Making your own wearable art is a great way to add custom pieces to your wardrobe and get the exact look you want to reflect your style.
How to make your own wearable art
This piece is uses a few yards of rescued fabric that was in my stash, and was just enough to make two sleeveless tops. The technique I use is stamping the fabric with stamps that I made myself.
I make my own stamps because I want specific designs, and since I sell the finished garments, I own the copyright on the design. If you are not going to sell the finished garments, you can use purchased stamps. To make a top similar to this one, I have found some cool stamps for you to use, and put the links at the end of this post.
I had envisioned using certain colours, so I blend the fabric paints to achieve the correct shades of blue and green. The process takes several days, since the paint needs to set for 48 hours before it is heat set.
Turning Plain Fabric into Wearable Art
Before I start working on stamping the tops, I wash, dry and iron the 100% cotton fabric. This is important, since it will remove any sizing from the fabric, and also do any preshrinking so the garment will fit properly.
Next, I cut out the pieces for the fronts and backs of each top, and spread them out on a plastic-covered work surface.
I decide which of the handmade stamps I will use, and determine the colour combinations I want to coordinate with the fabric. To get the right colours, I mix the fabric paints in small batches, and do a few test stamps to make sure the colours are the right shades.
Once I have the paints mixed, I carefully dab the stamp with a foam brush dipped in paint. For this design, I did all the navy first on all of the fabric pieces. Once the blue was set, I did the smaller stamp in olive green.
Heat Set the Painted Design
Once the stamping in completed, I hang the pieces on a wooden clothes drying rack and let them dry for 48 hours. Once dry, each piece is ironed, using a sheet of parchment paper between the iron and the fabric to prevent the paint from sticking to the iron.
Constructing the Garment
Next, I make each top. All the seams are first stitched, then I use an overlock machine to cut, overcast, and run another two rows of stitches on each seam and facing. Also in the sewing process, the garment is ironed multiple times, which further sets the paints.
Once the garment is finished, it gets machine washed and dried, then ironed AGAIN.
The resulting garment is now 100% machine washable & dryable, and any chance of shrinkage has been eliminated.
This top is one of several designs that were sold in my online shop, and pairs beautifully with jeans or a navy skirt or pants.