18 July 2012

More Stencilling!

There are certain names that I regularly return to in this blog. One of them is Melanie Testa, as you know if you've read my blog lately. Another name is Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin.

As soon as I finished my pretty purses I turned to another couple of projects that have been on my to-do list for a while. A couple of years ago I made myself a bandana according to the instructions in Chanin's book Alabama Stitch Book, but I've wanted to make myself a proper garment too. While I've been biding my time and soaking up knowledge, I've bought all three of her books, and have a whole Alabama Chanin library by now. I love all her books, and in the last one you get full-sized patterns for an Alabama Chanin wardrobe, along with instuctions, tips and inspiration. So the time is ripe to get started. I've also found it hard to just sit and watch while my friend Cheryl Razmus is whipping up garment after garment. Have a look at her gorgeous creations on Flickr.

I decided to start small and make a simple bucket hat and fitted top to try out the patterns before I embark on anything more complicated and time-consuming. So I dug out the good old 'Bloomers' stencil I used before for my bandana, and used it to print on the fabric for the hat

and for spray painting on the fabric for the fitted top.

The spray painting technique is what Chanin calls 'faded leaves' and the effect is created by spraying thinned paint onto wet fabric for a watercolour look. My paint didn't run as much as I expected, probably because the paint wasn't thin enough, or the fabric wet enough, but I'm pretty pleased anyway. I'll go for a runnier look next time. The main thing now is that I get an interesting fabric for trying out the pattern. I want to be sure of the fit before I invest all that effort into a more elaborate garment.

I'd just got rid of old, flaking nail polish when I got this new manicure. Oh well.

I didn't want to waste the paint that collected on top of the stencil so I flipped the stencil onto a piece of cotton and got this interesting texture.

I'm really exited about a new discovery I've made in the field of textile paint. Well, to be honest, I've known about these products for a long time, I just wasn't ready for them before now. I've mentioned the Finnish brand Emo Tuotanto's fibre reactive dyes before on this blog, but now I've also tried their mediums for printing on fabric. They have a thicker medium that is used for printing and a runnier medium that can be used for sun printing or spraying. The great thing about these mediums is that they come clear and you add the pigment yourself. So you can mix any colour you like in any consistency. I love it! Why haven't I used them before? (They also carry ready-mixed paints, which I have used until now.)

Liquid medium and print paste, along with liquid pigments to add to the mediums.

I realise that it might be difficult for my international readers to get hold of these products, but perhaps your own national brand carries something similar? Have a look around next time you are looking for textile paint! It's great fun to have the freedom to mix your own colours.

Thanks for visiting! To be continued... - Annika


  1. Wow! How exciting to be mentioned with the likes of Melly and Natalie! Love the gold color on your hat. I am thinking I want to try out some of the stencils on scarves and headbands. Something that is small to experiment with and everyday useful to have.
    By the way, did you hang your wet stenciling to dry? That is when the most running happened for me.

    1. You're welcome, Cheryl! I love your garments, and seeing you make yours has inspired me to get going too. And thanks for the valuable advice that you've given me along the way about bindings, hats and running paint! I did hang the fabric to dry, but I might have waited a little too long. The instructions said to leave the fabric for an hour, but I think at least two hours passed before I remembered to get back to the fabric. I have a lot going on right now. ;-)

  2. You are really on a roll! I look forward to each post to see what you have created while I slept. I have yet to purchase a Chanin book. I am not crazy about cotton jersey, but then I see what others create and think that perhaps I need to change my thinking. Your bucket hat is going to be wonderful. The paint/dyes sound so versitile. I have different paints for different uses and having one brand would be so much easier. I am going to do some investigating. Thanks for always being an inspiration!

    1. Thanks Jeannie: I'm glad if I, in my turn, can pass on some of the inspiration I get from other people!

      I wasn't very fond of cotton jersey either, until I started sewing it by hand! I tried to speed things up on the Alabama Chanin market bag by sewing some seams on the machine, but it drove me up the wall. So I returned to hand stitching. :)