Handprinted Dharma Trading Unitard

This fabulous project taught me lots and lots. There are a few aspects of this project where I will continue to find and apply solutions to perceived problems.

I started by printing a small swatch of cloth, just to see if my color choices were pleasing.

The Unitard is a  ‘clothing blank’, made of cotton jersey, procured at Dharma Trading. I love it. The medium size fits my body well, I am 5’2”, weighing roughly 130 pounds. The gathering at center front is pleasing and easily printed over. The plunging back is a fun addition to the design. The legs are about 6” too long, which I think is a great addition to this piece-as yoga clothing goes, allowing you to pull the excess length down over your ankles and heels. My one complaint is that the bodice is slightly long, although this may just mean, I am short  🙂

I decided to Playful Fabric Print the Unitard in an all-over design that contains Roses and Forget Me Nots. The repeat is a six inch square (Page 26, Playful Fabric Printing), the multicolor print set (Page 29) contains a total of 5 possible layers to print. The Rose and Forget Me Nots were carved from Eko Carve, and the additional color separations were printed using plexiglas mounted, sticky back, fun foam stamps (Page 63). This was printed using thickened Procion MX Dyes (I swapped out Turquoise Blue, Fuchsia, and Lemon Yellow dyes when mixing color numbers 2 (an Orange), 15 (Teal) and 22 (Red). I did this because I wanted bright colors (see the value bands on page 57 of Playful Fabric Printing).

My one hesitation in printing this, is the need for an insert or form, as I discussed in this post. I traced the Unitard out onto an opened cardboard box, including an additional 3-4″ to stretch the knit jersey and separate the front from the back. 

Recycling a cardboard box meant there were folds in the cardboard. Those folds were nearly impossible to print over. I had to fudge, add thickened dye with a brush and make due on this account. It’s nothing major, the print is pretty forgiving. Also, the Unitard, stretched over a full length form was a bit ungainly to manage on my small print table. But, oh well, it was necessary. 

And, I have two more Unitards to print!

Next time, I am going to try printing with Thermofax, as I think the color saturation with be super pleasing. Overall, I think printing on clothing blanks is something I am going to thoroughly explore! When I bought these babies, I also bought a skirt, a camisole and I recently dug out a tunic and a kimono (similar to this one) from my stash.

Stay tuned to more printing on clothing blanks!

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Unitard and dressing a piece of cardboard

I have been wanting to print clothing blanks for a while. Luckily, Dharma Trading carries many styles and options and they have all the kinks ironed out. Their blanks have been tested for acceptance of dye, even the threads used to sew the garments have been considered and addressed. That’s where I found this Cotton/Spandex Unitard. If you head over there, check out the tie dyed, unitard wearing yogi in the images.

I won’t be tie-dyeing this though. In printing this, I assume I will come across some challenges. Submerging cloth in dye is much different than applying thickened dye to cloth. Much of my experience in printing is based on printing cotton broadcloth, which is woven and smooth. Knit jersey is also smooth, but the cloth is thicker and stretchy. 

Luckily, I bought three unitards, so I have some wiggle room to mess up and try again.

My first step was to cut a form out of cardboard. I made this slightly larger than the unitard, so that I could stretch the cloth some. I imagine this may help the printing to appear darker, as the cloth will be spread out in order to print it, then will retract when taken off the form. My hope is that I am not stretching the cloth too much. 

I imagine the shirring and binding on the bodice will be hard to print well and I accept ahead of time, that this may be wonky. We will soon see. Wish me luck.

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Hankies, steaming, around and back again

This weekend, I completed printing the 48 Blowsy Rose hankie fundraiser to benefit METAvivor. I have sold 47 out of the 48 silk habotai handkerchiefs. I am going to purchase one (I mean donate on behalf), because I need to start collecting -my own- hankies. If the final hankie does not sell today, I will ‘buy’ that too. Tomorrow, I will send 240$ to METAvivor, as this is the listed end date for trying this idea out.

I am so happy to be able to donate money, print hankies, and that YOU will own a piece of my work. Thank you so very much!!!

At the end of the print job, I searched around in my bin of Salty Soda Soaked (Playful Fabric Printing, page 45) fabrics and found a few cotton bandanas. You can see they are quite a bit bigger than the dainty silk habotai hankies.

BUT!

I have them and ought to print them, don’t you think?

I want to try and rectify the large area of white.

When Carol and I were writing Playful Fabric Printing, we came up with the concept of creating a selvedge with our names on it. 

I created mine using Fum Foam stamps (Playful Fabric Printing, page 62). I think this might just make the center look a little less lonely. And, as I am printing this just for fun, I don’t mind printing my name of it. Though I could use Freezer Paper Resist (Playful Fabric Printing, page 86) to preserve that area of printing…

In the meantime, I have 48 silk hankies to steam, wash and mail away.

ALSO! I put 20 copies of Playful Fabric Printing up for sale on my Etsy page, for just 20$ each. I want to get these books into your hands, so we can start using it! 

If you would like a more in depth exploration of printing these hankies, join our closed FB Community page, Playful Fabric Printing. This is where we do weekly Live Video chats, on print related subjects-this week steaming! There is a backlog of video in the group, which will help you on your way to playfully printing your own fabrics.

See you there!

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Silk Hankies, METAvivor, Anaono Intimates and #cancerland

Beth Fairchild is a woman to admire. She works with METAvivor, is a tireless advocate for breast cancer patients,  she is a mother, an artist and a mermaid.

Last summer we met at a rooftop bar in Manhattan to watch the sun set with friends. It was a magical night (and the first time I met Dana-the owner of AnaOno). At that time, I brought Beth a token gift of my affection, in a handprinted silk hankie (seen above). I love a good hankie. A small piece of fabric with a hemmed edge, to stuff in your pocket, to fuss and fiddle or tie back your hair. 

So when Beth contacted me to ask if I might provide some handprinted swag as a VIP Offering at the AnaOno and #cancerland fashion show, I jumped at the chance.

Here is a short trailer about the project.

I get these 11″ silk hankies at Dharma Trading. They have a nice rolled hem, they take Procion MX dyes beautifully, they can withstand a rigorous washing cycle and they make a great gift.  I printed 48 of these hankies using a three color polka dot design (seen in my first line of fabrics, Meadowlark by Windham Fabrics) using the techniques described in Playful Fabric Printing.

I also used this as an opportunity to record  live video chats about the printing process for our Playful Fabric Printing FB Community page. If you are interested in these printing techniques, our community is perfect for you. Please join.

I chose Procion MX colors that most closely matched the METAvivor ribbon colors, pink, green and blue. (If you want to get technical, in respect to Playful Fabric Printing, I used Colors 10, 11, 27 using Lemon Yellow as my yellow, Fuchsia as red and Turquoise as my blue. I mixed all 4 thickened values for a total of twelve colors and I Speed Printed until complete.)

And here they are atop their silver FedEx swag bags just before the show. 

To see this show was to be inspired by the sheer joy, and utter beauty of real women, real people, who have embraced a difficult diagnosis with badass grace and fierce resolve.

I shivered to my toes and stood present to what an individual, a group of individuals, can do to make real change in the world. I screamed, hooted and cheered. I cried. And it was great.

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