Saturday, May 30, 2009

Recycling, Restyling, Reinventing

On Thursday evening I went to an inspiring talk entitled "Re-invent your wardrobe" by Jody Pearl at the Salvo's Store (op shop, thrift store) in Willetton. As the title suggests, Jody recreates, redesigns and reinvents existing garments into unique wearables. Clothes that are too small can be taken apart and added to. Two tops could be combined to make one. A skirt could become a top. Mens ties may be made into a dress. At the end of the talk we had the opportunity to browse the store and buy clothing with a view to making our own unique wearables. I found a denim skirt which looked to be about my size and bought it with the idea that I would add some strips from some old jeans I have hoarded ("filed" according to Jody) for years to make it longer. But when I got it home and tried it on I liked it just as it is so I'll wear it like that for a while - I can always add the strips to it later when I get bored with it.

After that success at one op shop I went to a couple of others the following day. I loved the fabric of this dress that is way too big for me. I bought it with the idea that there is enough fabric there to make a skirt for myself. I also found a pair of jeans that were a perfect fit and look like they've never been worn. I bought another pair of jeans which were a baggy style with lots of pockets - these might become a skirt at some later date.

I made the burgundy skirt last week. I quite like the fit, but I'll probably make the next one a few inches shorter. I'm making patterns for simple skirts with the idea that I'll make lots of skirts from the same pattern. Hopefully they will all look very different due to the fabric and embellishments I use. I've got lots of ideas for making unique fabric - which obviously takes quite a long time. So I want to perfect the pattern first in order that I can be absolutely certain of the fit, and I only have to make the minimum amount of fabric necessary.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Artist Trading Card Preparation

Designing Women are going to swap Artist Trading Cards (ATC's) in July. So I need to make some. So far I have ironed some heavy interfacing to the back of some of the rust-dyed silk I created at the WAFTA "inspiration" workshop a couple of weekends ago. I have 19 that have interesting marks from the stitched shibori resist and 22 less interesting ones. I'm not sure how many we're going to need for our swap but I thought it would be good to have a few on hand so I made up as many bases as I could from the fabric and scraps of interfacing that I had lying around. The final size is to be 2.5 by 3.5 inches so I've cut these 3 x 4 so I can cut them to size once I've decorated them. I've stitched around the edges just to make sure the interfacing stays in place while paint/stitch or whatever. I'm planning to use the stamp I made with circles on it for some of them. I may add some gold or glitz to the ones with the less interesting background. I'm planning to emphasize some of the marks with stitch on the ones with a more intersting background. I have decided to put my website and blog address on the back but I haven't decided how I'm going to do it yet. I may print on t-shirt transfer paper. I may actually get a rubber stamp made up with my logo on it as well. Or I may just opt for the good old-fashioned pen and ink method :-)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Current Reading

I have just read "Patterns from Finished Clothes - Re-creating the clothes you love" by Tracy Doyle. ISBN 0-8069-4874-4. Published in 1996. Tracy shows you how to analyse and copy an existing garment for a good fit, and offers suggestions for adding detail or making modifications. If you like to make your own clothes, or are interested in the current trend for recycling and restyling clothing, I'd put this on your "must read" list. I'd give it 5 stars.

Monday, May 18, 2009

WAFTA Exhibition "inspiration" workshop

On Sunday I went to a workshop held by WAFTA which was an informal "have a go" day to get as many members inspired as possible to enter the Member's exhibition to be held in August. We are to make a piece 3.5m long (with hanging sleeve it will be 3.6m) by 0.5m wide in muted colours. The work will hang from rafters in the centre of the Moores Gallery in Fremantle which means the work will be visible from both sides so we need to bear this in mind for the finished piece. There were 3 dye boiling vats, set up on the stove by Bernadette Aitken, of eucalyptus leaves, puffball (a fungi), and loquat leaves (Bernadette has a CALM permit to collect plant matter). There were rust, tannic, and caustic dye baths set up outside by Trudi Pollard. Trudi also had some of these dyes thickened with Guar Gum so they could be painted, stamped, stencilled or squirted onto the fabric in a more controlled manner. Kate Weedon Jones had a demonstration table of stencilling, stamping, screen printing, flour paste resist, discharge, and a few other techniques for putting images onto fabric after dyeing so that we could create additional interest on our fabric.

I took along some kimono linings (obtained from Sanshi ages ago) which proved to be silk since they took up the various dyes so I was pretty happy about that. I didn't have a go at the stencilling/stamping as I've been doing a bit of that at home, but found Kate's samples and work books to be really interesting and inspiring.

There was plenty of discussion throughout the day about techniques (including Shibori), and discussion about the exhibition with some people bringing along some show & tell of what they were making.

All in all it was a very enjoyable day - now I just have to start stitching! I also need to make some Artists Trading Cards (ATC's) for another group that I belong to and I'm thinking some of this silk might be good for that purpose too.

Friday, May 15, 2009

New stamps made

I made these 2 stamps over the last few days. I found some wood scraps, sanded them smooth and varnished them. I gave them 2 coats of varnish with a day between to dry. I stuck some foam shapes onto them, making sure that I picked shapes that were similar in thickness. I gave that a day to dry too. Then I made a test print and while the stamp was still on the paper I drew around the block of wood on the paper. I later cut this print out on the line and stuck it on the top of the stamp, so that I will know where the foam shapes will print on my fabric. Today I will sand the edges of the block/paper and then I will varnish over the paper print to seal it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Back to the Gym

Today I went back to the gym. I joined originally in Jan 08. I went for a few months and then stopped going. Wonder if I'll keep going longer this time. I booked in to do classes at specific times this time whereas last time I just went on my own whenever I felt like it. I'm hoping the booking will make me more likely to attend regularly. Time will tell.