Karlene's Workshop

My sewing, refashioning and upcycling projects revealed
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Painted flowers

  • 04/08/2011 6:25 pm


I’ve been painting! Every now and then my friends and I get together for an arty/crafty painting session. Rather than doing the usual painting on canvases, this time we decided to try stenciling on T-shirts using freezer paper. I had never tried this before as we can’t get freezer paper in the shops here in NZ, but my friend Raewyn was able to get some from the US for us to experiment with.

We printed out some designs/motifs to use, then transferred them to the freezer paper by tracing over the top (dull side of freezer paper) in pencil. Next we used a craft knife and cutting mat to cut out the shape, then ironed the stencil onto our garment/fabric. Shiny side down so it sticks to the fabric not the iron! (whoops, sorry Rae) When using a T-shirt, another piece of freezer paper is also ironed to the back of the design to prevent the paint seeping through.

I’m still in my denim phase at the moment, old denim jeans are cheap and readily available from second hand shops and easy to work with, so I chose to do some painting on a jeans panel to be put in another garment rather than a T-shirt.

Supposedly you use textile paints, but this is all I had and didn’t want to buy more:

I did have some perfectly good ordinary acrylic paint, and had seen it used to dye lace etc so I wondered if it would work the same way as the textile paint.

I decided to experiment a little on fabric scraps. The swatches on the left are the “control” scraps, the ones on the right have been heat set with an iron and then washed to see if the colour stays put.

The top blobs (red and white) are the textile paints for comparison. I tried using white as a base layer on the denim to make the colour stand out, as it is harder to see on a dark background. I used the acrylic colours mixed with the white textile paint as well as straight from the bottle to see if it made any difference.

As you can tell, the textile ink by itself was fine, the acrylic by itself was fine, the textile/acrylic mix was also fine. The coloured paint on top of the white was not fine, it washed off; the paint needs to bond with the fabric to become permanent.

My conclusions, one, ordinary acrylic paint made for paper and canvas works just as well as textile paints, two, if painting on denim, it’s best to use a lighter coloured denim if you want the paint to stand out.

This is what my panel looked like after I painted it, with the stencils still on:

And here is a close up of flowers after the stencils came off:

I’ll be using the panel in a dress which should be finished soon, watch this space…

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Fairy style dress – Peach

  • 28/06/2011 10:58 am

This is another dress we used in a recent photo shoot, beautifully modeled by my lovely sister.

Peach dress

Peach dress

The skirt is made from vintage fabrics and lace. The larger pieces of fabric in the skirt are square shapes, with one corner rounded off in a similar way that circular skirts are cut. Putting many pieces together like this makes the skirt very full and swirly.

The bodice is made using fabric cut from another skirt I shortened.

Bodice

Bodice

Front and back has hand made fabric roses from from vintage fabrics, trimmed with ribbon, lace and vintage braid.

Dress back

Dress back

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Melted

  • 09/09/2010 12:43 pm

Some fabrics fray nicely and look cool, like denim or cotton. Other fabrics just make a really big mess with lots of threads going all over the place.

I wanted to use some scrappy pieces in the skirt of the dress I am working on without all the mess, so I tried melting the edges with a candle.

Turned out OK, a bit blacker in places than I wanted but I can live with that. I also managed to get a few corners dipped in wax, (whoops) will add to the texture!

WARNING: Doing this with polyester and nylon makes nasty fumes, so do it outside or with lots of ventilation. Also be very careful with your fingers, candles burn and so can freshly melted fabric! Ouch!

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A glimpse of my work-in-progress

  • 08/07/2010 6:07 pm

This is something I have been working on for a while now. Almost done, just got to do a few more fabric roses.

The peach fabric used in the photo above are the leftover pieces from the skirt I shortened here.

It’s turned out very differently from my original idea but still very pretty all the same. Can you guess what it is?

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Fancy handbag part two

  • 20/02/2010 2:44 pm

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks here getting organized to go to our friends wedding last weekend. We had to travel a long way, 7hrs drive to the grandparents, chit chat and drop off kids, next day another 3hrs to where we are staying. Keith is the official photographer and wants to go to the rehearsal which we miss, never mind we still get to go over venue for photo opportunities. Wedding day starts off with bad weather and photographer is worried, but clears up in time for ceremony and turns out great. And he got some lovely photos, good job dear!

Next two days are spent traveling home again, its now 4 days later and we’re still not fully unpacked. I have a huge mountain of washing to sort and fold up and the boys are running out of clothes.

Good news, got the bag finished in time to take to the wedding. Well, just, I left off any type of fastening and didn’t have time to pin stitch the flap.

I had to sew the lining twice due to doing it wrong way around with interlining on the inside (the wrong side!) the first time, whoops.

My second go

Had lots of fun with the trimmings on the front flap. Stage one, the net over lay.

Next, the ribbon and cord trimming.

Yo yo’s

Fabric roses

Then beaded loops and we’re done. And the final finished product!

I was careful to get the lining of the flap with the picture up the right way when the bag is open.

Here I am wearing it at the wedding with my matching dress, a birthday gift from Mum.

And a close up of the flap, for those like me who strain their eyes and put their noses to the screen to take in the details,

I love my new little bag, can’t wait to take her out again :-)

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Ruffle wrap

  • 13/10/2009 1:05 pm

I used the rest of Mum’s old dress to make a ruffle wrap for my niece, to match the skirt.

I started off with a strip cut from the under dress to form the base. This layer of the dress was cut on the bias, so my strip is now bias cut without any effort. This will help it sit nicely around her shoulders.

I also cut two narrow extra strips for the straps.

The edges are sewn together down the long edge leaving a small gap for turning in the middle, then the seam is pressed open lying in the centre of the strip.

The straps are tucked in and the ends stitched,

and then the whole thing is turned right side out, ta da!

I cut two strips of lace net from the lace over dress like this.

And then joined them up and gathered them.

Then I did the same with a strip of tulle in a contrasting lime green colour. The gathered strips were layered, pinned on and sewn down the middle of the base.

Next I made some flowers from the remaining lace net and some wine coloured tricot knit (petticoat fabric).

And sewed them on so it looks like this.

This is how it will be worn on the body, but on a much smaller person.

It took me all school holidays (two weeks) just to make the roses and sew them on! Now that the kids are back at school and kindy I’ll have to buckle down and get some real sewing done.

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How to make flowers from fairy skirt circles

  • 04/08/2009 8:31 pm

I was inspired by these gorgeous felt flowers made by Koala Brains
and it gave me an idea of how to use up all those leftover circles you get after cutting out circular/fairy skirts.
Circles

I will show you how I did mine, with 5 petals. My method is a little different, after having a play around I found this was the best way with larger circles, in flimsy fabrics. The size of flower you end up with depends on the size of your circle.

1. Find centre of circle by folding in half, then in half again. Mark with chalk on the wrong side of fabric.
Folded

2. Mark a line from the centre of circle to the outer edge.
1st line marked

3. Mark 4 more lines from the centre evenly spaced around the circle. This will involve some maths.
360 degrees divided by 5 petals = 72 degrees.
I used a protractor to measure 72 degrees between each line.
Measuring angles

5. Cut thread at least 20cm longer than the width of your circle and thread onto a needle. Secure thread at the edge of circle and sew/tack along line to the centre.
1st line stiched

6. Leave a tail approx 10cm long, or if you have 5 needles available to use, just leave the needle on.

7. Repeat with other 4 lines.
Lines stitched

8. Pull threads one at a time and stitch to secure in the centre with a knot. Be careful not to tangle the needles!
Gather

9. Secure and cut threads, turn over to right side. Ta da!
Front of flower

Now you can have fun with them by cutting some circles smaller and layering the flowers.
Layered

Make a fairy hair clip/barrette by attaching a hair clip finding, or a brooch by attaching to a pin-back or…

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