Monday, June 1, 2015

Getting Crafty

One of my crafty daughters (they are both crafty!) hosts a monthly craft group in her home where she picks a craft to teach and you can come to try it out and maybe take home a finished product. We have made jewelry together, painted glass, and this month we stenciled words on t-shirts. What does this have to do with sewing machines? In my case, I stenciled on fabric and went home to finish making my shirt on a serger but it's just a fun craft that I thought you might like to read about.

After dropping off a hand crank sewing machine to a happy quilter, I made my way over to Kelly's house to find out there were only going to be two of us that afternoon. Liz was already there and had prior experience so the focus all of their attention was on my project. I decided I would like to have my company name on a shirt that I would wear at craft fairs. I brought a stack of flat knit fabrics and they chose a great bright pink and we thought black paint would show up nice. I could accent the shirt in black and wear black pants. I cut out the front of the shirt with a t-shirt pattern I had previously used and that's going to be where I would apply my stencil. We used the same font that I used to machine embroider the name "In Stitches" on a Gridwall backdrop, sized and printed out the words. Next, I traced it onto freezer paper and then went back over it with a razor blade knife to create the stencil. Now here's the fun part: it was ironed onto the knit fabric because apparently freezer paper has one side that is adhesive.
Stencil cut out of the freezer paper and ironed on
 Using a round foam brush, I sponged the black paint onto the stencil, going back over it as it absorbed and revealed spots not fully covered.
Black paint sponged on

Drying time: stencils are not reusable!

While it was drying I cut out the back and long sleeves of the shirt so I would be ready to sew it together when I got home. I was working on mine and Liz was making her stencil on a ready-made shirt:
Liz's shirt with stencil ironed on
Due to the two coats of paint she didn't get to the last part because she had to wait for it to dry but you get the idea of how it was going to turn out.
Looks weird with centers of letters still in place
Yup, Liz is a runner
When dry, I put mine on the ironing board, placed 2 layers of paper towels over the design and pressed with a hot dry iron. I love the way it turned out!
Modeling the to-be-shirt
 Once I got home, I sewed the pieces together using my Huskylock 1000L serger but I had all kinds of problems when I thought it would look better with black ribbing around the neckline instead of pink. It was a combination of factors: ribbing that was too heavy and not using enough stretch. I used my Viking 1100 sewing machine to do a zigzag stretch stitch only to find it looked terrible. I was resigned to pick it out one stitch at a time because I wanted to preserve that nice front piece with the "In Stitches" words; have you ever taken stretch stitches out? It took three hours but it's done and over, a new black neckband with different fabric sewn in to look like this:

I still have to go back and restitch the neckline with the serger (I only put it on with a basting stitch this time) and finish the side seams plus hems but I like it. It's bright, looks professional, and will be warm enough for the craft fairs this fall where I display and sell my sewing and other crafts. Will I try this kind of fabric stenciling again? I'm sure of it and even have some thoughts about a shirt for my husband. Now should it say "I'm along for the ride" as a nod to my sewing machine business or should it be something about hunting deer or with a springer spaniel, his favorite dog? We shall see!

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