Friday, August 14, 2015

First Impressions

For centuries, fashion designers only needed to concern themselves with the design, silhouette and construction of garments. And then came the 1990's a time when young designers in France were called upon to lend ideas for textiles. The truth is, most garments we wear today, are super simple in line (as you've learned through reading my blog) and the most important thing that differentiates one style from another is the fabric. This is all to say that, even  if you've only mastered one or two patterns, that's okay. You can make the same pattern look different by getting creative with the fabric, which, by the way, you can design yourself!

We've already explored a few fabric manipulations: permanent pleating, dip dying (aka. ombre) and printing fabric using your inkjet printer. There are other "old school" methods which I would like to explore over the next few posts. One of them is the method of copying an image to fabric using a transfer medium sold under a variety of brand names (Modge Podge, Liquidex Gel, Picture This, just to name a few.) While those iron-on transfu;er sheets are less messy and perhaps, easier to use, transfer medium does not not require a computer or printer. It is a product which interacts with printed images (produced by a powder toner source like laser printers and photocopiers) and binds permanently onto the fabric. It is pointless to use any fancy fabric since the end result ignores the original material's properties and simply leaves a new surface that lays on top which is somewhat less plastic than the results from the iron-on sheets. So feel free to use muslin or a lightweight cotton as your base.  One other thing--you can also apply a logo, photo or medallion directly to an existing garment so long as it is washable.

Full sheet image

Let's get started. For this project you will need some sort of "Transfer Medium" which can be found in crafts stores, along with a sponge brush, water, and a board or surface lined with waxed paper or non-cling plastic (to keep the mess to a minimum). There are a number of ways we can go with this. My first thought was to create a page of a print. For this, I used a photo of a rose with the intent of creating an abstract print to be used for a jacket. I planned to create the printed fabric, then lay out my pattern and cut out create the jacket.

1. Make a photocopy of your photo. Inkjet images will not work. You can also use images from magazines or newspapers so long as they use powder based toners. Apply the medium thickly over the image.
2. When you are finished, you should not be able to see the image. Place the coated imaged onto the fabric and with your fingers, smooth out the paper side, to ensure there are no bubbles or wrinkles. Wipe away any excess product. Allow to dry for several hours or overnight.
3. Wet the paper. Wait a minute for the water to be fully absorbed, then carefully rub the paper away from the image.
4. If the paper starts to dry out before you are finished, spray the paper with more water and continue. You know when you are finished with the paper no longer peels away. Allow your fabric to completely dry then lay out your pattern, cut and assemble.

Mistakes I made:  I did not everything out on the paper side and as a result, there were wrinkles in the paper which set in the fabric. I also did not apply an even thick layer. As a result, the wrinkles were imbedded in the final finish and, while rubbing the paper away, I rubbed part of the image away as well. Nonetheless, I decided I liked what appeared to be veins running through the image which,  I can opt to replicate or avoid the next time around.


One of the more lovely ways Barbie can wear pink!
Placed Motif
I made the skirt using a photo of a rose I clipped out of a magazine. This time, instead of the image covering the fabric, I wanted a "placed motif." I used a satin because I thought the contrast between the coating and the shiny fabric would be interesting. I positioned the image so that the center of the rose would fall at the center front of the skirt.
 
Proceed using the steps described above.
When you have finished, you will notice how "washed out" the image appears (middle photo).  I use a tiny, tiny bit of hand crème directly on the image to bring the colors back up. (bottom image)
Renee is wearing an ombre wrapped blouse we created in another post. I think the jacket and skirt with the two different rose treatments is quite interesting!


Spot Printing
That was quite an ambitious project. I would strongly recommend your starting with something smaller....like making a logo or an image for a T-shirt.
1. You can download an existing image or use a photo you've taken already. For this project I'm using the Anne Klein logo and an existing tank top. Be sure you slide a small piece of waxed paper to keep everything from bleeding or sticking to the back side of the garment.
1. Cut out your logo.
2. Apply the transfer medium to the logo, smooth out to remove bubbles and pleats then allow to dry thoroughly.
3. When completely dry, wet the patch.
6. Gently rub away the paper.
7. Allow to dry
 
As you see, any image can be applied to either a light or dark garment. I will say that, until you master the technique, this medium tends to be quite messy, so you might want to stick to the light backgrounds for the moment. One other note: your image will be slightly "worn" so it's best to chose images that lend themselves to a "vintage look."
 
All the news that's fit to print.....Printing A la carte
For my "newspaper" garment, I decided to cut the photocopy to fit the pattern pieces, which was not only easier, but saved time. The processes are identical to those above. Just remember to
1. Make a mirror image of text!
2. Cover each piece thickly with product. Lay it on the surface of each pattern piece.

3. Let dry for several hours. Wet the paper and allow for the water to be absorbed.
4. Rub away the paper carefully. Allow to dry
Assemble the garment.

Sheer Patterns
I know this may be too messy or complicated for some of you, so I will give you an idea for your favorite iron-on transfer paper method. Let's think about creating a sheer fabric with floral appliques.

For this I used a polyester organza (also known as crystal polyester) and an iron-on transfer sheet on which I have printed out an assortment of flowers in two sizes.

I cut out each flower and scattered them alongside of one edge of my sheer fabric. The fabric is placed on a piece of heavy cardboard and each flower is ironed in place. The impression comes through to the other side. With this I fashion my dress which appears to have pressed flowers trapped within the folds.


More dolly textiles to follow! Stay tuned!

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26 comments:

  1. Stunning ideas
    you are so creative,love all congrats
    xx

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  2. I can't wait to try this. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  3. Stunning garments, I LOVE them all!!! This is something I definitely want to try on a gown or a dress, the effect is wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. Glad you liked this post. The floral application was inspired by that dress in my couture post--the black dress with the big flower print. I'd like to play a bit more with this.

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    2. I had that dress in mind immediately, it would be awesome to be able to re-create it in miniature!

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  4. Such lovely textiles your dolls have. OOAK, too. They must feel special ;-)

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    1. Thank you. Well, D7ana--they do feel special and terribly spoiled! They're now scrutinizing my work first before agreeing to try it on! :-D

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  5. Merci pour ce partage.
    Vous avez de très bonnes idées et beaucoup de bon conseils ! J'aime ce que vous faites.

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    1. Je te remercie, Shasarignis. Je suis inspire souvent par ce que je vois dans la mode francaise et les jeunes createurs!

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  6. Wow, what amazing graphic fabrics you have created! Thanks for sharing this technique!

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    1. Thank you, Phyllis. Even with the mistakes (and the mess), I'm pretty happy with the result. It's a quick and easy way to get logos and prints on T-shirts without spending a fortune on iron-on transfer sheets. What I didn't have time to do was to make a pair of jeans with comic strip images.

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  7. This was fascinating and exciting! The first rose suit is so much more sophisticated and flattering than anything official in Barbie Pink.

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    1. Thank you SP. I actually hate Barbie pink. But let's not forget, Mattel has little girls in mind. It's us big girls who want something more chic! LOL!!! I have some more fun things up my sleeve!

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  8. I can't begin to tell you how timely this post is. All of your creations are stunning! I have to do a custom t-shirt for an upcoming order. I had totally forgotten about this method. I've only read about it before. Never got a chance to try it. This may be the time to give it the old college try. Thanks!!!

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    1. Question: I'm assuming you can't use an inkjet printer at all. I printed the image from my computer, then resized it and made a copy from my printer. It didn't work. What did you use to make the LV tshirt in the middle? Thanks.

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    2. No, except for the iron on transfer sheet, inkjet won't work. You need to make a photocopy of whatever you want to use or a laser printer that uses powder toners. For the LV logo, don't forget to make a mirror image first.

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    3. Thanks. I don't want to make the LV logo, it's just the closest thing on the post to what I'm doing. No laser printers at my disposal right now, but I will try this in the future with some magazine cutouts.

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  9. Thank you, Vanessa. This is really an old school technique. It tends to be a tad messy, so you'll want to be super organized and play with it before you do the final product. Once I got the hang of it, I found it to be pretty simple and...I like the texture better than that of the iron-on transfers.

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  10. What a fantastic post! So many incredible ideas here. I love the newspaper print dress. There's something about using text in visual art that appeals to me. I can imagine writing a scary story, putting it in a spooky font, printing, and transferring it to fabric for a unique Halloween dress.

    I'm looking forward to more textile posts! I wonder, have you ever tried Spoonflower? I have been dying to try it for ages, and I'm finally getting around to reading some tutorials. I'm considering scanning some of my old paintings and drawings, since they look very textile-ish.

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  11. Thank you, Sarah. To be honest, I did think about putting my own headline on the newspaper. I've always loved seeing "newspaper" print fabrics used in fashion. But no, I don't know Spoonflower but did take the time to look it up. I think for the doll, it may be a bit of overkill since we don't need that much fabric for any given outfit---unless, of course someone is planning to make lots of clothes for resell. On the other hand, I might just try it out myself, the next time I make slip covers for my sofa. Paintings and drawings are perfect for use in textiles. You can always shrink the images down to suit the scale of the doll (unless you want to use them as abstract shapes). And, you can print out enough for a dress using your inkjet printer! (See: "Dolly Versace" September 2,2013.)

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  12. I'm just now seeing this! Wow!!! April you are so creative! Bravo! ����☺

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    1. Thank you. It's what happens when one has LOTS of time on one's hands and lots of dolls demanding new clothes!

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  13. I love this & can't wait to try it! My concern is , if I have to reverse the image first, but u said not to use ink jet printers, how can I reverse and copy? All I have is an inkjet primter.

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    1. Hi there. You do a reverse copy using your inkjet, then find a place that does photocopies (there are copy machines at Office Depot, Kinkos, etc) and use their machines to make a print to use for your project.

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