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Sun Painting - Design Your Very Own Sun Dress Fabric !
Submitted by Pam on Fri, 06/18/2010 - 23:15
Before I begin, let me introduce you to my little Christmas bear family. They will be my models for this post since I don't have any little daughters at home!
The middle bear will model most of the dresses because she is very special - Diane made her for me many, many years ago.
I started making a very simple and easy sun dress for Diane when she was about 18 months old. But I could have started sooner! The bears are wearing infant size which can be made from a fat quarter!
While I was putting this post together, I decided to surprise Diane and make her a dress - something I haven't done in many years.! It is made of Egyptian cotton and will be cool and breezy during the hot summer days we are soon to have around here. I had to be the model because - well it is a surprise!
Surprise Diane! HA!
Now to the point of this post!
How to make the dress - that happens in the next tutorial! In this post I want to show you how much fun you can have designing your own fabrics for your sun dresses. Or even better, letting your kids design their own fabrics!
Although I am sharing the pattern and how-to for the simple sun dress tomorrow, the fabrics you make can be used for almost anything - from skirts to pillows to quilts.
We are going to start with the adorable bug print designed by Alison Oliver and available at Spoonflower. Alison's blog - Pure Sugar - is brand new so drop by to say hello and welcome. All these cute little bugs are on her header! And she has featured a little dress her friend made using her little bug fabric right here!
How could you not fall in love with this fabric! I went to Spoonflower to search for a fabric and instantly fell head over heels for this one!
Gotta love those bugs!
Spoonflower offer's Alison's fabric for sale right here! And while you are there, take some time to browse through the amazing fabrics available. (I am told that not all fabrics shown are for sale, you will need to click on the cart to find out those that are!)
The other really cool thing about Spoonflower is that you can actually design your very own fabric! Diane designed this one a couple years ago.
If you are good with computers, you can create designs or even have your kids draw their own designs. Transfer the designs into the proper programs and upload to Spoonflower! More info on that here and on Diane's post.
You will need to join Spoonflower to upload your own designs or to purchase fabrics, but not to browse. Go visit! I think you will love it! And what a great way to create a one of a kind fabric for your daughter's back to school dresses! Or those new sofa pillows you have been wanting.
Psssst! I have a Spoonflower giveaway planned for August! Don't miss it!
Now we are going to move on to something that is a whole lot of fun! And a lot less technical! OMG! I could make yards and yards and yards of this fabric!
My friend Chris (Prism Trail!) told me about a product called Setacolor. A little web search and I landed on this tutorial for printing fabrics using the sun! I immediately ordered some - and so did Chris! See her butterfly print here!
The product is water-based and non-toxic so it is perfect for kids to use. Just be sure you have lots of fabric on hand, because they will not want to quit as long as there is sun in the sky! And check out this link for lots of ideas for templates and for ways to use the fabric. Almost anything can be used as a template including pasta! I am thinking the kids would love using their little flat plastic animals or alphabet letters.
And if you are inspired to make fabrics for quilts and pillows or shower curtains this is a really great book to have on hand!
The tutorial is very thorough; but since I know you all will no doubt be playing with sun painting, I am sharing a few things I learned when using natural and not so natural items!
My first attempt! I just used what ever I had growing in the yard. Notice that I placed the flowers upside down - same with ferns and sprays of leaves. ( A few flowers are missing because I very nearly forgot to take this shot!)
Flowers that are bulbous like Bleeding Hearts don't work so well.
They leave more of a shadow than a clearly defined image.
Don't remove the material until the fabric is completely dry if you want a clearly defined pattern. My fabric, which is a medium weight cotton, dried in about 30 minutes.
The breeze helped out and removed a few petals and leaves before the fabric was dry and so they left a less defined imprint. Actually I don't mind as I like the three dimensional effect. Just so you know!
Overlaps? They work great!
And I love how my daisy flowers turned out! By placing them upside down, I was able to create a three dimensional image - and a bonus - pollen stains!
Sun was still out so I had to keep playing as long as I had fabric! I made some little hearts out of heavy weight paper which as soon as it got wet proceeded to curl! In a panic, I borrowed some of those little washers in my sweetie's "man drawer cabinet" to hold them down!
A huge breeze came along and blew the whole thing into the bushes before it dried completely but I still like the results!
Rule number 1. Don't do this on a breezy day! And if you must - don't leave it unattended!
Rule number 2. Use something for your designs that is more substantial than paper. My clever sister, Leslie, suggested making the designs out of those styrofoam meat trays! Chris tried it and said it worked great! Keep an eye on her blog as she will be sharing more of her Setacolor adventures soon.
Here is another fun idea for the kids!
Check out this tutorial on Hillbilly Jillies for Dying Fabrics Naturally! Then gather a bunch of old sheets or muslin and let the kids decide what they want to use to dye their own fabrics! It is a great learning experience - letting them dye fabrics using natural materials - the way it was (and still often is) done since the beginning of time.
Sarah has some great ideas for what to use in the tutorial, but I happened to have a bag of very old frozen raspbarries in the freezer, so I used them to dye my muslin.
I let my fabric soak 24 hours even though it probably would have been fine overnight. When I was ready to remove it from the dye bath, the fabric was as red as the juice!. However, even though I took the extra precaution of adding vinegar to the raspberry dye bath, once rinsed in water, my fabric was much lighter in color. Sarah says we should expect this.
She also says that the fabric will further lighten as it dries - and it does! But I love pink! And I am ready to try this again with blackberries and blueberries and....
I think kids would love wearing clothing made from fabric they dyed themselves.
Sarah at Geek+Nerd just turned me onto this tutorial on Smile and Wave and when I saw Sarah in her braided headband, I thought how cute the braids would be as ties for the sun dress - especially one made of simple material like the naturally dyed fabrics. And, your kids could braid headbands to match! I used old fabric strips from quilting projects, but I am thinking ribbon could be braided as well.
And of course there is always the option of taking your kids shopping and letting them pick out their own fabrics!
I adore the fairy fabrics by Michael Miller. Actually - I adore a bunch of their fabrics! But I am especially crazy about the fairy designs. Here is a very useful guideline to stores close to your neighborhood.
I am using this fabric for a little sun dress for a secret someone - but it is a secret! At least until tomorrow!