple beaded and embroidered tee with navy racing stripe sleeves

Bust: 30″, Hem: 34″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Purples, navy stripe and floral applique tee

Bust: 30″, Hem: 34

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

 

add a drawstring cowl to a t-shirt

Add a Drawstring Cowl to a T-shirt Pattern

I was hoping to get this up when the article came out last week, but one thing led to another, and now I’m playing catch up.

If you haven’t seen it, I wrote a tutorial over at Up Craft Club to show you how to add a drawstring cowl to a t-shirt.  This is the perfect tutorial as we (hopefully) are heading into fall.  Come fall, all I want to wear and make are big fat cozy tops with huge scarves.  Cowl necks are even better because the scarf is attached.  Some time ago I had been mulling over the idea of adding a drawstring cowl to my favorite t-shirt pattern.  I had seen one of the many sporty ladies I come across in my daily life wearing something similar, and I liked the casual touch that the drawstring added to a neck shape I already loved.  The time seemed right to figure out how to make it happen.  It’s crazy easy to adapt a pattern to add this feature.

add a drawstring cowl to a t-shirt

This tee I made up from a soft poly jersey from Cali Fabrics.  I blockprinted the front using a pinking shear stamp that I carved a while back and an ink pad suitable for fabric after heat setting.  It turns out, I really like how clear the stamp impressed on the fabric using the ink vs. screenprinting ink that I have been using for blockprinting.  It also is completely flat, or rather, there’s no added dimension of chunkiness on the fabric from any kind of paint, so the hand is completely smooth.  I haven’t sent it through the wash yet, and no doubt I will send it through a cycle on the dryer to hedge my bets on the heat setting directions.  The jury is still out as to whether the ink will survive the wash, but I have my fingers crossed!

add a drawstring cowl to a t-shirt

So if you’re longing for a big cozy cowl this fall, check out this quick and easy tutorial right here.

add a drawstring cowl to a t-shirt

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

Marigold peplum and Jalie yoga pants: Elizabeth Made This

For my contribution to The Monthly Stitch’s Separates Challenge for Indie Pattern Month, I made up Blank Slate Patterns’ Marigold Peplum and paired it with a severely modified version of Jalie 3022 (yoga pants).

Marigold Peplum and Jalie yoga pants

Perhaps I’ve had shirtdresses on the brain for a while, or maybe it really is true that nearly everyone who is a sewing blogger has made a fantastic shirtdress in the past 6 months or so.  At any rate, Marigold qualifies as a great shirtdress.  I love the pretty gathers at the shoulder.  They’re more delicate than a dart and are easier to sew to boot.

Marigold peplum

Eraser printed leggings--Elizabeth Made This

Good old pink erasers–the big blocky kind that you used it school are great for printing.  You can easily carve them, and pretty sturdy, so you don’t have to mount any stamps you make from them.  But this tutorial requires no carving.  Using the parallelogram shaped sides of the erasers, this fast and easy tutorial for eraser printed leggings can be used for store bought leggings or to add a special touch to your own handmade leggings.

Eraser Printed Leggings

eraser printed leggings

Supplies:

  • Pair of leggings
  • iron
  • 1 or 2 pink erasers
  • fabric paint, multiple colors if you wish
  • paintbrushes
  • cardboard strips (I cut mine from a box)
  • vinyl tablecloth

Directions:

Cover your work surface with the vinyl tablecloth.

eraser printed leggings

Arrange the leggings so that the side seam is facing up.  Flatten the leg so that the side seam is centered down the leg.

eraser printed leggings

If you are printing leggings that do not have a center seam, fold the leg flat on an ironing board so that the inseam is flat.  Press the leg opposite the inseam lightly with an iron.  This pressing line will be your imaginary inseam.

Stuff the leg with strips of cardboard.  This will help get a nice impression when you print and protect the fabric from extra paint.  Decide how far up the side seam you want to start printing and how much space between each print you want.  I chose to start printing 2″ up from the hem and for there to be 1″ between each row of printing.  Mark the starting points with chalk if desired.

eraser printed leggings

Turn an eraser on its side.  Using a paint brush, brush a light coat of paint across the side of the eraser.

eraser printed leggings

 

Line up one short side of the eraser with the side seam (the eraser will be at a 45 degree angle to the side seam) and press down.  Lift the stamp.  If you didn’t get a good impression, it’s pretty easy to add a little more paint to the eraser and line it up to stamp again.

eraser printed leggings

eraser printed leggings

If you notice, the opposite sides of the eraser are reversed.  To print on the other side of the seam line, flip the eraser over and add paint to print on the other side of the side seam line.  Print 3 or 4 rows of the design, or as many as you would like.

eraser printed leggings

If you want to alternate your colors, you’ll need two stamps so that you can flip them over back and forth over the line as you print.

Wash up the erasers with warm water and a little soap when you’ve finished your design.

Let the leggings dry for 24 hours, then run an iron over the printed area on the highest setting appropriate for the fabric without steam(use a press cloth or a scrap of fabric to protect the fabric and your iron) for 3 minutes or so, moving the iron around constantly.  Just to make sure that my paint isn’t going to wash out, I throw my project in the dryer for 30 minutes or so to complete the heat setting process.

Wait to launder the leggings for about a week too.

You can experiment with other ways to print with the eraser sides too.  Stripes, squares, overlapping designs…the possibilities are pretty endless.

eraser printed leggings

Elizabeth Made This

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Blockprinted Catalina Dress: Elizabeth Made This

Hey all,

Today I’m writing my first post over at the Monthly Stitch Collective for Indie Sew Month. I barely squeezed in my Blank Slate Pattern’s Catalina Dress with blockprinted jacks, but I did it. You can head on over to The Monthly Stitch to see my project there.

Blockprinted Catalina Dress

I started with Blank Slate Pattern’s Catalina Dress.  I was originally drawn to it because I’m cheap when it comes to dresses, and I appreciate that this pattern requires very little in the way of fabric.  For me, I’d way rather spend money on a 1 2/3 yards of fabric required for this vs. having to buy 3-4 yards of a poorer quality fabric required for so many dress patterns.  If Liberty ever makes jersey in my color palette, this pattern will be the one I reach for.

As for pattern details, I love the cut on cap sleeves on this pattern.  This kind of sleeve looks great on everyone and they’re so easy to sew.  Also, the pockets are fantastic.  Between the comfort factor and always need a place to stash my keys, a garment without pockets always makes me feel like I’m missing something.  Surely I’m not the only one who has dropped keys on the ground because I was reaching for pockets that weren’t there.

catalina dress
Everyone wears their dresses lining side out, right? It’s the “need more coffee” look.

For my version of this dress, I started with a lovely green knit I picked up at Mood in LA last year.  If I remember correctly, it’s a rayon cotton jersey.  It’s got a great smooth hand, but it’s a little sheer as jerseys can often be.  Thankfully, I had a thin mesh knit in my stash to line the skirt, and I cut up an old camisole to line the bodice, sewing the straps into the seam allowance of each shoulder where they intersected.

The dress came together easily due to the great instructions.  I changed a couple of things from the instructions.

catalina dress
First, I bound the neckline and armholes with strips of stretch lace.  The pattern calls for bias tape, which would work great if you made this dress with a woven.  I chose the stretch lace because it was the perfect color and because bias tape would have shown from the right side due to the sheerness of my particular jersey.
I also waited to trim the seam allowance on the waist seam until after I sewed the casing (which I sewed onto the bodice, not the skirt per the line drawing).  Because I lined my dress, I was dealing with 2 extra layers of bulk, and I wanted to give myself more of a chance to actually catch all of the layers in the casing when I  formed it by stitching from the right side.  This worked out well.

catalina dress
On the pockets, I sewed 4 rows of topstitching, two rows of straight stitches inside of 2 rows that used my asterisk stitch on my Janome.  I like the added texture of the asterisk, and it plays into the pattern for my blockprint.
I chose to print my dress after I sewed it.  I figured it would save me time in pattern matching across seams.  I also had plenty of fabric leftover since this dress requires so little fabric, so I wanted to have unprinted yardage for other projects.

catalina dress
I carved a stamp of a jack from a small linoleum scrap and my Speedball cutters.
catalina dress
For printing, I set up a card table with a layer of old towels covered with a vinyl tablecloth for my printing surface.  I stuffed the dress with strips of cardboard between the lining and the jersey.  I painted white screenprinting ink with a small paintbrush onto the stamp to print each jack.  I set a yardstick across my dress from left shoulder to the right hem corner as a guide then printed the jacks at 3″ intervals on either side of the yardstick.  I offset each row so that a jack was roughly in the middle of the two jacks in the adjacent row.  I kept moving the yardstick around the dress to get the successive rows, stopping for drying time as needed.  I heat set the ink with my iron without steam.

catalina dress

The cardboard helped me get nice clear impressions.  As a kid, I painted a lot of t-shirts with cardboard t-shirt forms and I always loved how the cardboard kept the fabric nice and stable as you worked.

catalinasmooshyjacks

The clarity got off in a few places, like the waist seam where there’s extra bulk, but for my first go at really printing on jersey, I’m happy with how it turned out.

catalina dress

Mostly, I love how comfortable and girly this dress is.  Why, oh, why haven’t I sewn more summer-friendly dresses like this?!  And I’m so glad I decided to line it.  It’s so nice to be able to grab a dress, toss on a scarf and go without having to bother with finding a slip/making sure that the slip doesn’t show/fiddling to get the slip to lay right etc.

catalina dress
I match the kitchen table!


   Here’s my Catalina Dress review.

Elizabeth Made This

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Light Chic

sewing hats for kids: Elizabeth Made This

What is your favorite quick sew for your kids?

All my boys love hats.  My youngest frequently will come running out of nowhere with a knit beanie pulled over his eyes just when he senses that the mood of the room needs some excitement.  That one has comedic timing down.

But truly, sewing hats for kids is a speedy affair.  There are few working parts to hats and they and typically require very little yardage.

The hat pattern is the Eddie Cap from Sewn Hats by Carla Crim (The Scientific Seamstress).  I thought the size ran a little small, but this was otherwise an easy, simple hat to make.  Because size small was too small for me and barely fit my oldest, I didn’t make any size changes for my two younger boys.  It’s easier and faster to not have to resize anyhow!

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