Monday, October 14, 2013

art play and the PR Lined Jacket contest

I'm sewing a jacket for this winter's travels and planning to enter it into the PR Jacket contest. Sewing along with the contest participants is fun and helps me take my time with every step.  My pattern is relatively simple, so I am adding a bit of fun to my project.  I have been using the selvages as trim and I am also going to paint on the jacket.

Some readers have mentioned that they have not tried any surface design on the clothing they sew. They might worry about ruining a garment after spending all that time constructing it, or not know what technique would look good, or perhaps not feel competent in using the art materials.

The easiest way to start is to ... jump right in.

I am going to show you how super easy it is to silk screen your fabric.

You will need:
*silkscreen paint
*a screen of your choice
*an old credit card
*water for cleanup

 I love the screens in the photo.  They have lasted 5 years so far, the size is easy to use for smaller areas, and I like supporting a local artist/designer rather than a corporation.

I included 2 brands of paint in the photo.  Plaid brand is easy to find at hobby stores, and comes in a squeeze bottle.  I like this brand, especially since I pack these supplies when traveling in the winter. The Jacquard brand is also a fine paint, but you will need to transfer it into a bottle.

1.  Lay your fabric flat.  If printing on a constructed garment put paper under the first layer in case the paint soaks through.

2.  Put the screen flat on the fabric, making sure it is right side up.  See, this one is labeled on the right side.  

3.  Squeeze the paint along the top, or the side, of the screen.
 4.  Here is where your artistic side comes into play.  Decide how much paint will go in what area, and how you are going to "swoosh" your card along with the paint.  I recommend that you play with this step and make samples before trying this on the real thing.  You will need to develop a feel for the effect you are looking for.

5.  Swoosh the card, and set it aside.
See how some paint stays on top of the screen?  Also, you can see that the corner has more paint than the skinny end of the fabric.  It's all good.

6.  Lift the screen straight up, without smearing the paint
7.  Put the screen and card in water and gently wash.

8.  Let the paint dry, and then set with an iron.  I usually wait 24 hours.  The paint is washable, and I suggest turning the garment inside out when running it through the washer.  Mr. Biblioblog and I screen printed some tees 5 years ago, and his are fading only this year.

It is an easy technique, and the fun comes in using the screens in different ways.  You don't need to use the whole screen, or even use one color of paint.  You are also free to print over an existing print, layering color and design atop one another.

This is one of the techniques I will be using on my car coat which I'm making for the PR Lined Jacket contest.  I am using a very plain fabric and will print some color onto it.  Here is my last sample:
I like this color combination and the metallic gold with the almost Depression era fabric is an interesting contrast.   The gold pulls the brown from the background, and the lines are cool looking.
I hope I've sparked your interest in surface design.  Let me know if you'd like to see more.


  1. I love to silk screen! This is looking very exciting, Mary!

  2. Oh, what fun! I can't wait to see the progress!

  3. I love the gold metallic paint on that fabric! I can't wait to see the coat!

  4. Thanks for showing this! Until now I was unable to visualize exactly what people were doing when they were silk screening. I look forward to seeing your coat:)

  5. Interesting post Mary. Thanks for sharing. I've not silk screened before, but maybe some day.

  6. I've never silk screened, but now I'm pretty jazzed to give it a try...oh, the possibilities!

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  8. More please. I've been fascinated by the process for a long time but thought you had to have special machines, etc.
    Would you please document your process fully as you go along?
    Thanks. Looks like a lot of fun!

  9. I have never silk painted before. But looks so gun..


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